The highlights include:
- A prize-winning Israeli sealant prevents damaged lungs from collapsing.
- IsraelAID has sent a team to Taiwan to help victims of its earthquake.
- An Israeli security startup catches cyber criminals in the act.
- An Israeli pesticide works by spraying the greenhouse, not the crops.
- Israel is to spend $28 billion on upgrading its railway system.
- An Israeli movie is a Sundance Film Festival winner.
- The World’s oldest Bible in Jerusalem is now a UNESCO world treasure.
This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel – Feb 14 2016
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Reversing Alzheimer’s symptoms. (TY UWI) Israel’s Dr. Shira Knafo heads Spain’s Molecular Cognition Laboratory at BioCruces Health Research Institute. She has discovered a small protein, which inhibits the processes normally associated with impairment, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Sealing wounds without stitches, tape or bandage. Israel’s Vigor Medical Technologies won the Innovex Disrupt contest at Tel Aviv’s Innovex2016 conference. Vigor’s sealant system treats thoracic trauma, a chest injury that can cause the lungs to collapse. If treated within one hour, the patient has an 80% survival chance.
Sensors to monitor the elderly. Kytera is another Israeli startup that has developed innovative sensor technology to keep a close eye on at-risk seniors. It also collects anonymous data that can be used to provide vital research on specific illnesses or medications.
Heart device saves more lives. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported on Israel’s V-Wave in May 2014 when it implanted its first heart shunt to treat congestive heart failure patients. It has since successfully treated over 30 patients. V-Wave has just raised $28 million to expand clinical evaluation, development and production.
Portable ultrasound. Professor Yonina Eldar at Israel’s Technion is developing an innovative portable ultrasound system that transmits scans to the treating physician immediately. Scans can be performed in disaster areas, at road accidents, and in developing countries where the medical infrastructure is limited.
Socks to warn of foot ulcers. Another great innovation from Hadassah / Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s BioDesign students. Their SenseGo socks contain dozens of micro-fabricated pressure sensors that send warnings via smartphone of incorrect posture or ill-fitting shoes that may cause foot ulcers to develop.
Another app to cure stuttering. Israel’s Ninispeech enables people who stutter to take control over their speech, using unique mobile feedback technology. NiNiSpeech catalyzes assimilation of speech strategies, encourages communication, sharpens learning curve, and maximizes success rate. 3 top Israeli doctors are cofounders, including Dr Yoav Medan, ex-CTO of Israeli focused ultrasound specialists InSightec.
Device to shakeup a snorer. (TY Dan) Israeli startup Nexense manufactures a device to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Worn as a chest strap or wristwatch, it detects snoring or sleep apnea and then vibrates to help the patient resume breathing or stop snoring, without waking him / her up. http://nexense.com/?page_id=87
Linked to Life. (TY Chani) Cancer charity Ezer Mizion has a unique WhatsApp Group. “Linked to Life” has about 4,000 volunteers who respond fast to (sometimes life-threatening) problems. Like forgotten medication or a premature baby who needs special formula.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Autistic boy uses facebook to make new friends. 4-year-old Tommy Traitel from Tel Aviv has set-up a facebook page to set-up play dates with normal kids and improve his communication skills. It has also generated interest from Israelis in the US and celebrities who have arranged to meet Tommy.
Israel appoints its first Muslim police commissioner. Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan has announced the setting up of an executive administration to enforce law within the Arab sector. The executive head will be Muslim Arab Jamal Hakroush, who will be promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.
Muslims of Israel. This facebook page is a collection of news & images of Israel’s almost 2 million Muslim citizens enjoying the good life in Israel. Please share. It is an open page, allowing anyone to post comments.
A Syrian refugee thanks Israel. Syrian refugee Aboud Dandachi has set-up a website “Thank You Am Israel” and writes “I am morally obligated to ensure that the goodwill that Israelis and Jews have displayed towards my people will not be overlooked nor forgotten.” “…it is imperative that Syrians reciprocate the enormous goodwill shown towards us by Israelis and the Jewish people.”
Bahraini princess treated in Israel. A secret 2010 visit to Israel of a Bahraini princess has just been revealed. She received life-saving treatment at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center. She stayed 2 months in Israel, including time at a rehabilitation center in Nesher, near Haifa. She chose Israel, rather than an alternative in the USA.
Aid to Taiwan. Israel is sending search and rescue teams to Taiwan where many have been killed and are still missing in the magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Taiwan’s new President Tsai Ing-wen previously visited Israel in 2013 and was very impressed.
Empowering women in Nepal. IsraAID has launched a project in Nepal by opening a beekeeping school near Kathmandu. 64 women have learned how to become beekeepers, form a cooperative to sell honey to local stores and tourists in Nepal. Each woman received one beehive stacked with a colony of local Himalayan bees to start her venture. For many of them, this beehive was one of the first things they completely owned.
How to hack a hacker. This is the message of the latest ad in the New York Times from “Israel is on it”. It highlights Israel’s dominance of the cybersecurity market and particularly the innovative software from Israel’s Illusive Networks.
Success at English debating championships. (TY Dan) At the 2016 World University Debating Championship in Thessaloniki, Greece, Israel’s Ayal Hayut-man won Best Speaker at English as a Second Language with partner Dan Lahav as runner-up. The two reached the semi-final stage of the Open Finals – an Israeli record. Three Israeli teams reached the Open Finals.
The all-time best iPhone apps. (TY Nevet) Mashable’s 100 all-time best iPhone apps includes three from Israel. Waze ranks 22 (“So good that Google bought it”); Meerkat (video streaming) is at 86 and Yo (the best dumb app) at 91.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Recognizing your digital identity. Israeli startup Neura’s artificial intelligence recognizes and analyzes human behavior. Neura develops what it calls a “digital identity” for each person, that can be used to personalize applications, services, and devices. http://venturebeat.com/2016/01/18/neura-raises-11-million-to-create-digital-identities-from-consumers-connected-lives/
Catching the successful hacker. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s TopSpin Security detects and stops cyber attackers who have already breached an organization’s perimeter and are now attempting to steal or damage internal assets. TopSpin has just obtained $7 million of funding.
Turning agricultural waste into energy. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Doral Energy is teaming up with Kibbutz Lahav to build a facility to generate energy from organic waste and animal waste from local kibbutzim. There are 14 Israeli projects at varying stages to generate electricity from waste, 3 in the agricultural sector.
Keeping patients and staff safe. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s SuperCom has more facets than I reported previously in Feb 2015. The NASDAQ listed company has just launched a suite of software for the Health Care industry that addresses staff, patient and residence safety. It incorporates mobile applications and wearable technology.
Summer cybertech training course. Ben Gurion University will launch a cybertech program for international students this summer focusing on data mining and business intelligence. In addition, students will visit leading Israeli companies to gain practical experience and enhance their understanding in the field.
No more zombies. A team from Ben Gurion University, working with Deutsche Telekom, has been able to track the source of botnets – illicit and secretive networks that have turned half a billion computers into zombies that try to crash websites, send out spam or run click fraud scams.
New light railway line for Jerusalem. Last week I finally experienced my first-ever ride on the Jerusalem light railway Red line from the Bus Station to Jaffa Central. So I was pleased to read that a second line has now been approved. The 20km Blue line will connect Northern and Southern Jerusalem districts.
Startups to watch. (TY Eli M) Here are seven Israeli startups that I hadn’t previously reported. Audioburst (radio search engine), AzurePCR (virus and bacteria identification), DaPulse (project collaboration), Fairfly (price saver), Fraudlogix (fraud detection), Riskified (credit card checker) and Tipalti (automatic payments).
Smartphone security bug found. Security experts at Israeli companies BugSec and CyNet have helped smartphone manufacturers LG fix a major security flaw in their popular LG G3 device. It is the second time in a month that the team has uncovered a breach in cybersecurity that could have exposed millions to hackers.
Tracking the bad guys at sea. (TY Dan) In Nov 2015, Israel’s Windward tracked 10,000 vessels entering Europe. Of those, 650 ships originated from, crossed or entered the territorial waters of Libya, Syria and Lebanon. Among those 650, 34 of them reported a fake identity. Is the world listening?
Natural pesticides prove effective. (TY Hazel) Israel’s EdenShield has completed studies in Italy, Spain and Israel that show its non-toxic natural pesticides protect crops without damage to the environment. In fact, the plants don’t need to be sprayed at all – EdenShield’s Net product is sprayed on the netting and vents of the greenhouse.
An app to analyze your app. (TY Dan) Israeli startup Gingee has developed Curve – app metrics tools for marketers and developers to review metrics of their app on a single dashboard from multiple mobile platforms. Its most beneficial use is in helping transfer an app to another platform (e.g. from Android to iPhone).
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Global confidence in Israel’s economy. Ambassador Yoram Ettinger has written another positive account of Israel’s economic prospects. He cites hi-tech funding (especially cybertech), increasing Chinese investment, shrinking trade deficit and reduced public / private debt to GDP rations.
Funding for 9 new US-Israeli projects. (TY Atid-EDI) The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation approved another $7.5 million in funding for nine new projects between U.S. and Israeli companies. BIRD has financed 926 projects with over $10 billion in its 38-year history.
NIS 28 billion railway project. Israel is to spend NIS 28.3 billion to overhaul its railway system over the next 4 years. NIS 12 billion will electrify the system (see previous newsletter). The rest will go to add new lines, expand and build new stations and replace signaling communication and maintenance systems.
Spanish startups’ digital mission to Tel Aviv. (TY Dan) Spain’s internet development agency Red.es, together with trade and investment body ICEX and trade association Adigital, have organized the first digital mission of Spanish tech startups to Tel Aviv in March. They will visit leading Israeli digital economy players.
Israeli women behind JFE. (TY Dan) Israelis Jenny Belotserkovsky and Michal Tavrovsky founded Jews for Entrepreneurs (JFE) to advance their own startups and help connect them to the Silicon Valley ecosystem.
The die is cast. (TY Dan) Israel’s Omen Casting Group is opening a new high pressure die casting factory in Richmond, Indiana, USA, creating up to 100 new jobs. Omen will manufacture aluminum parts for drivelines, steering components and oil pumps at its new facility, to be installed in US and German cars.
Fans can invest in their clubs and players. (TY Dan) Israeli startup FBFM (Football Fans Marketplace) is developing an online marketplace to allow football (soccer) fans worldwide to invest in their favorite players and clubs. Fans provide loans to clubs for players and then receive a portion of any future transfer proceeds.
More automated parking systems. Since I wrote about Israel’s Unitronics (see Mar 2015) it has built five automated parking facilities in North America including two in New Jersey and one in California. It has just won a $4.5 million deal to build another facility in New Jersey.
Netflix buys “The Greenhouse”. (TY Dan) US media giant Netflix has bought its first Israeli television show. It has acquired the youth drama “The Greenhouse” (HaKhamama in Hebrew), created by Giora Chamizer. The US version will be set in California, although filmed in Israel.
The first non-Jewish Israeli bond. (TY Dan) Michael Shah’s Delshah Capital secured nearly $82 million through the first phase of the firm’s bond issuance on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In doing so, Shah became the first non-Jewish developer to tap Israel’s corporate bond market.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Publishing Israeli academic books globally. (TY Nancy) Israel Academic Press (IAP) is a peer-review press, dedicated to making the finest Israeli academic writing available worldwide. It aims to disseminate knowledge about the complexity of Israel and its society.
Gazelle Valley – Jerusalem’s Urban Nature Reserve. I reported on Jerusalem’s Gazelle Valley Park twice previously. Israel’s first urban nature reserve is named after a herd of about 30 wild gazelles, which roam freely throughout the 250-acre park. This video shows how Israelis and nature can coexist for mutual benefit.
A horticultural tour of Israel. (TY Dan) John and Kelly Schroeder of Canada’s Valleybrook Gardens will host a tour of Israel’s greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries from Oct 24 to Nov 7 2016. It includes “plenty of time to enjoy the incredible culture, history and sights of this fascinating country”.
Israeli film wins Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. (TY Dan) The Israeli film “Sufat Chol” (Sand Storm), written and directed by Elite Zexer, was awarded the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The film follows the story of two Bedouin women and their struggle to change their destiny.
Megadeth to perform in Israel. Megadeth is considered to be one of the world’s four biggest thrash metal bands, having sold 50 million records worldwide and received eleven Grammy nominations. Megadeth will perform at the Rishon Live Park, just south of Tel Aviv, on July 2, 2016.
Wix’s Super Bowl ad. (TY SDM) Wix.com, the Tel Aviv-based do-it-yourself website development company broadcast a stunning commercial featuring Kung Fu Panda during the Super Bowl on Feb 7.
The most grandmasters per capita. The Israeli city of Be’er Sheva holds a world record of number of chess grandmasters per capita, with one in 20,000. Former chess champion Eliyahu Levant left the Soviet Union in the 1970s and came to Be’er Sheva. His teaching made Be’er Sheva into a dominant force in Israeli chess.
The surf’s up in Netanya. (TY Hazel) The World Surf League held its SEAT Pro event at Netanya’s Kontiki beach Jan 16 – Jan 25. Conditions were ideal for testing the competitors’ skills. The winners took home $10,000 and trophies containing shofarim (rams’ horns).
THE JEWISH STATE
Israelis pass the “Blind Man” test. An Australian test of honesty was repeated in Israel. A blind Israeli asked strangers to change a 10 or 20-shekel note, but held out a 100 or 200-shekel note to see if anyone exploited his disability. 100 per cent of Israelis corrected the blind man’s “mistake”.
Fight BDS – drink up. (TY Dan) The first linked article highlights some delicious wines made in Judea and Samaria. Meanwhile, the 2016 Sommelier Wine Exhibition in Tel Aviv featured the products of 80 different Israeli wineries with the Golan Heights Winery being very popular in Europe. “Lechaim!”
Campaign to bring Subbotnik Jews home. Michael Freund of Shavei Israel writes that there are still 15,000 to 20,000 Subbotnik Jews in Russia and many want to make Aliya. They are descendants of Christians who began celebrating the Jewish Sabbath in the late 18th century. Many formally converted to Judaism.
Bibi’s miraculous recovery. No, not the Israeli PM; this is Border Police Officer Raz Bibi who was stabbed by an Arab terrorist in May and nearly died. He was discharged from hospital a month later and immediately went to pray at the Western Wall. Bibi returned to duty in November and now a ceremony has honored him.
Oldest bible is a world treasure. The Aleppo Codex in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum has been recognized by UNESCO as a unique world treasure. It was written in Tiberias around 930 CE and is believed to be the world’s oldest copy of the Hebrew Bible. The Codex joins UNESCO’s registry of 300 items and collections.