This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel Sept. 6, 2020
There have been many Israeli successes to celebrate since my last newsletter. More countries are adopting Israeli life-saving medical innovations to treat Covid-19, burns, smoking addiction and to detect cancer. Israelis have won global awards for creativity, innovation, business influence and photography. Israeli companies have won awards for diabetes care and Covid-19 therapy and others have reached financial milestones. Israel is again successfully fighting global humanitarian disasters and building trade with the Far East. But most significantly, Israel has achieved major diplomatic successes with key Arab, Muslim and European states.
The photo is of the Sail Tower in Haifa. The design of the building is often compared to the Burj-al-Arab hotel in Dubai.
The highlights include:
- The UK Health Service is to use Israeli tech to identify potential colon cancer patients.
- 6 Israelis are among the world’s top creative, innovative and influential businesspeople.
- Another Israeli-Italian medical research satellite has been launched.
- Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are allowing Israeli aircraft to overfly their countries.
- Two more Israeli companies have been valued at over a billion dollars.
- Team Israel Start-up Nation gets on the Tour de France podium.
- Archeologists discover dozens of 1st Temple period remains in Jerusalem.
- Historic new agreements with Serbia and Kosovo.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
More patients to receive Covid-19 treatment. Israel’s Pluristem (reported here previously) has launched an FDA-cleared Covid-19 expanded access program. It enables Pluristem to use its PLX-PAD cells to treat up to 100 more infected patients outside its current trials in the USA and Europe and compassionate use in Israel.
Maintaining Covid-19 antibodies. Israel’s Elicio Therapeutics has published the results of a pre-clinical study of its ELI-005 protein subunit vaccine for Covid-19. It extended the life of coronavirus antibodies and may resolve the problem whereby patients who recover from the virus can be re-infected if later exposed to it.
Breath test for Covid-19. Technion’s Hossam Haick, the Israeli-Arab Professor who invented the Sniffphone cancer detector (reported here previously) has led the development of another Israeli coronavirus breathalyzer test (see here for previous). The rest of his team is in Wuhan, China where Covid-19 likely originated.
UK uses Israeli colon cancer risk software. (TY Hazel) Barts Health, one of the largest providers to the UK’s National Health Service, has selected the ColonFlag software from Israel’s Medial EarlySign (reported here previously) to identify members at high risk for developing colon cancer – the UK’s 4th most common cancer.
Stimulating the brain to help quit smoking. The US FDA has approved the use of the Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) system from Israel’s BrainsWay (see here) to treat cigarette smokers who seek to quit. The patient wears a helmet containing a patented H-coil that generates a magnetic field for 20-minutes.
First delivery of burns treatment. Israel’s Mediwound (reported here previously) has delivered its first batch of its Nexobrid treatment for burns to BARDA (the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) for the US Department of Health’s emergency response preparedness.
DayTwo wins Roche Diabetes Care Innovation contest. Israel’s DayTwo (reported here previously) won the 2020 Roche Diabetes Care Innovation Contest. Its virtual pitch convinced the judges that its personalized nutrition solution, using microbiome data, could best integrate with Roche Diabetes Care.
The patient room of 2030. (TY Stuart Pl) This video simulates how the futuristic patient rooms at Israel’s Sheba hospital integrate artificial intelligence, robotic technologies, wearable devices, virtual reality and other smart technology to simulate the most extreme medical situations, including the current coronavirus pandemic.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Computers for at-risk youth. The Israeli Public Forum for Youth Villages and Boarding Schools is tackling the problem of many Israeli children lacking computers to help them study. The NGO raises funds and has supplied 1,400 computers to some of the 25,000+ disadvantaged children it supports. But more are needed.
Most creative woman. Inna Braverman, founder and CEO of Israeli clean-energy company Eco Wave Power was named in the 11th annual Fast Company list of the 74 Most Creative People in Business. Most recently, she was awarded the United Nations Global Climate Action Award (reported here previously).
Top innovator. (TY Janglo) Eliran Malki, co-founder and CEO of Israel’s Belong.Life (the world’s largest social cancer network), has been named one of the top 25 innovators of 2020 by Modern Healthcare magazine. It recognizes his company’s use of AI and machine learning to create uniquely personalized patient experiences.
Influential Israelis. Fortune magazine named 4 Israelis in its 2020 “40 under 40” list of 200 most influential young people in business. They are Nir Bar Dea of Bridgewater Associates, Yoni Assia CEO of eToro, Yonatan Adiri CEO of Healthy.io and Adam Mosseri CEO of Instagram, who holds dual US & Israeli citizenship.
Oxygen for Indian hospitals. (TY Hazel) The Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Karnataka state, South India, has donated 25 industrial oxygen concentrators, or purifiers, to help contain the spread of Covid-19 in Karnataka hospitals. https://www.jpost.com/
Covid-19 aid to Liberia. (TY Hazel) Israel’s MASHAV (Agency for International Development) presented various humanitarian aid and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Liberian Health Services. It also supplied food items and startup kits to young single mothers and families in Liberia, affected by COVID 19.
Fighting California wildfires again. Israel helped California fight wildfires in 2018 (see here) and is back again with a team of experts to help combat the latest incidents. California Governor Gavin Newsom and US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien thanked the Israelis for their response.
From Israel to the UAE. Flight LY971, carrying the US-Israeli delegation to Abu Dhabi International Airport, was the first EL Al plane to fly through Saudi airspace and the first direct flight from Israel to the Gulf. A popular UAE newspaper headlined “Salam, Shalom”.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Are you wearing your mask? Israel’s Sheba Medical Center is using the software from Israel’s AnyVision (see here) to persuade its visitors to wear masks and to wear them correctly. The facial recognition system displays positive or negative messages on nearby screens depending if and how a person is wearing a mask.
The impact of IDF’s 8200 unit. The Alumni of the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unit has launched the sixth round of its 8200 Impact Accelerator program. It runs for five months, focusing on technological solutions for meaningful, social, and environmental problems. It has so far supported 10 ventures – all related to Covid-19.
Israeli-Italian satellite launched. Israeli and Italian space agencies have successfully launched the DIDO-3 nanosatellite. It is part of a series of satellites (see here) built by Israeli-Swiss company SpacePharma that Israeli and Italian scientists are using to conduct micro-gravity experiments into antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Protecting our energy infrastructure. On Sep 10, the US-Israel Energy Center is holding a webinar entitled “Cyber Security for Energy Infrastructure”. See link for registration and links to previous webinars.
Radar monitor for the elderly. Israel’s EchoCare (reported here previously) has begun production its ECHO radar-based, non-invasive emergency monitor for seniors. Following trials in Japan and Australia, demand has been high due to Covid-19. ECHO detects and alerts users on a variety of emergency or abnormal behaviors.
Monitoring shoppers increases sales. Israeli supermarket chain Victory has used cameras and software from Israeli neuromarketing company Drill, to analyze the reactions of shoppers in their stores to products, prices, and aisle location. It has led to a 10% increase in revenue compared to its stores without the technology.
Games to measure child development. Israel’s GiantLeap, has developed a platform to test cognitive development. It has partnered with the Texas Medical Center, where parents at home can evaluate 8 areas of their child’s development including social behavior, language, motor skills, and brain functioning.
Higher yield crops in salty soil. Israel’s Salicrop (reported here previously) has just completed 3 years of field trials in Israel, India and Spain of its seed crops that thrive in saline (salty) soil. Salicrop soaks its seeds in a proprietary chemical cocktail, under very strict conditions and achieved an increase in yield of up to 32%.
Social robots teach children language skills. Tel Aviv University scientists have used robots to help teach 5 to 9-year-olds how to decipher words. They tested 50 children on their ability to identify verb roots and nouns. They then gave the kids short robot-led activity-based sessions, which dramatically improved their test results.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Open skies to the Gulf and beyond. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have formally agreed to allow all aircraft, including Israeli, to use their airspace. Meanwhile, UAE’s Etihad Airways has started selling tickets to Israelis, with direct flights between the UAE and Israel expected within just a few weeks.
Trade with UAE. Israel signed its first official agreement with the United Arab Emirates. A joint committee was set up to advance cooperation in finances and investments. The UAE formally ended its economic boycott of Israel and signed a decree to build ties in business, tourism, tech, research, energy, and academia.
Funds for tech production. Israel’s Innovation Authority has launched a NIS 40 million ($12 million) a year program to bring advanced manufacturing capabilities to Israeli industry and increase the number of tech firms that make their products in Israel. It will help build new factories and upgrade the technology at existing ones.
New agreements with India. (TY UWI) Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi met on Thursday with 11 ambassadors from the Asia-Pacific region. Bilateral agreements were signed with India to promote culture and cooperate on a water project in India.
Grants for joint Israel-South Korean projects. The Israel Innovation Authority is awarding grants of up to $2 million for projects involving both Israeli and South Korean companies. The projects need to be in the bio arena, including nanorobotics, advanced therapeutics discovery, tissue engineering and bio-electronics.
Japanese investment approaching record levels. The latest IVC Research Center report shows that Japanese investment in Israeli tech firms is unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. The $853 million for the first half of 2020 compares to $660 million in the first half of 2019 and the record total of $1.5 billion for the whole year.
Expanding trade with Japan – an example. Leading AI chipmaker, Israel’s Hailo (reported here previously) has opened a new Japanese subsidiary to support its growing Asia-Pacific client base and expand its global reach. It follows two new Japanese partnerships and a $60 million investment including from Japan’s NEC.
Who is flying to Israel? You must check if you will be allowed entry, but all these airlines are now flying into Tel Aviv on a regular basis. United, Delta, Lufthansa, Swiss, Ethiopian, WizzAir, Air Canada, Air France, Israir, Belavia, Ryanair, Austrian, Turkish, Aegean, Air Europa, Pegasus, easyJet and Ukraine International.
Pennsylvania grant for Covid-19 therapy. The US State of Pennsylvania has given a grant of $300,000 to help advance the clinical testing of opaganib from Israel’s RedHill Biopharma (reported here previously). The grant is part of the state’s program supporting the rapid advancement of promising novel COVID-19 therapies.
Redis Labs becomes a Unicorn. Database software developer Redis Labs (reported here previously) has just received $100 million of financing that values the company at more than $1 billion, giving it the financial title of a Unicorn. Redis has over 7,500 customers, including MasterCard, Dell, Microsoft, Costco and Gap,
Nanox becomes a Unicorn. Israel’s Nanox (reported here previously) has just raised $165 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the NASDAQ. The share price of the portable X-Ray devices company rose 21% on their first day of trading. Subsequent rises have brought the company’s valuation to over $1 billion.
An app to buy from small Israeli shops. Israeli app BeeZee is the brainchild of Georgina Green, an employee of marketing agency GMT. She arranged development of an app that enables people anywhere in the world to order goods from over 100 Israeli “mom-and-pop” stores for delivery to friends or relatives in Israel.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Save the Arts, Yay! STAY (Save The Arts Yay) performing arts benefit in Tel Aviv on Oct 1st will feature some of Israel’s top comedic and musical performers. They include Yohay Sponder, Lioz Shem Tov, Kandi Abelson, Chaya Lev, Grant and Daniella Crankshaw from Center Stage and many more. Hosted by Mike Kroll.
Israeli Wonder Woman returns. Israeli actress Gal Gadol is back in her superhero role in Wonder Woman 1984 which is scheduled to be released on 2nd October. She also stars in a remake of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Giant manta ray visits Israeli waters. The marine unit of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority recently sighted a rare giant manta way near Eilat – the largest specimen seen swimming off the Israeli coast in the last 15 years. The giant manta is defined as a “vulnerable” species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
Bird photographers of the year. Two Israeli photographers won Gold in the 2020 Bird Photography of the Year (BPOTY) competition. Moshe Cohen won the Attention to Detail category with his photo of a Scops owl next to a tree. Gadi Shmila won the Bird in Flight category with his photo of a hoopoe – Israel’s national bird.
Israel cycles into history. An Israeli team has begun the Tour de France – the first time in its 107-year history. Israel Start-up Nation’s Krists Neilands even gave Israel their first podium finish at the end of Stage 4. He did not win the Stage, but he was awarded the combativity prize for leading the breakaway charge during the race.
Covid-19 facemasks for Tour de France. The Team Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team are using anti-viral SonoMasks made by Israel’s Sonovia during their participation in this year’s Tour de France bicycle race. The washable, reusable anti-pathogen facemasks are branded with the team’s logo.
THE JEWISH STATE
2700-year-old discovery. Israeli archaeologists have uncovered in Jerusalem, dozens of stone artifacts dating to 7th century BCE when First Temple King Hezekiah ruled Judea. They included sections of lavish window frames plus decorated pillar capitals identical to today’s 5 Shekel coin. Even the BBC reported the discovery.
Save a life – donate your plasma. More than 83,000 Israelis have recovered from Covid-19 infection. They are requested urgently to call Magen David Adom Blood Services on 03-9101101 to donate plasma so that their antibodies can save lives. The Talmud states “Whoever saves a life it’s as if they have saved an entire world.”
The ship that launched the Jewish State. The famous voyage of the ship Exodus in 1947 carrying 4,500 Holocaust survivors made a huge global impact. Netanya’s Ervin Birnbaum was on board and has been enthralling us with his eye-witness testimony. Here are links to the first two parts of his story. More to follow.
Stoudemire conversion completed. Amar’e Stoudemire, the NBA star who continued his basketball career by making Aliyah to Israel, has confirmed that his conversion to Judaism is now complete. His Hebrew name is Yahoshafat Ben Avraham. Stoudemire helped Maccabi Tel Aviv win the Israeli championship earlier this year.
Just a regular event. An everyday example of an Israeli soldier helping an elderly Arab down steps in Jerusalem. https://unitedwithisrael.org/
Normalization with Kosovo; Serbia to move embassy to Jerusalem. The leaders of Serbia and (95% Muslim) Kosovo have signed economic normalization deals with Israel. As part of its agreement, Serbia will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by next summer – the first European country to do so.
Peace is made with kosher food. Rabbi Yissachar Krakowski, head of Israel’s Orthodox Union kosher department. supervised Dubai caterer Elli’s Kosher Kitchen in preparing 300 kosher meals for Jewish members of the US and Israeli delegation to the UAE. Ellis will now also supply kosher food to guests at Dubai hotels.