This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Nov 27 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have developed technology to repair severed spinal cords.
- The UK is to use an Israeli system to help protect the Falkland Islands.
- The International Space Station now has an Israeli remote-controlled lab.
- The record-breaking 3-millionth tourist to Israel gets a holiday upgrade.
- An Israeli company is desalinating water in South Africa.
- An Israeli designed the dresses for Serena Williams’ bridesmaids.
- An Israeli Bar Mitzva boy raised funds to power a Ugandan school
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Repairing severed spinal cord. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute and Tel Aviv University have reconnected severed spinal cords of rats. Previously paralyzed rodents were implanted with cells induced into a neural phenotype, and regained motor control. It could lead to major advances in treating spinal cord injury.
Predicting diabetes. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (twice) on Israel’s Medial EarlySign and its blood test for early detection of colon cancer. Now Medial has developed an algorithm with a 64% success rate for identifying which of 645,000 prediabetics were at risk of becoming diabetics within 12 months.
Hope for bone marrow failure patients. Israeli biotech Pluristem has opened clinical centers in Israel and extended the trial of its stem cell treatment for insufficient hematopoietic recovery following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). HCT is performed when bone marrow fails for reasons including cancer treatment.
Managing chronically ill patients. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (Nov 2012) on Israel’s Vaica and its system for reminding individuals to take their meds. Vaica has now launched Capsuled – a personally customized medication adherence solution.
Medical solutions for disasters. The Israeli pavilion at MEDICA 2017 in Dusseldorf, showcased specialized emergency medical services products for intensive care, respiratory, cardiac, central nervous system and trauma. Israeli companies presenting included Inovytec, Medisim, CardiacX and Guide in Medical.
Preparing Toronto hospital for disasters. A team of experts from Israel’s Rambam hospital shared their knowledge with Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children on how to prepare for disasters, such as mass casualties. As the city gets larger, the Canadian hospital needs to prepare for taking many casualties at one time.
Treating children in Georgia. Twice a year, for the past five years, doctors from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center have traveled to capital city of Tbilisi to perform operations on local youngsters with serious congenital defects. The delegation consists of pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists and intensive care specialists.
The most teenage volunteer EMTs. (TY Hazel) 60 percent of the volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) staff of Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency-response network, are teenagers – the highest percentage in the world. 11,000 Israeli teenagers work voluntary shifts on MDA ambulances throughout Israel.
Israeli MS treatment featured on UK TV. The normally anti-Israel UK TV Channel4 aired a rare positive feature about Mark Lewis and the trial stem cell treatment he received for Multiple Sclerosis at Israel’s Hadassah hospital.
The highest fertility in the OECD. (TY Atid-EDI) Women in Israel have 3.1 children on average, the most in the OECD. Second is Mexico with 2.2 children and the OECD average is below two. In 2016, the percentage of miscarriages was less than the OECD average and C-sections averaged 17.8% compared to the OECD 27%.
Paralyzed soldier stands in remembrance. Royal Engineer Chris Baker was paralyzed in Iraq, but was able to stand during for the national anthem at London’s Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, thanks to his Israeli-developed ReWalk exoskeleton.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
New bank notes to feature famous women. As predicted previously (5th Feb), Israel’s new 20-shekel and 100-shekel bank notes are about to be distributed. They feature Israel’s greatest poet, Rachel Bluwstein (1890-1931) and Leah Goldberg (1911-1970) – poet, author, playwright, teacher, literary translator and researcher.
Israeli-Arabs in hi-tech. (TY Hazel) In 2007, there were only some 300 Arab engineers in the industry. Today, there are an estimated 5,000 Arab computer programmers and software engineers employed across Israel.
Gaza eye doctors trained in Israel. (TY Phillip, Hazel & UWI) Two Israeli-trained Palestinian Arab doctors, travel from St John’s hospital in Jerusalem to Gaza every two months to perform eye operations on local Gazans. They have conducted 60 corneal transplants since the beginning of this year.
Opening border to sick Syrian children. In unprecedented footage, the IDF allowed an Israeli TV crew to film it opening the border gates to Syria, and allowing in a group of 21 mothers and their 23 children, who were then transported to Israel’s Ziv hospital in Safed for medical treatment. Syrian doctors had selected the patients.
Israel has treated 4000 wounded Syrians. (TY UWI) This video summarizes Israeli help for wounded and sick Syrians since the day in 2013 when seven injured Syrians requested help from the IDF.
No politics between beauty queens. Adar Gandelsman (Miss Israel) and Sarah Idan (Miss Iraq) publicized their friendship ahead of November’s Miss Universe competition. Gandelsman posted on Instagram, “Get to know, this is Miss Iraq and she’s amazing.” Idan posted “peace and love from Miss Iraq and Miss Israel.”
Security for Central African Republic. I reported previously (16th Apr) that Israel was providing observation balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to protect UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, has now agreed to expand and upgrade the systems.
The largest ever aerial drill. 1,000 pilots and crews from India, the US, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Israel took part in the 11-day exercise “Blue Flag” launched from Israeli Air Force’s Ovda base. The goal was to simulate extreme scenarios and fly in coalition as realistically as possible.
Iron Dome to protect Falklands. (TY WIN) Britain is buying Israel’s Iron Dome short range missile defense system to protect the Falkland Islands. A UK Defense Ministry spokesman said, “we selected Rafael for a £78 million contract to provide the main computer system and boost our defense of the Falkland Islands.”
Science and tech center for South Sudan. Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID has helped build a center for the study of science and technology in South Sudan. 10,000 youth will train at the center in the next 3 years to become engineers, technicians etc. and contribute to the country’s economic and social development.
Electricity for Africa. (TY WIN) The Israeli government is now partnering with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in order to continue providing Africa with electricity.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
World’s first remote-controlled space lab. A miniaturized laboratory, developed by Israel’s Space-Pharma, has docked at the International Space Station (ISS). Research experiments can now be conducted remotely by scientists on Earth, without involvement from the astronauts, thus vastly reducing costs and time.
Turning Kenyan deserts into forests. The Kenyan government and Keren Keyemet L’Yisrael / Jewish National Fund signed a memorandum of understanding about planting forests in dry climates. Israeli technology can conserve soil, capture rain runoff, monitor precipitation and engage the public with forest conservation.
Secure real-time video transmission. Israel’s Elsight develops and markets secure video transmission systems for security services and companies with high-value products. It recently launched on the Australian stock exchange and seen its share price quadruple.
An invisibility cloak is possible. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a material which deflects light away from a viewer’s eyes. Their next step is to use the material to produce a cloak that makes the wearer appear invisible – just like in the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Five new US-Israeli clean energy projects. The US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program has granted $4.8 million for five newly selected clean energy projects. The Israeli companies involved are Brenmiller, CelDezyner, QDM, SoftWheel and TerraGenic.
The best biopesticide. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Stockton Group and its innovative pesticide Timorex Gold® made from plant extracts. Now the environmentally-friendly bio-fungicide has been recognized by AgroPages, receiving its 1st Place BEST-IN-CLASS: Provider of Choice Award.
Hi-intensity laser conference. The Carlton Hotel Tel Aviv is the venue for the Conference on High Intensity Lasers in Israel (CHILI) from Dec 11 – 13. Leading international scientists will discuss the interaction of high intensity lasers with matter, such as laser fusion, X-ray/neutron radiation, and attoscience (pulsating photons).
Kim Kardashian helps design fashion app. American reality superstar Kim Kardashian West partnered with ScreenShop, an Israeli-founded, New York-based fashion app and the first mobile platform to convert screenshots on a phone into a digital fashion store. The system finds your
Haifa car-sharing is all-electric. (TY Atid-EDI) The Haifa municipality and Israeli-founded Car2Go have
launched the first shared transportation project of its kind in Israel, based on electric vehicles and charging stations. 100 Renault Zoe cars will operate in the city, with 300 reserved parking spaces.
The flying safety inspector. I reported previously (Apr 2015) about Percepto – an autonomous drone camera system with multiple applications. Percepto’s new “Sparrow I” provides 24-hour aerial monitoring of complex environments where security is imperative, such as oil and gas refineries, power plants, ports and sea terminals.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The world’s second strongest currency. (TY Atid-EDI) Deutsche Bank has rated the Israeli shekel as the world’s second-strongest currency after the Chinese yuan. Over the past 12 months, the shekel has appreciated 6.1% against the basket of currencies, which comprises the U.S. dollar, the British pound, the euro and the yen.
Israel’s 3-millionth tourist. (TY Atid-EDI) Incoming tourism broke records on 7th Nov, when Wizz Air Flight No. 3257 landed in Israel, carrying Romanian tourist Ioana Isac, the 3 millionth tourist to arrive in Israel this year. Ioana and her partner were treated to a dream vacation courtesy of the Israeli Tourism Ministry.
Budget deficit hits record low. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s budget deficit has reached a new low, thanks to record tax income in October. Receipts of NIS 30.1 billion brought the cumulative deficit over the past 12 months to 1.4% of GDP, less than half of its target. This despite a 9.2% increase in Government spending over the same period.
Canadian bank taps Israeli cybersecurity talent. (TY Walter) The Toronto-Dominion Bank is opening a new office in Tel Aviv to tap Israel’s cybersecurity expertise – a first for any Canadian bank. TD Bank Group, plans to invest up to $5 million annually in its Tel Aviv office.
Business success is plain sailing. 100 US and Israeli graduates of some of the world’s top international universities took part in Israel’s 10th annual Ivy League Yacht Race in the Mediterranean off Herzliya. This, plus other similar events, gives vital business networking opportunities to top American and Israeli alumni.
Israeli acquisition for Frutarom. Israeli flavors and fine ingredients company Frutarom has made its ninth takeover of 2017. It has bought Israel’s Enzymotec – producer of InFat infant formula and other nutrition products. Enzymotec has around 100 registered patents and adds to Frutarom’s 79 global R&D centers.
Indian business school opens Israeli center. (TY Hazel) The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore has inaugurated a dedicated Israel Center that aims to serve as a focal point of academic cooperation between the two nations. https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/11/09/leading-indian-business-school-opens-israel-center-in-bid-to-intensify-academic-economic-cooperation/
UK delegation seeks Israeli market. A delegation of over 35 British investors, led by the deputy chairman of the Bank of England, made a three-day visit to Israel. It was the largest delegation to date organized by the chamber of commerce UK Israel Business (UKIB), which aims to connect businesses in the two nations.
Chinese roadshow. 15 Israeli companies from the life sciences and information communications technology (ICT) sectors took part in a roadshow to China. The delegation, organized by the Israel Innovation Authority together with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, visited Changzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
50% scholarships to Law School. (TY Janglo) Israel’s prestigious College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan has launched a merit-based scholarship program for the October 2018 class. It offers to waive from 20% – 50% of tuition fees for English-speaking high-school applicants, based on their academic record.
Jerusalem’s hi-tech and residential hub. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem Mayor Barkat is initiating the construction of a high-tech, residential, academic and recreational hub above the Begin Road in central Jerusalem. The high-tech and biotech village of 70,000 sqm will contain 1,830 residents including 250 sheltered housing units.
Desalination for Mayotte and South Africa. (TY Hazel) Fluence Corporation (merger of Israel’s Emefcy and RWL Water) is to supply three NIROBOX reverse-osmosis seawater desalination units for the French island of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean. It follows the company’s recent award of a NIROBOX plant in South Africa.
Mercedes’ Tel Aviv tech hub opens. I reported previously (Nov 2016) that Daimler (owner of Mercedes Benz) planned to launch an Israeli R&D center. It is now open and aims to unify the four mega trends impacting the automobile industry: connectivity, autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and electro-mobility.
Samsung opens Israel car cybersecurity hub. Samsung Electronics has launched its International Cyber Security Smart Mobility Analysis and Research Test (SMART) Range in Israel. Its aim is to protect autonomous vehicles, devices and roadways from dangerous intrusions.
E-passport system for Iceland. Israel’s SuperCom has won an 8-year contract to build and operate a new central personalization system for electronic passports and national ID cards in Iceland.
Wizz to fly daily to London. (TY Janglo) Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has announced that, from March 25, 2018, it will operate daily flights on the Tel Aviv to London Luton route, instead of the four flights a week it currently offers. Wizz is adding four Airbus A320 aircraft to its fleet based at Luton Airport.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
The hidden gems of Jerusalem. Noam Chen and Jacob Bildner here reveal historical sites in Jerusalem that are inaccessible to the public or literally hidden from sight. They include the Kishle prison, Siebenberg House, the Italian Synagogue, Jason’s Tomb, Helena’s Well, the Mamluk Halls and the Little Western Wall.
Nick Cave performs in Israel, because of BDS. Australian rock singer Nick Cave is in Israel for two concerts in Tel Aviv, and he says that the anti-Israel BDS movement was his motivation. Cave is performing to sellout audiences in the 11,000 seat Menorah Mivtachim Arena.
Ozzy’s final tour. (TY Janglo) Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne is coming to Israel next year for what he says is his farewell tour. He will perform with members of Black Sabbath, the English band he founded and previously fronted. Ozzy will perform on 8th July 2018 at Rishon Lezion’s Live Park.
Morrissey’s new pro-Israeli album track. (TY UWI) A six-minute-long pro-Zionist ballad simply called “Israel” is the last track on Morrissey’s new album “Low In High School”. Morrissey’s pro-Israel stance spans over a period of more than a decade. He even appeared on stage in Tel Aviv draped in an Israeli flag.
Israeli dresses for Serena’s bridesmaids. At tennis superstar Serena Williams’s wedding to Alexis Ohanian, the bride wore white, but her bridal party wore Israeli! Israel’s Galia Lahav designed all seven of the bridesmaids’ dresses including that of Venus Williams – Serena’s sister – who was Maid of Honor.
Israeli Judoka wins gold medal in Abu Dhabi. The Israeli team won five medals at the Judo Grand Slam tournament in Abu Dhabi. Tal Flicker won gold in the men’s under-66kg. He mouthed the words of “HaTikva,” the Israeli anthem, during his medal ceremony, as the UAE state had banned the Israeli flag and anthem.
THE JEWISH STATE
162 “lost” Indian Jews arrive in Israel. (TY Algemeiner) Two groups, totaling 162 members of the Bnei Menashe Jewish community from northeast India have just arrived in Israel. The immigration of the so-called “lost” Jews was organized by Shavei Israel, which has now brought 3,000 Bnei Menashe to the Jewish State.
The gavel used in the UN partition vote. Readers may have seen the video of the 29th Nov 1947 United Nations vote that preceded Israel’s declaration of independence. The gavel, used by then-president of the UN General Assembly, Oswaldo Aranha of Brazil, is now on display at the Knesset.
Celebrating Torah and Technology. KamaTech, a startup accelerator for ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs, together with the website Sefaria, organized the first-ever hackathon for Haredi engineers and programmers. Its aim was to find ways to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data in the study of ancient Jewish texts.
35,000 celebrate Abraham’s land purchase. Jewish ancestor Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron as a burial site for his wife Sarah some 3,700 years ago. Jews recently read the Torah portion containing the details of the event and to mark the occasion, some 35,000 celebrated by dancing at the historic location.
45 survivors celebrate their Bnei Mitzvot. 45 Holocaust survivors in Israel got the chance to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Due to World War II, they were unable to mark their Jewish coming of age at the appropriate time 70 years ago.
ves light to Ugandan school. (TY Zev) 13-year-old Eytan Kramer from Ra’anana marked his coming of age by raising $18,000 to provide solar power for the Bukalikha Primary School in Uganda. Eytan and his mother then traveled to Uganda to see the lights turned on and give 959 children a brighter future.
102-year-old survivor finds his nephew. Eliahu Pietruszka (102) discovered his brother Volf’s son, Alexandre, thanks to Yad Vashem. In 2005, Volf wrote a Yad Vashem page of testimony saying that Eliahu was dead. A cousin alerted Eliahu’s grandson which led to Eliahu meeting with Alexandre in Israel.
Christian support for Israel. At the 36th annual “A Night to Honor Israel” event in San Antonio, Christian Zionists donated over $2.1 million to 16 Israeli and Jewish non-profits. One of the beneficiaries was Saad v’Marpe (Relief and Healing) whose 700 Hassidic volunteers help patients and their families.