This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Oct 8 2017
The highlights include:
- An Israeli visor gives surgeons an X-ray view of the patient as they operate.
- Israeli rescue teams save lives in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
- Israelis have designed Intel’s fastest-ever microchips.
- Indian and Spanish investors will be able to crowd-fund Israeli startups.
- Take That are to perform in Israel.
- Sukkot (Tabernacles) is Israel’s most beautiful festival.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
AR headset for surgeons. Geordi La Forge’s visor in the Star Trek science fiction series may soon be a reality. Israel’s Augmedics is developing the VIZOR – an Augmented Reality (AR) headset that shows surgeons an X ray-like visualization of the patient. Augmedics has just raised $8.3 million of funding.
Monitoring heart surgery wirelessly. Israel’s CathWorks has developed innovative non-invasive systems and algorithms to construct 3D images of the coronary tree to help surgeons perform heart catheterizations. The systems use standard angiograms and no additional wires. CathWorks has just raised $15.8 million of funding.
A device for weak hearts. Israel’s Magenta Medical has developed a catheter for patients with Acute Decompensated Heart Failure (ADHF), where the heart is too weak to pump enough blood throughout the body. Magenta has just raised $15 million of funds. http://www.pitango.com/portfolio/magenta-medical/
Ultrasound delivery of meds. I reported previously (Sep 2016) on Israel’s Vensica and its innovative method of using ultrasound to increase the porosity of skin tissue and allow treatments to be given without the use of needles. Vensica has just raised $2 million of funds to enable it to begin human trials by end 2018.
Pull your (electric) socks up. Israel’s ElastiMed develops a leg compression device for daily wear that mimics natural muscle contraction and stimulates blood flow using electrical pulses. The device treats swelling, blood clots, chronic wounds and sports injuries. ElastiMed has just raised $1 million to help fund clinical studies and regulatory filings.
A sleeve to prevent post-op leakage. After colon surgery, there is a 22% risk of intestinal leakage. Israel’s Colospan has developed the CG-100 – a clinical sleeve to protect the inside of the colon. Colospan has received CE approval and has just raised $7.7 million to launch in Europe and fund trials to obtain US FDA approval.
Israeli study featured on BBC radio. The BBC World Service’s “The Thought Show” featured the study by Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists of declining male fertility. The BBC praised the study method and allowed lead study author Dr. Hagai Levine to advise listeners on how to improve their lifestyles.
Europe approves Israeli prostate cancer treatment. Readers will remember (8th Jan) when the BBC finally recognized Israel’s Weizmann Institute Tookad prostate cancer treatment. Israel’s Steba Biotech has now been given approval to market Tookad in Europe. The treatment is already approved for use in Israel and Mexico.
Efficient diabetes monitoring. I reported previously (Apr 16) on the “Digital Diabetes Clinic” developed by Israel’s GlucoMe. Yiftah Ben Aharon, CEO and co-founder of GlucoMe explains in an interview how GlucoMe helps the diabetic’s doctor make efficient use of the limited time available to review the patient’s condition.
Just enough antibiotics. (TY WIN) Hebrew University researchers are working on preventing the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They are analyzing the concentrations of antibiotics and their timescales for destroying bacteria, to optimize treatment regimens and avoid the under / over-treatment of infections.
“Chemotherapy will become just a bad memory”. I reported previously (3rd Sep) of Gilead’s $11.9 billion buyout of Kite – a biotech founded by Israel’s Professor Arie Belldegrun. Kite’s CAR-T technology cures non-Hodgkin lymphoma that kills 7,000 patients annually in the US alone. Prof Belldegrun gave his first interview since the deal.
JNF & Hemsley Trust build new medical center. The Jewish National Trust, support from the Hemsley Trust, have constructed a brand-new medical facility in Halutza, southwest Israel. Halutza was established in 2005 by Israelis evacuated from their homes during Israel’s disengagement from Gaza.
Israeli surgeons save Iraqi Kurdish children. Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi visited Kurdish children at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon who are receiving medical treatment from Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart. The Ministry has funded heart surgery for about 500 children from Iraq, the PA, Syria and Jordan.
Living safely at Home. I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s Essence and its @Home smart systems for monitoring the elderly in their own homes. Essence is one of Israel’s 50 largest exporters with global sales of 20 million systems. Two of Essence’s senior executives explain their systems in a recent Globes interview.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Trains connect Arab towns to Tel Aviv. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs from the Galilee in northern Israel will join their Jewish neighbors in enjoying a new fast train link from Karmiel to Tel Aviv. New bus lines will link 15 Arab towns with the new stations and residents will get 50% rail fare discounts for two years.
Ethiopian Jew is new Israel UN rep. Ethiopian immigrant Danielle Daseta, will represent Israel at the United Nations for environmental, developmental and economic issues. Daseta made Aliyah in 1984 during Operation Moses. She has a BA in governance and diplomacy and attended the “Israel@heart” leadership program.
Israel’s Druze Communications Minister. Ayoub Kara is the first non-Jewish minister to have a portfolio in the Israeli Knesset. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed the Druze MK to the position of Minister of Communications. He tells of his family background, the Druze, his work and his love for the State of Israel.
Funding hearing loss treatment for Syrians. (TY Zev) Israel’s Moshe Kahn and the Genesis Prize Foundation have made a six-figure grant to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed for treating hearing loss among Syrian children. They will receive a diagnostic examination, clinical treatments, surgery and rehabilitation.
Post-IDF volunteering in Mumbai. Prior to dispersing for their post-IDF India trip, 23 Israelis renovated and taught at a school in Mumbai, India. The mission was organized by the “Heroes for Life” non-governmental organization. Although only two weeks, for many of the Indian children it was a life-changing event.
Moslem states warm to Israel (TY Zev) At a meeting in Los Angeles with Simon Wiesenthal Center Director Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said that his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. More good news also, from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
US army to use Israeli defense system. (TY Ruth) The US Army is to install the Trophy active-protection system developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on many of its M1A2 Abrams tanks. The system detects and destroys incoming anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
71-strong IDF team to Mexico. An IDF rescue unit of 71 specialists has been in Mexico City assisting in operations after the recent earthquake. The team arrived just 36 hours after the earthquake struck and helped save lives. They brought in radio-wave technology developed by Israel’s Camero-Tech that can “see” through rubble for buried victims.
Israeli aid to Puerto Rico. An emergency response team from Israeli NGO IsraAID, including professionals from its established team in Haiti, is in Puerto Rico. Its priority was to distribute and set-up water filters in the most affected places. It has also been distributing food and hygiene kits and offering post-trauma support.
A great speech at the UN. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a hugely positive speech at the United Nations, publicizing Israel’s benefits to the world. He concluded, “Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations. And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Lights in a Dark Continent. My friend and fellow blogger Ruth King has written an article summarizing Jewish and Israeli involvement in Africa during the last 70 or so years.
If it weren’t for Israel. Elise Cooper in American Thinker writes a great piece about Israel’s global role in defense, agriculture, water, cyber-security and medicine. She concludes, “Jews should be proud of Israel – and so should others all over the world.”
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Can Israeli water technology save the world? (TY Nevet) Another good Israeli water story by Jeevan Vipinachandran. He writes that Israeli innovation in water conservation is benefiting water-stressed regions of the world, from Kenya to India to California. It can prevent wars from being waged over water scarcity.
More good technology news. (TY Dan E) One of my subscribers has given me the URL of the site of a new source of Israeli technology and business news. I will include selected articles in future newsletters.
Israeli technology protects Pope again. I reported previously (Jan 2016) that the Israeli-made Skystar 180 surveillance balloon system monitored Pope Francis on his visit to Uganda. The balloon system, made by the Yavne-based RT Aerostats Systems, was back in action for the Pope’s recent visit to Colombia.
Eilat’s coral reef is glowing. (TY Jacques) Researchers from Israel and the UK have discovered Red Sea corals that absorb blue light to make a protein to help them glow in the dark. This only happens with healthy coral and only in the Red Sea. The study may help save dying corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Intel’s fastest microprocessors yet. Intel has unveiled a new family of desktop computer processors, designed in Israel, that are at least 25% faster than previous versions. The 8th Gen Intel Core processors include the “best gaming processor ever” Intel Core i7-8700K and are built for those who need high performing standards.
Saving the banana. I reported previously (Aug 2013) about Israeli companies Evogene and Rahan Meristem and their joint non-GMO development of bananas resistant to Black Sigatoka fungus. Now second-year field trials with specialized banana strains have shown effectiveness against the hugely damaging fungus.
Digital employees. Israel’s Kryon Systems is developing intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions. The aim is to offload mundane processes to a more accurate, efficient and productive digital virtual workforce, enabling enterprises to focus on their core business. Kryon has just raised $12 million of funding.
Turning glass opaque at a touch of a button. (TY WIN & ILTV News) Israel’s Shviro Holon has developed thin flexible polyester clear pockets, filled with a liquid that turns opaque immediately after connection to an electric circuit. The pockets can be stuck on glass partitions, to provide low-cost privacy at a touch of a button.
Now an unmanned helicopter. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has demonstrated its new Air Hopper unmanned helicopter. It simulated the evacuation of a seriously-wounded soldier, including airborne monitoring of vital signs. It also simulated carrying supplies (up to 180kg) to an isolated position in any weather or time.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Economy continues to grow. The Bank of Israel’s Composite State of the Economy Index for August 2017 increased by 0.3 percent, slightly more than previous months. Highlights were the increase in goods exports and in the job vacancy rate.
$600 million funding for startups. The $350 average monthly influx of funds to Israel startups was boosted in September to $600 million thanks to Via (ridesharing) which raised $250 million. Innoviz (automobile sensors) raised $65 million and StoreDot (fast-charge car batteries) raised $60 million.
Doubling the proportion of hi-tech workers. In its annual report, the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist) included an operational plan for increasing the proportion of employees in the Israeli technology industry to 15%. More Israelis would get higher salaries and Israel’s growth and competitive edge would be maintained.
New Spanish and Indian crowdfunding ventures. Israel’s leading crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has formed a strategic partnership with Cardumen Capital, a Spanish-Israeli venture capital fund to help Spanish investors to invest in Israeli companies and joint Israeli-Spanish technology. In June, OurCrowd formed a strategic partnership with LetsVenture, India’s largest marketplace for startup funding.
Cancer treatment returns to Israel. Israeli biotech CureTech developed pidilizumab cancer treatment which was sold to US biotech Medivation which the giant Pfizer took over last year. Pidilizumab is an orphan treatment (for rare brain stem cancer) and of no commercial interest to Pfizer. So CureTech has bought it back.
SAP buys Gigya for around $350 million. SAP, the German multinational software corporation, has acquired Israel-founded Gigya, one of the market leaders in customer identity and access management, for an estimated $350 million. Gigya’s web identity software is used by more than 700 of the world’s leading businesses.
Non-toxic pesticide to go global. (TY Dan E) I’ve reported previously (several times) on the non-toxic pesticide from Israel’s EdenShield which repels pests with its aroma. Edenshield sells in Israel, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Greece and has just raised $2 million to help fund its expansion into the USA, Mexico and the EU.
Israeli startups join Chinese incubator. Five Israeli startups have been selected for the first class of a new startup accelerator in Beijing, funded by Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. China’s ShengJing Group (one of the world’s largest private equity fund of funds) will provide free professional services to the startups.
Huge growth in digital farming startup. I reported previously (three times) on Israel’s Phytech and its innovative crop sensors that boost agriculture productivity. Phytech has seen phenomenal growth and has just raised $11 million to support its worldwide deployment.
Flights to Hong Kong now daily. I reported (28th May) that Cathay Pacific has begun its 4-days-a-week service between Tel Aviv and Hong Kong. The route has obviously proved so popular that the airline has increased the frequency to daily.
More sales for Sleep Apnea device. I reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Itamar Medical and its WatchPat Sleep Apnea monitoring device. Itamar has just received a purchase order for an undisclosed amount of WatchPAT devices from the famous US Mayo Clinic for the next 3-years.
Funds for immunotherapy treatment. I reported previously (three times) on Israel’s Enlivex and its Allocetra / Apocell treatment to prevent Graft vs Host Disease – a common problem after bone marrow transplants. Elivex has just received $8 million of funding which will help it progress to Phase 3 trials.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
200 global artists for Jerusalem Biennale. From Oct 1 – Nov 16, the third Jerusalem Biennale features 17 group and 8 solo contemporary Jewish art exhibitions on the theme “Watershed”. They include photography, video, installation and performance art created by 200 artists from the US, Europe, Argentina, India, Singapore and of course Israel.
Tamar Dead Sea festival. Israel’s Tamar festival takes place from Oct 8-11 near the Dead Sea with shows at Masada, Kibbutz Ein Gedi and the Neot Hakikar Eco Park. Performers include Jane Bordeaux, Ehud and Eviatar Banai and Hadag Nahash.
Take That to perform in Israel. Iconic British band Take That are to hold a revival concert on Nov 27 in Tel Aviv. Three of the original members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, will perform the band’s hits from the years of success, 1990 to 1996, when the band also included Robbie Williams.
Two hot Israeli-owned hotels. Condé Nast Traveller (UK edition) just gave a nod to the Israel-based Brown Hotels boutique hotel chain, naming The Poli House in Tel Aviv and Brown Beach House Croatia as two of the year’s best new hotels in its Hot List 2017. The Poli house is one of Tel Aviv’s historic Bauhaus properties.
Yom Kippur stops play. Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela pulled out of his ATP tour match against Alexandr Dolgopolov in China because the holiday of Yom Kippur was about to begin. His original request for an earlier match start was refused. So, at one-set all, Dudi quit and forfeited the $30,000 prize money he was guaranteed.
THE JEWISH STATE
233 people changed their lives forever. (TY Avi and Meir) The excitement generated on this Nefesh b’Nefesh Aliya flight from New York is quite infectious. Watch as 233 people, young and old, religious and secular become Israeli.
Bikers to mark Battle of Beersheva. In October a group of Australians and New Zealanders bikers will ride 100 kilometers to mark the centennial of the Battle of Beersheva. The great ANZAC cavalry charge of WW1 led to the defeat of the Ottoman Turks and the formation of the British mandate that preceded the Jewish State.
A remarkable journey. As Ed Elhaderi traveled from Jerusalem to Safed to Rehovot, Israel entered his bloodstream. Hard to imagine that he had been born a Libyan Moslem, educated to hate Jews. He then went to the US University of Wisconsin, met and married a Jewish woman and converted to Judaism.
When Tom Petty toured Israel. Legendary U.S. rocker Tom Petty, who passed away recently, performed in Israel in 1987 with the Heartbreakers band on his “Temple in Flames” tour. He had a life-changing experience when he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
US Embassy staff try New Year foods. Watch how American diplomats at the Tel Aviv embassy handle Rosh Hashana delicacies gefilte fish and regel krusha (calf’s foot jello). It may make them move to Jerusalem!
Scholarships for students who do community service. (TY Janglo) For the 2017-2018 academic year, the Municipality of Jerusalem has launched its municipal scholarship fund, which will handout scholarships of NIS 10,000, to 600 students who contribute 140 hours to community service during the academic year.
Forgive Us. (TY Yaakov Kirschen) I particularly enjoyed this timely cartoon from Dry Bones.
Harvesting lulavs for Sukkot / Tabernacles. (TY UWI) Fresh lulavs (palm branches) from the trees on Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the Beit Shean Valley.
Views of Sukkot. 11 gorgeous pictures that capture the beauty of the harvest festival in Israel. And (TY Sharon) pictures of Jerusalem moving from the festival of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) into Sukkot.