Good News from Israel

This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Sept. 10 2017

(Photo is of Microsoft’s Ra’anana offices, linking its latest technology project with Bank Hapoalim

This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Sept. 10 2017

The highlights include:

  • An Israeli scientist’s algorithm cuts the time of discovering life-saving treatments.
  • Thousands of foreign students have just completed Israeli agriculture training.
  • GM launches its first Israeli driverless car prototype.
  • An environment-friendly Israeli pesticide is protecting Indian fruit crops.
  • Israel is investing $1 billion in renewable energy projects for Africa.
  • The first Israeli to win a World Gymnastics medal.
  • New technology has revealed Hebrew writing on 2600-year-old pottery.

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

 

Trials success for gastroenteritis treatment. Israeli biotech Redhill has announced that the Phase 3 trial of its BEKINDA treatment for acute gastroenteritis and gastritis, on 321 patients in 21 US clinical sites, met its targets for efficacy and safety. There are some 179 million cases of gastroenteritis annually in the US.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-redhill-says-gastroenteritis-drug-found-safe-in-study/

 

Fighting infections via DNA. I reported previously (July 2015) on Tel Aviv University Professor Udi Qimron’s research into bacterial viruses (phages) that can kill resistant bacteria. His DNA delivery method is now much more sophisticated and he has just received a $700,000 grant from TAU’s Momentum fund.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/dna-delivery-technology-joins-battle-against-drug-resistant-bacteria/2017/06/19/

http://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/abstract/S1097-2765(17)30310-6

 

Algorithm finds new treatments. Professor Amiram Goldblum at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has won a 2017 Kaye Innovation award for his Iterative Stochastic Elimination (ISE) algorithm, which helps discover new molecules to treat diseases. It identifies candidate treatments in months rather than years.

http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/35036

 

Life-changing tech for the visually impaired. I reported previously (May 2016) on the text to speech MyEye device from Israeli startup Orcam. MyEye now clips onto your spectacles and can read text in English, Hebrew, Chinese, French, Italian and German. It can also store names and faces to help identify the people you meet.

http://nocamels.com/2017/08/orcam-visually-impaired-glasses-read-text/

 

 

 

 

Making back to school less lousy. I reported previously (27th Nov) on Israeli startup Parasonic and its ultrasonic comb for destroying head lice and their eggs (nits). The device has now received FDA approval and should be launched by mid-2018. Parasonic has just raised $1.6 million of funds.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-startup-seeks-to-make-back-to-school-gloom-lice-free/

 

Games therapy for the brain. More about Israeli startup Intendu that I reported on previously (2nd July). Designed by neuroscientists, clinicians and games developers, the home training console is designed to enhance and possibly rehabilitate, eight cognitive functions. It is currently on trial at the UK’s Hull Royal Infirmary.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevorclawson/2017/08/31/the-therapy-gap-startup-offers-hope-for-brain-impaired-patients/#134ac0944a5c

 

Israel’s new school of medicine. (TY Atid-EDI) Ariel University recently held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new medical school. The $28 million facility will vastly enhance Ariel’s current pre-med program and 30 research labs. Currently, 4000 students are studying medicine at Israel’s five medical schools.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4983189,00.html

 

Israeli bio-techs in San Diego. 23 Israeli companies (listed here) exhibited at the Bio International Convention in San Diego – the world’s largest conference in the field of life sciences, with over 16,000 delegates from some 76 countries.

http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-firms-share-innovations-at-bio-international-convention-in-san-diego/2017/06/13/

 

What goes around, comes around. 15 years ago, Batya donated a kidney to save her daughter’s life. Shortly afterwards, her daughter gave birth to a baby girl. 15 years later, Batya contracted Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and needed a bone marrow transplant. Thanks to the Ezer Mizion database, a 100% match was found.

http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/what-goes-around-comes-around/

 

ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

 

Jerusalem municipality site in French. (TY Janglo) The Jerusalem Municipality just launched a new website in French that includes all municipal services, information on absorption in Jerusalem, information on immigrant activities and additional services for French speakers. There is already an English site.

https://www.jerusalem.muni.il/fr/Pages/default.aspx https://www.jerusalem.muni.il/en/Pages/default.aspx

 

Promoting workplace diversity. Nonprofit social startup ITWorks promotes diversity in the workplace by helping adults living in Israel’s social and geographic periphery to realize their professional potential. ITWorks sets up courses, boot camps and hackathons for women, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, Haredi and the disabled.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/nonprofit-startup-eyes-untapped-local-talent-in-israel-tech-scene/

 

Haredi female pilot flies PM to Greece. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was flown by an ultra-Orthodox female pilot to Thessaloniki, Greece for a trilateral summit with Greek and Cypriot leaders. Nechama Spiegel Novak was the first ultra-Orthodox female to co-pilot a trip for an Israeli prime minister.

https://worldisraelnews.com/first-ultra-orthodox-female-pilots-israeli-prime-minister/

 

An incubator for products for the elderly. Matav, Israel’s nursing care non-profit, and Tech for Good, which supports social impact investment, are setting up an incubator for startups developing products and services for senior citizens. The incubator will focus on solutions that extend the time that senior citizens can live at home.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-new-incubator-to-develop-products-for-the-elderly-1001203587

 

Seeds of Peace. An optimistic article that describes how local Palestinian Arab community leaders worked with Jerusalem mayor Barkat to improve security.

http://honestreporting.com/seeds-of-peace-israel-insights/

 

Israel donates $32 million to Syrians. Israelis have donated at least $32 million on goods for Syrian civilians this year, including $26 million from donations and $6 million from the IDF’s Operation Good Neighbor. It has paid for medical equipment, food, and medicine. Millions more have been spent by Israeli hospitals treating some 3,500 Syrian wounded. https://unitedwithisrael.org/israelis-donate-over-32-m-in-aid-to-syrians-this-year/

 

An Iraqi Kurd reports on the Jewish State. Diliman Abdulkader came from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to see Israel. He praises airport security, a friendly Israeli taxi driver and IDF soldier, Arabs and Jews on beaches, at university, in cafes and Parliament. He concludes that Israel is simply striving to survive in a hostile region.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/My-experience-in-Israel-It-is-not-what-you-see-on-TV-503830

 

Israel to fund rebuilding of Houston Jewish buildings. The Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs is to give $1 million in emergency aid, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to rebuild Houston schools, synagogues and Jewish community buildings which are not funded by the state. It has also shipped several tons of aid to storm victims.

http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/154662-170904-israel-gives-1-million-to-houston-jewish-community

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-embassy-in-dc-ships-several-tons-of-aid-to-harvey-victims-in-texas/

 

More Israelis fly in to help Houston cleanup. A team of eight volunteers from Israel’s ZAKA Search and Rescue organization is in Houston to help with clean up in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Four more will join them shortly. The volunteers are currently clearing debris and delivering food.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/zaka-team-helping-with-hurricane-clean-up-in-houston/

 

Jerusalem summit for African Christian leaders. Some 70 delegates from Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania and Kenya attended a 4-day “Africa Celebrates Jerusalem” summit. They held meetings with Israeli start-ups, politicians and businesses, focusing on agriculture, finance and technology.

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/African-Christian-leaders-hold-Jerusalem-start-up-summit-503849

 

Kenyans praise Arava agriculture center. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (30th Apr) about Israel’s Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT) which has trained more than 16,000 students from Africa and Asia. Here three Kenyan graduates of AICAT describe how the center has changed their lives.

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/09/04/canaan-is-a-desert-but-full-of-milk-fresh-food-kenyan-students-share_c1628191

 

Israel AgroStudies apprenticeship. 1,200 students from across Africa and Asia have just completed the 13th running of Israel’s unique post-graduate AgroStudies agriculture apprentice training program. (See previous articles here) Its aim is to transfer theoretical knowledge to modern applied agriculture.

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=45107

 

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

Innovate Israel 2017. (TY OurCrowd) Innovate Israel returns to London on 12th Sept co-sponsored by OurCrowd in partnership with The Institution of Engineering and Technology. Over 20 leaders of Israeli companies will discuss the most exciting innovations coming from scale-up nation.

https://ukisrael.biz/event/innovate-israel-2017/

 

Tel Aviv is an R&D hub for corporates. (TY Janglo) There are 73 international R&D centers in Tel Aviv, nearly doubling in five years, providing over 6,200 jobs. The latest, Visa, joins Amazon, AOL, Apple, Barclays, Bosch, Citibank, Coca Cola, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, MasterCard, Microsoft, Paypal, Renault, Samsung, Siemens, Yahoo and more.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/235060

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-tel-aviv-enhances-status-as-intl-rd-center-1001203837

 

Detecting light from a single bacteria cell. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a nanophotonic chip system using lasers and bacteria to observe fluorescence emitted from a single bacterial cell. The breakthrough technology will enhance efforts to build mobile “lab on chip” devices.

http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/35606

 

IKEA selects insect protein company. IKEA has chosen Israel’s Flying SpArk to join the nine other startups in its Swedish training course. Flying SpArk produces a high-quality protein powder from fruit fly larvae for human consumption as a healthier and sustainable alternative to animal protein.

https://www.theflyingspark.com/

http://ikeabootcamp.rainmaking.io/the-10-startups/

 

GM unveils prototype of driverless car. General Motors’ (GM) R&D center in Herzliya has revealed the company’s first prototype of an autonomous vehicle. Based on the electric-only Chevrolet Bolt, the car has an advanced array of Israeli-developed sensors and processors to enable it to travel without a driver.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-gm-israel-unveils-autonomous-car-prototype-1001192500

 

Hyundai teams with Technion on smart cars. Car maker Hyundai has signed an agreement with Israel’s Technion Institute and KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) to conduct joint research on future mobility technologies. Hyundai will fund a multi-million-dollar Technion-KAIST R&D center.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-hyundai-teams-with-technion-on-smart-cars-1001204147

http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Hyundai-to-invest-millions-at-Technion-for-building-driverless-cars-504521

 

Technology for digital bank guarantees. Israel’s Bank Hapoalim and software giant Microsoft are working together to set up a platform to create digital bank guarantees, based on the latest Blockchain technology. The “pioneering project” will help make the process of signing up guarantors a simple and quicker process.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/bank-hapoalim-microsoft-join-forces-on-blockchain-technology/

 

Unearthing one of the first cities. Archaeologists at prehistoric Tel Tsaf in Israel’s Jordan Valley have found a unique 7,200-year-old clay silo model, the earliest evidence of ritual food storage. They also excavated well-preserved mudbrick architecture, the region’s earliest metal item, and evidence of long-distance trade.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/find-of-7200-year-old-clay-silo-forces-rethink-of-when-we-began-storing-food/

 

Israel’s biggest tech conference. (TY TIP and Jacques) 10,000 high-tech professionals descended upon Tel Aviv for the city’s 5th annual DLD (Digital Life Design) Conference. 100 events were planned – including a new focus on food tech in which Israel has over 500 startups. DLD ended with a closing party on the beach.

https://www.israel21c.org/thousands-attend-startup-nations-biggest-tech-conference/

https://israelbetweenthelines.com/2017/09/07/tel-aviv-ignites-with-innovation-fair/

 

 

 

Protecting Indian crops from fruit flies. (TY Merav) I reported previously (Apr 2016) about Israel’s BioFeed which developed a solution that killed the Ziko virus-carrying mosquito without having to spray crops. Now BioFeed’s no-spray fruit-fly solution is helping protect Indian mango farmers against the devastating pest.

https://www.israel21c.org/fruit-fly-iron-dome-for-the-farmers-of-india/

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

 

Israel’s exports rose 6% in first half 2017. (TY UWI) Israel saw a 6% rise in exports in the first half of 2017, with exports reaching $50 billion. Exports of goods rose 4% to $29 billion. Exports of services (boosted by hi-tech and tourism) rose 8% to $21 billion. Hi-tech services rose by 12% and tourism by 16%.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israel-exports-up-6-in-first-half-of-2017-1001203255

 

Currency reserves up to $111 billion. August saw another record level for Israel’s Foreign currency deposits. The new level is just over $111 billion – up nearly a billion dollars from the end of July’s level.

http://www.boi.org.il/en/NewsAndPublications/PressReleases/Pages/7-9-17.aspx

 

Financial cooperation with Switzerland. The two most innovative nations, (see 22nd Jan) Switzerland and Israel, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen cooperation in the financial services industry.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-switzerland-sign-accords-for-greater-financial-services-cooperation/

 

A $110 million VC Fund. Israel’s StageOne Ventures has announced the closure of its third venture capital fund, with $110 million in committed capital to invest in 15-18 Israeli startups. StageOne focuses on deep-technology endeavors in B2B software and next-generation IT infrastructure.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israels-stageone-ventures-closes-110m-vc-fund-1001203934

 

Making overseas shopping simple. (TY WIN) Israeli startup ZIPY simplifies the online shopping experience by consolidating shipping prices, carriers, taxes, etc. It enables shipping purchases from eBay, Amazon, Aliexpress and dealextreme to Israel, Romania and Russia. All communications are in your local language.

http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Tech-Talk-Zipy-makes-buying-from-international-e-commerce-sites-easy-502916

 

 

 

 

Merck launches Israel electronics incubator. (TY OurCrowd) German life-science giant Merck is founding a technological innovation laboratory in Yavne, called PMatX that will function as an incubator for Israeli startups. Its investments will total €20 million and will focus on next-generation electronics.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-merck-launches-20m-israel-incubator-1001202431

 

Bringing ride-sharing to Europe. Daimler’s Mercedes Benz Vans has invested $50 million and enlisted Israeli-founded startup Via to enter Europe’s ride-sharing market – initially in London. Passengers wanting to travel in the same direction will use Via’s mobile app to share a single Daimler van.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/daimler-joins-forces-with-israel-founded-via-to-bring-ride-sharing-to-europe/

 

Filming female entrepreneurs. Two Brazilian women are making a documentary about female entrepreneurs. After visiting 20 countries, they arrived in Jerusalem. At a meeting at the Tower of David Museum, local entrepreneurs expressed hope that the film would inspire young Jerusalem women to enter the business world.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/from-cuba-to-south-korea-the-girls-on-the-road-survey-businesswomen-worldwide/

 

Seven in 2017. Israeli fruits and flavors company Frutarom has made another acquisition – its seventh in the current year. This time it’s an Israel company – Turpaz, buying a controlling 51% for NIS 54 million. Turpaz develops, produces and markets fragrance solutions. It recently opened a center in New Jersey, USA.

http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-frutarom-buys-israeli-flavor-extracts-co-turpaz-1001204048

 

$1 billion on renewables for Africa. Israel’s Energiya Global is to invest $1 billion over the next four years to advance green power projects across 15 West African countries. It is part of a memorandum of understanding signed between Israel and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). (An inspiring video.)

https://www.israel21c.org/1-billion-israeli-renewable-energy-commitment-to-africa/

 

 

 

Algae products for America. I reported previously (3 times) on Algatechnologies which makes the anti-oxidant, AstaPure®, and other products from microalgae grown in Israel’s Arava desert. AlgaTech has just opened a New York City-based subsidiary to increase sales of its products to the North American market.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/algatech-opens-new-us-subsidiary-628603633.html

 

Direct from Montreal to Tel Aviv. (TY Atid-EDI) On June 22, Air Canada celebrated their first direct flight from Montreal-Trudeau airport to Tel Aviv. The service operates twice weekly until mid-October. Just four days earlier, on Jun 18, Air Transit celebrated their first direct flight on the same route.

http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/air-canada-celebrates-first-montreal-tel-aviv-flight-630137743.html

https://www.airtransat.com/en-CA/news/first-direct-flight-from-Montreal-to-Tel-Aviv

 

CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

 

The Zionist art of Salvador Dali. (TY WIN) In the 1960s, famous Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali, produced Zionist-themed paintings. They included a ship carrying Jewish refugees to Israel, an Israeli menorah (candelabra) and a series entitled “Aliya”. Here is a new montage of Dali’s tribute to the Jewish people.

 

 

Mekudeshet festival. (TY Janglo) The 4-week Mekudeshet festival, which ends on 15th Sept, features many inspirational artists and musicians.

http://en.mekudeshet.com/

 

The Simon & Garfunkel Story. (TY Janglo) The Simon & Garfunkel Story is coming from the UK’s West End to tour Israel. It’s probably the closest you can get to seeing Simon & Garfunkel without actually seeing them. From 13th – 18th Sep in Jerusalem, Kiryat Mozkin, Cinema City, Airport City and Rishon Letzion.

http://www.thesimonandgarfunkelstory.com/tour-dates/

 

 

Artists4Israel. Last year, Artists4Israel visited 63 global campuses and universities to share their artistic talent for Israel. Led by gifted street and graffiti artists, they engaged with over 25,000 students, many of whom helped paint pro-Israel murals with messages of support for Israel. Events were co-sponsored by StandWithUs.

http://www.standwithus.com/news/article.asp?id=54180020

 

Conan O’Brien’s six-day-tour. (TY Avi) US comedian Conan O’Brien was interviewed by Yonit Levi of Israel’s Channel 2. He talked about his first trip to Israel, meeting all types of people and said he was impressed by the fit men, beautiful women and relaxed vibe. He also told her what he’d do if he moved to Israel.

http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/conan-obriens-absolutely-hilarious-interview-on-israeli-tv/?omhide=true

 

Tel Aviv comes to London. The four-day TLV in LDN gala festival kicked off on 8th Sep. It included a beach party, music from Dana International and food from to Israeli chef Shaul Ben Aderet.

http://www.jpost.com/International/Tel-Aviv-in-London-extravaganza-kicks-off-tomorrow-504499

 

Watch NFL games with Israeli tech. I reported previously (here) on Israeli-developed FreeD from Replay Technologies – since taken over by Intel. Now TV viewers of American football will be able to watch FreeD’s 360-degree replays and other features at 11 National Football League (NFL) venues this season.

https://worldisraelnews.com/israeli-tech-scores-starting-position-new-nfl-season/

 

Israel’s first-ever World gymnastics medal. (TY Hazel) Linoy Ashram won a bronze medal in the all-around competition (hoop, clubs, ball and ribbon) at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships, making her the first Israeli to ever win a medal in the category.

 

 

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-first-israeli-wins-bronze-at-world-gymnastics-championships/

 

 

 

THE JEWISH STATE

 

Exhibit of 1st Temple Jewish seals. Letter seals excavated in Jerusalem’s City of David National Park dating back to 700 BCE are to be displayed at the annual City of David archaeology conference. Biblical names like “Achiav Ben Menachem” prove refugee Northern Kingdom Jews had senior Jerusalem positions.

http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/154650-170904-seals-dating-back-to-700-bce-unearthed-in-jerusalem-s-city-of-david

 

1st Temple inscription revealed. Tel Aviv University researchers have used multi-spectral imaging to reveal a Hebrew inscription on a pottery shard (ostracon) from 600 BCE. The object was originally found at Tel Arad and has been on display at the Israel Museum for the last 50 years. The inscription is a request for supplies.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/revolutionary-technology-reveals-dazzling-hidden-text-on-biblical-era-shard/

 

Holocaust survivor’s bar mitzvah in Israel. (TY Jacques) 93-year-old Shalom Shtamberg celebrated his bar mitzvah 80 years late. When he was 13 he was imprisoned by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. After reading from the Torah in Haifa he danced with family and friends.

https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5010671,00.html

https://israelbetweenthelines.com/2017/09/07/a-93-year-old-bar-mitzvah-story/

 

 

More mega-bloggers visit Israel. As part of the UploadEuro project of pro-Israel non-profit StandWithUs, students of the IDC Herzliya brought 7 popular international bloggers (and their 9 million readers) to see Israel as they’d never seen it before. E.g. they were amazed to see Arabs and Jews sit together in a Jaffa restaurant. They also visited Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. http://www.standwithus.com/news/article.asp?id=5419

 

“I am the first Bangladeshi to visit Israel”. (TY StandWithUs) Dr Shadman Zaman was taught at school to hate Israel. But his grandfather taught Shadman the truth about the perseverance of the Jewish people for self-determination in their homeland. Shadham now uses his inherited affinity with Zionism to inspire others.

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