This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Sept 17 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have discovered that bacteria can interfere with chemotherapy.
- The World Health Organization has appointed an Israeli to its Executive committee.
- The first visit by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister to Latin America.
- Israeli technology is purifying water at the Hoover Dam.
- Israeli driver assistance systems are being installed in Chinese electric buses.
- An Israeli won gold at the Czech Open table tennis championships.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Making chemotherapy more effective. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered why chemotherapy sometimes doesn’t work. Bacteria inside pancreatic tumors metabolize gemcitabine – a common chemo treatment – to make the tumor resistant. After applying antibiotics, the chemo begins to work again.
Stem cell treatments for Asia. Israeli biotech Pluristem has been awarded two new patents in Hong Kong for two products – mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of skeletal muscle damage or injury, and adherent cells to treat Critical Limb Ischemia and connective tissue regeneration.
Turning Sound and Touch into Sight. (TY Nevet) I reported previously (in 2012) about Dr. Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who is developing innovative sensory substitution devices and technologies to help the blind and visually impaired. Here is a video about his work.
Rehabilitating soccer players. (TY Hazel) Spanish soccer club Real Sociedad is using BalanceTutor from Israel’s MediTouch to help its teams improve balance and dexterity, especially after an injury. The 4D treadmill uses unexpected perambulation (jolting to the side etc.) to deliberately disrupt the player’s balance.
Hear this. Udi Doron, CEO of Israel’s Medton, came on ILTV News to describe his innovative hearing aids. The devices are imported from Oticon Denmark and then adapted and fitted in Israel. They scan the environment to reduce the level of noise. They also connect via smartphone to the Internet of Things.
Free eye surgery for Kenyans. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (three times) on doctors from Israeli charity Eye From Zion performing free eye surgery around the world. They have just returned from Kenya where they treated 723 patients, from infants to senior citizens, removing cataracts and correcting astigmatism.
Helping families of cancer patients. Rivi Kossover of Israeli cancer charity Ezer Mizion arranges transportation for patients, volunteers to make family meals, respite for teenage carers and a tutor for a failing student. And still manages to fit in her own domestic activities.
A virtual safari for bed-ridden kids. Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari has placed cameras in the monkey enclosures and live-streams video to bed-ridden children at Sheba Medical Center in Tel HaShomer. The innovation helps kids deal with the stress of their illness and is to be expanded to video more animals and include more hospitals.
Medical treatment for Russian Olympic skater. Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya was only 15-years-old when won a team gold medal at the 2014 Olympic games, skating to the theme “Schindler’s List”. She developed chronic anorexia shortly afterwards and retired from skating. In January, she came to Israel for treatment.
WHO board appoints an Israeli. The World Health Organization (WHO) has finally rewarded Israel for its vital contributions to the WHO (see here) and global medicine. For the first time in 21 years it has appointed to its Executive an Israeli – Professor Itamar Grotto, the Israeli Health Ministry’s Associate Director-General.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
IDF develops software for kids. (TY UWI) Cadets in the final stage of the IDF officers’ course participated in a 24-hour Hackathon to develop systems for helping disadvantaged children. One of the organizations to benefit was ALEH-Negev which supports children with severe disabilities.
“We were told they are the enemy, but in reality they are friends”. (TY Hazel and UCI) Plenty of praise here for Israel from wounded and sick Syrians treated by Israel. Even the cynical Washington Post report admits the changed perceptions about Israel from those Syrians who have been saved or helped.
US mayors bond with Israel. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) brought the mayors of Syracuse, Albuquerque and six other US cities to see Sderot, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Bethlehem, the Syrian border and the Ziv Medical Center in Safed. Delegation chair was Mayor John Giles of Mesa, Arizona.
More Israeli aid to disaster victims. In a week of hurricanes and earthquakes, Israel has sent aid teams to Florida, Texas, Mexico, Haiti, and the Caribbean to help recovery efforts. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” said Mickey Noam-Alon, from IsraAID. “There are so many massive events going on worldwide.”
8-year-old sees her mother’s work in Uganda. (TY Avi) Emily Yaari, is the daughter of Sivan Yaari, founder and CEO of Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa. Emily travelled to Africa to see the “tikkun olam” work carried out by Innovation: Africa, all in the name of Israel with Israeli technologies. An amazing 4-minute video.
The first Israeli PM to visit Latin America. Benjamin Netanyahu’s four-day trip to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico marks the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has visited South and Central America. He took with him a delegation of businesspeople with the focus on deepening economic and diplomatic alliances. In Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos thanked Israel for its offer to help clear Colombia of land mines.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
UK conference to share cybersecurity solutions. (TY Hazel) The UK Israel Tech Hub organized a three-day TeXchange conference in London to share solutions to prevent cyber-attacks. UK firms attending included Aviva Insurance, BT, Goldman Sachs, RBS and Visa. At least a dozen Israeli security startups presented.
Technion and Cornell open New York campus. (TY UWI) Cornell Tech has officially dedicated its new campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, home of a major academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Over 500 people attended the inauguration.
Cutting-edge tech to counter cyber threats. US giant Intel Corp. is teaming up with two Israeli cybersecurity firms – Team8 and Illusive Networks to design and develop solutions for repelling cyber-attacks. Intel is also opening a new cybersecurity center that will operate in both Jerusalem and Haifa.
Wave power for Mexico. I reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Eco Wave-Power and its systems for generating energy from the sea. Now, Eco Wave-Power is to build Mexico’s first such facility – a 4.1 MW plant at the Manzanillo Port in the state of Colima along the country’s southwestern Pacific Ocean shore.
A toxin against corn rootworm. Israeli biotech Evogene has announced positive results in its Insect Control Seed Trait Program and that it had developed the first toxin against Western corn rootworm.
Low sodium vegetarian food. Israel’s Salt of the Earth recently completed a series of trials of plant-based, vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives. They demonstrated the ability to create tasty meat substitutes with less sodium.
Purifying water at the Hoover Dam. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (3 times) on the Hydro-Optic Ultraviolet technology of Israel’s Atlantium that purifies contaminated water systems. It has recently been installed at the hydroelectric Hoover Dam to help prevent an invasive species of mussel from choking pipes.
Czechs see innovative Israeli city bio-filter. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (Jun 2016) on the JNF hybrid bio-filter for purifying and recycling rainwater runoff at the Israeli city of Kfar Saba. Before attending Israel’s WATEC conference, the Czech delegation were shown the bio-filter as a possible solution to their polluted run-off water.
Superior quality photos and video. More on the miniaturized hyperspectral technology developed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (see 5th Feb). It now can be made as an add-on for a standard camera. Using compression sampling, it generates high quality images and video faster and far cheaper than currently available commercial devices.
IAF training system now does soccer. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (many times) on Israel’s PlaySight and its SmartCourt training system that began life training Israeli Air Force pilots. It was adapted for tennis training, basketball and now soccer with SmartPitch’s launch at the Soccerex convention in Manchester, UK.
Car sharing in Tel Aviv. I reported previously (22nd Jan) that Israel’s Car2Go would be launching its Auto Tel car sharing service in Tel Aviv this summer. Since July, 170 Auto Tel vehicles have been in operation. Subscribers book a car 15 mins in advance via a smartphone app.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
20% increase in August tourism. 253,800 tourists visited Israel in Aug 2017 – 20% more than in Aug 2016. 57,200 were from the US – a 33% increase. Tourists from Poland soared 60%. 2.3 million tourists entered Israel Jan-Aug 2017 – 24% more than in the same period of 2016.
Iowa delegation meets Jerusalem biomed leaders. (TY Sharon) The Iowa Economic Development Authority mission, with over 26 members and led by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, were given presentations from five of Jerusalem’s bio-medical and tech community – Pepticom, Valera Heath, Aeon, NIMD and Votis.
Chicago delegation to Israel. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is heading a delegation of more than 40 businessmen, investors, health care professionals, academics and water experts to Israel, to seek ways to work with the Startup Nation on technology. 2016 trade between Israel and the state of Illinois totaled $814 million.
Linking up Multinationals with Israeli startups. Israel’s global equity crowdfunder OurCrowd has launched OurNetwork, providing access for Multinationals to Israel’s most exciting startups. 25 corporations signed up prior to the launch, including Accenture, GE, Google, Honda, Kodak, Nokia, SAP, Shell, UBS and YESBank.
China to import Israeli tech – for lab-grown meat? China and Israel have signed a $300 million trade deal whereby China will import Israeli advanced agriculture technologies and smart and green energy technologies. Not sure how the UK Independent and others made this into a vegan story but at least it was positive news.
Winning contracts in China for driverless tech. (TY SA) Israel’s Mobileye is installing its Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) in every electric bus built by China’s Yutong, the biggest bus maker in the world. It is also working with Chinese electric car-maker Nio and contracts with more Chinese firms are pending.
Lower fees for international students. Israel’s Bar Ilan University has dramatically reduced fees for its 2017/18 International BA program. Foreign students will now pay standard Israeli citizen tuition fees, as set by the Council for Higher Education – a two-thirds reduction from the current fees.
Helping women farmers in Latin America. Israel’s Frutarom has been encouraging women in Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and other Latin American countries to become independent farmers and grow annatto in their fields. Frutarom is committed to buying at a fair price all the fresh annatto harvested for its natural yellow ingredient.
Leading German insurer will cover claims for Israeli exoskeleton. One of Germany’s leading insurers, Barmer, has signed a confirmation regarding the provision of Israel’s ReWalk Robotics systems for all qualifying beneficiaries. ReWalk’s exoskeleton allows paraplegics with spinal cord injury to walk upright.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
London’s top restaurant is Israeli. The Barbary restaurant in Covent Garden is number one in TimeOut’s list of London’s 100 best restaurants. Lead chef is Tel Aviv-born Eyal Jagermann. The anti-Israel Guardian says it’s “thrillingly alien”. The London Standard says, “If you have to queue, queue”. (Not kosher)
Stunning photos of Jerusalem. Photographer Ezra Landau has opened his outdoor “Jerusalem Moments” exhibition in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. In 50 prints (for Jerusalem’s 50th anniversary Landau finds contrasts and connections between Jews and Arabs, secular and religious Jews, tourists and residents.
And a brief tour of Northern Israel. (TY Avi) A two-minute glimpse of the Galilee, Golan, Hula valley, mountains, waterfalls and diverse wildlife.
Jerusalem women’s night race. (TY Sharon) Several Jerusalem streets were closed as some 2,000 women and girls raced over 5km or 10km courses in the Capital. They included mothers and daughters, running groups from around Israel and even some studying Torah on their smartphones while they ran.
Italian cycle race to begin in Israel. (TY Hazel) The Giro d’Italia cycling race will open next year’s event in Israel, marking the first time in its 101-year history that the race will begin outside of Europe. More than 175 of the world’s best cyclists will arrive in Israel to compete in the first three stages of the race.
Israelis enter world sheepdog trials. For the first time, there were Israeli entries in the triennial World Sheep Dog Trials, held in the Netherlands. Among the 243 competitors from 30 countries were Adi Etrog with her dog Daisy and Itai Yatzkan with his dog Munch. They enjoyed the experience and will try again in three years.
Paralympic wins table-tennis gold. Israel’s Karmit Dor won a gold medal in the Czech Open Table Tennis Championship. She beat Poland’s Karolina Peck in 5 sets to win the Women’s Singles – light disability class. Dor also won a bronze in the doubles with Israel’s Anat Siara Sagi.
THE JEWISH STATE
Tax free commercial honey imports. (TY Steven S) Israel’s finance minister Moshe Kachlon added a sweetener to the Jewish New Year for the business community, signing an order this week authorizing a Customs tax exemption for the import of 560 tons of honey to the Land of Milk and Honey.
New Israeli stamps – Love songs. (TY Jacob Richman) The latest postage stamps to be issued by the Israeli Postal Service include 12 love songs. One of them, Zemer Nogeh, was played by NASA to wake up Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon (z”l) to start his day on the space shuttle circling the earth.
California boy’s gift brings survivor to Israel. After hearing his story, 17-year-old Californian teen, Drew Principe, raised $15,000 to enable 89-year-old Shoah survivor Henry Oster to travel to Israel where he would meet his last living relative and finally celebrate his bar mitzvah.
California girl’s funds for agriculture school. 13-year-old Shira Futornick of Palo Alto, California raised $50,000 for Israel’s Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT). It was a part of her bat mitzvah tzedakah project. Shira had seen AICAT during her older sister’s bat mitzva tzedakah program in 2015.
Where else in the world would you see this? This photo taken at the back of a restaurant in central Jerusalem captures two young men praying – one Muslim about to bow on his prayer mat, the other a Jew with his Tefillin on. Religious tolerance and freedom of religion being practiced in the holiest city in the world.