This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Feb 25 2018
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have developed a compound to starve cancer cells.
- An Israeli 5-minute blood test can save thousands of heart attack victims.
- A new Israeli law will make it easier to donate food to the needy.
- Israeli doctors restored eyesight to 80 citizens of Papua New Guinea.
- An Israeli system helps plants grow by warming or cooling their roots.
- Egypt has agreed to purchase $15 billion of Israeli natural gas.
- Intel is investing $5 billion on expanding its main Israeli factory.
- Isaiah’s seal has been discovered near Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Compound to target enzyme that powers cancer cells. (TY Nevet) I reported previously (21st Jan) on the discovery by Professor Uri Nir, at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University of the FerT enzyme key to the energy source of cancer cells. Professor Nir has now developed a compound E260 which targets FerT and kills the tumors.
A treatment for inflammatory diseases and more. Israeli scientists have developed half-a-dozen proteins to treat either inflammatory diseases (see here and here) or neuro-degenerative diseases (here and here) But the 5-mer peptide, developed by Professor David Naor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, treats them all.
Treatment can re-grow any bone in the body. I’ve reported previously (seven times) on Israel’s Bonus Bio’s innovative treatment that re-grows damaged bone external to the patient using the patient’s own fat cells. Bonus Bio has just begun its second trial of 60 operations. It says that the technology can replace any bone in the body.
Bio-markers indicate pregnancy complications. Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered molecular biomarkers in the blood for preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that can lead to underweight or premature babies and even death. A new blood test, when available can initiate the early application of simple treatment.
No-blade dental surgery. (TY Hazel) Researchers at Israel’s Technion have developed nanotechnology that replaces the dentist’s scalpel with the target release of the enzyme collagenase to break down collagen fibers in the gums. It spares the pain associated with orthodontic surgeries and significantly reduces tissue recovery time.
Bandage goes global. I reported previously (27th Aug) on the amazing WoundClot bandage made by Israeli startup Core Scientific Creations (CSC). Woundclot is now sold in 32 countries, including Italy, India, Vietnam, the UK, Poland, Romania, and France. It was used to save the lives of victims of recent stabbings.
5-minute blood test to diagnose heart attack. (TY Hazel) Israeli startup Novamed has developed the SensAheart device which tests blood for antibodies produced in a heart attack. Existing blood tests take up to six hours to get a result, but SensAheart takes only five minutes, lessens damage to heart tissue and saves lives.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Amended Israeli law will help feed the needy. (TY Jacques) A new Ministry of Health bill will protect restaurants, event halls, hotels and other food institutions who wish to donate unused food to those in need. It states that good faith donations no longer need worry about being sued if the food causes health problems.
Israel’s first female Haredi judge. The Judicial Selection Committee has appointed Havi Toker to serve in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, making her Israel’s first female ultra-Orthodox judge. Toker was born in England and grew up in Bnei Brak as the eldest of 12 siblings. She has 4 children – her eldest son serves in the IDF.
Persecuted Ahmadi Muslims have freedom in Israel. The Ahmadiyya Muslim community is persecuted across the Middle East. But as their leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh says, the 1,400 living in Kababir, Haifa, enjoy full religious and cultural freedom. They also pray at the only Ahmadi mosque in the Middle East.
Huge rally in India to support Israel. At least 50,000 marched through the streets of Kolkata, India in support of Israel. Participants carried banners reading; “India Israel friendship forever”, “Jerusalem eternal capital of Israel”, India-Israel ancient cultures, modern miracle” among others.
The third most-educated adults in the world. The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has ranked Israel as the 3rd most educated country in adult education. 49.9% of Israeli adults between the age of 25 and 64 have completed some form of adult education – almost 4 percent above the US.
Taiwan to open Israeli tech division. Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology is to launch a new tech division in Israel, expected to be in operation this summer. Taiwan is seeking to draw on Israeli research and expertise on artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biomedical tech.
Good relations with Serbia. Serbian National Assembly President Maja Gojkovic visited the Knesset, Israel’s parliament as a guest of Speaker Yuli Edelstein, where she lauded the close ties between the two countries. Economic and cultural links are helped by a sizable community of Jews from former Yugoslavia in Israel.
Restoring eyesight to 80 in Papua New Guinea. Israeli medical specialists from the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital have restored the eyesight of over 80 visually impaired people living in the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. Most of the patients had been blind, due to neglected cataracts in both eyes.
Fighting snail fever in Ethiopia. The NALA Foundation, founded by Israeli immunologist Dr. Zvi Bentwich, is using its behavioral model and treatment from Merck to help millions of Ethiopians fight schistosomiasis, commonly known as “snail fever.” The disease is caused by parasitic flatworms and poor hygiene.
Knesset welcomes global parliament heads. Israel hosted the Conference for Heads of Parliamentary Administration, with 49 representatives coming from 25 countries and organizations. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the event “demonstrates the high regard in which we are held by parliaments around the world.”
Israel helps foil plot to blow up UAE plane. (TY Hazel) Israel helped avert an ISIS plot in Australia to bring down a UAE plane in 2017. Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said, “The Etihad flight was almost blown out of the sky and would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives, so we are very grateful for the assistance Israel provided in that matter.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-43149722
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Stress relief for crops. Israeli agriculture startup Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies has built a system that can both heat and cool crop roots to increase yields while consuming very little energy. Roots has just broken into the lucrative Chinese agriculture market via Israeli agricultural integrator company Dagan.
Breeding high-yield rubber plants. Israel’s NRGene is helping Bridgestone Americas to breed the guayule rubber plant to provide enough latex to create a new rubber production industry in the US. The first-ever two guayule genomes have already been sequenced and completely assembled.
Ecological products from wood pulp. Israel’s Melodea has developed a process for extracting cellulose nano crystals (CNC/NCCs) from wood pulp. These are then made into packaging, insulation panels and reinforcing acrylic paints and plastics. Melodea has just received $5 million of funds from Brazilian forestry giant Klabin.
Cybersecurity defends against moving targets. Israeli startup Morphisec develops cybersecurity products that use moving target defense technology to protect against ransomware, evasive attacks and cyber threats that have no current protection.
Arrow 3 defense system tested successfully. Israel has successfully tested its Arrow 3 long-range missile interceptor. The Israel Defense Ministry tested the system together with the US Missile Defense Agency. Arrow 3, a joint Israel-US development, is one of the most powerful missile defense systems in the world.
Satellite broadband for Mexico. I reported previously (Apr 2012) that Israel’s Gilat Satellite Networks was powering Mexico’s largest commercial TV broadcaster. Now Gilat has won a multi-million-dollar project from Mexico’s Hispasat to deliver broadband services across Mexico. https://www.gilat.com/pressreleases/hispasat-selects-gilat-for-a-multi-million-dollar-project-to-deliver-broadband-services-in-mexico/
Dairy farm for Papua New Guinea. I’ve reported previously (several times) about Israel’s amazing dairy technology. Ronen Feigenbaum of Israel’s Alefbet is now building the first dairy farm for Papua New Guinea. Israeli companies supplied the equipment for milking, growing silage, and collecting and treating river water.
65 international research agreements. Israel’s Chief Scientist, Dr Ami Appelbaum, is in London as a guest of Israel Bonds and revealed that his Israel Innovation Authority has signed 65 bilateral research agreements all over the world, most recently in Uruguay. He views Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Israel’s key tech growth area.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Egypt buys $15 billion worth of Israeli gas. I reported previously (several times) on the desire by Egypt to buy natural gas from Israel. Now finally, Egypt’s Dolphinus Holdings has signed agreements to purchase 64 billion cubic meters of gas from Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields. The 10-year deal is worth $15 billion.
400 Israeli startups in the UK. About 400 Israeli startups or tech companies now operate in the UK, primarily in Greater London. More than a dozen Israeli firms are listed on the London Stock Exchange. Israelis choose London for its proximity plus specializing sectors of forex, creative content services, ecommerce and fintech.
Helping startups globally. Start-Jerusalem gives promising young startups from around the world the tools and guidance to improve their companies. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z4h2hkrFO-g?rel=0
Healthcare’s expansion at Philips. Philips Healthcare is increasing the number of employees in its cancer informatics division in Israel. The total number of Philips Healthcare’s employees in Israel will rise to 1000.
Ben Gurion opens new extension to Terminal 3. (TY TIP & Jacques) Ben Gurion airport’s new wing E includes telescopic glass pathways, eight plane exit gates, four bus exit gates, along with shops, restaurants and a VIP lounge. It can handle up to 1,800 more passengers per hour, allowing for dozens of extra daily flights.
Visa launches another innovation lab. I reported previously (May 2015) that Visa Europe had opened a start-up center in Tel Aviv. It is now launching an innovation studio in Tel Aviv for Israeli FinTech startups to develop the next generation of payment solutions. https://www.visaeurope.com/il/innovationexchange/
Merck’s 3rd biotech incubator. The Merck Group and Shanghai’s WuXi AppTec have launched the biotech startup incubator ExploreBio. It is Merck’s 3rd Israeli biotech incubator, based at Merck’s existing complex in Yavne and will focus on early stage biotechnology startups. The program has a five-year budget of $25 million.
Orcam becomes a Unicorn. Artificial vision device company OrCam (see here) has just raised $30.4 million of funds that values the company at $1 billion – giving it the financial status known as a “Unicorn”. OrCam’s founders Aviram and Shashua also co-founded Mobileye and sold it later to Intel for $15.3 billion.
$5 billion expansion of Intel’s factory. (TY TIP) Intel, the global chip-making giant, is planning a $5 billion expansion of its Kiryat Gat cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Southern Israel. It follows the company’s $6 billion investment in 2016 to upgrade the facility to produce advanced 10 nanometer chips.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Japanese duo sample more Israeli snacks. Readers may remember (Nov 2016) when my friend Pamela Levene sent a selection of Israeli snacks to Japanese video bloggers Satoshi and Shinich. Pamela recently sent them another batch to taste and comment on. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nki9EyLsK34?rel=0
Your soundtrack to Purim. (TY Hazel) DJ Antithesis plays some of the modern Israeli songs connected to the Jewish festival of Purim – undoubtedly the happiest time to be in Israel. I can’t wait to get back there!
Israel is the best travel destination for vegans. Israel is popular with vegans, mainly thanks to vegan-friendly Tel Aviv. The Israeli non-profit VeganFriendly recommends places for vegans to stay and many hundreds of restaurants to visit. You can go on vegan tours, and there is even a vegan Birthright tour.
Ashley Blaker does Teshuvah. Yes, the unique Orthodox Jewish UK comedian, Ashley Blaker is returning to Israel for another tour, entitled “Meshuga Frum”. He will perform (Y”H) from March 4-8 in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Netanya and Raanana. “Not to be missed” says his publicity. But we surely have missed him!
Alley-Oop to Aliyah. (TY Sharon) Nefesh B’Nefesh and Fun in Jerusalem sponsored an event in Jerusalem to promote the book, “Alley-Oop to Aliyah” by David A Goldstein. It describes the good experiences of African-American basketball players who came to play in Israel. Some even converted to Judaism and made Aliyah.
THE JEWISH STATE
The truth about Apartheid. Great video, highlighting how Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens have equal rights.
Latest Israeli stamps. (TY Jacob Richman) New Israeli stamps issued in February include Yotvata Hai-Bar (animal reserve) – 50 Years; WWI in Eretz Israel Centenary; Israel Television – 50 Years and Trains in Israel.
The seal of Isaiah found in Jerusalem. Hebrew University archaeologists have discovered an 8th century BCE seal impression in First Temple remains near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. It is inscribed with the Hebrew letters that seem to spell out the name l’Yesha’yah[u] (belonging to Isaiah) and part of the word navi (prophet).