This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel July 23 2017
The highlights include:
- A diabetic treatment from an Israeli plant could benefit millions.
- An Israeli charity 3D prints hands for amputees.
- Israel has sent planes to combat fires in Montenegro.
- An Israeli startup has developed eco-friendly fish farms.
- An Israeli all-electric plane was unveiled at the Paris Airshow.
- Huge international sales of Israeli explosives detectors.
- Radiohead’s Tel Aviv concert was a great success.
- A 12-part concise mini-series for the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Israeli thorn bush treats diabetes. Dr. Tovit Rosenzweig of Ariel University has discovered that the Israeli plant Sarcopoterium Spinosum (sira kotzanit / thorny burnet) can balance blood sugar levels. Dr. Rosenzweig is developing a treatment from the plant that could benefit more than 200 million diabetes sufferers worldwide.
New treatment for Tourette Syndrome. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Therapix Biosciences is conducting a proof-of-concept Phase II clinical study with the Hannover Medical School, of its lead compound THX-TS01 for 20 patients suffering from Tourette Syndrome.
Universal Flu vaccine’s positive trial results confirmed. Final results of BiondVax’s Phase 2b trials of its Universal Flu vaccine confirmed preliminary results reported here previously. (5 Feb) Both endpoints were met. Immune response to the vaccine was statistically significant. BiondVax can now proceed to Phase 3 final trials.
Hypoparathyroidism biotech heads for NASDAQ. I reported previously (Apr 2014) on Israel’s Entera Bio which is testing treatments for disorders in the parathyroid gland, and osteoporosis. Entera Bio has now filed for floating the biotech on NASDAQ to fund Phase II/III trials of its treatment for hypoparathyroidism.
Looking good. A research team from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University has developed “Prophecy” – a first-ever formula that lets hyaluronic acid penetrate the deeper skin layers, to smooth out wrinkles using a cream and without injection. Hyaluronic acid absorbs water to smooth the skin and has antioxidant properties to slow the aging process.
Enabling the mute to speak. Israeli charity Ezer Mizion recently hosted a major conference on Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). The aim of the conference was to share the cutting-edge knowledge that Ezer Mizion has been advancing. Those on Facebook please watch the video of the conference’s opening.
Enabling the paralyzed to walk. The ReWalk is an FDA approved exoskeleton that allows individuals with spinal-cord injuries to stand, walk, and move freely. Israel’s Re-Walk has already helped more than 100 paraplegics take their first steps towards mobility – some can be seen in this new short video.
3D printing transforms face surgery. Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham UK uses the Objet Eden 350V 3D printer from Israeli-founded Stratasys to produce customized face models for pre-surgical preparations. It cuts surgical planning time by up to 93%, saves 3-4 hours per surgery and cuts costs by up to £20,000 per op.
Upgraded FDA approval for Insightec. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Insightec has been granted US FDA approval to use its Exablate Neuro system with 1.5T MRI – the most common MRI system in use today. It should vastly expand the use of Insightec’s successful non-invasive focused ultrasound treatment for essential tremor.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Support for survivors. Three times a week, Israeli charity Ezer Mizion provides breakfast for 120 Holocaust survivors – elderly members of its British Café Club. They have lectures, exercise sessions, field trips and parties. In addition, Ezer Mizion’s Eshnav program gives one-on-one home support to homebound survivors.
3D-printing prosthetic hands. (TY Karen & INO) Israeli non-profit Haifa 3D prints prosthetic hands for children and adults at no cost. Haifa 3D volunteers receive assistance from Israel’s Technion and donations for computers, printers, plastics and all other parts. They even designed a hand that can hold a guitar pick.
Female tekkies should join the club. Real-life groups are key to encouraging Israeli girls and women to enter high-tech careers and flourish at work. Examples of such Israeli groups are LeadWith, QueenB and CyberGirlz.
Arab industrial park for Arabs and Jews. Israel’s Technion and the Israeli Government are establishing a new industrial park in the Galilee Arab settlement of Shfar’am. The aim of the park is to unify the Jewish and Arab economies – managed by Arabs but bringing together Jews and Arabs, to get the best out of both.
UK prince supports Sport for Peace. During a rain-break at Wimbledon, Prince Michael of Kent helped launch the new Sport for Peace project to complete a new state-of-the-art sports center in Israel. It’s aim: to bring young Israeli Arabs and Jews together to compete alongside each other and increase understanding.
Arab Muslim woman sings with Radiohead. Arab Muslim female singer Nasreen Qadri shares the stage with Radiohead and supports the band’s decision to perform in Israel. Nasreen was born in Haifa and grew up in Lod, two cities with a mix of Arab and Jewish communities, living side by side.
Improving security and comfort. Thanks to fingerprint readers and workers’ buses, it now takes only 8 minutes for 50 Palestinian Arab factory workers to cross the “Green Line” each day on their way to work. The new system is being piloted prior to being rolled out across Israel, Judea and Samaria.
IDF medical help to wounded Syrians. (TY TIP) In the IDF’s “Operation Good Neighbor”, which began Aug 2016, there have been over 110 individual aid events. The goal was to reach as many needy Syrians as possible, without violating Israel’s carefully crafted policy of non-intervention in the Syrian civil war.
Agreements with Ukraine. In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed agreements with the (Jewish) Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman covering disaster co-operation, medicine and health, trade statistics and temporary workers. Ukraine recently voted against UNESCO’s anti-Israel resolution.
First-ever visit by Quebec leader. A 100-strong delegation joined Philippe Couillard’s first official visit to Israel by a Quebec premier. His priority was to open a Quebec trade office in Israel and set-up an artificial intelligence and metadata partnership. A $12 million program will support bilateral industrial R&D projects.
Israeli sends firefighters to aid Montenegro. Following Montenegro’s appeal to NATO for international help, Israel dispatched firefighters and 4 planes to assist the Balkan state in tackling devastating forest fires that have spread across the country’s coast. A new heatwave in the region is expected to cause further wildfires.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
New species of butterfly discovered. Israeli researchers have identified a new species of butterfly, named Acentria’s fritillary (Melitaea acentria) unique to northern Israel, Lebanon and Syria. The first new species in 109 years is believed to have arisen through natural hybridization (inter-breeding) between two other species.
Breeding fish in artificial seawater. Israeli aquaculture startup Latimeria breeds fish in water that has been desalinated and then has salt added. The innovative process avoids pumping seawater in and out, saving electricity, minimizes water leakage and stops the introduction of harmful bacteria.
Google translates using AI for Hebrew. You may have noticed an improvement in the accuracy of translating Hebrew into English using Google Translate. Google has moved to neural machine translations (Artificial Intelligence) for Hebrew and Arabic, resulting in more natural suggestions.
Organic rosemary solutions. Israel’s Frutarom has developed an extract from organic rosemary that reduces oxidation and thus increases the shelf life of other foods. Frutarom worked with Israel’s Hishtil Nurseries to produce the rosemary variety. Rosemary also has health benefits as anti-oxidants absorb damaging free radicals.
The next generation of microscope. Israeli startup Scopio Labs develops digital microscopes, based on computational imaging breakthroughs. These dramatically improve research into cancer, hematology, cytology etc. while powering academic studies and treatment development. Scopio has just raised $7 million of funds.
What’s wrong with the system? (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli startup Loom Systems uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and system logs to discover and prevent problems in digital systems. It is an automated, machine-assisted log analysis tool, capable of correlating cross-applications events and providing the root cause in real time.
Medals at Chemistry Olympiad. Israeli secondary school students won 3 medals at the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad in Thailand. Ron Solan, Rina Sevostianov and Ofir Shmool won a silver and two bronze medals, respectively, at the contest which attracted teams from 76 countries.
System to prevent jamming. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and Honeywell Aerospace have agreed to jointly develop an advanced GPS Anti-Jam navigation system. The operation of many navigation systems relies on uninterrupted availability of satellite-based navigation and timing. (See here for other Israeli systems.)
Best video ad distributor. For the 2nd year running, Israel’s Woobi has won a Bully Award for Innovation. Earlier in the year, Woobi won the Best Video Distribution Platform award at the Digiday Video Awards in New York. Woobi’s programmatic video ad-tech solutions targets ads to users’ individual interaction patterns.
Improving corn yields. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Kaiima Bio-Agritech is working with Beck’s, the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States, to produce high-yielding varieties of corn (maize). Kaiima’s proprietary non-GMO platform called EP™ boosts the efficiency of essential food and feed crops.
Satellites on the move. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Elbit Systems is to provide the Israeli Ministry of Defense with dozens of satellite-on-the-move (SOTM) systems. The systems can be installed on a variety of platforms and are unique in their small footprint and its advanced tracking capabilities.
An all-electric airplane. Israel’s EViation Aircraft unveiled its Alice Commuter electric plane at the Paris Air Show. It can carry 9 passengers plus 2 crew up to 1000km using a Li-lon – 980 kWh energy pack. EViation saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time by 3D printing prototype parts and machine tools.
Using AI to train your sales team. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Gong.io (a Gartner “Cool Vendor”) has launched its Real-Time Conversation Intelligence platform for sales teams. Gong uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze sales conversations and help train sales and customer service staff.
Food security conference. International celebrity chef Assaf Granit and Israeli First Lady Nechama Rivlin were among the 350 delegates to a conference in Rehovot on food and nutrition security.
Analyzing feed at US dairy farms. I reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Consumer Physics and its SCiO handheld food analysis spectrometer. Now Cargill Animal Nutrition will be sending the SCiO to US dairy farmers to help them check the nutrition of dry forage and deliver a more consistent diet to their animals.
Retrofitting solar to old buildings. KKL-JNF, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Construction and Housing, have launched “Easy to Breathe” – a national environmental program. Old public housing buildings, commencing in Beit She’an and Safed, will be renovated and retrofitted with solar power.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Airport taxi monopoly ends. Travelers are now able to order taxis using the Gett app after landing at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, ending Hadar-Lod Taxi’s monopoly on airport taxi services. Also, taxis bringing passengers to the airport can now wait to pick up arriving passengers, even those who haven’t pre-booked.
A better detector. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s IDenta has been inundated with orders for its detection kits for explosives and banned substances. The UK (Manchester and London), the US, France and Israel recently placed orders for thousands of kits. Earlier customers include Thailand and Wizz Air.
Israelis find oil in California. Israel’s Modiin Energy has found signs of oil during its preliminary drilling of the Mountain View project in Kern County, California. It now proposes production tests, to estimate the rate of production and the size of the reservoir in the prospect. Modiin is also testing at the nearby GrapeVine project.
CyberArk acquires Conjur. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli cybersecurity “giant” CyberArk has made yet another overseas acquisition by purchasing Massachusetts-based Conjur. Conjur’s revolutionary technology secures Development / Operations and increases CyberArk’s business prospects within the DevOps arena.
SodaStream’s Homoschlepiens ad. Watch Mayim Bialik (star of “The Big Bang Theory”) in her new commercial for Israel’s SodaStream. She humorously demonstrates how buying water and fizzy drinks in plastic bottles “makes no sense”.
Study for a degree in Law or Business in English. I reported previously (Feb 2016) about the opportunities to save a fortune in fees by studying for a Law or Business degree in Israel in English, and then finishing your qualifications in the USA. Israel’s College of Law & Business is holding its 2017 Open House on 2nd Aug.
Start-up Nation meets Wall Street. New York City’s NEXUS: Israel education and networking conference, coordinated by American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, brought together over 300 scientists, attorneys, venture capitalists and others to discuss Israel’s latest high-tech advances. See the amazing agenda.
SAP’s new Israeli HQ. I reported previously (July 2015) on software giant SAP’s Israeli R&D center and its attraction to the Startup Nation. SAP has shown its faith in Israeli technology and economy by building and moving into its new $67 million Ra’anana headquarters – the new home for its 800 R&D employees.
$35 million exit for Camtek. I reported previously (Sep 2014) on some big orders that Israel’s Camtek had landed for its semiconductor inspection modules. Now Camtek has sold its whole Printed Circuit Board (PCB) business to China’s Principle Capital fund. Camtek’s Israeli-based and global operations remain intact.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Discover Africa in Jerusalem. (TY Janglo) See the treasures of Africa during the months of July and August at the “African Nights” experience in the Botanical Gardens of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Wine Festival. (TY Janglo) At this year’s Jerusalem Wine Festival (Aug 7 – 10) you can learn about Israel’s best and most interesting wineries, and drink a lot of great wine in the Israel museum’s beautiful gardens. Tickets include unlimited tastings. On Tue and Wed, tickets include entrance to the museum.
Ice Cream Day. For the first time, Israel joined America’s celebration of Ice Cream Day on 16th July. Buza and Iceberg chains promoted black coconut ice cream. Iceberg also sold flower-flavored ice cream and Vaniglia offered malabi with rose water. The Anita chain even gave a free ‘Doggy Cream’ sorbet to any visiting canines.
Ex-IAF medic is Miss Israel. Rotem Rabi, a native of Jerusalem, has been crowned the new Miss Israel. Rabi served as a medic in the Israel Air Force, and although currently working as a model, she hopes soon to join the Israel Police investigative division. Rabi will represent Israel at December’s Miss World in China.
The Galilee’s secret pastoral hotspot. (TY Avi) Known as the Princess of the Galilee, Rosh Pina is home to a mix of natural, cultural, historic and entertainment hotspots. A beautifully restored, northern village, Rosh Pina is just the place for a leisurely and relaxing vacation.
Radiohead’s 27-song concert. Radiohead showed their loyalty to 47,000 Israeli fans in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park with their longest concert in 11 years. The band’s first international success was in Tel Aviv in 1993.
Spectacular end to Maccabiah Games. International supermodel Bar Refaeli was the MC for the closing ceremony of the 20th Maccabiah Games – entitled “Higher. Better. Together.” When Natan Sharansky told the audience passionately, “We all will build our home together,” the crowd began to chant “Am Yisrael Chai!”
Maccabiah upgrade of Jerusalem sports facilities. The Jerusalem municipality has invested tens of millions of shekels to establish and upgrade sports facilities across the capital for the Maccabiah Games and afterwards to serve the wider public. New facilitates support ice hockey and track and field competitions for the first time.
Race you up Mount Hermon. On July 28, athletes can take part in the first-ever Mount Hermon Run – the ascent of Israel’s tallest mountain, in Northern Israel. There are three race categories: Nordic walking, running and extreme mountain running. The race begins at an altitude of 1,600 meters and finishes at 2040 meters.
THE JEWISH STATE
More finds in the City of David. (TY Janglo) This is part 2 of the two-part documentary in which Erick Stakelbeck tours the City of David in Jerusalem with City of David Foundation Directory Ze’ev Ornstgein to discover the top ten archaeological finds that prove the ancient Jewish Biblical claim to Jerusalem.
And here is the link to Part 1 in case you missed it.
And (TY IsraPundit) recently the Temple Mount sifting project discovered remains from a mikveh (ritual bath) that existed right underneath the current site of the Al Aqsa Mosque.
What Jews ate in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Following 3 years excavating an ancient landfill in the City of David, Tel Aviv University has published that 2nd Temple Jerusalemites kept kosher. They dined primarily on sheep and goats, with much fewer cows and chickens. They ate plenty of fruit and vegetables, but no pork or shellfish.
Six-day-War mini-series. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries, here are 12 very short videos of the dramatic events in June 1967 that transformed the State of Israel.
“Celebrate Israel” parade. I know it’s late, but I must include an article about the 40,000 US supporters of Israel who marched, sang and danced along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on June 4th to show their support for the Jewish State. Earlier, the Empire State Building was lit up in blue and white – the colors of the Israeli flag.
Israel Book Week. The 56th annual Israel Book Week featured book fairs in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion, while book stores offered discounts all across the country. For the first time, Jerusalem hosted both the Hebrew Book Week fair and the International Book Fair at the same time. 7,600 books were published in 2016.
Students uncover reservoir in Kingdom of Israel. High-school students have exposed a huge 2,700-year-old water system near Rosh Ha-Ayin. They also found remains of vessels used to draw water from the reservoir. The reservoir would have been in the Kingdom of Israel, which was conquered by the Assyrians in 720 BCE.