This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel Sept. 23 2019
The highlights include:
- An Israeli cancer treatment in development locates, tags and blocks tumors.
- Europe is funding Israeli development of a molecule to prevent blindness.
- Israel has been invited to showcase its innovations in Dubai.
- Israeli scientists have designed a totally new concept in microchips.
- 100 Israeli startups pitched to business leaders in London.
- An Israeli Paralympic swimmer set a new 400m freestyle world record.
- A dozen Israelis donors gave new lives to total strangers.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Double-whammy cancer treatment. Israel’s Khar Medical plans to begin human trials of its DSP-107 treatment on lung cancer patients. It will be tested both standalone and in combination with Roche’s Tecentriq (atezolizumab). DSP-107 finds and marks cancer cells, then alerts the immune system and blocks the cancer.
Blood test for lung cancer. I reported previously (31st Dec) on Israel’s Savicell and its ImmunoBiopsy blood test for detecting early stage lung cancer. Savicell’s test checks for the metabolic reactions that the immune system produces when it detects and attacks a tumor. Experts say the method is very promising.
Another discovery in treating melanoma. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have found that treating melanoma with immunotherapy is only successful if the cancer cells are homogeneous (simple / comprised of a small number of subtypes). Other treatments should be used if they are heterogeneous (complex / diverse).
Hi-tech safety system at Ashdod hospital. (TY OurCrowd) I reported previously (Jan 2017) on Israel’s Medaware and its medication error protection system. The potentially life-saving solution has just been implemented at Assuta hospital in Ashdod. It is already deployed at Sheba medical center in Tel Hashomer.
Making Salmonella slip up. Bacteria such as salmonella use a layer of biofilm to attach themselves to surfaces such as skin, medical devices, tissues, etc. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute used Alzheimer’s treatments to disrupt the biofilms. The salmonella virus couldn’t stick to the surfaces and became much less aggressive.
Genetic testing could save lives. Israel’s Igentify develops a digital genetic testing analyzer that can provide medical professionals with the means to focus on, treat and counsel high risk patients. Already in use in two major Israeli hospitals, Igentify has just raised $10.5 million including from crowdfunding company OurCrowd.
EU grant for Israeli treatment of eye diseases. The European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program has awarded a 2.4 million euros grant to Israel’s Tarsius. Tarsius’s new molecule “re-engineers” the immune system to treat autoimmune and inflammatory ocular diseases that can eventually cause blindness.
Minimizing the trauma of spine surgery. Surgeons have now used the Dreal system from Israel’s Carevature in over 1600 spine decompression procedures. The system helps remove the minimum amount of obstructing tissue, reducing patient trauma and speeding recovery. Now available at Scripps Green hospital in California.
AI in Israeli health care. The Wall St Journal reports that Israel is becoming a testing ground for the power of artificial intelligence to improve health care. It suggests that digitized records and big data could make medicine cheaper and more effective.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Celebrity chef raps to help feed hungry children. Top Israeli chef, Eyal Shani rapped in a YouTube video to raise money for NEVET: Sandwich For Every Child. NEVET provides sandwiches every day in schools for thousands of Israel children, including Haredi, secular, Arab, Bedouin and Druze.
Tech training for religious women. I’ve reported previously (see here) some 50 articles relating to religious women in hi-tech. This article is about the Rabbinically-approved Adva program in which young Haredi women at a Jerusalem seminary are learning the skills necessary for a career in Israel’s booming tech sector.
Chelsea FC joins coexistence girls’ soccer event. UK soccer club Chelsea took part in a series of events organized by the club and the Israel Football Association. They involved Muslim girls from the Palestinian Authority together with girls teams from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Raanana, Pardesiya and Be’er Sheva.
Israeli heroes return from Brazil. (TY UWI) The team of firefighters dispatched by the Israeli government to help fight fires in Brazil (see here), have come home to a heroic welcome. Their skills, experience and assistance were vital in helping the Brazilian authorities and its forces to extinguish the fires.
Protecting Brazil’s rainforests. (TY Dr Don) Israeli startup VeganNation has leased some 15,000 acres (23.4 square miles) in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest for a ten-year period. It will open the land to preservation groups and activists to try and protect it from deforestation and wildlife poaching.
Israeli water gets Monaco’s royal assent. (TY UWI) I reported previously (Apr 2015) Prince Albert II of Monaco’s award to Israel’s Emefcy for its wastewater treatment systems. The Prince has just installed in his palace a GEN-350 “water from air” generator from Israel’s Watergen – a gift from Israeli Mikhael Mirilashvili.
Israeli system protects Dutch army vehicles. The Royal Netherlands Army is to implement infantry defense systems by Israel’s Elbit Systems in 150 vehicles. Elbit’s active protection system uses independent optical sensors, tracking radars, launchers, and munitions to detect, track, and neutralize incoming threats.
Israeli innovation to showcase in Dubai. In another indication of Israel’s rising status in the Arab world, the Jewish state has been invited to showcase its water technology, health and hi-tech products at the World Expo in Dubai from Oct 2020 to Apr 2021. Some 25 million visitors will see Israeli innovations to benefit humanity.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The world’s smartest building. I reported previously (Oct 2016) that Intel was building what it called “the World’s smartest building” in the Israeli city of Petach Tikva. The 75,000 sqm building is now complete. Some 14,000 sensors control lights, temperature, smart elevators, low energy and water usage, recycling and more.
Sound & light microchips. Scientists from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have designed a new concept for microprocessors. They combine photonics (light) with acoustics (sound) to enable silicon chips to process signals. It could provide the basis for effective use of the power of future 5G networks.
Tel Aviv Uni Quantum Center. I reported previously (see here) on the Quantum physics centers being built by Israel’s Technion, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan University. Now Tel Aviv University is to set up a center for quantum research, focusing on study programs and international collaboration.
Disruptive Analytics. GlobalData has named Israeli data analytics startup Panorama one of its Telecoms Market Disruptors. Necto, its telecom specific solution, integrates AI and machine learning technologies to provide self-service analytics with out-of-the-box reports, dashboards, predictive and prescriptive insights.
Milk on tap. Starbucks is installing the electric milk-dispensing system from Israeli startup Milkit in at least 140 of its cafes. Milkit’s machines deliver accurately measured doses of milk at the push of a button, saving money and waste. Other customers include Tel Aviv’s Carlton Hotel and the Max Brenner chocolate chain.
Diners eat 3D-printed meat. Israel’s Redefine Meat (formerly Jet-Eat) served its 3D-printed plant-based “meat” to diners in an up-market Israeli restaurant. 85% ranked it as meat-like. Redefine Meat has just raised $6 million of funds and plans to launch its larger “alpha” 3D-meat printer next year.
Growing crops in salty water. (TY Nevet) Israeli-Indian startup Salicrop has developed treatments to enable certain crops to grow in brackish water. Tests on peppers, tomatoes, spinach, corn, wheat, and rice have boosted crop yields by up to 30%. https://digitone.news/?p=1162 https://www.salicrop.com/
What do your customers want? (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli startup Revuze uses Artificial Intelligence to give its clients insights into their customers’ experiences and preferences. It generates a multidimensional snapshot of products, brands and their competitive landscape – automatically. The SAP.io fund has just invested in Revuze.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
An entrepreneurial ethos. (TY Nevet) A rare positive article on Israel in the Economist magazine. It gives reasons for Israeli successful innovation and entrepreneurism, including a “can do” attitude, risk taking, tolerating and overcoming failure, “disruption” (revolutionary out of the box ideas), ambition and mentoring.
UK FT praises Israeli economy. Another rare positive article on Israel from the UK’s Financial Times. It says the Israeli shekel ranks as the best performing currency, thanks to Israel’s perceived status as an emerging markets’ safe-haven and improved economic fundamentals.
No politics. I continually emphasize that I don’t include politics in this newsletter. So, I was very pleased to see entrepreneur and OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved on CNN explaining how the Israeli tech sector is unaffected by the country’s current political uncertainty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR4MowJ4LWU
Jerusalem trips become corporate incentives. (TY Janglo) Companies are now rewarding successful employees with free trips to Jerusalem – Israel’s capital. They include some 5,000 employees of California’s World System Builder and 3,300 employees of Mexico’s Omnilife.
NIS billion food-tech hub launched. I reported previously (see here) on the consortium of Israel’s OurCrowd, Tnuva and Tempo, plus US Finistere Ventures building a food-tech hub in Kiryat Shmona. The “Fresh Start” hub has now been launched. It plans eventually to invest NIS 1 billion in over 40 advanced technology startups.
Mind the tech. 100 Israeli startups met UK business leaders at Calcalist’s third Mind the Tech conference in London. This article features Duality (data encryption, Supersmart (supermarket scanning), Run:AI (computer optimization), Papaya (payroll management), Vicarius (cyber defense), and Loop (youth tech movement).
Metabolism tracking system success. I reported previously (Aug 2018) on Israel’s Metaflow and its Lumen respiratory metabolism tracking device that helps users reach fitness goals. Its runaway crowdfunding success achieved sales of 11,000 devices worth $2.3 million. Metaflow has just raised another $8.5 million.
Israeli hospital invests in health tech. Healthcare-focused VC fund Triventures has partnered Israel’s Sheba Medical Center to launch a $40 million seed-stage fund that will focus on digital health and med-tech startups. Triventures ARC’s first investment is Tel Aviv-based Lynx.MD, developer of a secure medical data platform.
Available to buy now. (TY Israel21c) These potentially life-saving Israeli products can be purchased right now. Lishtot TestDrop Pro Water Tester (click here); Safe Sea’s jellyfish repellant (click here); Sunway clothing to stop UV radiation (click here) and Elepho’s eClip to prevent baby being left in a hot car (click here).
Elbit systems to train US pilots. Israel’s Elbit has signed a $500 million contract with the US Air Force. Elbit will supply products, including cockpit displays, for Boeing’s T-X advanced pilot training system, selected by the United States Air Force to replace its old training system.
A music production marketplace. Israeli-founded SoundBetter offers an online music production marketplace where musicians can purchase services such as mastering and mixing pieces. It has a community of more than 180,000 registered artists. SoundBetter has just been acquired by US music streaming company Spotify.
Directing French soccer fans. French soccer team Olympique de Marseille has partnered with Israel-based public transit app developer Moovit. The app will direct fans to the stadium via public transportation, bicycle, or on foot, offering directions to specific gates at the team’s home stadium and to the club’s official store.
Personalized sports videos are a huge hit. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (7th Jan) on Israel’s WSC Sports and its real time, on-demand videos of TV sports broadcasts. Its customers include WarnerMedia, NBA, US Open, PGA Tour and Bundeslig. It has just raised another $23 million to fund its phenomenal growth.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Broken instruments make harmonious whole. (TY Janglo) Over 100 musicians (Jews, Moslems and Christians) performed a concert of broken instruments at “Shalem” (whole), in Jerusalem’s Gan Mitchell as part of the Mekudeshet (Sacred Music) Festival.
The world’s 7th best slice of pizza. Bezzo Pizza in Tel Aviv ranked seventh on Big 7 Travel’s list for “The 50 Best Slices of Pizza in The World”. Big Travel 7 said, “they are also melt-in-the-mouth good. Bezzo Pizza is up there with the best pizza slices in the world.” Bezzo’s original recipe stems from Yemeni culture.
Good News on ILTV. Israeli news site ILTV have begun a weekly video featuring good news stories from Israel. Here is a link to its first edition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zjWvwwTHis
Paralympic swimmer smashes world record. (TY Steven G) Israel’s Mark Malyar, who has cerebral palsy, broke the world record in winning the 400m freestyle S7 at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. The event took place in London after Malaysia was removed as host for refusing to let Israelis compete.
THE JEWISH STATE
The Israeli town with the most kidney donors. (TY UWI) The religious community of Yitzhar in Samaria has the highest proportion of kidney donors in Israel. The ten Jewish donors didn’t know any of the recipients, who included secular left-wingers. Their only regret was that they could only donate once. Incredible video.
Two generations of donors. Neria’s father had already donated a kidney to a total stranger. So, it was natural for Neria to register on the bone marrow database of Israeli NGO Ezer Mizion. He then got the call – he was the only known genetic match who could save a cancer patient’s life. So, naturally, he donated his cells.
The class of Hillel. Over four years ago, after the passing of Rosh Yeshiva Rav Hillel Zaks, many parents in Modi’in Illit named their sons “Hillel” in his memory. So now in the new class at the kindergarten of Talmud Torah Medrash Meir in Kiryat Sefer, of the 29 children, 21 have the first name Hillel. Could be confusing?
Christian Zionists help Jewish farmers harvest grapes. US evangelical group HaYovel (“The Harvest”) brings Christian volunteers to Israel to help Jewish farmers. They are currently harvesting grapes in the Samarian community of Shiloh – where the Biblical Tabernacle stood, prior to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Home in the Homeland. (TY Zev) Dina and Eli Kamionski, in their mid-30s, with four children, left the US for a new life in Israel. They documented their Aliya journey in a series of some 50 short videos entitled “The Kami Klan” to help others intending to embark on a similar path. (Some on Youtube; most on Facebook).
JR’s 35 years since Aliya. Regular readers will know that Jacob Richman is a prolific blogger and provider of vital information and photos on Israel and Jewish holidays. He made this video to celebrate the 35th anniversary of his Aliya from Brooklyn. He introduces it, “It was the best decision of my life. I highly recommend it!” https://jr.co.il/aliyah/aliyah-anniversary.htm
AI search of David Ben Gurion diaries. Ben-Gurion University and Microsoft Israel have teamed up to bring David Ben-Gurion’s archive to life. They are developing an advanced Artificially Intelligence-based system that will be able to search the entire archive, printed and handwritten materials alike.
What’s that falling from the sky? (TY Janglo & Jacques) Some parts of Israel experienced their first Autumn rains last week. It arrived early this year and made a pleasant change to the long, hot, dry summer weather. It is so important, that it has a special Hebrew name – “Yoreh” and is included in the Shema prayer.