This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Oct. 29 2017
The highlights include:
- An Israeli artificial cornea will soon help give sight to the blind.
- An Israeli has been elected President of the World Medical Association.
- Dozens of Arabs enjoyed hospitality in the Mayor of Efrat’s tabernacle.
- A new highway has been built to test Israeli driverless car technology.
- An Israeli autonomous vehicle operates underwater.
- Amazon and Alibaba are opening Israeli development centers.
- Israel’s Alon Day won the NASCAR Euro Championship.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
An artificial cornea. (TY Nevet) Israeli startup CorNeat Vision has completed the design and development stage of its artificial cornea implant. The CorNeat KPro is produced using nanoscale chemical engineering that stimulates cellular growth. CorNeat is aiming for its first implantation in humans by mid-2018.
50% less deaths from heart disease. (TY Eli) Israel has seen a 50% decrease in mortality rates from heart disease over the past 15 years and is one of the leading Western countries in heart disease detection, prevention and treatment. In 2000, 20% of patients died one month after their first heart attack. In 2016 it was just 7.5%.
Lonza to open Israeli R&D center. Swiss-based life sciences company Lonza is establishing a Research and Development center in Haifa. The Lonza Collaborative Innovation Center will leverage Israel’s scientific strength in areas such as engineering, software and cell and molecular biology.
5 days after “dying”, infant dances on stage. Two-year-old Elchanan wandered off from his family’s succah and fell into a nearby pond. When United Hatzalah EMT volunteers arrived, Elchanan was clinically dead. After on-site and hospital CPR, Elchanan made a full recovery and danced at his Sukkot concert 5 days later.
Computer-generated protein design. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have engineered new proteins, e.g. antibodies or enzymes, that do not exist in nature. They are designed to have specific properties and can usher in a new age of custom-designed medical treatments. http://www.pnas.org/content/114/41/10900.abstract
Israeli to head World Medical Association. Israel Medical Association Chairman Professor Leonid Eidelman has been elected President of the World Medical Association (WMA), an umbrella body representing national medical associations with more than nine million members around the world.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
The first Druze IAF navigator. Major A joined the Israel Air Force Flight Academy whilst studying at Israel’s Technion Institute. On completion, he became the first Druze navigator in the IDF. Two other Druze men are now following in his footsteps.
Dozens of Arabs come to Judean mayor’s succah. Over 30 Palestinian Arabs joined dozens of Israelis as guests at the sukkah of Efrat mayor Oded Revivi in Judea. The event included music from a joint Muslim-Jewish group, and was attended by Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.
Israel is important to NATO. Israel’s Liaison Officer, Lt.-Cmdr. Ortal represents Israel’s naval forces at NATO ’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in London, the central command of all NATO maritime forces. She describes Israel’s role in NATO.
Pakistani and Afghani students attend on-line course. Students from Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are among those signed up for “The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East” – an innovative online program offered by Israel’s Bar Ilan University commencing 25th Oct.
Mexican President thanks Israel. (TY Zev) Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto thanked Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli search and rescue team sent to Mexico City following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The Israeli team was the first foreign group on the scene, arriving just two days later.
London police chief looks for Israeli help. (TY Hazel) City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland made his sixth trip to Israel to see how Israeli techniques and products could be integrated into his police department. He also spoke at the IDC Herzliya’s annual counterterrorism conference.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Robots to the rescue. (TY Eli) The BIRD (Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant to US-based Mantaro Networks. and Beeper Communications Israel to develop unmanned search and rescue technologies that can complement the work of human first responders.
4 new solar farms in the Negev. Israel’s Orad is to build four photovoltaic solar energy production plants in the Negev with an aggregate capacity of 35.5 megawatts. Its subsidiary Solarpower will operate and maintain them for 10 years. Completion is planned by end 2018.
A highway for driverless cars. Israel has opened a new 1.5 km stretch of Road 531 north of Herzliya for two months, exclusively for five companies to test their technology for autonomous cars. The five are Nexar (dashboard camera), GM (autonomous car). Mobileye, Innoviz (LIDAR sensors and Argus Cyber Security.
The fast lane to autonomous driving. Israel’s Cognata has developed a deep learning simulation engine to enable autonomous car manufacturers to test thousands of different scenarios based on various geographic locations and driver behaviors, and sharing the road with other users.
Double-helix bridge wins international award. Beersheva’s High-Tech Park Bridge was the winner in the long span category of the triannual Footbridge Awards at the Footbridge 2017 conference in Berlin. The 75-meter bridge, in the shape of a double helix, is also known as the DNA or spectacles bridge.
How is Israel’s moonshot going? (TY Eli) SpaceIL – Israeli representative in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition – is busy constructing the spacecraft to be launched next year. They have completed the skeleton and the eight engines.
Another Israeli satellite. When I reported previously (3rd Sep) on the successful launch of Israel’s VENµS environmental satellite, I missed the fact that the same rocket put another Israeli satellite into orbit. The second one was IAI’s advanced observation Optsat 3000 satellite, for use by the Italian Ministry of Defense.
Preventing pipeline breaks. Israel’s Precognize uses artificial intelligence to detect glitches in pipelines and prevent leaks by sending out clear alerts. The predictive maintenance technology translates the raw information from sensors into timely warnings.
1989 prediction is proved in 2017. In 1989, Professor Tsvi Piran of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem predicted (in the journal Nature) that the merger of two Neutron stars would produce a burst of gamma rays. He was either ignored or met with skepticism. Now 28 years later, his prediction was proved correct.
Israeli food technologies. (TY Zvi) This new short video could have summarized my latest blog “Harvest for the World”. It features three Israeli companies previously featured in my newsletters – WaterGen (water from air), Genie (one-minute kitchen) and Evogene (high-yield, resistant crops).
Underwater autonomous vehicle. While the motor industry is watching Israel developments in driverless cars, Ben Gurion University scientists have developed HydroCamel II, Israel’s first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The 2.5-meter vehicle will assist the security, oil & gas and marine research sectors.
Intel Israel’s artificial intelligence center. Intel Israel is hiring dozens of new employees to work in a new artificial intelligence (AI) center being established by the company at its Ra’anana and Haifa campuses. Intel Israel already has 10,000 employees in Kiryat Gat, Yakum, Ra’anana, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, and Haifa.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel gets more competitive. Israel has leapt eight places to number sixteen in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018. It is the top country in the Middle East and is ahead of Australia, France, China, Spain and Russia. Israel was 3rd in the Innovation category and 7th in Technological Readiness.
Government deficit falls below 2%. Thanks to Intel’s purchase of Israel’s Mobileye, the Israeli government received $4.1 billion of CGT from shareholders selling to Intel. It reduced government deficit to 1.9% of GDP. The IMF also raised its growth forecast for Israel’s economy to 3.1% for 2017 and 3.4% for 2018.
Chinese tourists discover Israel. (TY WIN) A growing number of Chinese visitors come to the Holy Land. Israel is encouraging the influx, with direct flights from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Tourism Ministry has even launched a Mandarin version of its website.
An underrated travel destination. The UK’s Telegraph lists ten reasons to visit the holy land, including the beaches, weather, nightlife, food, architecture, museums, history and ticket prices.
Israeli wines have the critics in good spirits. (TY Zvi) Victor Schoenfeld of Yarden Wines explains why wine from the Golan Heights taste so good. Reasons include the Mediterranean climate, different volcanic soils, elevations from 1,200 to 4,000 feet and one of the world’s oldest tradition for winemaking.
A sunny addition to the TASE. I featured previously (30th Apr) Israel’s SolarPaint has developed ultra-thin wireframe and nanoparticle-infused coating to generate solar power. It has merged with Or City Holdings, changed its name to Apollo Power, raised NIS 9.4 million and listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
SolarEdge becomes a Unicorn. Israel’s SolarEdge Technologies, the world’s largest provider of solar power optimization units, has celebrated a financial milestone. The company has tripled its stock value in less than a year and at $1.2 billion it joins Israel’s growing number of Unicorn companies (worth over one billion dollars).
Amazon to set-up two Israeli R&D centers. Online shopping giant Amazon is to set up research and development centers with 100 staff in Tel Aviv and Haifa. It wants to further improve its Alexa Voice Shopping system, which allows shoppers to speak their order into a machine rather than typing it into a computer.
Alibaba to open Israeli R&D center. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is to open a Research & Development lab in Israel. Alibaba has already invested in Israeli startups including Visualead, Infinity Augmented Reality, Lumus and Twiggle. It is also a partner of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
Wizz Air planes to be Israeli maintained. The Bedek Aviation subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries is to perform maintenance and provide technical services to Wizz Air. The Hungarian low-cost airline flies from Tel Aviv to 17 European destinations, including London Luton.
Connecting British Telecom customers. Israel’s AudioCodes has been selected by communications provider British Telecom to provide session border controller (SBC) solutions (for connectivity between IP networks) to be stationed at British Telecom’s business customers.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Wonder Woman hosts Saturday Night Live. Israeli superstar actress Gal Gadot, who won acclaim in the title role of the movie “Wonder Woman”, opened the second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 43rd season with a Hebrew monologue.
Pretenders “stand by” Israel. (TY Hazel) Chrissie Hynde opened The Pretenders’ Tel Aviv gig by waving a giant Israeli flag, and ended it by declaring the crowd to be “the best audience in the world.” The vegetarian singer also proclaimed Israel as one of the leaders in animal rights. Video is of the classic “I’ll stand by you.”
Sir Cliff Richard performs in Israel. Legendary British singer, Sir Cliff Richard, performed in Tel Aviv and also helped to promote peace amongst Israel’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian youth. Sir Cliff has visited the Jewish State numerous times over the years – the most recent time before this trip was in 2013.
Silver medal for Israeli gymnast. Artem Dolgopyat became just the second Israeli to claim a medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, taking a silver in the floor final in Montreal, Canada.
Silver medal for Paralympic rower. Paralympian Moran Samuel claimed a silver medal at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida. It was her third medal in a row, having won silver in 2014 and gold in 2015.
Israeli and Pakistani ATP doubles winners. 40-year-old Israeli Yoni Erlich claimed his first ATP Tour title in almost two years, winning the Chengdu Open doubles event in China with Pakistani Muslim partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.
Three Israelis win judoka gold medals. Three Israeli judokas won gold medals at the Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan. Or Sasson won the men’s over-100 kg class, Sagi Muki won the men’s under 81kg class and Betina Temelkova won the women’s under-52 kg class. Israel topped the medals table of the 27 competing nations.
Israeli wins NASCAR Euro Championship. Israel’s Alon Day made local motor sport history by clinching the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship in Zolder, Belgium. Racing for CAAL Racing, Day finished second in 2015 and third in 2016. He is now looking for sponsorship for the US NASCAR Cup Series.
THE JEWISH STATE
60,000 marched through Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) 60,000 Christian Evangelicals and other Israel supporters from over 80 countries marched with Israelis at a parade in Jerusalem, marking the Jewish festival of Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles.
Why I’m a Christian Zionist. (TY BIG) Jonathan Farrell is a young Christian Zionist who founded the Exeter University Friends of Israel society. He knows that the Bible mentions the word “Israel” approximately 2500 times and shares his personal story about why he believes Christians should feel duty bound to be Zionists.