This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel Dec. 1, 2019
The highlights include:
- Two new Israeli medical innovations directly target tumors and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Israelis are saving earthquake victims in Albania and terrorism survivors in Chad.
- Nine of the best 100 inventions of 2019 are Israeli.
- Israel’s SpaceIL plans to send spacecraft to the Moon and to Mars.
- Israel’s unemployment is at a record low.
- A second Israeli gold medal and National Anthem in Abu Dhabi.
- 80 French Holocaust survivors celebrated late Bar/Bat Mitzvot in Jerusalem.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Targeting chemo at tumors only. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a method that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to malignant cells and bypasses healthy ones. Cancer cells emit the protein TRPV2 into which the scientists inserted a low dose of doxorubicin to destroy the tumor.
Nano-chips help treat Alzheimer’s. Neural growth factor proteins can limit damage from Alzheimer’s disease but are normally blocked by the Blood Brain Barrier. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute and Bar-Ilan University have developed nanoscale silicon chips that deliver these proteins directly to the target brain tissue.
Human radiation therapy trial successful. Good results of the first multi-center human trials of the Alpha Dart radiation therapy (see here) developed by Israel’s Alpha Tau. Over 78% of the skin cancer tumors were completely cured. Most of the patients had previously received other treatments that failed to kill the tumors.
VR system saves 2-year-old. As reported here previously, the Virtual Reality technology from Israel’s Surgical Theater is saving thousands of lives. Here is one example of two-year-old Ari whose deep brain tumor was removed, thanks to surgeons having practiced the delicate operation using the groundbreaking VR system.
Using AI to discover treatments. Israeli startup Pepticom uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to discover new peptide-based candidates that could become the basis of the next big medical treatment. Pepticom was launched as a company by Yissum – the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Assisted feeding. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Fidmi has received FDA approval for its low profile gastronomy system / enteral feeding device (see here). Its easily replaceable inner tube which can be changed by patients without the need to visit a doctor or nurse. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fidmi-medical-receives-fda-regulatory-clearance-for-low-profile-enteral-feeding-device-300939572.html
Keeping the blood flowing. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Perflow Medical has received the CE Mark (European approval) for its Cascade Agile device that helps surgeons repair ruptured intercranial aneurysms. Its unique net design enables continuous blood flow during cerebral aneurysm operations.
Detecting strokes across the US. (TY Atid-EDI) Since US giant Medtronic began marketing the AI brain scan analysis system from Israel’s Viz.ai (see here), it has been installed in 300 US hospitals. Viz.ai has just raised $50 million to help fund its fast growth.
Diagnosing narrowing of the arteries. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s MedHub is developing AutocathFFR – an automated system that detects stenoses (narrowing) in the coronary arteries surrounding the heart. It has just commenced a pivotal multi-center clinical trial to test the system’s effectiveness.
Fighting MRSA resistance. (TY Atid-EDI) As reported (here) previously, Israel’s Biomica is developing microbiome therapies for antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is now partnering with the Weizmann Institute to develop a selective treatment against MRSA – antibiotic resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus infection.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Female entrepreneurs meet investors. A business networking event was held last week in Jerusalem at the Urban Place for female entrepreneurs, in honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). It was an opportunity for Israeli female business owners from across Israel to network with both investors and other business owners.
Preserving Jewish-Ethiopian culture. (TY WIN) The Atachlit Beta Israel village in Kiryat Gat serves as a heritage center for the preservation of Ethiopian Jewish culture and heritage. The village and farm also give older Ethiopian Jews a new sense of purpose by continuing traditional farming, building and cooking methods.
Relations with Kazakhstan improve further. The Central Asian, Muslim-majority country of Kazakhstan has a history of strong connections with Israel. Under the new President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, these ties are expanding, especially in commerce, agro-tech, clean water, cyber security, education and public diplomacy.
Aid to Chad. Volunteers from NGO Israeli Flying Aid (IFA) brought supplies to refugee camps, hospitals and orphanages in the landlocked African country of Chad, suffering under constant terror attacks. It included 14 dialysis machines and three anesthesia machines donated by Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
Searching for Albanian earthquake victims. (TY Hazel) An Israel Rescue and Service team from Mevo’ot HaHermon Regional Council is searching for survivors in the city of Durres, following a 6.4 on the Richter Scale earthquake that shook Albania. It was the strongest earthquake to hit Albania in decades.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Nine of the best 100 inventions for 2019. Nine Israeli startups are in TIME magazine’s 100 Best Inventions for 2019. They are Or Cam, Theranica, WaterGen, Tyto Care, Temi, ECOncrete, Eviation Aircraft, Intuition Robotics and Lemonade. All have been reported previously in this newsletter – check www.IsraelActive.com
WiFi innovation winner. Israel’s Celeno won the Best Wi-Fi Innovation award at the 2019 Wi-Fi Now International Expo and Conference in London. Celeno’s Wi-Fi Doppler imaging technology is expected to spark a new ecosystem of sophisticated service for the home and enterprise.
Testing disaster recovery plans. Israel-based EnsureDR develops technology for identifying and fixing disaster recovery plans. It uses an automatic process that operates and tests secondary data sites on a weekly basis. EnsureDR has just raised $2.5 million. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKjhvBJBf1I
Intelligence by vision. Israel’s Viisights Solutions develops a video intelligence service that analyzes and manages video content for specific advertising campaigns., It also analyzes real-time footage from security cameras. Viisights has just raised $10 million of funds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Cazz4PFo4Y
Helping athletes to think. (TY UWI and I24) Israeli Air Force veterans have founded the startup Applied Cognitive Engineering (ACE) and developed the Intelligym – training software that boosts the cognitive abilities of soccer and hockey players. https://soccer.intelligym.com/home-uk/ https://www.intelligym.com/
How does UBQ do it? Israeli startup UBQ’s revolutionary recycling facility has been reported (here) previously. This new article goes into much detail about the process which produces plastic containers and building material from almost any kind of garbage. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/climate-solutions/israeli-startup-ubq-turning-trash-into-plastic-products/
More shrimps to feed a hungry world. (TY Atid-EDI) This newsletter reported previously (see here) on three Israeli startups that were farming disease-free shrimps. Here is a fourth – Israel’s AquaMaof. Its RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems) use cutting-edge technology to breed shrimps and other fish on land.
Give us a summary. Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev said they have developed MUSE (Multilingual Sentence Extractor) software that automatically summarizes texts in many languages. It can help readers go through articles, magazines, databases and academic research faster and more efficiently.
Read my lips. Israeli startup Hi Auto is developing speech recognition software for vehicle drivers. It uses a microphone and camera so it can track the driver’s lips to eliminate commands from other voices in the car.
Making hospital fabrics bacteria free. (TY Hazel) More on the method (see here) that Israeli startup Sonovia has developed to bacteria-proof hospital fabrics. They use ultrasound to form tiny vapor-filled cavities. Antibacterial chemicals can then be propelled onto the molecular structure of the fabric.
Experience Virtual Reality in Tel Aviv. Israeli startup LVL3 Dizengoff offers a sensory experience to those who want to see the future of Alternative / Virtual Reality. Situated in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center, LVL3 uses the Anvio VR platform to demonstrate some of the most sophisticated team-based gaming technologies.
SpaceIL reveals new challenges. SpaceIL – the Israeli NGO that sent the world’s first private spacecraft to the moon – has announced plans to send spacecrafts to the Moon and to Mars. The Moon mission is scheduled to take place in 2022 and is expected to cost even less than the £100 million Beresheet mission.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Top of the world. (TY Atid-EDI) In the World Economic Forum’s 2019-2020 Global Competitiveness Report, Israel was ranked first for entrepreneurship, (risk, embrace of disruptive ideas, growing innovative companies), R&D expenditure, macroeconomic stability and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Overall Israel was 20th of 141.
Unemployment at 3.4% – lowest in 40 years. Israel’s unemployment rate fell from 3.6% in September to a record low of 3.4% in October. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/october-israels-unemployment-rate-reaches-historic-low/2019/11/25/
Good all-round improvement. Israel’s Composite State of the Economy index for October increased by 0.3% – a slight acceleration in the last two months. All components improved, especially consumer goods exports, services exports, industrial production, imports, retail trade revenue, services revenue and job vacancies.
Importing hi-tech skills. NGO Masa Israel’s “FastTrack Pro” program serves as a pipeline for coding and other key technical skills by matching North American Jews to jobs at Israeli start-ups. Meanwhile, (TY Jacques) The Council for Higher Education’s “Study in Israel” also attracts international hi-tech talent.
Matching immigrants to employers. Israel’s UWORK is an online recruitment agency targeted at new Olim – immigrants to Israel. The website is said to be the first recruitment platform specifically dedicated to immigrants and foreign language speakers, offering a variety of jobs in companies across Israel.
Christian Zionists invest in Israel. 650 Christian pro-Israel executives from 50 countries will attend the 2nd annual conference on “Israeli Innovation for Humanity” in December. It is run by the nonprofit ARISE, which matches Christian Israel-loving businesspeople from abroad with entrepreneurs in Israel.
AstraZeneca launches digital health program. AstraZeneca previously (Sep 2013) teamed up with Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital to develop new treatments. It has now started a NIS 10 million program for investing in Israel’s digital health sector. It will provide Israeli startups with funds, mentorship and training.
Teaming up to protect hospital systems. As reported previously, (Dec 2017) Israel’s Medigate protects medical devices from cyber-attack. It has now partnered with Japan’s Sompo Risk Management and Israeli private hospital chain Assuta Medical Centers to develop cybersecurity services for hospitals.
Vayyar raises $109 million. As reported previously (see here) the technology from Israel’s Vayyar can see through walls and other materials. Its 4D radar can also detect a patient falling and alerts an emergency contact. Vayyar has just raised $109 million and is opening new offices in Jerusalem and Haifa.
Sodastream plans $92 million expansion. PepsiCo is planning a $92 million expansion of its Sodastream plant in Rahat, southern Israel. It will hire an additional 1,000 employees; approximately one third of its current 1,500 strong workforce is comprised of Bedouin Arabs from the surrounding area.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Smile please. (TY UWI) The Arava International Photography Festival, part of the PlanetArava festival, recently took place in southern Israel. It offered 150 International photographers the chance to photograph the Holy Land’s unique wildlife and vibrant vistas. https://www.ynetnews.com/business/article/HJe33YMhB
Zero One to infinity. (TY Sharon) Your newsletter editor was invited to attend the Zero One Digital Arts Festival in Jerusalem publicized in last week’s edition. Regular contributor Sharon constructed a comprehensive article on the event, combining visual art, music, sound, technology and much more at the Tower of David.
Jamie Oliver features Israel on TV show. As reported previously (here), UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was spotted in Tel Aviv earlier this year. Now we know he was filming segments of Israeli vegan cooking and of Israeli spices for his UK Channel 4 TV show, “Jamie’s Meat-Free Meals,” which aired earlier in November.
Another gold medal in Abu Dhabi. Israel’s national anthem, Hatikvah, was again played in Abu Dhabi on Sunday after Israel’s 21-year-old Nimrod Ryder won the gold medal in the Under 77kg adult category at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championships.
THE JEWISH STATE
Bar/Bat Mitzvah for 80 Holocaust survivors. (TY UWI) A group of 80 French Holocaust survivors recently came to Israel for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations, about 80 years late. The trip was organized by Israel Experience – the Jewish Agency’s educational arm, and France’s United Jewish Social Fund in Israel (FSJU).
Excavating the Bible. (TY UWI) Israeli archaeologists believe they have uncovered, in the North Israel village of Ahwat, the fortress of Sisera, defeated by Barak and Deborah in the Book of Judges. Finds include scarabs, seals and figurines from the 13th and 12th centuries BCE. Also, a chariot lynchpin and iron smelting works.
Speak out for Israel. The Genesis Prize Foundation is offering $1 million in grants to groups fighting anti-Semitism and working to tell the true story of Israel. 2019 Genesis Prize Laureate Robert Kraft launched “Speak Out for Israel”, to encourage non-profits to combat attempts to de-legitimize the Jewish State.