This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel May 13 2018
The highlights include:
- An Israeli breakthrough promises a future of safe medicines, pesticides and fertilizers.
- Israeli pure oxygen treatment saved the leg of a Palestinian Arab boy.
- A Bedouin Arab mother is an Israeli ambulance driver.
- Israeli research may have saved the Hawaiian coral reef.
- Israeli conferences in May are attracting many thousands of international visitors.
- Frutarom’s $7.1 billion takeover is Israel’s second-highest ever exit.
- Israel won the Eurovision song contest.
- Israel celebrates Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Eliminating major side-effects. A breakthrough by Israeli scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Weizmann Institute can reduce side-effects in chemicals. Treatments (e.g. thalidomide) contain both right and left-sided molecules. One type causes the side-effect and magnets can remove the “bad” sided molecules.
99% success for freezing tumors. I’ve been reporting on Israeli-based IceCure for some time (see here). It has just reported results of clinical trials showing 99% effectiveness in eliminating cancerous breast tumors through freezing with liquid nitrogen without surgery. Of the 146 trial patients, the cancer re-occurred in only one.
European patent for bio-turmeric extract. Israel’s Arjuna has produced BCM-95 – an All-in-One formulation of natural curcumin & ar-turmerone, the most potent component of turmeric with its highest level of oral bioavailability. BCM-95 has just received a European patent to accompany its patents in the US and globally.
Transforming sinus diagnosis and treatment. Israel’s 3NT Medical is developing and trialing its Sinusway platform of specialty single-use endoscopes and therapeutic devices for advancing care of ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders. 3NT has just raised funds to complete development and commence marketing Sinusway.
Using gut bacteria to fight disease. I reported previously (May 2017) on one Israeli biotech using the human microbiome (stomach bacteria) to fight cancer, IBD, acne etc. Now Israel’s Evogene’s new Biomica subsidiary is also developing microbiome therapies, for antibiotic resistant bacteria, immuno-oncology and GI disorders.
Eye surgeon sees no boundaries. Dr David Hartstein made Aliya from the USA in 2009. Since 2014 he has been performing eye operations on patients from Ethiopia, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. He also visits Ethiopia where he treats up to 500 patients each visit – mostly Falash Mura Ethiopians seeking to make Aliya.
On-line spectacle prescription. I reported previously (Feb 2016) on one Israeli smartphone app to check your glasses prescription. Now here’s another – Tel Aviv based GlassesUSA checks the prescription of your existing spectacles. It allows you to scan simple prescriptions and lenses using an iPhone.
Saving life is all in the air. (TY Margaret) I’ve reported previously (see here) on the hyperbaric (pure oxygen) treatment conducted at Israel’s Yitzhak Shamir (formerly Assaf Harofeh) Medical Center. Recent amazing results include repairing the brain of a blast victim and saving the leg of 7-year-old Muhammad from Jenin.
80 years of excellence. Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center celebrates eight decades of operation in Northern Israel. It treats over two million Israelis (Jews, Moslems, Christians, Druze etc.), plus Palestinian Arabs and Syrians. An innovation hub with cutting-edge technology, it delivers medical excellence to Israel and the world.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Lone soldiers celebrate Passover. Thanks to the charity Yahad – United for Israel’s Soldiers, 250 Israeli lone soldiers were able to mark the Jewish festival of Passover with a pre-seder feast. For most of them, it was their first Seder away from their countries of birth and their families.
Protecting the environment. Israeli NGO Zalul (Hebrew for “clear”) leads the fight to reduce plastic waste in Israel and encourage recycling. It helped introduce payment for supermarket plastic bags and other projects to reduce pollution. Zalul CEO Maya Jacobs went on ILTV to explain more. Good summary on their website.
Female Muslim ambulance driver. (TY Avi) I reported previously (31st Dec) about United Hatzalah’s female Muslim paramedic. Magen David Adom is also training Bedouin men and women to become medics. This I24 News video features ambulance driver and trainee paramedic 27-year-old, mother-of-four Warud Abu Abed.
Thanks to Israel for our freedom. (TY Hazel) Like many Israeli Christians, IDF Captain (res.) Shadi Halul is grateful that “the Jews returned to their homeland and created freedom for the Jews and the Christians in Israel.” https://www.jns.org/amid-independence-day-celebrations-how-israels-minorities-view-their-status-in-the-jewish-state/
PA to control its own electricity. (TY Hazel) I reported before (16th July) that Israel transferred an electricity substation over to the Palestinian Authority. The PA has now taken responsibility for most of the PA’s entire power supply. The Israel Electric Company and PA together will construct four new high-voltage power plants.
Trilateral summit. The leaders of Israel, Cyprus and Greece convened in Nicosia for their fourth summit since launching a trilateral partnership in 2016. The main issue discussed was the feasibility of laying a pipeline from Israel to Cyprus and then to Greece and Italy.
Saving Hawaiian coral. Hawaii state legislature passed a ban on sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone (BP-3) after researchers from Ben-Gurion University and the USA provided significant evidence that BP-3 has caused coral bleaching. Oxybenzone caused deformities, endocrine disruption and DNA damage that kills the coral.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Thousands see Israeli innovations. Israel hosts four major international exhibitions in May where innovative Israeli technology is on show. FoodTechIL (May 7); AgriVest (May 8); AgriTech Israel (May 8-10); MIXiii-Biomed (May 15-17); https://www.israel21c.org/thousands-come-to-tlv-to-see-advances-in-food-ag-biomed/
Israel hosts global science conference. 23 science ministers are scheduled to attend “The First International Ministerial-Level Scientific Conference: Thinking Out of the Box,” in Jerusalem. Even more countries plan to send lower-level delegations, including chief scientists. https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/23-Science-Ministers-to-attend-innovation-mega-event-in-Jerusalem-555950
Driverless trucks. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is unveiling new products that could potentially revolutionize mining and quarrying. IAI’s robotics factory has developed technology for utilizing autonomous vehicles in heavy mechanical equipment used in mining and development work.
Where to rent or buy in NYC. Israel’s Localize.city (a subsidiary of real estate data company Madlan) has launched a website that allows anyone to search any address in New York City, receive a view of what it’s like to live there today and learn about future changes. Localize.city has just raised $8 million of funds.
Spreading its roots. I reported previously (see here) about Israel’s Rootility that develops root-focused plant breeding methods that increase crop yields, and improve plant tolerances to heat, cold, and soil borne diseases. Rootility has just raised $10 million of funds to help it expand international sales and the crops it develops.
IBM accelerates Israeli startups. I’ve reported previously (see here) on IBM’s Alphazone startup accelerator which has been supporting and advancing Israeli startups since 2014. Gil May Tal – IBM Israel’s Head of Startup & Development Ecosystem – went on ILTV to describe Alphazone’s successes and its 2018 program.
Ironic? Another system to detect plagiarism. Funny – I reported only two weeks ago (see here) of an Israeli system to detect where students copy material and pass it off as their own original work. Now here is another one. Idan Frost went on ILTV to explain his system, called “Originality”.
Mimic nature to make better designs. I reported previously (31st Dec) on the Hebrew University’s use of nature to make a better world. The organization Biomimicry promotes these types of solutions that meet global challenges (e.g. Israel’s Seevix’s artificial spidersilk fibers). Biomimicry’s Tel Aviv conference is on Jun 14.
If you can Screenshot it, you can find it. I reported previously (26th Nov) on the launch of Israeli-founded Screenshop which uses photos of an object on your phone to find the object for sale on-line. CTO & co-founder Jonathan Caras said on ILTV that his company has had more partnership requests than it can handle.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Unemployment down, exports up. Israel’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in March – a new record. Exports of services in Feb 2018 totaled $4.2 billion – 6.9% higher than January. Exports of services by the high-tech sector totaled $2.2 billion in February – 7.3% more than in January.
Investment in startups up by 50%. 181 Israeli startups raised $1.52 billion in the first quarter of 2018 – 50% more than in the first quarter of 2017. The upward trend continued in April.
Frutarom exits for $7.1 billion. Israeli flavors and fine products company Frutarom has been taking over similar businesses all over the world for several years (see here). However, it has now been swallowed up by the mighty US Flavors & Fragrances Inc (IFF) for a whopping $7.1 billion – the second largest Israeli exit ever.
BriefCam acquired by Canon. (TY OurCrowd) I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s BriefCam and its innovative video content analytics platform. BriefCam has just been bought by Japanese giant Canon Inc. to help it expand its video technology and solutions to global customers and partners.
Wizz launches 6th Romanian route. Hungarian airline Wizz Air is to operate a new route from Sibiu in Romania to Tel Aviv starting July 14. Wizz Air already operates direct flights to Israel from Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Craiova, and Iasi. 79,000 tourists visited Israel from Romania in 2017.
Amazon builds up in Israel. Although it hasn’t confirmed its Israeli operations, Amazon has assembled a temporary modular office for 300 workers in Haifa’s MATAM business park while a 12,000 sqm building is being built nearby. It has also leased space in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Sarona Tower and is hiring Hebrew translators.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
“Solution Nation”. David Wanetick has written and published a new book about Israeli technological prowess, “Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems”. It analyzes 62 emerging Israeli companies, all of which are developing solutions to life-threatening problems.
70 years of Independence Day posters. Here is a selection of some of the most important and beautiful Yom Ha’atzmaut posters issued over the past 70 years – taken from Israel’s State Archive. They present a moment in Israel’s history: concerns and achievements during the past year, as well as hopes and goals for the coming one.
Netta wins Eurovision Song Contest for Israel. Israel’s Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision song contest with “Toy” scoring 529 points, nearly 100 points ahead of second place Cyprus. Israel will therefore host next year’s Eurovision competition, which will bring thousands of fans to Jerusalem.
Shakira to perform in Israel in July. Shakira, the world-famous Latina singer, will perform in Tel Aviv in July – her first ever concert in Israel. I reported on Shakira previously (Jun 2011) when she visited a joint Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem in her role as UK Goodwill Ambassador.
Ringo Starr extends his Israel tour. Fans of ex-Beatles drummer Ringo Starr have been so enthusiastic, his 23th June Tel Aviv concert sold out. So, he’s doing another performance on 24th June. Ringo and his All-Starr Band are coming to Israel for the first time ever, as part of their “Give More Love” world tour.
Another Heading. (TY David L) The 16th May Tel Aviv screening of “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel” is a sell-out (see here). There will now be another chance to see this remarkable film on June 4 at the Lev Smadar in Jerusalem. All proceeds go to the Team Israel Olympics 2020 effort.
Cycling teams from Arab states in Jerusalem. Teams from the United Arab Emirates & Bahrain competed in the Israel stages of the Giro d’Italia cycle race. The eight cyclists from Team Emirates included Fabio Aru who said, ““Sport and cycling unify people, this is a fact,”. Also, see this one-minute video of the event.
The first velodrome in the Middle East. Tel Aviv is officially home to the Middle East’s first indoor velodrome cycling racetrack. The world governing body for sports cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale, has formally certified the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome to be Olympic Standard.
THE JEWISH STATE
Bridging Israel and the US. Bar-Ilan University has inaugurated a new Impact Center for Research on Judaism in Israel and North America (RJIN). Headed by Prof. Adam Ferziger, the new center aims to develop models to improve relations between Jews in Israel and America. It includes a think tank and an MA program.
The home of hope. (TY UCI) The world is still celebrating Israel’s 70th birthday. This video was made by UK ex-Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, to mark the event. https://www.youtube.com/embed/NgXurQd8e6s?rel=0
The miracle that is Israel today. (TY Martha) Writer Joseph Puder puts Israel’s last 70 years into context. He highlights the revival of the Hebrew language, population and infrastructure growth, cultural integration, its transformation into a technological powerhouse and associated economic success.
Signs of the times. (TY WIN) Jerusalem Municipality workers (including the Mayor) have been putting up new street signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English, directing travelers to the new US embassy. Note that the last sentence in the video commentary is wrong – many other countries are moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day). A list of events to mark the 51st anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. If you hurry, you might just be able to make it to some of them. Also, see how Jerusalem has grown in the last 10 years.
Jerusalem – the heart of Jewish life and history. This video shows seven examples of archaeological evidence that the city of Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Official seals, parchment, burnt stone walls, ritual baths, siege weapons and Temple floor tiles.
United Jerusalem. Last year (see here) I included a long video featuring a selection of the residents of Jerusalem, capital city of Israel. It showed that despite their different faiths and different levels of religiosity, they all get along with each other. This version says it all, in just two-and-a-half-minutes.
Bar Kochba coin found on Lag B’Omer. The life of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is celebrated on Lag B’Omer. His mentor Rabbi Akiva supported Bar Kochba in his 134-136 CE revolt against Roman occupation of Judea. So, it was apt that this year on Lag B’Omer, archaeologists found a coin minted by Bar Kochba’s supporters.