This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Jan 7 2018
The highlights include:
- An Israeli discovery has identified a new way to treat pancreatic cancer.
- Israeli blood glucose monitors are being supplied to 200,000 Indian diabetics.
- Women are in charge at many of Israel’s top financial organizations.
- Tel Aviv residents honored the memory of an Arab boy with a 36m-high toy tower.
- Israeli-developed 100% bio-degradable packaging has now gone global.
- The Israeli kibbutz is now a major part of the hi-tech Startup Nation.
- Israel’s women’s Thai boxing world champion is now also European champion.
- Clay seal found of the Jewish governor of Jerusalem from 700 BCE
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough in pancreatic cancer research. Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that 7% of pancreatic cancer sufferers survive more than five years due to high levels of the gene miR-34a and low levels of the gene PLK1. They then devised a nanoparticle to deliver miR-34a and a PLK1 silencer direct to the tumor.
Vitamins and folic acid reduce autism risk. A study of 26,702 Israeli expectant mothers and 45,300 children by a team led by Haifa University researchers, has revealed that mothers who take folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy are 73% less likely to have an autistic child.
Surgeons separate baby’s fused jaws. Doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center successfully operated on a two-month-old baby born with a very rare defect in which his jaws were fused shut. Worldwide, there have been only about 50 cases. The team comprised orthodontists, anesthetists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
More smart socks. I reported previously (Feb 2016) on the Israeli SenseGo socks that spot incorrect posture or ill-fitting shoes. Now an Israeli startup has developed Elastimed – smart socks that improve circulation in the legs for treating venous and lymphatic diseases. Electric pulses compress and massage calf muscles to increase blood flow.
Israeli biotechs merge. I reported previously (28th May) on Israeli biotech BiomX which develops treatments using human bacteria (microbiome). BiomX has now acquired Israel’s RondinX, which has built a cutting-edge technology platform set to unlock the potential of microbiome therapeutics.
200,000 Indian diabetics to get Israeli glucose meters. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s GlucoMe blood glucose monitors for diabetics. Now, Apollo Sugar – the Indian national chain of 55 diabetes clinics – is to supply kits containing a GlucoMe monitor to each of its 200,000 diabetic patients.
A cancer patient’s “virtual” legs. When a cancer patient is unable to walk, even simple tasks such as making coffee, selecting a magazine or doing the laundry becomes impossible. Volunteers from Israeli charity Ezer Mizion become a patient’s “virtual” legs. They also cheer up the patient, which helps them battle the disease.
Only Rambam can save her leg. (TY Stuart) Six-year-old Kyra Warrell from Brighton in the UK has proximal focal femoral deficiency in her leg, which UK doctors want to amputate. But her parents are raising £58,000 to go to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center where visiting US surgeon Dr Dror Paley says he can cure her condition.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Women running banks is the norm in Israel. (TY Hazel) Three of Israel’s top banks (Leumi, Israel Discount and First International) are currently led by women. So is the Bank of Israel. At Leumi 40% of top management are women. So is the supervisor of banks, the director of the capital markets, insurance and savings authority and others.
Female lone soldier home opens in Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) Over 6,000 lone soldiers (without families in Israel to support them) serve in the IDF – over 30% female. On Dec 29, the first lone soldier home for young women, The Norton and Sylvia Alvery Bayit L’Chayalot, opened in Mekor Chaim, Jerusalem.
Arab woman has triplets and new grandson on same day. Tahrir gave birth to healthy triplet boys just hours after the wife of her eldest son Muhammad had given her a first grandson at the same hospital – Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem. The high-risk pregnancy team of specialists and nurses all wished her Mazel Tov.
36m toy brick tower in Arab boy’s memory. (TY WIN) Thousands of Tel Aviv residents built a 36-meter tower in Rabin Square from 500,000 K’nex and Lego bricks. They were honoring the memory of Omer Sayag, an 8-year-old cancer victim from Tel Aviv who used to love constructing with plastic bricks.
From spaghetti to snakebite antidotes. This extensive article describes some of the humanitarian aid that Israel provides to the Syrian victims of their civil war. It includes spaghetti, flour, baby formula, diapers, school supplies, fuel, generators, snakebite antivenom and even piping for water wells.
Illinois delegation visits Israel. Illinois governor Bruce Rauner made his first official visit to Israel as head of a delegation from the University of Illinois looking to expand its collaboration with Israeli universities. Governor Rauner’s wife is Jewish and two of their children have spent some time in Israel.
Israel’s work in the 3rd world. Aron White writes that Israel joining the Power Africa project (see 10th Dec) will have a major beneficial impact on the lives of millions of Africans. It deserves much more publicity – as do all of Israel’s humanitarian activities.
Israeli world-saving water technology. (TY WIN) Watch this new video from Israel’s WATEC highlighting experts from Canada, China and the Czech Republic, extol the virtues of Israeli water technologies. Examples featured are WaterGen (water from the air) and Kando (wastewater treatment).
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Working with South Korea on robotic and vehicle tech. (TY Atid-EDI and Nocamels) Israeli and South Korean robotics researchers signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on robotics and autonomous vehicles. The agreement, came after the annual Korea-Israel Industrial Collaboration Conference in Seoul.
Water research partnership with Wisconsin. The Water Council of the US state of Wisconsin has signed accords with Ben-Gurion University and the Israel Innovation Authority to collaborate on water research. Israeli and Wisconsin water technology startups will develop joint applications for Wisconsin water utilities.
High-school training by IDF intelligence services. Unit 8200, the Israeli military’s NSA equivalent, is working with the Israeli Ministry of Education on a new big data training program for the country’s high schoolers. A military service at Unit 8200 is regarded as a sure path to higher income jobs in Israel.
How is the Jerusalem underground station project doing? I wrote previously (Sep 2016) about Jerusalem building its largest, deepest train station. It’s progressing well. And the link to Tel Aviv is almost on track!
7 very intelligent companies. (TY Nevet) Seven Israeli companies appear the latest prestige AI (Artificial Intelligence) 100 list compiled by San Francisco-based CB Insights. They are Applitools (new to VGNI – see links), Cybereason, Dynamic Yield (new to VGNI – see links), OrCam, Prospera, Twiggle and Workey.
Awards for 3 young scientists. (TY Nevet) Israeli scientists Oded Rechavi (Tel Aviv U), Charles Diesendruck and Anat Levin (both Technion) have won $100,000 Blavatnik Awards, which recognizes exceptional scientists and engineers aged 42 or younger. The awards are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.
Jerusalem clean air plan. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem City Council has approved a new municipal “reduced emission area” bylaw that restricts the entry of heavy and polluting vehicles into the city center. Cameras and a computer system will analyze the details of entering vehicles, according to the vehicle’s license plate.
SodaStream wins Sustainability Award. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s SodaStream has been recognized as a 2017 Sustainability Award Product winner by the Business Intelligence Group for its line of eco-friendly sparkling water makers. Studies show that SodaStream owners save an average of 550 plastic bottles each year.
Eco-friendly packaging startup gets re-fueled. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (see here) about TIPA’s 100% bio-degradable packaging startup founded by two Israeli mothers. TIPA is now available in the USA, UK, France and Netherlands. TIPA has won three global awards and has just raised $11 million of funds.
Award for kinetic battery. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Chakratec and its flywheel battery technology. Chakratec recently won the award for Electric Mobility & Autonomous Driving, Energy Storage category, held at the eMove360° Europe 2017 international trade fair for Mobility in Munich.
Gesture tech doesn’t distract drivers. South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics has selected Israeli gesture recognition company eyeSight Mobile Technologies as a supplier of control systems for its car information and entertainment systems. The co-developed product will decrease distracted driving.
AI products for Japan. I reported previously (Jan 2016) on Israel’s Vayyar which develops amazing 3D imaging sensors. (Just see some of the youtubes below). Vayyar is now partnering with Japan’s Softbank to develop AI (artificial intelligence)-based IoT products for the Japanese market, with a focus on public transportation, construction, and elderly care. http://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3728508,00.html
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
2017 exports top $100 billion. Israel’s Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI) has calculated that Israel’s exports of goods and services exceeded $100 billion in 2017 – 5% more than in 2016. Goods exports to the European Union (EU) grew 20% to $16 billion, accounting for 35% of Israel’s 2017 total.
NASDAQ to help grow Israeli startups. I reported previously (Jan 2016) on the NASDAQ joint venture with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to setup a new private exchange for Israeli startups. Now, NASDAQ and Israel’s LeumiTech have launched a joint program “Gateway to Global Growth” to help expand these companies.
Kibbutzim invest in hi-tech. 2017 saw a 46% increase on 2016 in kibbutz investments into startup ventures, totaling some NIS 76 million. 24 kibbutzim invested in 19 startup companies. Kibbutzim are also renting space for local entrepreneurs to set-up new businesses.
Israeli smart farming gets preferential funding. (TY Atid-EDI) A report by Start-Up Nation Central shows that during the first half of 2017 Israeli on-farm technology companies raised 7% of global investment in such technologies – out of all proportion to Israel’s tiny size.
A cyber incubator with Japan’s NEC. Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Japanese electronics giant NEC are founding AlphaC – a new incubator for early stage cyber startups. Ten early stage ventures will join an intensive three-month program, receiving access to TAU resources, workspace, business contacts and mentors.
A $240 million bio-tech fund. Israel-based venture capital firm Pontifax raised another fund of $240 million – its fifth such fund. Excess demand for the fund saw it closed within two months, and Pontifax is expected to invest most of the money raised in the life-sciences industry.
More direct flights. At December’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference in Sri Lanka, Israel signed new air transport agreements with the U.K., Switzerland, Chile, South Africa, Vietnam, Canada, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Jordan. These will increase direct flights to Israel.
El Al to fly direct to San Francisco. I reported previously (Jun 2016) that United Airlines increased their direct service between Tel Aviv and San Francisco to a daily schedule. Now El Al have announced they are to launch a 3-times-a-week direct service between the two leading technology hubs later this year.
Co-working reaches new heights. Israel’s tallest building – the 238m Azrieli Sarona tower in Tel Aviv – is near completion, but already on two of its top 61 floors Israel’s Teddy Sagi Group has launched Labs – its shared office venture. Labs will have offices, meeting rooms, shared workspaces, a convention hall, studio, projection room, lounge and a gym.
Wireless charging in co-working offices. Israel’s Powermat (see here) has partnered with Regus Israel, supplying wireless charging services to Israeli co-working offices. Regus is the world’s largest provider of flexible workspace solutions. Regus has 15 co-working locations in Israel, mostly in Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
Get your purchase money back. Israel-based Boom25 offers a unique opportunity for UK shoppers who purchase from any of the 600 retailers affiliated to Boom25’s website. Every 25th purchaser gets their purchase money back. Its an alternative to accumulating points.
Meatless meat in 3 years. I wrote previously (July 2016) about Israel’s SuperMeat which is developing lab-produced meat from animal cells. SuperMeat has just raised $3 million and plans to bring its “clean chicken” products to market within three years, at a price similar to current conventional chicken products.
Toyota invests in Israeli robotics. (TY OurCrowd) I reported previously (Jan 2017) on Israel’s Intuition Robotics, and its ElliQ empathic desk lamp. Intuition has since raised tens of millions of dollars, including from Toyota and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking.
Billion-dollar prediction coming true. I reported previously in 2014 (see here) that Forbes predicted that Israel’s Kaltura was most likely to be “one of the next billion-dollar exits” thanks to its wide-ranging video solutions platform. Well guess what – Kaltura is planning a 2018 launch on NASDAQ, at a value of $1 billion.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israel, wonders of bird migration. (TY Janglo) For those readers who have difficulty sleeping, this is a great restful video to help you relax before going to bed.
The Master guitarist. Legendary US guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Vai will hold a master class in Tel Aviv in March. The three-time Grammy Award winner was voted the “10th Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine, and has sold over 15 million records. It is Vai’s third visit to Israel.
Seinfeld flies in. American comedian Jerry Seinfeld returned to Israel in December for two more shows, performing at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena. Later that week he visited the IAF’s Ramon airbase near the Egyptian border, with a brief photo-op in front of an IAF F-16I fighter jet.
Things to do in January. Comedian Chris Rock is performing in Tel Aviv on 8th Jan. And Jan 16-20 sees the first edition of the African Film Festival in Tel Aviv.
The second link suggests activities in Jerusalem.
World champion Thai boxer wins European championship. (TY Nevet) Four-time world champion Israeli Nili Block claimed another title, winning the gold medal at the Thai Boxing European Championships in Paris.
THE JEWISH STATE
Guatemala offers relocation help to others. Guatemala’s foreign minister Sandra Lovel not only hopes other countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, but she indicated her government’s readiness to help them. “We as a country are willing to support other countries who want to follow Guatemala’s example,” she said.
What goes around … Quick action by Shlomi Bergman saved the life of Gadi Rimon who was shot by a terrorist. Gadi’s mother Tamari searched in vain to thank the savior of Gadi. A year later, Shlomi’s mother Anat visited Ashdod and discovered Tamari in her grocery store. Anat then realized they had met 22 years earlier. Please don’t miss this amazing story…..
Clay seal of Jerusalem’s governor 2700 years ago. A tiny clay seal impression inscribed in ancient Hebrew script, ‘Belonging to the governor of the city’ was found in ongoing excavations at Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza. It has been dated to 700 BCE – i.e. 2,700 years old, when the First Temple stood in Jerusalem.