This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel July 12, 2020
Israel continues to develop tests and treatments to combat the Covid-19 virus that attacks the respiratory system and also restricts many of us from enjoying the fresh air outside. Other Israeli medical breakthroughs helping us breathe easier include a discovery about sleep and mobile devices to X-ray the lungs.
So many of Israel’s latest scientific innovations are eco-friendly, such as turning waste material into biogas or even hand sanitizer. Others prevent digesting toxic chemicals, stop pollution at ports, produce “green” microalgae, develop flying cars that run on clean hydrogen gas and an ecosystem based on vegan food. Finally, for those who can venture outside, there are many places of natural beauty to enjoy and breathe in Israel’s fresh air.
The photo is of Israel’s Hula Valley, where it is always so easy to breathe.
The highlights include:
- New Israeli high-sensitivity tests for Covid-19 infections and antibodies.
- Thousands of Israeli mobile X-ray devices have been distributed worldwide.
- Israel has appointed its first Arab Bedouin ambassador.
- Israeli scientists are making hand sanitizer from vegetable waste.
- Investment in Israeli startups has surged in the last 3 months.
- More Israeli security for ports in European and (Muslim) African countries.
- A UK Tour de France champion is to lead an Israeli cycling team.
- Another orthodox Israeli woman has qualified to advise on matters of Jewish law.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
The best test for Covid-19 antibodies. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a serological test that from one blood sample can, for the first time, identify all three of the key antibodies that counter Covid-19. The test is extremely sensitive and accurate to around 98-99 percent, better than current tests.
Another fast Covid-19 test. Israel’s AID Genomics has developed a coronavirus test kit that gives results in just 30 minutes. It uses different enzymes from current tests with much higher sensitivity. AID Genomics has partnered with the Chinese-owned BGI Group, which will be distributing the test in Israel and globally.
Fix the heart before treating cancer. Researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute have made a breakthrough discovery that cancer progresses much faster in patients with heart problems. To improve their survival chances, these patients should have their heart treated first before beginning cancer therapy.
How deep we sleep. Neuroscientists at Tel Aviv University working with others at Israel’s Weizmann Institute, UK’s Bristol and France’s Montpellier universities, have discovered the brain’s mechanism for deep sleep. The locus coeruleus in the brainstem secretes the chemical noradrenaline and too high levels prevent deep sleep.
Innovative gastro stent technology. (TY Hazel) Gastro stents are essential for clearing clots in the bile ducts and pancreas. Israel’s Endo GI Medical has received US FDA approval for its Stenting Placement Delivery Systems that reduce risk of infection from repetitive insertions of singular stents.
Breakthrough device for dialysis patients. (TY Atid-EDI) The US FDA has awarded breakthrough designation to the VasQ from Israel’s Laminate Medical (reported here previously). The device provides safe connections to dialysis machines. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vasq-external-support-awarded-breakthrough-device-designation-by-the-fda-301071728.html
Monitoring cancer post-surgery. (TY Atid-EDI) At its Israeli R&D center, C2i Genomics has developed a personalized, real-time solution for monitoring recurrence and treatment response for various types of solid cancers. It employs a breakthrough tumor DNA pattern recognition approach for liquid biopsy.
Mobile X-rays for five more countries. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Nanox (reported here previously) has signed multiple new deals to deploy over 1000 of its mobile X-ray devices to Russia, Belarus, Taiwan, Singapore and Italy. Previous deployments include to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Vietnam.
Autism Research and Treatment. The latest Ben-Gurion Briefing, “Autism Research and Treatment” featured 4 leading Israeli experts from Ben-Gurion University and Soroka University Medical Center. They discussed whether early autism diagnosis can lead to the eradication of symptoms of autism later in life.
Saving lives is vital. An exciting article about a United Hatzalah paramedic who, on the eve of her final chemistry exam, rushed to save the life of a heart-attack victim.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Even the disabled can surf here. There are several clubs in Israel where people with disabilities can enjoy the opportunity of surfing in the sea. There are even special adaptive surfboards, including a surfboard and walker combination designed by Israel’s Adi Klang, 2017 ISA World Adaptive Surfing champion.
Protecting the disabled from Covid-19. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Israeli charity ALEH takes utmost care of its 750 vulnerable babies, infants, children and adult residents at its 4 Israeli sites. Staff are covered in protective clothing and self-quarantine when necessary. Parents and volunteers stay in contact by phone.
Israel’s first Bedouin Ambassador. Israel’s Foreign Ministry is appointing Ishmael Khaldi (reported here previously) to head its Eritrea embassy. Once ratified, it will make him Israel’s first-ever Bedouin (Arab Muslim) Ambassador.
Bar-Ilan’s first female Arab professor. Bar-Ilan University has appointed Prof. Elinor Saiegh-Haddad as their first Arab female full professor. Her work focuses on linguistics and also language acquisition by children. She additionally serves as a senior adviser to various organizations in Israel and around the world.
New ambassadors. Israel’s President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Colombia, Greece, Denmark, Romania and Argentina to the State of Israel. There were several differences to previous ceremonies, due to Covid-19 – with masks, social distancing, a smaller IDF honor guard and audience.
Nice compliments from OECD official. OECD deputy secretary general Ulrik Vestergaard Knudsen praised Israel at an online conference marking 10 years since Israel joined the OECD. “The Israeli level of development and digitization is twice that of other OECD countries.” He said many other good things too.
Israelis in EU food consortium. EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make food healthier and more sustainable. Israel’s Technion Institute is a core consortium member and Israel’s Amai Proteins (reported here previously) is a member of the “Rising Food Stars” startup club.
Israel appointed to UN Food & Agriculture board. Israel has been accepted to the board of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and begins a 3-year term in the organization. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it wanted to share Israel’s unique knowledge and improve global living conditions.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
From autonomous vehicle cameras to Covid-19. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Foresight Autonomous Holdings has turned its visible-light and thermal cameras into a mass screening solution for the detection of COVID-19 symptoms. Its vision systems and AI algorithms will detect coughing, high body temperature and fatigue.
Turning waste into hand sanitizer. Scientists at Tel Aviv University can transform some of Israel’s 620,000 tonnes of vegetable waste into alcohol for producing sanitizers. TAU’s reactor uses a small amount of ozone to produce ethanol and potentially replace the need for Israel to import alcogels.
Award-winning waste-management. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s SGTech (Sustainable Green Technologies – see previous here) has just received Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 European Technology Innovation Award for SGTech’s Integrated Ecosystem Solution. It turns livestock waste into clean biogas and water, plus nutrient-rich compost.
Avoid toxic chemicals. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Clearya is a free app to help people avoid toxic chemicals when shopping online for cosmetics, personal care, cleaning products and baby care products. Clearya automatically analyzes the product ingredient lists online and warns if any of the ingredients match a known toxicant.
Sustainable microalgae factory. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Yemoja (reported here previously) has opened its new plant dedicated to the production of high value microalgae. The “green” factory is chemical-free, uses recycled water and minimal energy. It is already fulfilling orders from global nutraceutical and cosmeceutical sectors.
The VeganNation app. An essential part of VeganNation’s new ecosystem (reported here previously) is its mobile app. It accesses vegan businesses and organizations and links via VeganPay to your VeganCoin wallet.
Eco-friendly flying cars of the future. Israel’s Urban Aeronautics has 2 divisions. Tactical Robotics (reported here previously) for its prototype unmanned Cormorant aircraft; Metro Skyways is developing the 6-seater CityHawk. Both will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and targeted to be available by the end of this decade.
An all-Israeli satellite. Israel has successfully launched its Ofek-16 (“Horizon-16”) satellite. Both the satellite and its Shavit launcher were developed locally in Israel. The highly advanced reconnaissance satellite has already entered orbit and undergone initial tests. It will begin transmitting its first pictures a week after launch.
Ashdod – a smarter port. One of Israel’s two largest ports, Ashdod, has chosen another 18 startups to test their innovative technologies. They include drone patrolling, pollution sensors, autonomous cargo trucks, and wave energy. Three startups were previously selected in 2019 and already are piloting their technologies.
Award-winning Smart City system. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Octopus Systems has won a New Product Innovation Award from global consultants Frost & Sullivan – just one of Octopus’ many awards. Octopus’ Smart City control platform allows supervision of operations, security, infrastructure and communications.
The safest car-seat. (TY Stuart) Some 700 children die in car accidents in Europe annually, and 80,000 are injured. The EU has awarded Israel’s BabyArk a 2.5 million Euro grant to develop “the safest car seat ever created” for children. It incorporates energy absorption technology and anchors the seat to the vehicle’s frame.
Nano ink for sensors. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s PV Nano Cell (reported here previously) has announced new inkjet printing technology. Uses include sensors for a world-leading multinational healthcare company. It is also to be used in an EU-funded project for laser printed RFID antennas fingerprint sensors.
Sea change. When sailboats and other craft get into difficulties at sea, the rescue boat usually tosses a rope to secure the vessel in distress. Israel’s Sealartec uses a hydrodynamic floating structure with a robotic capture device and an autonomous processes control decision-making algorithm. It also retrieves unmanned vessels.
Too complex to explain in 3 lines. (TY Atid-EDI) Some Israeli companies develop products that are too technical to explain in my limited space. Such as Sixgill’s next-gen threat intelligence visualization; CyberArk Alero’s new authentication options; Newsight Imaging’s kit for spectral profiling; Illusive Networks’ new forensics; Safe-T Group’s (NetNut) new data center proxy network; Gilat Satellite’s new VSAT Capricorn Plus; Hub Security’s Quantum-proof HSM;
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli startups raise $2.5 billion in Q2. Despite coronavirus, startups in Israel raised $2.5 billion during the 3 months from Apr to Jun 2020, 13% higher than the same period in 2019. The number of deals – 170 – was 33% more than the number of transactions in the second quarter of 2019.
And we’re hiring. There should be no reason for Israeli hi-tech workers to be unemployed. This article gives details of dozens of Israeli companies who are actively recruiting skilled staff.
A new trade deal with Romania every two weeks. In 2019, 26 trade deals were struck between Israeli and Romanian firms and agencies. And in one week in June 2020 Israel’s Romania mission held virtual programs on cyber and homeland security, an online oncology clinic, chronic disease programs and an agriculture event.
Another $5 billion of reserves. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of June 2020 were over $147 billion, an increase of over $4.8 billion on their level at the end of May 2020.
Connecting businesses to fast Internet. The Israeli government is offering a grant of NIS 1,000 for up to 20,000 small businesses to allow them to connect to Israel’s fiber-optic Internet. Upgrading their connections will help the businesses to digitally maintain and expand their business activity
There will still be Israeli Bluebirds. Israel’s Bluebird Aero Systems (reported here previously) was taken over by Israel Aerospace Industries. So, Bluebird’s innovative Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology will still be Israeli. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3832433,00.html
Security for Spain and Djibouti. Israel’s Magal Security Systems (reported here previously) has just won $2.5 million of orders. One is to extend its security contract with the Spanish port of Tarragona. The others are for new seaport security projects, including at the mainly Muslim Republic of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
Testing healthcare systems. Israel’s Pcysys (reported here previously) has been chosen separately by US giant Apria Healthcare and UK’s St Margaret’s Hospice Care, to automate their cyber security testing with Pcysys’ PenTera Automated Penetration Testing Platform. Sadly, medical systems are often subject to cyber-attack.
Funds raised by Israeli startups: BiolineRX raised $4.39 million; Prilenia raised $62.5 million; C2i Genomics raised $12 million; infiniDome raised $1.6 million; Accellix raised $9.5 million; Nucleai raised $6.5 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Bringing culture nationwide. (TY Janglo) Israeli organization Tarbut Movement comprises young artists and educators from across Israel. They promote cultural activities for 2,500 children and teens, plus art groups for adults and seniors in the social and geographical periphery of Israel. It also operates in eight Arab-Israeli towns.
Happy World Chocolate Day. Israel is home to over 60 world-renowned chocolatiers. On World Chocolate Day (July 7) Israelis enjoyed candy bars, truffles and even an Israeli chocolate kebab!
Sabraman to the coronavirus rescue. (TY David Herman) A fanciful suggestion by David that Uri Fink’s legendary Hebrew comic-book superhero Sabraman could come out of retirement to rid us of coronavirus. Halevai! (If only). https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/sabraman-to-the-corona-curse-rescue/
Israel’s mini-Grand Canyon. (TY Mickey) Israel’s Kan TV channel has revealed Israel’s own mini version of Arizona Grand Canyon. Like many things in Israel, it was formed in just a few decades as brine from the Dead Sea works in Israel and Joran flows from one part of the Dead Sea to the other, cutting into the Arava mud.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlN8APOicP4 (Commentary in Hebrew only, but great photography.)
Tour de France winner to cycle for Israel. (TY Hazel) Four-time Tour de France winner, UK’s Chris Froome will lead the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team. He is scheduled to sign a contract on August 1st that will take him to the end of his professional career. The BBC reported he was leaving, but not his destination!
THE JEWISH STATE
Almost the Garden of Eden. (TY Sharon) The renovations and replanting in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park have made a huge improvement to one of the largest public outside green spaces in Israel’s capital.
Ethiopian-Jewish heritage in the heart of Tel Aviv. Born on route to Israel during Operation Solomon, 29-year-old Ethiopian Israeli Ashagar Araro is founder of Battae, an Ethiopian Heritage center in the heart of Tel Aviv. Israeli and international visitors experience the joy of Ethiopian culture through food, dance and art.
An Orthodox Israeli female spiritual leader. Rabbanit Shira Sapir is the 9th woman to have completed the 5-year course of studies in Ohr Torah Stone’s Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership. Certified as Morat Hora’ah and Spiritual Leader, she is authorized to provide direction in matters of Jewish Law.
What did you get me for my birthday?! Imagine this conversation around 150,000 years ago, when several painted clam shells were strung together on wild flax to form the earliest necklace ever discovered. They were found during excavations in a cave in northern Israel. It is also the earliest known use of string.