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Good News from Israel

This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel Dec. 20, 2020

This Week’s Sanity Report from Israel Dec. 20, 2020

So many of Israel’s latest innovations and activities can only be described as “brilliant”. Medical research discoveries, devices and treatments;  social and humanitarian work; scientific advances in solar energy, water conservation, food security, safe transport and computer technology; winners in sport and entertainment. All achieved while slimultaneously bringing lost exiles home and turning swords into plowshares.

Compare last week’s photo of the 1st night of Chanukah to the brilliance of the 8th night. It symbolizes, as this newsletter shows, the vast amount of light Israel spreads in just one week.

The highlights include:

  • Israeli Covid-19 vaccine goes into Phase 2 trials as Israel rolls out the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Israel and Bhutan have established full diplomatic relations.
  • An Israeli smart color sensor can prevent massive food waste.
  • Israeli irrigation of rice crops saves water and the environment.
  • An Israeli company won a contract for its robots to clean a million solar panels.
  • Israel’s Wonder Woman won the first MTV “She-Ro” award.
  • A lost tribe’s return to Israel is one of three Israeli Chanukah “miracles”.






Mutating cancer cells. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute, working with others in the Netherlands and Norway, have discovered that melanoma cells can “frameshift” to grow whilst avoiding the immune system. The process, however, generates new peptides (short proteins) that scientists can now target with new therapies.





Gastro sensor gets “breakthrough” designation. (TY Nevet & UWI) Israel’s Exero Medical (reported here previously) has received Breakthrough device designation by the US FDA for its implantable biodegradable wireless sensor designed to continuously monitor for gastrointestinal leaks and healing status after surgery.



Covid-19 vaccine progress. The Israeli-developed BriLife Covid-19 vaccine is moving into Phase 2 trials. Hospitals including Sheba and Hadassah will test the vaccine on 1,000 volunteers including seniors and those with previous conditions. Meanwhile rollout of the Pfizer vaccine began – the Israeli PM first to be vaccinated.



https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/293351 https://youtu.be/SuNJQ85eG6o


One ventilator for 3 patients. Israel’s Yehonatan Medical together with Sheba Medical Center have devised a ventilation system with a high-power output and built-in disinfecting mechanism that can treat between three and five patients simultaneously. It includes AI technology for alerting and adjusting to patient responsiveness.



More intelligent Covid-19 treatment. Israel’s Iguazio (reported here previously) is to provide Israel’s Sheba Medical Center with clinical, real-time predictive insights from its AI Data Science Platform to help optimize care for Covid-19 patients. Iguazio’s systems will also help Sheba reduce delays in transporting patients.



Doctors arrive to help fight Covid-19. The Israel Experience Doctors’ Program has just brought 50 qualified doctors to Israel to help alleviate the coronavirus crisis. The doctors intend to make Aliya and simultaneously will prepare for Israeli medical licensing. 700 graduates of the program are already working in Israeli hospitals.



UV wavelength Covid-19 discovery. The ability of UV light to kill Covid-19 is well known. However, Tel Aviv University tests show UV with a wavelength of 285 nanometers kills 99.9% of the virus in 30 seconds – nearly as good as UV at 265nm. 285nm UV LED bulbs are cheaper and more readily available than 265nm.



Brain-monitoring app tests for post-Covid symptoms. Israel’s Montfort (reported here previously) has enhanced its AI smartphone app that monitors neurological conditions. After six months of trials in Brazil, it now offers a test protocol for patients who have recovered from Covid-19 but still suffer long-lasting effects.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3881692,00.html https://www.mon4t.com/covid-19/


$30 million for emergency department. Philanthropist Sylvan Adams has donated $30 million to fund a new Emergency Medicine department at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center. A similar amount was allocated by the Israeli government. It will take two years to construct and will be the largest ER in Israel.






Caring for children at risk. Orr Shalom (“light of peace) cares for 1,400 children who have been removed from their homes following severe abuse and neglect. In 40 years, Orr Shalom has provided some 56,000 children with professional help, warm and loving homes, and an opportunity for a better future.

https://orr-shalom.org.il/en/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3US9J4S8cE


Two years of co-existence podcasts. (TY Diana Bletter) For two years, Israeli award-winning reporter Dina Kraft has been producing her podcast “The Branch” about Jews and Arabs forging connections. Sponsored by Hadassah, 25 podcasts shine a light on the lives of the many Arabs and Jews who have developed deep bonds.




DiploTech 2020. The first global diplomatic-technology summit, DiploTech, looked at the world beyond COVID. Ambassador Nikki Haley praised Israel for its technology and innovation and highlighted the recognition from Arab countries of the importance of a partnership with Israel.



Masks for millions of children. Israel-based humanitarian organization SmartAID (see here) has launched a unique US initiative, “Millions of Masks for Children”. SmartAID (founded by IsraAID’s Shachar Zahavi) is distributing facemasks to kids on childcare and youth programs, beginning with those in Washington state.



Israel normalizes ties with Bhutan. Israel has established full diplomatic ties with Bhutan, a small, majority-Buddhist landlocked kingdom in the Himalayas neighboring India and China. Bhutan has diplomatic relations with some 50 countries (not US or UK). Israel will help Bhutan with water management, agriculture and health.






A third of electricity from solar by 2030. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the 2020 Climate Ambition Summit that by 2030 solar energy will provide one third of all Israel’s electricity. It currently generates 10% of power from solar, up from 2% just 5 years ago. By 2025, Israel would cease burning any coal.



An inside look at the INCD. (TY Stuart Palmer) The INCD – Israel’s National Cyber Directorate (reported here previously) is the government body charged with ensuring that Israel is defended against the myriad of cyber threats that lurk across our networks. It is the Iron Dome equivalent of the cyber world.



First graduates of Quantum SPARK. Five Israeli startups presented their Proofs of Concepts after 3 months in Quantum Hub’s SPARK incubator (see here). They are AutoTrust (vehicle ADAS), ThermoTerra (air-con), IntellAct (airport efficiency), SafeMode (driver safety) and Siraj Technologies (IoT machinery).



Colored sensors to prevent food waste. Israel’s Evigence develops visual freshness sensors with “smart” chemicals that change color to alert if a product is nearing its expiry date. In Q1 2021, Russia’s largest food retailer, X5 Retail Group, is to pilot the Green Dot label in several of its 910 Perekrestok supermarket stores.

https://www.retailtimes.co.uk/russias-x5-retail-group-to-use-israeli-tech-to-fight-food-waste-and-improve-customer-experience/  https://evigence.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl50LZf48D4


EIT Food Accelerator winner. Israel’s The Mediterranean Food Lab, which develops natural plant-based flavor bases for the alternative meat sector, won the EIT Food Accelerator Network Program with an award of €100,000 ($119,000). https://jewishbusinessnews.com/2020/11/27/the-mediterranean-food-lab-wins-eit-food-accelerator-network-program/  https://www.med-food-lab.com/


AI to write better reports. Israel’s AI21 Labs (reported here previously) has further developed its Artificially Intelligent word text skills into Wordtune. AI21 calls it “a writing companion product, designed to reduce the gap between our thoughts and what we end up writing”. Could be a useful tool for this newsletter editor.


https://www.wordtune.com/ https://www.ai21.com/


Conserve water and lower bills. Israel’s DrizzleX is a water metering system that detect leaks and overuse for properties sharing a single water meter. They include rental apartments, office buildings, hospitals, educational dormitories and army bases. The article focuses on DrizzleX’s CEO – an orthodox, Jewish grandmother.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3881630,00.html  https://www.drizzlex.com/



The strongest car air purifier. Israel’s Vootto has developed an air filtration system that is 99.9% efficient at removing pollutants, including Covid-19, from moving vehicles. Vootto replaces the vehicle’s air every 5 minutes; it has a 4-stage filtration system, plus, it contains an anti-odor material made from herbs and plants.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3881916,00.html https://www.vootto.com/


Photographing moving objects with no blur. Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a process that enables clear, sharp photography of moving objects without motion blur. Computational photography encodes motion information, and a digital image processing algorithm decodes it to restore the image’s sharpness.



Revolutionizing rice agriculture. Rice sustains half of humanity, but its cultivation uses 30% – 40% of global freshwater and causes 10% of world methane emissions. Israel’s Netafim has just tested drip-irrigation of 2,470 acres of rice fields in Europe and Asia. For the same yield it used 70% less water and caused zero emissions.


https://www.netafim.com/en/crop-knowledge/rice/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHT9DvyTziU


Autonomous driving through Munich. Israel’s Mobileye (owned by Intel) has released a one-hour video showing an autonomous car maneuvering its way through the German city of Munich using Mobileye’s camera-based system. It used data crowdsourced from cars, automatically processed into high-definition maps.




Giving customers the answer. When a company’s documentation is in a form that is not very user-friendly, Israel’s Zoomin Software will provide customers and potential customers with easy-to-use search and display facilities. So, they can find exactly what they are looking for without knowing where the documentation is held.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3882230,00.html https://www.zoominsoftware.com/



Take back control of application chaos. Israel’s Bionic has developed an application intelligence platform to help companies control complex computer systems. It analyzes applications to deliver a comprehensive systems inventory, architecture and data flows. It then monitors and controls any changes made to production systems.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3880776,00.html https://www.bionic.ai/






Cleaning a million solar panels in India. Israel’s Ecoppia (reported here previously) has won a contract from India’s Azure Power for its robotic solar panel cleaning system to be installed on an estimated one million panels in its latest 450MW project. In the last year, Ecoppia has sold systems for over 10GW of solar projects.



Made in Israel. In a pilot project, Israeli supermarket chains Shufersal, Victory and Hetzi Hinam are labeling locally produced fruit, vegetables, fish and meat ‘Israeli agriculture’. Surveys and research show most Israelis want to know the source of their produce and to buy “blue and white products,” i.e., products made in Israel,



Marketing Israeli hi-tech to the UAE. Israel’s Levent develops a customized trading platform enabling banks, investment companies, and traders to produce a trading platform for all their customers without writing code. Levent is partnering Zurich Capital who will promote Levent and other Israeli tech companies to UAE banks.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3880135,00.html  https://levent.io/


Incentivize your sales force. Israel’s Incentives Solutions (reported here previously) is launching JOOPY Tech, a high-tech version of its incentives and commission planning and management systems. It has been tailored for the complex commission arrangements for compensation and benefits in the high-tech industry.

https://www.incentives-solutions.com/news/time-israel-groundbreaking-technological-solution-calculating-volume-commissions-insurance-agents/ https://www.incentives-solutions.com/


Share English books in Israel. Maia Dori is a new Olah (immigrant to Israel). She has already set-up a startup called Rebook – an English book subscription service that offers members the opportunity to rent English books on a monthly basis. Many books (fiction and non-fiction) to choose from. Mentioned in the Jerusalem Post.

https://www.shoprebook.com/?page=2    https://www.shoprebook.com/bookstore



Protecting data is a billion-dollar business. Israeli-founded BigID uses advanced machine learning and identity intelligence to help enterprises better protect their customer and employee data. BigID has just raised $70 million, giving it a market valuation of $1 billion and the financial industry status of a “Unicorn”.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3882255,00.html https://bigid.com/



Israeli partnership for safer journeys. Israel’s Gett (see here) and Israel’s Carbyne (see here) have partnered to make a safer taxi service, linking Israel’s 10,000 Gett taxis to Carbyne’s 911 gateway. Passengers press a button to provide location details and enable either live video or silent chat to medics, police or the IDF.



Insurance for the digital age. Israel’s At-Bay is one of several Israeli companies addressing the modern-day area of cybersecurity insurance, where companies need to be protected financially against cyberattack. (see here for previous reporting). In addition to providing insurance, At-Bay helps companies improve their IT security.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3880130,00.html   https://www.at-bay.com/


Investment in Israeli startups: BigID raised $70 million; Hibob raised $70 million; Orca raised $55 million; At-Bay raised $34 million; Noname Security raised $25 million; Zoomin Software raised $14 million; Bionic raised $13 million;






The Abu Dhabi donut. The bakers at Jerusalem’s Café Kadosh have devised the Abu Dhabi donut, “to appreciate the peace process”. Filled with cream made from dates shipped by the UAE’s Jewish community, it has a nougat crown topped with an edible gold leaf and sells for 22 shekels.



Boy George records duet with Israeli singer. (TY Hazel) UK pop star Boy George (Culture Club) streamed his new single “Rainbow in the Dark”, recorded in English & Hebrew with Israeli performer Asaf Goren. Boy George said, “I look forward to being in Israel sometime soon and playing live. Shalom, peace and love.”



Gal Gadot is MTV’s first “She-Ro”. Israeli “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot won the first “She-Ro” in film history award at the MTV Movie & TV Awards: Greatest of All Time (GOAT) awards ceremony.




European medals at Taekwondo. Israel’s Emuna Samuels was runner-up in the over 59kg category at the 2020 European Taekwondo Cadet Championships in Bosnia. Also (not publicized) Israel’s Ariel Vigdor won Gold in the under 37kg category at the same event.




Israeli wins European gymnastics gold. Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat made history after winning the gold medal in the floor exercise at the 2020 European Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Turkey. He also won the bronze in the vault. In addition, Israel’s Alexander Myakinin won the bronze medal on the high bar.







Ancient oil lamp workshop re-discovered. A huge 3rd-4th century CE ceramic oil-lamp workshop has been discovered during excavations by Israeli archaeologists in Beit Shemesh. Lamps and molds bore both Jewish and Christian symbols. The site was originally discovered in 1934 but the location was subsequently forgotten.



Florida moves with Israel. Daniel Ackerman from Boca Raton has won a competition sponsored by the Israeli-American Council to design a specialty vehicle license plate saying that “Florida Stands with Israel.” The competition’s judges included Florida lawmakers from both the Democrat and Republican parties.




World Zionist Village project launched. The project to build the first World Zionist Village (reported here previously) was launched virtually on 2nd Dec. with over 500 JNF-USA donors attending. A competition was also initiated to design key elements including dormitories, classrooms, conference center and gardens.





International Jewish Media Summit. Israel hosted (virtually) the fourth International Jewish Media Summit. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said, “The role of the Jewish media is so important, not only for helping us all stay connected to our communities but for being the voice of the communities ….”



Chanukah on the streets of Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) Despite the pandemic, Jerusalem was illuminated by Chanukiot (Chanukah candelabras) everywhere – in public areas, shopping malls, parks, outdoor cafes and on gates to private houses. The festival may now be over, but its light remains with us.



“Thrilled to be in Yerushalayim”. These words were said by the first Bahraini woman to make an official visit to the Jewish State. Mashael Al-Shemeri is a member of an Emirati and Bahraini delegation visiting Israel. “I won’t say Al-Quds or Jerusalem, but Yerushalayim. Thank God this dream has become a reality,” she said.



“Lost tribe” arrive in their hundreds. (TY TPS) 252 members of the Bnei Menashe community from India, who retain their tradition of being a “lost tribe” of Israel, landed at Ben Gurion Airport during Chanukah. It follows months of preparation by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Shavei Israel organization.



A Kuwaiti Muslim’s journey to Chanukah. Mark Halawa lights his Chanukiah in Jerusalem and recalls his unique journey as a Kuwaiti Muslim to Orthodox Judaism. Mark’s Jewish maternal grandmother married a Jordanian Muslim. The family moved to Kuwait and then Canada where Mark approached a Chabad Rabbi.



The light of Peace at Kotel. Some special guests attended the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem on Monday. Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch said, “It is a Hanukkah miracle to see a delegation from the Emirates and Bahrain that is taking part in the candle-lighting.”


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