This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel June 30 2019
The highlights include:
- Israeli-devised cancer therapy is completely curing terminally ill UK patients.
- The first Druze to become an Israeli Air Force pilot.
- South Africa is to install Israeli “water from the air” technology.
- Six Israeli startups won transformational business awards.
- World’s largest beer maker to open Israeli cyber security center.
- Israeli gymnast, sharpshooter and fencer win European gold.
- A watchtower from Hezekiah’s kingdom has been discovered in Judea.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Immunologist saves boy allergic to light. An Israeli boy suffering from solar urticaria (an allergy to light) has been saved by doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center. They inject him every three weeks with omalizumab, previously only prescribed to adults with severe asthma. He can now enjoy Israeli sunshine again.
BBC report hails success of (Israeli) cancer treatment. According to the BBC, the CAR-T cancer therapy, (invented by Professor Zelig Eshhar of Israel’s Weizmann Institute) is curing 40% of UK lymphoma patients who were otherwise untreatable and terminal. Amazing case stories – but doesn’t mention Israel of course!
Link between stress and autoimmune disease. Researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have found that chronic stress causes bacteria in the gut to become more “violent”. In response, the immune system kicks in and can increase the risk of autoimmune disease in susceptible individuals.
A model of the brain. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and in Los Angeles have used patient-specific stem cells to create a personalized model of the human blood brain-barrier. This model can potentially predict which brain disease treatments will work best for an individual patient.
Hot glue to seal wounds. (TY UWI) There are several innovative Israeli surgical sealants (see here) to help bond wounds after operations. Now researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute together with Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a hot-glue gun with non-toxic bio-degradable glue to fuse torn human tissues together.
Improved infant oxygen monitor. (TY Sharon) Over 100 religious women students from Jerusalem College of Technology / Machon Tal conducted a 44-hour hackathon developing solutions to various challenges. The winning team designed a wireless oxygen saturation monitor for infants. Click to see some great photos.
More successful fertility treatments. The number of successful fertility treatments in Israel continues to rise. Details presented to the Israel Fertility Association conference also showed that technology improvements had reduced the incidence of IVF twins. Israeli women can receive public funds for IVF up to age 45.
Microbiome analysis startup gears up. I reported previously (see here) on Israeli startup DayTwo which provides personalized nutrition suggestions based on your microbiome (gut bacteria). DayTwo has just raised $31 million for expansion in Europe and Asia, where it can help reduce diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Motorcycle medic delivers her own baby. Magen David Adom paramedic Lita Barzon was seven months pregnant when she went into early labor. Her husband called the emergency services and, helped by the phone operator, Lita delivered her baby a few minutes later. Medics then arrived and mother and baby are doing well.
Kurdish children arrive for heart surgery. Three children, aged five, two and 11 months, from Kurdistan have arrived in Israel with their mothers to receive life-saving medical treatment from Israeli NGO Save a Child’s Heart.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Hundreds attend disability inclusion conference. Over 800 people from 22 countries participated in Access Israel’s 7th International Conference. A key focus was accessible technology and included sessions at Tel Aviv’s accessible beaches, the Wingate (sports) Institute near Netanya and Jerusalem’s (accessible) Old City.
More funds to help Ethiopian Jews integrate. Israel’s Council for Higher Education has approved a $40 million plan to encourage academic excellence and leadership among Ethiopian-Israeli students. The initiative aims to increase the number of Ethiopian-Israeli bachelor’s degree students by some 40 percent in five years.
The first Druze IAF pilot. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Air Force will have its first Druze pilot when “Cadet G” receives his helicopter pilot wings shortly. Three other Druze airmen already serve as navigators – one serves as head of the school for the operational headquarters of the IAF.
Olive oil of co-existence. Israeli startup Sindyanna of Galilee produces fair trade olive oil. But its aim as a non-profit is to communicate the messages of hope and peace from Arab and Jewish women working together.
Palestinian Arab workers share in Mellanox payout. Palestinian Arab engineers working for Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies are poised to share in a $3.5 million payout when the company’s takeover by U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp is completed. They will cash in stock options worth up to $40,000 per person.
Good relations in the Jordan valley. (TY Hazel) There are excellent relations between Jewish and Arab communities in the Jordan valley. Over 6,000 Palestinian Arabs work in Jewish communities, rising to 12,000 in peak periods. Arab farmers receive agricultural training and their quality of life has improved dramatically.
European Muslim leaders tour Samaria. (TY Hazel) Israel’s President Rivlin met with a delegation of 40 French imams and other French and Belgian Muslims in Jerusalem. They then crossed over the Green Line to meet Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan.
South Africa enlists Israeli help. World Vision South Africa has chosen Israel’s WaterGen to help launch a mobile water generation project for communities in the Eastern Cape. WaterGen will provide safe-drinking water to 50 child development centers, up to 79 schools, four clinics and an estimated 3,400 households.
Israel helps overseas students reap what they sow. (TY Hazel) I reported previously (see here) on the many thousands of international students who have be helped by Israel’s Arava International Center for Agricultural Training. This report focuses on 340 Kachin Baptist Convention trainee farmers from Myanmar.
UN award for Israeli Trauma treatment NGO. (TY UWI) I reported previously (see here) on the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) non-profit and its life-changing work in the Caribbean, Florida, Boston and Paris. The United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has now awarded the ITC Special Advisor status.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Joint US-Israeli oil & gas R&D center. Israel and the US are setting up a joint R&D center to focus on technologies to make the oil and gas sector more efficient. The news was announced to 150 Israeli technology companies.at the “Digitization and Automation in the Gas and Oil Industries” conference in Tel Aviv.
Six transformational business awards. Of the 270 global entries at London’s 2019 FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards, 10 of the 35 finalists were Israeli. Several won awards, including MobileOCT, TIPA, TuneFork, N-Drip, Healthy.io and Anima.
The best in Israeli auto-technology. (TY Roger) At the 7th annual EcoMotion in Tel Aviv, 100 Israeli smart startups exhibited to 4,000 attendees. This report highlights the unveiling of DFT’s flying car, Silentium’s sound bubble, Aurora Lab’s self-healing automobile software and UVEye’s drive-over security camera.
Construction tech startups are building up. The global construction industry is worth trillions, but uses some technologies that are hundreds of years old. Israel has over 100 PropTech (property technology) startups working to update the industry. Innovation and tech hubs such as Innogy and Contech are helping them grow.
Cooling without water. Israeli startup ZutaCore has developed an evaporative liquid cooling system on a chip. It solves the industry-wide problem of removing heat from superfast computer devices without exposing them to dangerous water-cooling devices. ZutaCore’s HyperCool just won the 2019 SilicoNegev startup competition.
Tech innovation award for BriefCam. (TY OurCrowd) Israeli-founded BriefCam has received the 2019 Frost & Sullivan North America Technology Innovation Award in the surveillance analytics solutions industry. It recognized BriefCam’s unique approach, extensive expertise, and proven track record in video analytics.
Outsmart the weather. (TY OurCrowd) I reported previously (26th Jan) on the super-accurate weather-forecasting technology from Israel’s ClimaCell. Now Apple iOS users (iPhone, iPAD etc.) can now download, trial, rate and provide feedback on ClimaCell’s recently launched free app.
Eilat’s air-con bus shelters. (TY Janglo) I reported previously (26th Jan) on the plan to install “smart” air-conditioned bus stops in Eilat. A pilot of the new shelters is to be launched end Aug. Stations are expected to be set up opposite the Mall in front of the sea, on Temarim Boulevard and at the underwater observatory.
Israeli startup sets up space tech center in UK. Israeli satellite communications startup hiSky has launched a UK R&D center – hiSkySay Ltd, in Harwell, thanks to a £9 million UK Government agency grant. HiSky is working with the UK Space Agency to become the world’s first low-cost satellite network operator.
BBC publicizes Israeli electric plane. (TY Joy G & Israel21c) I reported previously (July 2017) on the Alice electric airplane built by Israel’s Eviation. The BBC did a (very) short review of Alice at the Paris Air Show. Meanwhile Eviation announced that US airline Cape Air had ordered several airplanes for delivery in 2022.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Arizona to set up Israel trade office. (TY Hazel) Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has approved a $275,000 budget for setting up a new trade office in Israel. 2017 bi-lateral trade totaled $400 million (double that of 2010. Israel-based companies with operations in Arizona include Mobileye, Elbit Systems and Keter Group.
Israeli cyber security for world’s largest beer maker. (TY Hazel) Anheuser-Busch InBev is to open a cybersecurity unit in Tel Aviv after suffering an upsurge in hacking attacks. AB InBev provides 25 percent of the beer globally, making over 400 brands including Budweiser, Corona, Becks, and Stella Artois.
Intel’s Israeli AI incubator. Intel has launched a new accelerator program in Israel for early-stage startups focused on data-centric tech, including artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems. The program, called “Ignite” will host 10-15 startups for five months, providing mentorship from Intel and industry experts.
Renault-Nissan is innovating. I reported previously (Jan 2017) that Renault-Nissan Alliance planned to establish a Technology Innovation Center in Israel. Renault-Nissan’s 1,600-square-meter Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv is now open. It also incorporates its current partnership with Mitsubishi.
More contracts for Elbit. Israel’s Elbit Systems has won a $73 million contract to supply the German Air Force with aircraft defense systems, Also, Elbit’s subsidiary Cyclone Ltd. was awarded a $50 million contract to supply structural parts from composite materials for an aircraft of a North American customer.
EU fund to invest $100 million in Israeli startups. Luxembourg-based fund Maor has closed its first Israel-focused fund at nearly $100 million. Maor aims to “facilitate access of European investors and in particular European family offices to the Israeli technology ecosystem and opportunities.”
Major firms use Israeli-owned coworking spaces. Some 40% of the tenants of the 28 offices of Israel’s Mindspace in Europe and the US are large enterprises, including Microsoft, McDonald’s, Samsung and Barclays. They typically rent space for up to two years, allowing them to grow and shrink, and save money too.
Order on-line, delivery in 4 hours. Israeli startup Quik operates a digital store where Israeli customers can order groceries and have them delivered to their homes in up to four hours. The products are picked up from partner stores in the vicinity of the customer’s residence.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Historical records go on-line. (TY UWI) Israel’s National Library has uploaded around 200 documents from the years 1500 to 1800. European Jewish communities used these “pinkasim” to keep track of financial transactions, political happenings, relations with non-Jewish government bodies, and even humorous events.
Big surge in Israeli books published in 2018. Over 8.500 books were published in Israel in 2018 – over 10% more than in 2017 and 35% more than in 2008. More than 1,000 of these were children’s books. The number of new books relating to children with disabilities and special needs was double those published in 2008.
Israeli products at NYC food festival. Several Israeli companies were among 2,600 global exhibitors at the 2019 Summer Fancy Foods Show in Manhattan. They included Wine Water (see here), The Mushroom Benefit (see link below), Fruit of the Land and Sindyanna of Galilee (see co-existence article above).
Jerusalem Light festival. (TY Sharon & Jacob Richman) This year’s Jerusalem Light Festival continues until 4th July. http://rjstreets.com/2019/06/27/jerusalem-2019-light-festival-in-old-city/
Haifa in a nutshell. This video highlights Haifa – Israel’s largest Northern city. Its diversity; Baha’i gardens; Carmelit cable car railway; Cave of Elijah; Maccabi Haifa soccer club and stadium; Haifa’s film festival and the only Japanese art museum in the Middle East. Recommended to include this city on your next Israel visit.
Israeli medals at European Games. Rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram won two gold (balls and clubs) and two silver medals (ribbon and multiple) at the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus. Sergey Richter won a gold medal in the 10-meter air rifle shooting and Li Kochman won a silver medal in the men’s judo 90-kg class.
First ever Euro fencing gold medal. Israeli fencer Yuval Freilich won the gold medal in the European Fencing Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany. Yuval (24) has been fencing since age 5 and is the first Israeli fencer to win a European championship. He is currently ranked at World number 40.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H11YChfFXNQ (The celebrations start at 17 mins)
THE JEWISH STATE
Eighth century BCE watch tower uncovered. (TY Erez) 150 soldiers and officers of the IDF Paratroopers brigade have excavated a 2,700-year-old watchtower near Ashkelon, that was standing when the Jewish King Hezekiah ruled Judea. Archaeologists believe the tower was used to transmit messages via beacons.
New / old Hebrew words. (TY Janglo) The Academy of the Hebrew Language has published a list of 1,400 new words and phrases it recently approved. One unusual example, requested by environmentalists, is the waste product from extracting oil from olives. The new word is “mohal” and has its origins in Talmudic texts.
At the Kotel, water from the air. (TY Janglo) I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s WaterGen and its technology to produce water from the moisture in the air. Visitors to Jerusalem’s Kotel (Western Wall) can now access a WaterGen machine at the Kotel plaza to produce pure cold drinking water.
See the Real Israel. Details of Honest Reporting’s 2019 Israel mission (Dec 18 – 26) to give non-Israelis the opportunity to discover the Israel that the media doesn’t report. https://mission.honestreporting.com/itinerary/
Genesis Prize winner donates prize money (and more). At the Genesis Prize award ceremony in Jerusalem, New England Patriots owner, businessman and philanthropist Robert Kraft pledged $20 million, including his Genesis Prize money, towards combating online anti-Semitism, specifically among 18-35-year-olds.