History of Israel's Good News - Apr to Jun 2017

170525


In the 25th Jun 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists have discovered a gene mutation responsible for long life.
·         The new Israeli soft suit exoskeleton enables stroke patients to walk again.
·         Israel’s new First Secretary to Turkey is a Muslim woman.
·         Israeli scientists have discovered a support network used by trees.
·         Israeli water technology is alleviating drought in Miami.
·         Israel is to increase the disabled allowance by 60%.
·         Much acclaim for Israeli actress Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman” movie.
·         Part of a 2000-year-old column discovered from the Second Temple plaza.

·         Click here to see the 4th June newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel, with special feature on Inclusive and Global. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Gene mutation extends life by a decade.  In a study of American male Jews over the age of 100, University of Haifa researchers have discovered a genetic mutation that affects the growth hormone receptor gene. Men with this mutation live on average 10 years longer than those without it. http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Change-in-gene-adds-a-decade-to-the-lives-of-men-only-497162

Azerbaijan deputy PM has heart surgery in Israel. (TY Hazel) Abid Sharifov, Azerbaijan’s deputy Prime Minister, was flown to Israel after his doctors determined his heart condition was life-threatening. Surgeons at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center unblocked an artery and fitted Sharifov with a pacemaker and defibrillator.

EU loan for flu vaccine trial. The European Investment Bank has granted a 20 million Euro loan to Israeli biotech BiondVax to fund the Phase III trials of its Universal Flu Vaccine. 

Wrist-wearable heart monitor.  (TY Dror) Israeli startup CardiacSense has developed a smartwatch heart monitor which is almost as accurate as an ECG machine. Its revolutionary heart arrhythmia detection measures blood pressure using a PPG (photoplethysmogram). Then touch the wristband to get an ECG.

Chief of Police donates bone marrow to save a life.  Meir Pulver spends his days protecting Israel’s population. He is Chief Superintendent of Israel’s Police Force. Thanks to Israeli charity Ezer Mizion he donated bone marrow to save the life of Chana, and give her the chance to see her seven grandchildren grow up.

Longer-lasting treatment.  I’ve reported previously (here) on the deutetrabenazine treatment for Huntington’s disease from Israel’s Teva. But the reason it is so effective is because Teva replaced some of the hydrogen atoms with the heavier isotope deuterium, so that more of it can resist stomach acids and reach the intestines.

US approval for spinal treatment software. I reported previously (July 31) on the Mazor X guidance systems for spinal surgery from Israel’s Mazor  Its latest module X Align has just received US FDA approval, allowing surgeons to create a 3D alignment plan that simulates the impact of proposed surgery on the patient’s posture.

Two kibbutzniks founded a NASDAQ biotech. Israelis Dror Ben-Asher and Ori Shilo founded the biotech RedHill BioPharma – named after the earth-red hill that the kibbutz overlooked. Now their company is successfully trialing treatments to cure Crohn’s disease, Helicobacter pylori, stomach cancer and much more.

Soft suit exoskeleton for stroke patients.  Israel’s ReWalk has unveiled its prototype for a soft suit exoskeleton, to enable many of the millions with lower limb disabilities to walk upright. Initially, the new “Restore” suits will be used to assist stroke survivors, followed by multiple sclerosis patients.

Competition to diagnose cervical cancer.  (TY Eli) I reported previously about Israeli startup MobileODT (was MobileOCT)  that uses smartphones to detect cervical cancer. Now Intel is offering a $50,000 prize to the best algorithm and Artificial Intelligence that can diagnose cancer from MobileODT’s smartphone images.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Social impact hackathon week.  The Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) organization brought together 35 programmers to make people’s lives better. The event lasted a week and solutions included healthy eating at restaurants, supporting parents with autistic kids, making education more accessible and safer driving.

We’re all connected.  This article describes what happened when a mother with three children in hospital contacted Ezer Mizion’s “Linked to Life” What’s App program.

The first female Muslim Israeli diplomat.  Muslim women in Israel are doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs, bus drivers, judges, IDF soldiers, etc. (see here and here). Now Israel gets its first Muslim, female diplomat, when Rasha Atamny from Baqa al-Gharbiya becomes first secretary at the Israeli embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Mossad’s rescue of Ethiopian Jews.  Israel is the only country ever to have brought blacks out of Africa to freedom. At the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) ex-Mossad agents describe the rescue of thousands of Ethiopian Jews via Sudan.  The first article contains recently discovered films of those secretive events. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4949368,00.html

Photography brings Jews and Arabs kids together.  (TY Hazel) One of many Roots’ co-existence projects brings Palestinian Arab children together with religious Jewish children living in Judea and Samaria to take photographs and learn more about each other.  https://www.friendsofroots.net/projects/

Giving Arab kids the gift of hearing.  (TY Jake) Due to genetics, the Bedouin town of El Sayed, in Israel’s Negev desert, has the highest proportion of deaf people in the world. They have even developed a unique sign language. A new documentary looks at the impact of Israeli doctors giving the children cochlear implants so that they can hear. Also, a new video to enhance previous (26 Feb) report on implants for Palestinian Arab kids.

IDF medics treat Syrians nearly every day. The treatment of wounded Syrians by IDF medics is continuous, and is carried out on a near-daily basis. It started with one injured Syrian who came to the border four years ago, asking for medical help.  Since then over 2,800 injured Syrians have entered Israel for treatment.

First non-African leader to address ECOWAS.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Liberia, where he was the first non-African head of state to be invited to speak to the members of ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States.

Israel’s capital recognized.  Jerusalem has been formally recognized as the capital of Israel by the US Senate, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Vanuatu.

Israel is America’s unique ally.  The Israel-US relationship is a bilateral bond from which both sides derive considerable benefit.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/O-I08LBB_ZY?rel=0

New York goes blue and white.  Thousands of marchers generated a sea of blue and white flags along New York City’s Fifth Avenue for the annual Celebrate Israel parade. Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan represented Israel. He also launched a new anti-BDS campaign called “4IL”.

Conserving birdlife in Turkey.  I reported previously (here) about Israel’s Champions of the Flyway bird race, that raises funds to stop illegal trapping of song birds in the Middle East. This year’s race raised over $60,000 to end the illegal practice of hunting and trapping songbirds in southern Turkey.

Israeli global agricultural training in 2016.  This article lists just some of the work of Israel’s overseas development agency MASHAV last year. Countries benefitting from Israeli agro-tech included Kenya, India, 11 Latin American states, Paraguay, seven former Soviet states and five African states.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Trees interact with each other.  Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have proved that mature spruce trees take up carbon molecules in their top branches and pass them down through the soil to nearby beech, larch and pine trees. These travel through underground highways formed by connected root fungi.

How jellyfish sting.  Researchers at Israel’s Technion and the University of Haifa have explained for the first time the unique mechanism by which the most common jellyfish attack their enemies.  They inject toxic material from thousands of microscopic syringes, resembling poisoned arrows, located on each of their arms.

Hold back the desert. (TY UWI) To mark United Nations' World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, here is a video showing how Israel is one of the leading countries fighting desertification, that threatens global hunger, disease, and poverty. https://www.youtube.com/embed/NdNCUwUaLfg?rel=0

Terminal 1 renovated.  My son was one of the first passengers using the refurbished Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion airport.  Passengers of low-cost airlines now check-in, shop for duty free and board planes all from Terminal 1 without being bused to Terminal 3.  The terminal handles 33 flights a day and 1.4 million passengers a year.

Keeping kids safe on their smartphones.  Israel’s SafeMobile is a simple-to-install app that will protect children from unsuitable and malicious content when using their smartphones.  CEO Yuval Rapaport was interviewed on ILTV.

What on earth is that flower?  I reported previously (July 2011) about Israeli app “Bar-Code Flower,” that allows you to take a picture of a flower with your mobile phone, and then tells you its species. Now FlowerzBot from Israeli startup Cnature identifies 1000 flowers and wildlife. Currently in Hebrew, but soon also in English.

If the shoe fits… Israeli startup Invertex has digitized the way we buy shoes. It uses 3D imaging and artificial intelligence, enabling smartphones to scan feet in shoe shops or at home and suggest the best buys in-store or on-line.  Invertex has just received $2 million of seed funding.

Protection against drones.  At the Paris Air Show, Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled its new laser-interception system designed to provide air defense against micro- and nano- unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The “Drone Dome” system detects, identifies, tracks, and neutralizes hostile drones using laser beams.

Cleaning up Brazil’s sewage.  (TY Hazel) Brazil is to clean up its sewage problem using the system from Israel’s Paulee CleanTcc for transforming human waste into odor-free, sterilized farm fertilizer. Currently, 60% of the 6.8 million liters of daily sewage sludge generated in Brazil gets dumped back into nature untreated.

Producing water from Miami air.  Much was reported about Israel’s Water-Gen, demonstrated by Professor Alan Dershowitz at AIPAC (see Apr 30). Now the Florida suburb of Miami Gardens is partnering with Water-Gen in a pilot project to extract water from airborne humidity and dispense clean drinking water to residents.

VR brings ancient Jerusalem to life.  (TY Bennett) A new virtual reality (VR) app brings ancient Jerusalem to life. Available on Google Play: http://tinyurl.com/grwmck6 or on the App Store: http://tinyurl.com/zys24pp

Power if your aircraft engine fails. Israel’s Ashot Ashkelon unveiled HYSKY 60 - its emergency aircraft hybrid engine at the Paris Air Show.  The 20kg propulsion unit will provide up to 15 minutes of extra time for light aircraft whose main engine stops working. The system can also add power to assist the plane in taking off.

Permits for driverless cars on Israeli roads.  Israel’s Transport Ministry has granted permits for both GM and Mobileye to test their autonomous cars on Israeli roads. GM Israel general manager Gil Golan said, “What we are developing today in Israel could contribute to and influence the future of transportation, lifestyle and culture generally." http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-gm-to-test-autonomous-cars-on-israels-roads-1001192727

The future of AR. (TY Estee K) Apple's Israeli PrimeSense team has developed a 3D camera system intended for Augmented Reality (AR) use. It features a light beam for optical 3D mapping and depth sensing. Connected to Apple’s AR glasses, it can interact with a hovering holographic interface, just by moving your hands.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel to join World bond index.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli Government bonds will be even more highly desirable shortly, when Israeli bonds are included in the Citigroup World Government Bond Index (WGBI). Financial institutions will then be required to buy Israeli bonds to track the WGBI for their customers.

Unanimous agreement to raise disabled allowance.  Government and opposition parties have jointly agreed to the raising of the allowance for disabled Israelis from the current NIS 2,500 to NIS 4,000 in three stages.  Housing assistance will also be raised, from NIS 770 to NIS 1,000.

Beit Shemesh to double in size.  The city of Beit Shemesh is expected to double in size in the coming years. Approval has been given for 17,000 new apartments plus 530 dunams of land for businesses, companies, and hotels. In addition, the city will construct infrastructure and improve the city's parks and public transportation.

Innovating diamond technology. The Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange has applied to establish a technology innovation center, to be called Diamond Tech. Its aim is to nurture Israeli and foreign startups in the early stages of the development of technology to be used primarily in the diamond sector.

Connecting tourists to tour guides.  Dani Gadayev, co-founder and CEO of Israeli start-up TopGuides, describes the company’s online platform to connect tourists with tour guides, eliminating the need to pay commission to an agency. https://www.youtube.com/embed/pXy-tS6tuQc?rel=0

Frutarom expands into Vietnam.  Israeli flavors and fine ingredients company Frutarom has purchased a majority stake in Vietnamese company Western Flavors Fragrances Production (WFF). Frutarom intends to build a modern new flavors plant in Ho Chi Minh City and to expand its activity in Vietnam and the region.

Bringing Israeli startups to China. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Bank Leumi and Ping An, China’s largest insurance group, agreed to promote and integrate Israeli hi-tech companies into the Chinese market.  The agreement was signed as part of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to China.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israeli Opera Festival in Akko.  The Israel Opera (Aug 3-5) is performing a new production called Giulio Cesare in Egitto, created especially for the Crusaders Court in Akko. Its singers will also perform the greatest and most popular songs of the late Arik Einstein – one of Israel’s most famous singer-song writers.

Tel Aviv White Night. Tel Aviv White Night (Laila Lavan) is the cultural all-nighter of the year in ‘the city that never sleeps’. On 29th June, amazing events will take place throughout the night across the city, from beach concerts and parties, to special exhibitions and tours.

Wonder Woman is a hit.  The movie “Wonder Woman”, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has received high acclaim from critics and record receipts at the box office. The film has now passed the $600 million mark for worldwide takings. And (TY IsraPundit) it is an inspiring film for many reasons.

Let’s do brunch.  Israel is famous for its mouth-watering brunches which include an array of fresh vegetables, local cheeses, Mediterranean omelets, healthy salads, deserts, and of course coffee. With delicious options like these and good company, your weekend's about to get a whole lot better.


THE JEWISH STATE

Ethiopia’s biblical link with Israel. In Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin told Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn “Your connection with Jerusalem is something that goes to the roots of the Bible, and the connection between our people is not a matter of years, it is a matter of centuries, back to the visit of the Queen of Sheba”. https://unitedwithisrael.org/continuing-biblical-connection-ethiopian-pm-visits-jerusalem/

New Israeli stamps. (TY Jacob Richman) Beautiful Israeli stamps issued in April and June included commemoration of the re-unification of Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, the Golan, Passover haggadot, safe cycling, General Allenby, the 30th Maccabiah and famous Israeli songs.

Column found from 2nd Temple plaza.  The Temple Mount Sifting Project has discovered the capital of a column that formed part of the double colonnade that surrounded the Temple Mount plaza in Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple. Josephus described the style of the column in his book "The War of the Jews". 

Bar Mitzvah for 115 orphans.  I reported previously (Mar 2013) that Kollel Chabad held a Bar Mitzvah celebration for 111 orphans in Jerusalem on the 111th birthday of the late Lubavicher Rebbe.  Now on his 115th birthday Kollel Chabad held another Bar Mitzvah celebration, for 115 orphans.

Stand with Jerusalem.  On the 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Israel’s capital city, take this opportunity to see it for yourself.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/dV4NGgjRaVI?rel=0



170604


In the 4th Jun 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Breakthrough cell transplants save five elderly Israelis from going blind.
·         Israel provides humanitarian aid to Manchester, Sri Lanka and Mosul.
·         Israel’s UN Ambassador is elected Vice President of UN General Assembly.
·         Israel approved plans for the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline.
·         Israel’s first locally-produced single-malt whiskey is ready for sale.
·         Rod Stewart and Tom Jones perform in Tel Aviv this month.
·         Jerusalem’s walls are adorned with the names of half a million supporters of a united capital.

·         Click here to see the 28th May newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel, with special feature on Technology. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Preventing blindness in the elderly. (TY Nevet) 30% of adults over 75 suffer retinal degeneration with 6-8% going blind. Researchers at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital transplanted retinal pigment cells from embryonic stem cells into five such sufferers and the new cells were absorbed into the retina, preventing loss of vision. 

Fast-track treatment for ALS patients.  (TY Nevet) Scientists at Ben Gurion University have slowed the progress of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s). They used part of an FDA-approved cancer / autoimmune disease treatment to combat glial cells, which kill the body’s motor neuron cells.  It may also treat other brain diseases.

Positive trials of migraine treatment.  Israel’s Teva has reported positive results from Phase III trials of its chronic migraine treatment fremanezumab.  Patients experienced statistically significant reduction in the number of moderate severity headache days vs the placebo. FDA approval is expected by end 2017.

Avoid unnecessary chemotherapy. Israeli biotech NewStem, founded by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Nissim Benvenisty, has developed a test that verifies if a tumor will be susceptible to chemotherapy.  It prevents a patient having to endure needless treatment with its associated severe adverse side effects.

Advice on the best cancer treatment plan.  (TY WIN) 33% of US cancer patients get poor advice. Eliran Malki, founder & CEO of Israeli startup Belong, describes his new app for cancer patients to chat with physicians, receive good advice and make treatment choices as they battle the disease. Belong  currently supports 25,000 patients in 88 countries.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gm_msH1TKRY?rel=0

Blood test for lung cancer.  Israeli scientists from the Rehovot-based company Nucleix succeeded in developing a first of its kind blood test to diagnose lung cancer long before it spreads in the body, thus increasing the chance of survival. The test examines anomalies of the bonds holding the DNA base Cytosine.

Early detection of Polio virus.  Scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a model for preventing the reintroduction of the Poliomyelitis virus into a previously polio-free country. They use environmental surveillance to detect the virus – rather than the alternative of waiting for the disease to strike.

Israelis health improves. (TY Jacques) In the latest annual report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Israeli males born today can expect on average to live 80.6 years, whereas Israeli women should live 84.3 years. Israel’s Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) ranking was 5th.

When a bone marrow donor says “No”.  Avigayil is head of TED - the organization that arranges Technology Entertainment and Design talks.  But she contracted Leukemia and Israeli charity Ezer Mizion found her a rare bone marrow match.  But the donor changed his mind. Ezer Mizion then found another match who cancelled his holiday to donate.  http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/a-bone-marrow-registry-nightmare-he-said-no/

Helping toddlers to walk.  (TY Karen) I reported previously (Dec 2013) about the foot brace from Israel’s UNFO Med that rectifies infant foot deformities within six weeks. Inventor Dr. Izak Daizade and his son Eilon now have FDA and CE approval and the device is sold in Israel, Italy, Africa, Ukraine, and South Korea.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Paramedics calm blind-deaf daughter of 80-year-old patient.  When United Hatzalah EMTs and paramedics arrived to revive an 80-year-old woman, her blind-deaf daughter was panicking as she didn’t know what was happening.  United Hatzalah brought in Psycho-trauma Unit responder Moshe Mizrachi to explain, using sign language and simultaneously maneuvering the daughter’s hand.  https://israelrescue.org/blog/emt-calms-blind-and-deaf-daughter-of-cpr-patient-while-fellow-emts-revive-her-mother/

New Samaria medical center is for Jews and Arabs.  Israeli MKs have laid the cornerstone for a medical center that will be the largest provider of health services for both Israelis and Palestinian Authority citizens in Judea and Samaria. It is sited in the Binyamin Industrial Park, north of Jerusalem, adjacent to Psagot.

Israel refuses PA request to reduce electricity to Gaza.  Despite Palestinian Authority requests, Israel won’t reduce its supply of electricity to Gaza over unpaid bills. Hamas closed Gaza’s power plant in April as it refuses to pay for fuel. The PA cut its payments for Israeli power to Gaza by 40% due to the PA’s dispute with Hamas.

Training to combat a regional earthquake.  (TY Hazel) With the border area with Jordan at high risk for earthquakes, Israel is working with the Jordanian Red Crescent and Hebron’s Greenland Association to train local residents as first responders in the event of such a catastrophe. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Palestinians-Jordanians-and-Israelis-team-up-to-combat-earthquake-risk-484965

Joint air exercise with UAE.  Pilots from Israel, the US, the UAE and Italy conducted a joint drill in Greece, which also marked the second time that crews from the IAF and the UAE have flown side-by-side.

Solidarity with Egyptian Christians.  For the first time ever, the flag of an Arab nation lit up Tel Aviv City Hall to show Israel’s solidarity with the citizens of Egypt in the wake of a deadly ISIS attack on Coptic Christians.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/tel-aviv-city-hall-lit-with-flag-of-egypt-in-solidarity-for-deadly-isis-terror-attack/2017/05/28/

Israeli water expert featured in Arab press.  (TY Nevet) One of the largest Arab media companies published an AP story about Israel’s Daniel Hillel who was central to the global success of drip irrigation. The article says that nominations for his 2012 World Food Prize award (see here) poured in from Jordan, Egypt and the UAE.

Israeli specialists help Manchester trauma victims.  Jerusalem Rabbi Dov Benyaacov-Kurtzman setup the UK National Emergency Response, Resilience and Treatment Program for Stress and Trauma. Its first task is with the victims of the Manchester bombing. Also involved are Israelis Professor Yori Gidronn and Dr. Moshe Farchi. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/europe/uk/israeli-specialists-step-in-to-help-manchester-trauma-victims/2017/05/29/

Aid to flood-stricken Sri Lanka.  Israel’s Ambassador to India and Sri Lanka Daniel Carmon delivered disaster-relief supplies to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, including power generators, drinking water and high-power light sources. President Reuven Rivlin also expressed Israel’s solidarity with the Sri Lankan people.

Saving children in Mosul.  (TY Karen) Sally Becker, famous as the “Angel of Mostar”, has enlisted the help of Israeli experts to treat some of the children of Mosul in need of specialist pediatric care. Israelis are not allowed into Iraq, but Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center is ready to receive wounded children.

Embassy in Nigeria funds displaced children.  (TY Karen) The Israeli embassy in Nigeria cancelled its Independence Day party and used the funds to setup a football league for children from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. The Israeli Government is also planning to award scholarships to 100 IDP kids.

Israel to fund Cambodian agriculture center.  (TY Hazel) Israel plans to fund an advanced agriculture training center in Cambodia, where students will study the latest techniques on model farms. Cambodia has a long history of sending agriculture students to Israel, considered a world leader in agricultural technologies.

Renewed relations with Nicaragua. Israel and Nicaragua renewed official diplomatic relations after a 7-year freeze. In a joint statement, “The two governments attribute great importance in the renewal of relations, with the goal of advancing joint activities for the benefit of the two peoples and contributing in the fight to reach peace in the world.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-nicaragua-renew-ties-after-seven-year-freeze/

Vice President of UN General Assembly.  Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has been elected as Vice President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. For one year, beginning September, Danon will chair meetings of the General Assembly and help set its agenda.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The world’s longest underwater gas pipeline.  Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus have pledged to move ahead with the world’s longest undersea natural gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe, with support from the European Union. The $6.2 billion pipeline will take Israeli and Cyprus gas to Europe.

Cybersecurity Solution of the Year.  Israeli cybersecurity company Indegy has been named “IoT Security Solution of the Year” by Computing magazine. It is also one of US data company CB Insights’ “Companies to watch”. Indegy’s software protects key energy and water utilities and manufacturers from cyber-attacks.

A firewall with insurance.  Israel’s Waterfall Security is very confident of its Unidirectional Security Gateway system, designed to protect critical systems from being attacked. Waterfall has teamed up with global insurance giants CNA Hardy and THB to offer cyber insurance to anyone purchasing their product. 

Recording the past.  Past Recorder by Israel’s Ajeera Apps constantly records in the background, saving the last 10 mins of whatever it has picked up. If, within 10 mins, you realize you wish you had recorded something, you can enter the app and save any portion of that conversation or music. Even capture your child's first words.

Communications system for Russian commercial airliner.  I’ve reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Orbit Technologies. Orbit's Orion communications management system was recently successfully installed and integrated into the new Russian MC-21 passenger jet.

Smarter analysis of IT problems.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s ControlUp uses Big data to monitor, analyze and fix problems with IT systems. Its analytics and management platform is used by thousands of companies worldwide, each managing their IT equipment on one console. ControlUp has just raised $10 million of funds.

Solutions for all industries.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Variscite develops systems on modules (i.e. hardware and software) for more than 1500 customers in over 50 countries. The companies include those in the medical, agriculture, automotive and multimedia industries. The latest module supports the Lumus DK-40 smart glasses.

3D printing spare parts when needed.  Israeli Cloud-computing startup LEO Lane enables companies to print high-quality 3D parts locally, when they need them, saving most of their warehouse storage costs. LEO Lane has signed a cooperation and integration agreement with SAP estimated in the millions of dollars.

An Israeli solar-energy pioneer.  Arnold Goldman, founder of Luz, has passed away at the age of 74.  In 1990, using technology developed in Israel, Luz generated 90% of all solar energy produced on the planet. Renamed Brightsource Energy, it built the largest solar plant in the US and is building Israel’s Ashalim plant.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Direct flights from Shanghai to Tel Aviv.  Chinese airline Hainan Airlines has requested to begin direct flights between Shanghai and Ben Gurion Airport. Hainan is seeking to begin three weekly direct Shanghai flights from September 12 using Boeing 787s and Airbus 330s.

Now it’s Charlie Airlines.  The interestingly named Charlie Airlines is the latest addition to the seven airlines operating between Tel Aviv and Larnaca, Cyprus. The company's air fleet consists of one Airbus 319-100 with a capacity of 144 passengers.

Collect your donuts on the way. Israeli-founded Waze now allows drivers to “order ahead” and purchase coffee and other items from Dunkin’ Donuts. If all goes well, Waze plans to team up with other merchants to order pizza, reserve parking spaces, fill prescriptions and even buy groceries from the same phone app.

The first Israeli single-malt.  (TY WIN) Israel’s Milk & Honey Distillery (M&H) unveiled Israel’s first-ever single-malt whisky on World Whisky Day (May 20). 391 bottles will be sold in select Israeli stores in late June, after aging 3 years in special oak casks (see Dec 2013 article). Note that Israel’s Golan Heights distillery already produces Golani Two-grain whiskey.

Porsche to invest in Israeli auto-tech.  German carmaker Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, has announced that it would invest tens of millions of euros in smart car technologies startups in Israel. Porsche said, “Israel is a key main market for IT engineers and specialists.”

Frutarom’s second takeover of 2017.  Israel’s flavors and natural specialty fine ingredients company Frutarom has signed an agreement for the purchase of René Laurent of France with activity also in Morocco for approximately $ 21.3 million (Euro 20 million). It gives Frutarom its first local French production site.

Moving into Italian plastics.  Israel’s Ginegar Plastic Products produces and markets polyethylene sheets and nets for use in agriculture and industry. Ginegar has just completed a 7 million Euro takeover of Italy’s Flextech, which manufactures and sells plastic products to customers, mainly in the industrial market.

Microsoft buys Israeli cybersecurity firm. Microsoft has acquired Israeli cyber security company Hexadite for $100 million. Hexadite's solution rates the urgency of alerts identified by the anti-virus and firewall system, helping staff to investigate the most serious cyberattacks first.

Syneron exits for $397 million.  Israeli esthetic medical products company Syneron Medical is being acquired by private equity advisory firm Apax Partners for $397 million. Syneron has been featured previously many times in this newsletter.  Its products are popular globally – even in Lebanon (see here).


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Ashdod Méditerranée Festival.  The 2017 International Méditerranée Festival takes place in 9 settings in the Israeli city of Ashdod from Jun 8-15. All participating artists come from Mediterranean countries. As well as music, the Festival will host cinematic, culinary and artistic presentations.

Slide in the City.  (TY Janglo) Tel Aviv Municipality opened the specially built international giant Slide in the City at Dubnov Park on 30th May. Bubble contests and shows for children were also on the agenda of this sportive day in Tel Aviv. Entrance was free. Video is of the slide in another city.

Christian docudrama about Israel is a hit. The Christian Broadcasting Network docudrama "In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem” generated $1.6 million in its single day of release across US theaters. The film .follows the 55th paratrooper brigade responsible for liberating Jerusalem from Jordanian control.

Jerusalem gazelle herd triples in size. (TY TIP) Staff at the Pri Har “Gazelle Valley” nature park in Jerusalem are celebrating the recent birth of two new fawns, as these cute offspring bring the number of antelope to 20. Two years ago, there were just six gazelles in the 64-acres of Israel’s first urban nature reserve.

June events in Israel.  Pet Shop Boys on 10th June, Rod Stewart on 14th June and Tom Jones on 28th June are the concert highlights for June. Then the Jerusalem Festival of Light runs from 28th June to 6th July.

Amazing photos. (TY Nevet) Images shot by two Israeli photographers were shortlisted among the top 10 in the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition. They were Dina Alfasi’s “Air” and Bar Kaufman’s “Red Heart of Africa”. In addition, Gal Gross’ “Silhouette” was judged to be one of the top 50 best images in the world.  https://www.israel21c.org/israeli-photos-shortlisted-in-global-sony-competition


THE JEWISH STATE

500,000 names of Jerusalem supporters drape Old City walls. Half-a-million people signed United With Israel’s declaration that Jerusalem must remain united as the eternal capital of the Jewish State. UWI presented a book with the names to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and banners with the names were draped around the city.

Cable car to Western Wall approved.  (TY Janglo) The Israeli Cabinet has approved a $56 million plan to construct a cable car from West Jerusalem to the Western Wall. The 1.4km route from the First Station complex to the Dung Gate will take just 4 minutes, improving accessibility by avoiding the Old City’s narrow streets.

Cabinet meeting in Western Wall tunnels.  In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting in the Western Wall Tunnels.

Uncovering a 4,000-year-old house near Jerusalem.  Dr. Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology reveals the latest findings at the Tel Gezer archaeological site in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains. Gezer is listed in the Book of Joshua as a city belonging to the Jewish tribe of Levi, but existed even earlier.




170528

In the 28th May 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:


·         Israeli scientists have developed a polymer that unblocks the arteries.
·         Israel had two international successes in respect of women’s rights.
·         An Israeli test for contaminated food won an award from the UN.
·         Israel is leading the development of synthetic (animal-free) meat.
·         A new Israeli startup incubator for entrepreneurs aged 45+.
·         Aerosmith launched their international “farewell” tour in Tel Aviv.
·         Huge celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

·         Click here to see the 14th May newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “Jerusalem Rebuilt”. Also on Jerusalem Post, United With Israel (with 1,100 likes), IsraelSeen and San Diego Jewish World websites. Also (TY Sandra) translated into German and (TY Karen) into Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Nano-polymer repairs damaged arteries.  Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and Sheba Medical Center have developed a new bio-medical polymer that reduces arterial plaque and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The polymer uniquely reverses arterial damage and does not affect healthy tissue.

Using human bacteria to treat diseases.  Israeli biotech BiomX is developing a pipeline of treatments for unmet medical needs, including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and acne.  BiomX focuses on modulating the human microbiome - bacteria that reside in and on the human body - to boost immune-oncology treatments.

AIDS treatment also kills cancer.  I reported previously (Nov 27) that the “Gammora” treatment developed, by Israel’s Zion Biomedic, killed over 95% of the HIV virus in lab tests at Israel’s Kaplan Medical Center.  Latest trials on lung and colon cancer cells eliminated some 70% of the carcinogenic cells.

3D organ bio-printing.  I reported previously (Jun 5) that Israel’s Collplant was developing a bio-ink that could 3D print tissues and organs. Collplant has now setup a division to produce the ink, which could eventually be the answer for patients desperately waiting for organ transplants.

Volunteer doctor re-designs life-saving device. Dr. Ishay Benuri, a volunteer with emergency medical service United Hatzalah, treats victims of terrorism. He discovered that the addition of a loop onto his intubation device (to insert a tube allowing patients to breathe) could potentially save countless more lives.

Circular RNA linked to aging and brain disease.  Scientists led by Professor Sebastian Kadener from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered that, contrary to previous belief, circular RNA molecules are responsible for producing proteins in the brain and could play an important role in neurodegenerative diseases.

Another discovery about aging.  Microbiologist Dr Valery Krizhanovsky of Israel’s Weizmann Institute studies senescent cells – cells that stop dividing.  When these build up they release cytokines and enzymes that permanently damage healthy tissue.  Eliminating senescent cells may prevent many diseases of the elderly.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Give way to the elderly.  As predicted (in Jun 2016) Israelis aged 80 or older no longer need to stand in line for service at stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices and other public services. The only exceptions will be made for disabled individuals, who will get priority over the elderly. The new law was passed unanimously in the Knesset.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/by-law-israelis-over-80-can-now-skip-to-front-of-lines/

Respite for Israeli parents of cancer kids.  Israeli charity Zichron Menachem sponsored a week’s holiday in London for 40 parents of Israeli children with cancer.  Hosted by local families, the parents toured the capital as they got a much-needed break from the demands of taking care of a severely sick child.

Best country for women again.  (TY Atid-EDI) The World Economic Forum once again ranked Israel as the best country in the Middle East for women’s rights and freedoms. 

IDF helps protect wildlife.  TY UWI) The IDF in Judea and Samaria not only prevent security breaches, they also stop animal abuse. Soldiers from the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps spotted a group of hunters armed with hunting rifles. The hunters were caught and handed over to the police for criminal prosecution.

SodaStream rehires 74 Palestinian Arab workers.  Israel’s SodaStream relocated its factory from Mishor Adumim in Judea to Rahat in the Negev, due to BDS pressure, 500 Palestinian Arab workers lost their jobs to Bedouin Arabs. Now the Israeli government has granted work permits to 74 of the original employees.

Treating kids from Gaza in Israeli hospitals.  Australian charity Project Rozana raises funds to help finance-struggling Israeli hospitals treat sick Palestinian Arab children from the PA-controlled territories and Gaza.  http://www.smh.com.au/world/sick-kids-cross-israel-border-20170322-gv3pff.html

Jordanian sheikhs meet Israeli President.  A delegation of Jordanian sheikhs from Irbid, Zarqa and Amman met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the president’s residence during a 5-day visit to Israel.

UN adopts Israel-sponsored human rights resolution.  The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women adopted its first Israeli-sponsored resolution. The text, focuses on curbing harassment in the workplace and is the first resolution sponsored by Israel dealing with a human rights issue to be passed.

Israel-UN medical cooperation seminar.  The United Nations held a seminar at Israel’s Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, which aimed at encouraging the participation of Israeli doctors in UN medical activities. Over 100 Israeli medical professionals, specialists in various fields, participated in the seminar.

Israeli rescue unit trains with US National Guard.  ZAKA International Rescue Unit volunteers from Israel, USA, Mexico, and South Africa participated in this year’s US National Guard multi-national emergency drill in Indiana.  The objectives were to improve knowledge and dynamics between American and Israeli rescue forces.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

UN award for Israeli contaminated food test.  The United Nations Organization for Industrial Development has awarded Israel’s Yarok Technology Transfer the International Award 2017 for “Innovative Ideas and Technology on Agribusiness”.  Yarok has developed a fast method for testing food for dangerous bacteria.

The Instagram of music.  Ori Segal, CEO of Israeli startup MUGO, explains on ILTV how his new app synchronizes a user’s music playlists with their friend’s favorites, allowing for the instant sharing of music.

3D cameras to avoid accidents. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Foresight develops 3D multi-camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).  Foresight’s Eyes-On system constructs and analyzes a 3D image in order to foresee possible collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles.

Better business predictions.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli startup Endor has developed a software platform that lets business users ask any predictive question and get high-quality results in minutes. The platform is based on Social Physics - a new science that uses big data to build a predictive, computational theory of human behavior.

Keeping track of your children.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Barkid has launched a smart bracelet that enables parents to supervise their children. The bracelet is worn by the child and an app installed in the adult’s cellphone keeps track of the child. Barkid's product is not GPS-based, and therefore emits negligible radiation.

More efficient solar power.  (TY NoCamels) Researchers at Israel’s Technion have developed a new technology that improves the efficiency of photovoltaic cells by nearly 70 percent. The scientists pre-process the sunlight, converting it into an “ideal” radiation to illuminate the photovoltaic cell with higher efficiency.

Self-charging drones to monitor pipelines.  Israeli-Canadian startup SkyX has developed a self-charging Vertical Takeoff and Landing drone for use in the monitoring of long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines. It provides a low-cost alternative to conventional manned aircraft, ground inspection, or satellite imagery.

International awards for young Israeli scientists.  Gonen Zimmerman of the Levi Eshkol School in Ramat Hasharon came third at the Intel ISEF Young Scientists Competition in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Na’ama Schor of the High School for Environmental Education at the Sde Boker Midrasha received an honorable mention from the American Physiological Association. http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Young-Israeli-scientists-win-impressive-awards-at-Los-Angeles-competition-492414

Developing animal-free meat.  (TY Jacques) I reported previously (24th July) about Israel’s SuperMeat which is culturing meat to save the planet. Israel is now the center of this new industry and held the first-ever Cultured Meat Conference at Israel’s Technion Institute.  Also, some videos from the conference and from SuperMeat.

Cybersecurity for Latin America.  The Israeli Cyber Companies Consortium (IC3), comprising IAI, Verint and Checkpoint, has won a contract worth “tens of millions of dollars” to set up a strategic national cyber-defense center in a Latin American country.  It includes border protection, sensors, land and aerial systems.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Texas trade agreement with Samaria region.  Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has signed the first-ever trade agreement between the US and the Samaria Regional Council.  Miller said “… the signing of this agreement with Samaria is the starting point of long-term cooperation”

An accelerator for the mature entrepreneur.  Facebook Israel and a group of private investors have setup a new accelerator and investment program called “Future”. It targets those aged 45+ with a track record and an idea to develop.  Just what I’ve been waiting for - all I need now is an idea!

New York to Tel Aviv for less.  I reported previously (Apr 16) that low cost airline WOW is to launch its service in September between Tel Aviv and New York via Iceland for around $550 return.  Now it appears that prices will be even lower – with many return fares under $460 and some one-way fares from $149.

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong flight arrives.  As announced previously (13th Nov) the first Cathay Pacific airlines flight from Hong Kong to Israel landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.  To compete, El Al is offering bargain prices and free tickets to amusement parks.

Mobileye’s future offices.  Timed for Jerusalem Day, Mobileye - Israel’s Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems revealed the plans of its new campus, housing 4,000 employees. Eight buildings plus a 25-floor tower spread over 50,000 square meters in the Har Hotzvim High-Tech Park.

Awards for grasshopper protein company. I reported previously (July 2015) about Israel’s Steak Tzar Tzar, which aims to solve the world’s protein shortage with its farmed grasshoppers.  The company, renamed Hargol, won the Agro Innovation Lab startup competition in Vienna, Austria and the TLV Startup Challenge in the ag-tech/food-tech category. https://www.israel21c.org/edible-grasshopper-startup-hops-to-top-at-intl-contest/


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israel Festival Jerusalem.  The Israel Festival takes place from June 1st to June 18th. It offers high-quality productions in dance, music, drama and performance theater from all over the world, as well as original Israeli productions and free outdoor performances for the general public.

Aerosmith launches farewell tour in Tel Aviv.  Performing in Israel for the first time since 1994, Aerosmith opened their 'Aero Vederci' tour at Tel Aviv's Park Hayarkon.  Steven Tyler joked that he was "making aliya."  Like their hit, they “didn’t want to miss a thing” and later met with the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem.

Israel Day concert in Central Park NYC.  The 24th annual Israel Day Concert takes place on Sunday 4th Jun in Central Park Manhattan. Admission is free and in addition to the many musical performances includes speakers such as Israel’s UN representative Dani Danon, US diplomat John Bolton and ZOA’s Morton Klein.

The Israeli soccer duo that brought success to Brighton.  More details about Israeli soccer stars Tomer Hemed and (Muslim) Beram Kayal who (see Apr 30) helped win promotion to the English Premier soccer league for Brighton and Hove Albion. https://www.algemeiner.com/2017/05/21/its-one-of-the-greatest-comebacks-in-english-soccer-history-and-its-being-led-by-an-israeli-arab-and-an-israeli-jew/

Israel to host World Lacrosse championships.  The next World Lacrosse championships will be held in Netanya in July 2018.  Teams from 50 countries will compete. Israel’s national lacrosse team took second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent world championship in 2014.


THE JEWISH STATE

Students unearth 2000-year-old Jewish town. 240 students from Boyer High School in Jerusalem are funding a future trip to the Poland death camps by helping archeologists uncover an ancient Jewish town near Beit Shemesh.  So far, they have revealed eight purification baths, wells, stone tools and escape tunnels from the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4941276,00.html

How to have a successful Aliya.  The sixth of a series of (mostly serious) articles from ex-Montreal comedian Lex (Alexandra Markus).  She says they worked for her, but will depend on each person.  Includes links to the previous five articles.  Alexandra won the Hasby “Defender of Israel” award in July 2016.

Jerusalem Day light show.  (TY Israellycool) videos of the celebratory light show on Jerusalem’s city walls.
Yerushalayim Shel Zahav: https://www.youtube.com/embed/9pUvCy_ZKyQ?rel=0 (1 min 31 sec)
Lach Yerushalayim: https://www.youtube.com/embed/LaiByZBZCiU?rel=0 (2 min 40 sec)
6-Day War Sound and Light: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZkLhWnwUDXA?rel=0 (2 min 37 sec)
Hi-tech - using drones? https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXg6D_DKaXg?rel=0 (22 min 53 sec)

United Jerusalem as told by its residents.  This video shows the diversity of Israel’s capital city. Jewish and Arab soccer players, a Hebrew University student, a chef, a director of Mobileye, a museum director, a Bar Mitzvah boy, a Christian Aramaic architect, and Jewish and Arab paramedic “blood brothers”.

US President’s visit to Israel.  (TY Yuval) “The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel's white and blue flag."  US President Donald J Trump 23/5/17. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=42623

80,000 join Jerusalem Day Flag March.  More than 80,000 people took part in the Jerusalem Day Flag March, culminating in celebrations at the Western Wall, up from between 30,000 to 40,000 in previous years. Plus, some amazing aerial photos of the crowds dancing and singing from the Great Synagogue to the Old City.

50 years since the Six-Day War.  The liberation of Jerusalem wasn’t the only incredible event that happened during the June 1967 battles. The Egyptian surrender on seeing a mirage of Israeli tanks. The Jordanian army who mistook Israeli tanks for Iraqi reinforcements. And the bigger picture of the few who defeated the many.

UK Chief Rabbi inducts my new Rabbi.  Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky was formally inducted as the new Rabbi of my synagogue – the Young Israel of North Netanya (YINN). UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis performed the induction, arriving after attending Jerusalem Day events in the capital.
 


170514

In the 14th May 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:



·         Israeli scientists discover protein that protects against Alzheimer’s disease.
·         An Israeli surgeon saved an Iraqi boy with a heart valve made from a cow.
·         The daughter of Filipino workers joined the IDF in gratitude to Israel.
·         Israeli-designed hi-tech electric trucks are being built in the UK.
·         April was a record month for tourists and air passengers to Israel.
·         The Justin Bieber concert was successful in more ways than one.
·         UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi pray together at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

·         Click here to see the 30th April newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “69 Years Young”. Also on Jerusalem Post, United With Israel (with 2,800 likes), Ruthfully Yours and San Diego Jewish World websites. Also (TY Sandra) translated into German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Protein protects brain against DNA damage.  (TY Eli) Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have discovered that the protein SIRT6 is key to repairing DNA damage that causes neurodegenerative brain diseases. SIRT6 was almost completely absent in Alzheimer’s disease patients. http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Israeli-scientists-find-likely-cause-of-neurodegenerative-diseases-490134

New understanding about Parkinson’s.  Researchers from Israel’s Technion and Harvard have a new theory on how Parkinson’s disease develops. The responsible toxic protein alpha-synuclein doesn’t spread like an infection but accumulates throughout the body. It could change the way the neurological disease is treated.

Removing lung tumors using AR.  Israel’s Body Vision Medical has integrated CT scans with X-rays to help surgeons remove small, early-stage lung-cancer tumors. Pre-surgery 3D CT images are overlaid with 2D X-ray images during the operation to produce high-resolution Augmented Reality maps of the tumors in real-time.

Easier removal of colon polyps. Israel’s Tandem Technologies has developed Tandem Snare – a device for precise removal and retrieval of polyps in the colon.  Tandem’s CEO Noam Hassidov described the device on ILTV.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/3IRkVWCVwYA?rel=0

Safe stitches.  I reported previously (Jan 29) about Israel’s Gordian Surgical and its safe suturing (stitching) system to assist minimally-invasive surgery.  Gordian’s Doni Mayerfield was interviewed recently on ILTV.

Another cure for pelvic prolapse.  Israel’s Escala Medical has developed what it describes as “the only non-surgical, incision-free 20-minute solution for patients suffering pelvic prolapse.” It is targeting FDA approval by the end of 2017. (I reported on a similar solution previously.)

Cartilage regeneration aims for FDA approval.  Israeli bone regeneration biotech CartiHeal has raised $18.3 million to fund a trial that will help it achieve US FDA approval for its cartilage regeneration technology.  CartiHeal already has CE (European) marketing approval.

Cancer biotech launches on NASDAQ.  Israel’s UroGen has three treatments for the treatment of cancers of the urinary system (bladder and kidneys). It has just raised $58.2 million on NASDAQ. UroGen’s MitoGel treatment for Upper Tract Urothelial Carcinoma has received Orphan status from the US FDA.

UK medical magazine publicizes Israeli achievements.  Newsletter readers may remember (Oct 2014) when UK Lancet editor Professor Richard Horton visited Rambam hospital after writing an anti-Israel article.  In his latest publication, Horton has made a complete turnaround, publishing 15 positive Israeli medical articles.

Israel’s first “green” hospital.  (TY Eli) Jerusalem’s Herzog Medical Center, Israel's foremost center for geriatric, respiratory, mental health and psycho-trauma treatment, is opening Israel’s first environmentally-friendly pavilion. The 270-bed 8-floor facility includes a 200-bed underground emergency hospital.

Personalized cancer treatment.  Israel’s GeneSort detects specific genetic mutations linked to various types of cancer. Oncologists can then adapt treatments to the patient's specific genetic mutations, dramatically improving outcomes.  GeneSort has just been acquired by Hong Kong investment fund AID Partners for $23 million. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-aid-partners-buys-israels-genesort-for-23m-1001187888

Iraqi boy gets bovine heart valve.  Israeli surgeon Sagi Assa from Save A Child’s Heart worked together with his former mentor Dr Stephan Schubert from Germany to implant an artificial heart valve into 11-year-old Iraqi-Kurdish boy Marwan Ghazi Ali. The valve was made from the jugular vein of an Australian cow.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

A home for the homeless.  (TY Nevet) A rare positive CNN report. Israeli Mariuma Ben Yosef ran away from home at 14 and lived on the streets.  She got her life back on track and set up the Shanti House, in Tel Aviv and the Negev, which has since provided over 46,000 young people with temporary housing and long-term support.

A consumer club for disabled.  "Adif," a special consumer and social club for people in Israel with recognized disabilities, has been launched.  It offers monetary and consumer benefits and covers 50 disabled people's organizations. Adif undertakes to return 50% of its profits through projects benefiting its members.

Israel saved my grandmother.  Staff. Sgt. Joana Chris Arpon isn’t Israeli, or even Jewish. She is the daughter of Filipino parents who came to Israel to find work. She enlisted in the IDF because an Israeli army team rescued her grandmother in the aftermath of the 2013 typhoon that devastated the Philippines.

Israel-Arab diplomat gives a tour of Jaffa.  George Deek, is the highest-ranking Arab statesman in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  His Christian primary school had mostly Muslim pupils and at Jewish high school he was the only Arab in his class. Now he lives between 3 Jaffa mosques and quotes Rabbi Soloveitchik.

Indian navy ships arrive in Haifa.  Three ships of the Indian Navy docked in Israel’s Haifa Port on a three-day visit to mark 25 years of India-Israel ties.  The Indian ships also took part in a joint drill with the Israel Navy. It is the 8th visit of Indian ships to an Israeli port since 2000.  Also. an article on those ever-closer ties.

Harnessing the sun for Africa.  (TY Avi) Video showing the work of Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa.  It is using solar power to provide electricity for Africans to pump water, power medical centers and illuminate homes so that children can read when it gets dark outside.  http://www.israelvideonetwork.com/the-israeli-heart-and-mind-just-transformed-the-lives-of-1-million-africans-forever/

Exporting the Kibbutz model to Africa.  (TY Eli) Israeli architectural and engineering company AlefBet Planners is exporting the Israeli kibbutz model all over the world.  These include 12 kibbutz-style villages in Angola and three in Nigeria.  The kibbutzim help develop the region and create hundreds of jobs.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Israeli tech powers UK electric truck.  (TY NoCamels) Asher Bennett - brother of Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennet – has founded Tevva Motors in the UK.  The company is building emission-free delivery trucks based on Israeli submarine technology. Tevva has received orders from UPS, DHL and Kuehne+Nagel.

The age of digital farming.  Israel’s Taranis has developed a precision agriculture intelligence platform to allow farmers to predict and prevent detrimental threats to their crops. Its systems manage millions of acres of farmland in Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Russia and the United States.

Israeli kids excel at International technology contest.  (TY Karen) 15,000 students from 33 countries took part in the FIRST STEM Championships in Houston, Texas.  Of the 23 Israeli teams, category wins and awards went to Arad, Emek Hefer, Binyamina (2), Holon (2), Dimona, Misgav, Kfar Yona, Tel Sheva and Herzliya,

Saving money for millions of electricity customers.  Dr. Noa Ruschin-Rimin founded Israeli startup Grid4C, which uses Artificial Intelligence to detect problems at both electricity producers and their home customers. Texas’s electric company Direct Energy uses Grid4C's products for 1.5 million of its customers.

Growing vegetables in water.  I featured previously (July 2014) Israel’s LivingGreen which markets “The Living Box” system for anyone to produce up to 30 different organic vegetables using only water (hydroponics) and solar energy.  No soil or fertilizer.  In this new video, CEO Nitzan Solan describes the system.

Controlling hi-tech production.  Israel’s Nova Measuring Instrument makes metrology systems to enable semiconductor, integrated circuit and optical CD manufacturers to develop reliable products.

Innovation award for wearable blanket.  A wearable blanket now available on El Al flights has won an innovation award at the TravelPlus Amenities competition in Hamburg, Germany. The blanket was designed Idan Noyberg and Gal Bulka of Israel’s LyLy Design Studio.  https://www.lyly.design/


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Currency reserves soar by nearly $2 billion.  Israel’s foreign exchange reserves rose by another $1.97 billion during April, to reach a record $105.14 billion (33% of GDP).  It includes $250 million added into the fund set-up to reduce some of the adverse effects of natural gas production on the exchange rate.

All-time-record for air passengers.  April 2017 was a record month for Ben Gurion Airport with 1.74 million passengers – a massive 26% more than in April 2016.  Over 5 million passengers have passed through the airport in the first four months of 2017 – an increase of 20% over the same period in 2016.  Another all-time-record of 349,000 foreign citizens visited Israel in April – 38% more than in 2016.

Direct flights Tel Aviv to Miami.  El Al is launching a new non-stop service, three times a week between Miami International airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport starting in November.  

More Eilat routes for Ryanair.  Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair is adding Bremen and Dusseldorf to its 14 winter routes into Ovda airport, near Eilat.  Ryanair has already announced 7 new routes to Tel Aviv.

Largest-ever business delegation to Israel.  Quebec Province Premier Philippe Couillard is leading a delegation to Israel of 80 Canadian businesspeople from the aviation, transportation, IT, and medical industries. It is reported to be the largest-ever business delegation to visit Israel.

Program brings US business execs to Israel.  (TY Eli) The US and Israel-America Chambers of Commerce have set-up a new program called Business Israel. It will bring executives from all 50 US states to Israel, to expand US markets and collaborate with Israeli companies in water, agriculture, cybersecurity and health.

Smart manufacturing roadshow in Southern China.  Eight Israeli companies providing advanced solutions for the manufacturing industry held a roadshow in Taipei, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The delegation comprised ATE, Colibri Spindles, Elbit, Elmo, Frisimos, K&S, LeaderMES and Precognize.

Invest in BDS-banned companies and make money.  (TY Bennett) The share prices of eight of the nine publicly-quoted companies on the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) list have done very nicely over the past year. And SodaStream’s share price jumped nearly 300%.

New startup center in Hefer valley.  A new entrepreneurship center named Yarok will open on the Ruppin Technology College Campus in the Hefer Valley (Emek Hefer between Netanya and Hadera). One of the founders is Ruppin chairman Eli Barak. Yarok will have an initial investment of NIS 5 million.

Doubling the size of Acre / Akko.  Israel is to double the size of the Northern city of Akko (Acre) by building 17,000 new housing units, hundreds of classrooms, plus daycare centers, synagogues, libraries and sports centers. The NIS 3 billion project will attract young families, revitalizing the city and the entire western Galilee.

Cheaper coffee for polite customers.  Customers of Israeli coffee chain Café Café who say "please" and "thank you" when they order an ordinary sized cup of coffee will pay NIS 6, instead of NIS 8. Cafe Cafe owner Ronen Nimni says he wants "to encourage more respectful conversation in Israel society.”

Medtronic to open two Israeli R&D centers.  US medical device giant Medtronic is to open new Research & Development centers in Jerusalem and Yokneam. Medtronic already has a major presence in Israel with 750 employees following acquisitions Given Imaging, superDimension, Oridion Systems and PolyTouch.

Water companies merge.  Israeli wastewater treatment company Emefcy (eight previous articles) is to merge with RWL Water, which is controlled by World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder.  The new company, renamed Fluency, will accelerate Emefcy's operations in China and other key markets.

Yokee Music goes for a song.  Israel’s Yokee Music has been bought by Canada’s Stingray Digital for an estimated $30 - $40 million.  Yokee’s social music apps Yokee, Yokee Guitar and Yokee Piano are ranked in the music category's top ten in 100 countries, with over 80 million downloads and 4 million monthly users.

More multi-million exits.  April takeover news includes Dutch game developer GamePoint buying Israel’s Luck Genome for £12.5 million; Israel’s WalkMe acquiring Israeli analytics startup Jaco; US-based Magento buying Israel’s Shopial and U.S. ticket marketer SeatGeek taking over Israel’s TopTix for $56 million.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Justin Bieber delivers in Tel Aviv.  King of Pop Justin Bieber enthralled 50,000 fans at Park Hayarkon in Tel Aviv.  The 90-minute performance included 25 songs, accompanied by lasers, fireworks and acrobats. His first song also helped a pregnant fan (three-weeks overdue) go into labor and later give birth to a healthy baby girl.

Other May events.  Upcoming concerts this month include Aerosmith, Paul Young and Jose Gonzales.

Eurovision contestants visit Israel.  Eurovision artists from 28 different countries visited Israel to perform their original songs live for Israeli fans as a part of Israel Calling 2017. The participants also toured Jerusalem's must-see cultural and religious sites. See other links to Israel’s entry “I Feel Alive” with Imri Ziv.

Israel’s beautiful beaches.  With the start of the swimming season, Israel has life guards supervising 144 beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.  This article describes some of them.  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4958487,00.html

Dowitcher makes a rare stop in Israel.  International birdwatchers in Eilat were delighted to spot a long-billed dowitcher in the salt ponds off Israel’s southern coast.  Last seen in Israel in 1984, the dowitcher normally migrates to South and Central America but probably took a wrong turn and headed for Africa instead.  http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Environment/Bird-makes-a-rare-stop-in-Israel-after-wrong-turn-488926

Israelis are world wheelchair tennis runners-up.  Israel narrowly lost 2-1 to Great Britain in the finals of the wheelchair tennis World Team Cup in Sardinia.  Israel had won four world championships previously.


THE JEWISH STATE

Israeli Arabs are more positive than Jews.  (TY Ron M) A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University Peace Index found 66% of Israeli Arabs are satisfied with life in Israel, whilst only 43.9% of Jewish-Israelis were satisfied.  They need to start reading my newsletters!

Happy Independence Day. 
- From Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu https://www.youtube.com/embed/sD71USrN0LM?rel=0
- From Israel’s Technion Institute https://www.youtube.com/embed/4VPeNVePCtQ?rel=0

UK religious leaders pray at Western Wall.  (TY Eli) The UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was joined by UK Chief Rabbi Ephaim Mirvis for prayers at the Western Wall.  Mirvis described “a unique moment in history,” as the two religious leaders toured the Old City of Jerusalem and visited Yad Vashem.

Bible quiz winner is from secular school.  On Israel’s Independence Day, 15-year-old Sagiv Lugasi, from the ORT Sci-Tech high school in Maalot, won Israel’s annual contest - the first secular contestant to win since the 1980s. The Bible in Israel is a shared national document. Each soldier gets a copy upon joining the army.

Jacob sheep are doing well.  I reported previously (Jan 15) about the return to Israel of the Biblical breed that Jewish patriarch Jacob originally reared when he worked for his uncle Laban. Here is a recent video showing the sheep thriving in their new / old homeland.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/vUcg8Rj8KFM?rel=0

What Israel children say about their country.  (TY Avi) Israel’s future is bright with children such as these.

240 Ukrainians arrive on Freedom flight.  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has brought another 240 new immigrants (62 families) from Ukraine to Israel.  The IFCJ provides the air fare plus financial assistance, in addition to that provided by the Israeli Government to all new immigrants. 

Israel’s first interactive hiking path.  Israel is constructing the “Sanhedrin Trail” - its first “smart” hiking trail - between Tiberias and Beit Sheʽarim National Park in the Lower Galilee.  It will feature an augmented reality-based smartphone app that will reconstruct heritage sites and bring to life historical biblical scholars.

 


170430

In the 30th Apr 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:



·         The US Pentagon funded an Israeli infection diagnosis system.

·         Israel has appointed a Muslim woman judge to its Sharia courts.

·         An Indonesian fish farm uses an Israeli water treatment system.
·         Israeli paint can generate electricity.
·         Israeli school children have built a European research satellite.
·         Israel has begun pumping natural gas to Jordan.
·         Israel will host the 2018 European Judo Championships.
·         A Muslim family from Gaza are now Israeli Zionists.

www.VeryGoodNewsIsrael.blogspot.com has now been visited over one million times.

·         Click here to see the 16th April newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Inclusivity. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “50 Ways to Count on Israel”. Also on Jerusalem Post, United With Israel (with 1,300 likes), Israel Seen, Janglo and San Diego Jewish World websites and (TY Sandra) translated into German.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Pentagon funds Israeli infection test system. The US Department of Defense has awarded a $9.2 million contract to Israel’s MeMed to help it complete its pioneering platform for distinguishing bacterial from viral infections. MeMed (see here) had already received a 2.3 million Euro grant from the European Commission.

Robot-aided surgery fixes severe spinal fracture. (TY Eli) In the world’s first procedure of its kind, Israeli surgeons at Hadassah University Medical Center used a Mazor-Israel robot to operate on Aharon Schwartz, whose spine was broken in six places from a work accident. Schwartz is expected to be able to walk again soon.

An MRI machine for babies.  Israel’s Aspect Imaging is developing a compact MRI system that can be placed in neonatal units for scanning newborns at the point of care. Aspect has just raised $30 million which will also help fund the development of a stroke-dedicated MRI System for Emergency Rooms.

Fixing hernias.  Israel’s Via Surgical has developed FasTouch – a next-generation system for fixing prosthetic material to soft tissues in surgical procedures such as hernia repairs. Less complications, less post-operative pain and faster recovery. FasTouch is to be distributed across the US by Progressive Medical.

Another robot-guided needle.  Ben-Gurion University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have founded Xact Medical, (no relation to XACT Robotics) to commercialize their Fast Intelligent Needle Delivery (FIND) system. Robotics and ultrasound guide the needle into the body – good for children, whose vascular systems are so small. https://aabgu.org/finding-a-more-accurate-needle/

The body’s garbage collector.  A new video of Israeli Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, co-discoverer of Ubiquitin - used by cells to re-cycle proteins and prevent them from causing disease and cancer. Ciechanover's research has saved millions of lives, revolutionizing health, agriculture, and the environment.

Israel’s leading bio-medical conference.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s 16th MIXiii-Biomed conference, beginning on May 23, will focus on aging and age-related diseases.  How to monitor, diagnose and treat elderly patients using precision medicine, genetics, personal diagnostics, digital health, robotics and regenerative therapies.

Israeli calcium can fight cancer.  I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s Amorphical which has developed amorphous calcium to treat osteoporosis in patients who have trouble absorbing current (crystalline) calcium supplements.  Amorphous calcium also reduces the acidity that certain enzymes use to generate cancer cells.

New Haifa center for medical research.  (TY Eli) Haifa University has joined with Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center to launch a project to build a 20-story “Medical Discovery Tower”. It will focus on academic and commercial research of diseases.  Two floors will be assigned to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Raising the potential of special children.  The Master’s Program at Israel’s Chemdat Hadarom college trains students to help special-needs children reach the heights of their abilities. During the long summer holiday, the college loans its campus to Israel’s Ezer Mizion which organizes summer camps for those special children.

Strong Israeli women.  The Strong Jewish Women’s Summit is a web event which features many successful Israeli women.  They include Dr. Mina Teicher - former Israeli Chief Scientist; Yael Elad - COO of VC Fund Aleph; Beth Steinberg - founder of Non-profit Shutaf and Hamutal Gouri – Exec director of the Dafna Fund.

Israeli cyber firm employs mostly women.  60% of the sixty employees at Israeli cybersecurity company EverCompliant are female - about twice that of the average tech company.  CEO Ron Teicher said, “It’s not a deliberate decision, it just happened… in most cases the lady candidate was better”.

Empowering Arab women business leaders.  Ola Baker Salameh is an Israeli-Arab woman from Acre and CEO of Sebana Medical. Her company employs Arabs (Christian and Muslim) and Jews. It received 60% of its R&D funding from Israel’s Office of Chief Scientist.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/1NovQFasVv8?rel=0

Israel appoints a female judge to Sharia Court.  Israel's Sharia Courts handle personal status law issues like marriage and divorce for Muslim-Israelis.  The judges’ selection committee, headed by Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, appointed Ana Hatib as their first-ever female judge.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Israeli-Sharia-Courts-to-appoint-first-ever-female-judge-488892

MDA teaches Arabic to volunteers.  (TY Janglo) In order to better serve Jerusalem’s Arabic-speaking population, Israeli emergency medical service Magen David Adom is offering Arabic-language instruction to volunteers. 40 volunteers in the Jerusalem district have signed up for the first session of courses.

Video of Arab kids learning Hebrew goes viral.  (TY Hazel) Israeli President Rivlin invited Arab teacher Jehan Jaber to his Jerusalem residence, to praise her for teaching Hebrew to Arab elementary school children. She played a darbuka drum and sang the catchy song “Geshem, Geshem Metaftef” (“Rain, rain is dripping”).
The video has been seen well over 2 million times.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/5FZSAjldEr0?rel=0

Giving Ear – violins, not violence.  (TY Stuart) Recent article about Polyphony, co-founded in Nazareth by Abboud-Ashkar in 2012. Polyphony’s aim is to bring together Arab and Jewish youth in Israel by offering them equal opportunities in music.  http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Giving-ear-484339

Israeli wins international honey competition.  (TY Karen) Israeli Yael Farbstein, owner of Kedumim Honey in Samaria, won the International Multi-Floral Sourced Honeys of the Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest in North Carolina. Yael said of the wildflowers of Samaria, “There is something special in the nature here.”

Israeli home-learning system goes East.  Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed the Home Instruction for Parents and Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) in 1969.  It is used by 20,000 families in 9 countries including Canada, Germany, Israel and the US and is now being extended to China and South Korea.

Helping fish farming in Indonesia.  Israel’s BioFishency (see May 2014 article) recently installed its aquaculture water-treatment systems in an Indonesian plant that raises Whiteleg (Pacific white) shrimp. The system removes toxic ammonia, cuts water consumption by up to 85 percent while increasing yield 2.5 times.

16,000 agricultural ambassadors.  (TY Stuart P) Israel’s JNF-supported Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT) has trained more than 16,000 students from Africa and Asia since it was established in 1994. Seeing the Israeli desert bloom inspires them when they return to their home countries.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Painting a brighter future.  Israeli startup SolarPaint, based on Kibbutz Nahsholim in northern Israel, has developed “electrode-net” (ultra-thin wireframe - similar to mosquito netting) and nanoparticle-infused coating to generate solar power from roofs, walls and, eventually, even roads. https://www.thesolarpaint.com/

Flex launches new Israeli design center.  Multi-national electronics manufacturer Flex has inaugurated its new Israeli design center in Haifa.  Customers can now take products through from design to mass-production. Israel accounts for 50% of Flex’s global innovation, with seven Israeli sites, employing 4000 Israelis.

Pulling water out of the air at AIPAC.  (TY David F) Israel’s Water-Gen has been in the limelight recently. Professor Alan Dershowitz presented the company’s GENius device on stage at the AIPAC conference. Water-Gen has just signed agreements with Vietnam and India.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/at-aipac-dershowitz-pulls-water-out-of-thin-air/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6397&v=pC42iPppD0I

Exposing land mines using glowing bacteria.  Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have discovered that buried explosives leak vapors that cause engineered e-coli bacteria to emit fluorescent molecules.  Remote laser scanners detect the glowing molecules, giving explosives experts the exact locations of the deadly devices.

Don’t finance the bad guys.  Israeli startup Taykey has developed a tool that enables advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing on malicious websites. It checks a site is safe for the advert to be hosted.  In 2016, offensive websites earned hundreds of millions of dollars by sharing profits with advertisers.

Students’ nano-satellite goes into space. Israel’s Duchifat-2 is one of 28 Cubesats from 23 countries built for the EU’s QB50 Thermosphere research program. It is the only one to be built by high-school students. Duchifat-2 is currently on board the International Space Station and will be placed into orbit in June.

Removing viruses from drinking water.  Researchers from Ben-Gurion University and the University of Illinois have developed a novel hydrogel membrane coating that significantly improve the virus-removal process from treated municipal wastewater.

Smart paper sounds alarm if stolen.  Israel’s Sdema has developed a thin invisible network called Tagit that functions as a sensor for secure paper documents. It works even when the paper is torn, folded, or crumpled. As soon as the paper is taken out of the area defined as a protected area, the system issues a warning.

Can you survive a cyber-attack?  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Cymulate has developed a platform to simulate cyber-attacks in real-time. It helps an enterprise prepare for ransom and fishing attacks, and detect breaches through which hackers can take over its computers and apps. Cymulate has just raised $3 million of funds.

Imaging in the 4th dimension.  I reported previously (July 2016) about Israel’s Arbe Robotics and its radar-based traffic control system for drones. Arbe is now developing 4D imaging technology for autonomous vehicles, based on radar instead of cameras and sensors. Arbe has just raised $2.5 million to fund development.

High-speed Virtual Reality.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Giraffic has joined forces with Israeli-founded Byond to launch Mobile VR Magic - the first mobile Virtual Reality (VR) video experience that delivers flawless and uninterrupted HD and 4K streaming in real time. No more buffering pauses or resolution reduction.

Three of the world’s top AI companies.  (TY Bennett) Fortune magazine included only six countries in its list of 50 companies leading the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. The Israeli AI innovators listed are Logz.io (computer log analysis), Voyager Labs (human behavior analysis) and (see here) Zebra Medical Vision.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

The world’s 3rd most stable economy.  Bloomberg has rated Israel’s economy as the third most stable in the world, after Hong Kong and South Korea.  Bloomberg praised Israel’s nearly non-existent inflation rate and low unemployment. https://unitedwithisrael.org/israels-economy-ranked-3rd-most-stable-in-the-world-for-2016/

Israeli gas flows to Jordan. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (several times) about Israel selling natural gas to Jordan. Natural gas from Israel's offshore Tamar reservoir began flowing to Jordan in early 2017 via a special pipeline built in 2016 from Israel’s Dead Sea Works plant.

Not just surviving, but thriving. (TY Ruth) John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Foundation gave this TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk to sixth formers at a UK school. He eloquently presents Israel’s achievements to this important audience.

More flights to Israel.  The latest airlines to announce new scheduled flights to Israel include Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flying between Eilat and Stockholm; Armenia Aircompany between Tel Aviv and Yerevan and Ural Airways between Tel Aviv and the southern Russian resort of Sochi.

A growing business goes through the roof.  (TY Jacques) I reported previously (Jan 8) about the “Green in the City” urban farm on the roof of Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff shopping mall. This latest article includes a new video of the farm, and features its unmanned fresh food stands where honest shoppers buy the vegetables with cash.

Fleet management for Coca-Cola.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported (several times) about the Fleet management and cargo tracking systems of Israel’s Pointer Telematics. Now Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest public bottler by sales volume of Coca-Cola products in the world, has selected Pointer to provide fleet management services.

Using AI to automate contract reviews.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s LawGeex uses artificial intelligence (AI) to save businesses much of the time and expense required to review and approve everyday contracts. LawGeex has just raised $7 million of funds. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/legal-saas-ai-platform-lawgeex-raises-7-million-in-funding-round-615570484.html  https://www.lawgeex.com/features/

Israeli ride-sharers merge.  Israeli ridesharing startups Gett and Juno are joining forces, in order to challenge larger rivals Uber and Lyft. Gett offers ride-hailing services in more than 80 cities around the world, including London, Moscow and New York. The taxi app Juno is only active in New York City.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Renovating Caesarea’s ancient harbor.  A NIS 100 million grant from the Rothschild Foundation will allow archeologists to renovate the ancient harbor at Caesarea and continue excavating the Caesarea National Park.

Yom Haatzmaut Events.  For Israel’s 69th birthday on 2nd May, 69 heritage sites will be open for free.  You can also visit four Air Force bases or watch the annual fly-past of 30 planes from 40 cities.  Beaches, barbecues, concerts – see here for details.  http://loveloveisrael.com/2017/04/20/yom-haatzmaut-69/

Jerusalem rebuilt. Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is hosting a new series of tours in English exploring the architecture of the city. The next tour on May 26 focuses on how the architecture of the city changed after the Six Day War, as euphoric construction began in the re-unified city.

Israeli and Iranian unite for Tel Aviv concert.  (Originally in Washington Post, but no longer available.) Iranian rock musician Shahin Najafi sang alongside Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen at a concert in Tel Aviv - the first performance by an Iranian artist at an Israeli rock concert.

The Dead Sea is not so dead.  (TY Avi) Just over 1 hour away from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the Earth’s surface.  Magnificent in its beauty, rich in minerals, and beckoning to all who love the wonders of mother nature.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/2WYd8O_5wLc?rel=0

The Jerusalem Marathon.  (TY Sharon) Over 30,000 runners ran in the Jerusalem Marathon on Mar 17. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke about the event and the 50th anniversary of re-unification.

Two Israelis in promoted UK soccer team.  I wrote previously (Mar 5) about proud Israeli soccer star Tomer Hemed.  He and Muslim Israeli-Arab team-mate Beram Kayal helped Brighton & Hove Albion win promotion to the English Premier League. Tomer was interviewed by the BBC, which didn’t mention that he is Israeli.

European gymnastics bronze medal.  Israel’s Alex Shatilov won the bronze medal in the European Men's Gymnastics Championship held in Romania. It is the seventh European medal for Shatilov. 20-year-old Israeli Artem Dolgopyat also qualified for the finals and finished fourth.

Israel to host European Judo Championships.  The European Judo Union has selected Israel as the host of the 2018 European Judo Championships. The success of the under-23 championships in Tel Aviv in November convinced the EJU to hand Israel the right to organize Europe’s most prestigious competition.


THE JEWISH STATE

Monkeys love matzah.  (TY Adela) On Passover, Jews around the world ate matzah - unleavened bread - to remember their ancestors who fled ancient Egypt who had no time to wait for the dough to rise. It appears that the monkeys at Ramat Gan Safari Park also enjoyed partaking in that tradition in the Jewish state.

Why Israel Matters.  A partnership of Christian groups has produced a TV series called “Why Israel Matters,” which intends to set the record straight on Israel and the Jewish state. The 13-part original series demonstrates the crucial importance of the Jewish state to Christians, to the United States and to the world in general.

Developing the Negev.  The latest JNF B’Yachad magazine describes how the JNF has helped transform Be’er Sheva into one of Israel’s most sought-after cities. The Negev “desert” comprises 60% of the Jewish State and other articles describe communities that have been literally created out of nothing.

Letter from a tomato.  Israel’s agricultural regeneration followed the return of the Jewish people to its homeland. This clever historical summary is written from the viewpoint of the fruit and vegetables themselves.

From Gazan Muslims to IDF Jews.  This amazing journey is nearing its finish.  After a Muslim Arab from Gaza was treated at an Israeli hospital, his son went to work for the Israeli Shin Bet security service. Later, the son moved to Israel and now his sons are in the IDF and are converting to Judaism.



170416
In the 16th Apr 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         IBM and Samsung adopt Israeli stroke diagnosis technology.
·         Israel has setup a free program to help Israeli-Arabs quit smoking.
·         Israel is helping Peru recover from devastating floods.
·         MIT has ranked Tel Aviv as one of the world’s greenest cities.
·         Israel is Apple’s largest R&D center outside of its California HQ.
·         New low-cost one-stop scheduled flights between the US and Israel.
·         A new tourist trail of 2000-year-old Jewish baths along Jerusalem’s walls.

·         Click here to see the 2nd Apr newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Technology. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese. Please pass links onto German and Portuguese readers.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “For Israel, enough is not sufficient”. Also on Jerusalem Post website and (TY Sandra) translated into German and (TY Karen) into Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Huge boost for stroke diagnosis system.  (TY Hazel) I reported previously (July 3) on Israel’s MedyMatch Artificial Intelligence platform for diagnosing strokes from CT-scans.  MedyMatch has just signed separate 5-year agreements to integrate the groundbreaking technology with IBM and Samsung equipment.

Early diagnosis of Autism can save lives.  (TY Jacques) Dr Hanna Alonim founded Israeli non-profit Mifne Center - the world’s first organization to diagnose and treat toddlers on the autism spectrum, and use a family therapy approach to treatment. Alonim’s ESPASI Screening Scale is used in Israel, the USA and across Europe.

Releasing Glaucoma treatment automatically.  I reported previously (Mar 5) about Israel’s Eximore which is developing a tiny device that is implanted into the tear duct to treat eye diseases such as Glaucoma, without the patient’s knowledge.  Eximore’s Chairperson, Dr Daphne Haim-Langford went on ILTV to explain.

Manage your diabetes efficiently.  Israel’s GlucoMe has developed a “Digital Diabetes Clinic” that monitors diabetics and recommends treatment programs. The platform uses a smart glucose monitor, an insulin pen monitor, a mobile app and a cloud-based management system. It has completed trials and is Europe approved.

The next generation in cancer diagnostics.  I reported previously (July 31) on Israeli-founded Cleveland Diagnostics and its improved early prostate cancer test kit.  Cleveland’s CEO Dr Arnon Chait went on ILTV to explain more and to announce the company’s new Israeli operations.

A robot to traverse the small intestine.  Scientists at Ben-Gurion University are re-designing their Single Actuator Wave-like (SAW) robotic snake to carry a camera and squeeze through the human small intestine.  It could extend and improve the effectiveness of colonoscopy tests.

UK lawyer has MS treatment in Jerusalem.  Top UK Lawyer Mark Lewis (Director of UK Lawyers for Israel) suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, walks with a limp and cannot write with his right hand.  He travels to Israel every six weeks to participate in the MS trial at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.

Bone marrow tests from Czech Republic in one day. Israel’s Ezer Mizion found a likely DNA match on their database for a bone marrow transplant patient. However, the donor was in the Czech Republic. Using their “Linked to Life” WhatsApp group, volunteers rushed the sample kit from Tel Aviv to Vienna to Prague to Brno and back again in less than 24 hours. http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/czechoslovakia-no-problem/

Emergency app can save lives on the beach.  A volunteer with Israel Emergency Medical Service United Hatzalah has developed a smartphone app to quickly locate swimmers in trouble off Haifa’s beaches, and navigate paramedics to that location.

Paramedic’s first patient was his nephew.  Ben Shetiat’s first call, after completing his 6-months Emergency Medical training course, was an infant having seizures – at Ben’s sister’s house! He arrived in two minutes. After treatment, Ben’s nephew was taken to hospital and was well enough to be discharged later that night.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Where the deaf and blind run the show.  I reported previously (Mar 2011) on the Na Laga’at (“Please Touch”) center in Jaffa for professional deaf & blind actors. Here is an up-to-date video about the center.

BBC shows role of IDF autistic recruits. (TY Hazel) This rare positive BBC video shows the Israeli army giving important analysis jobs to young people with autism.

Jaffa school teaches co-existence.  (TY Hazel) I24News interviews the amazing Veronica Fahel, a 13-year-old student at the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Tabeetha school in Jaffa.

Free program to help Israeli-Arab men stop smoking.  Hebrew University / Hadassah, with funding from the Israel Cancer Association and the Health Ministry, has initiated SMS Quit to help Israeli-Arab men quit smoking. Arab men have the highest smoking rate (44%) in Israel and therefore the shortest life expectancy.

An Israeli-Arab at Ariel University.  (TY IsraellyCool) Amal Medlij, Coordinator for Minority Students at Ariel University, speaks about life for an Israeli-Arab attending a university across the Green Line.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcGxDAC6iHA

Israeli medics treat 7 Syrians on border.  The Israeli army provided medical treatment to seven Syrians, including four women and two children, severely wounded by shrapnel in their country’s civil war. After treatment, all were transferred to hospitals in Northern Israel.

“Caring for Syrian patients is our duty”.  Dr Salman Zarka is General Director of the Ziv Medical Center in the Northern Israeli city of Safed which has treated 800 of the 3000 wounded Syrians taken to Israeli hospitals. Most have serious war injuries, but Ziv doctors have also delivered 19 babies.

Cyprus and Israel, common values and vision.  President of Cyrus, Nicos Anastasiades, at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, described Cyprus and Israel as two countries sharing “the same values and common vision”. They are “beacons of stability, and natural partners of the West in the Middle East.”  http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2017/02/22/cyprus-president-calls-israel-a-natural-partner/

Israeli wins Germany’s highest honor.  Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s President Menahem Ben-Sasson has been awarded Germany’s Order of Merit – the country’s highest honor.  It “recognizes Professor Ben-Sasson's outstanding, extensive, and personal commitment to German-Israeli relations in the field of science. “

Protecting UN troops. (TY Hazel) The UN is using Israeli observation balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to protect its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. The equipment is used to guard outposts, carry out operations and gather intelligence.

Training emergency responders in India.  (TY Hazel) At the request of the International Committee of the Red Cross, instructors and paramedics from Magen David Adom spent two weeks in India training Indian Red Cross instructors to improve first response in India, a country prone to disasters and traffic accidents.

Helping flood victims in Peru.  Israeli emergency aid teams from the IsraAID organization are in Peru helping residents get back on their feet after rains caused floods and mudslides. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and thousands are still missing. IsraAID is helping in schools and with sanitation facilities.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Avoid hitting that motorcycle.  I reported previously (here) on Israel’s Autotalks that warns vehicle owners of impending collision with hazards (other vehicles, people or objects).  Autotalks has just received $30 million of funding to help it equip more new vehicles with its life-saving chipsets – a mandatory US DoT target by 2023.

Vital computer protection.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Javelin Networks markets the only product that protects a company’s most important computer asset – its Active Directory, containing all information about its users, servers, endpoints and applications. Javelin has just raised $5 million to fuel development and growth.

65 new Israeli cyber startups in 2016.  (TY Eli) Israel’s proven agility to come up with solutions quickly is one the key factors that puts the nation in a leading position in the battle against cyberattacks. At the end of 2016 there were 365 cybersecurity companies active in Israel, compared to 187 in 2012.

Tel Aviv – the World’s 7th greenest city.  Tel Aviv, Israel, is among the greenest cities in the world, ranking No. 7 on a prestigious list compiled recently by MIT researchers in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.  260,000 trees cover Tel Aviv’s 52 square km, excluding those in parks. Green initiatives include city-sponsored bicycle and car-sharing services.  http://nocamels.com/2017/03/tel-aviv-seventh-greenest-city/

Surveying by drone.  (TY Atid-EDI) The DatuSurvey drone and camera system from Israel’s Datumate (see Oct 10) has been chosen to survey new water ponds being built by Colorado’s Dept of Transport.  The system also is being used on the UK’s re-development of London’s A14 road and railway intersection.

Public water stations.  Here is a new video to accompany my previous reports (see here) about Woosh – the Israeli company supplying clean, low-cost, fresh drinking water vending machines in major cities.

Mellanox helps Jungle Book win an Oscar.  I wrote previously (Mar 5) that Israel’s Mellanox was providing the power and bandwidth needed by ten Oscar-nominated animations.  One of those - Jungle Book - won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Inno-Negev demos 9 startup ideas.  Nine members of the Inno-Negev startup accelerator of Ben Gurion University demonstrated the results of four months of mentoring and support.

Israel is Apple’s 2nd largest R&D center.  Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple’s offices in Herzliya is the company’s second-largest research and development office in the world. 

Tel Aviv loves dogs.  The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, home to 25,000 registered dogs, is launching a suite of digital functions and information called “Digi-Dog”, for dog owners keen to know where the nearest vet is, or where they can find the best dog-walking beach nearby. 


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Currency reserves at new record level.  Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of March 2017 were just over $103 billion - an increase of $1,271 million from their level at the end of Feb. The reserves now represent 32.4 percent of GDP.

Israelis buy US firm for $102 million. (TY Atid-EDI) In another example of a large takeover by an Israeli company of a US firm, Israel’s Sapiens International has bought Denver-based StoneRiver Inc for around $102 million. Both IT companies focus on the Insurance industry.

Australian entrepreneurs are landing.  This video accompanies previous articles (see here) on the Australian “landing pad” in Tel Aviv. Australian entrepreneurs come to Israel to access the passion, knowledge and innovative abilities that characterize Israel's startup ecosystem and help their ideas become a reality.

Wow! Tel Aviv to New York return for $550.  From June, Iceland’s low-cost airline WOW air intends to run four flights a week from Tel Aviv to Iceland's capital of Reykjavik. From there, travelers can connect with flights to nine cities in the USA and Canada.  Prices will be around $260 - $280 each way.

Buy from the Shuk (market) without leaving home.  (TY Janglo) Residents of Jerusalem and Gush Etzion can place orders with Israeli startup Shukrun to select, and have delivered, fresh fruit and vegetables from Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market (the Jerusalem “Shuk”).  Now with an English-language website.

Integrating Haredim into the Startup Nation.  At KamaTech’s second annual fair for Haredi startups, the eight best companies (chosen from 450 applicants) demonstrated their ideas. Each received a 20,000 Shekel grant. The latest group included Doctorpedia which enables patients to have online consultations with doctors.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israel’s largest delegation to Winter Olympics.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel plans to send its largest delegation ever to the Feb 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Israelis could win a historic medal in the men’s skeleton bobsled or in the men’s 1,500-meter short track speed skating.

Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition. Thirty-two competitors from 16 countries will participate in the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv (April 25 to May 11). The event is one of the world’s most important piano contests and takes place every 3 years.

The world’s 5th largest whiskey museum.  The world’s fifth-largest whiskey museum is situated in a former Templer wine cellar in Sarona, Tel Aviv. It features hundreds of illuminated whiskey bottles, including one worth NIS 40,000. For NIS 61 customers can taste 4 x 25ml of pure whiskey – enough for two people to share.


THE JEWISH STATE

Follow the mikveh trail.  A newly-opened Jerusalem park takes you past many of the capital’s 200 ritual baths (mikvot), used by pilgrims in the Second Temple era.  Jewish travelers purified themselves by immersion, prior to offering sacrifices in the Temple. 50 baths have been unearthed near Temple mount, most along its southern wall. http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-the-mikveh-trail-follow-the-rugged-path-of-jerusalems-ancient-pilgrims/

“People, Book, Land” reaches UK Parliament. The UK House of Commons is hosting the UNESCO travelling exhibition, “People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land.” The exhibit explores the Jewish People’s eternal link to the Land of Israel.

Ironic venue for Balfour conference.  The venue for the Conference “100 Years since the Balfour Declaration” was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem.  The hotel is sited on the earlier Palace Hotel – built by the anti-Semitic Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al Husseini. It was also the site of the 1936 Peel Commission.

Prizes for Sephardi and Oriental studies.  The first-ever Prime Minister's Awards for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry were to the Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University, Levana Zamir for "The Golden Age of the Jews of Egypt - Uprooting and Revival in Israel" and Dr. Moshe Gavra for research of immigrations of Yemen Jews between 1948 and 1949.  http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=40717

50 years of re-unification of Jerusalem.  “Voices of Jerusalem” video, produced by the city for June’s 50th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s Capital.

Brazil’s secret Jews renew ties in Israel.  During a visit to Israel, with 18 other Brazilian Anousim (secret Jews) Lavor Serbim told her story at the Brazilian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv. She used to cry when she heard stories about Israel or heard Jewish songs, but there was no clear explanation for her emotions.


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In the 2nd Apr 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists have discovered a treatment for previously incurable cancers.
·         Three inspiring transplant news stories.
·         40% of child cancer patients at an Israeli hospital are Palestinian Arabs.
·         Israel is fueling a cement factory with energy from garbage.
·         10 airlines are about to commence scheduled services to Tel Aviv.
·         Intel buys Mobileye for $15 billion - Israel’s biggest ever hi-tech exit.
·         Britney Spears announced she will perform in Tel Aviv on July 3.
·         Israeli archaeologists believe they have found the grave of Ibn Ezra.

·         Click here to see the 12th March newsletter on IsraelSeen, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Health. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese and (TY Jenka) in Hebrew. Please pass links onto relevant readers.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Israeli breakthrough in cancer treatment.  This could be it.  Teams of Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University and Sheba and Hadassah Medical centers working together have triggered cell death in tumors. Derivatives of the compound Phenanthridine caused cancer cells to self-destruct in the most resistant and incurable cancers such as pancreatic.  Watch this space! http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-scientists-find-mechanism-that-causes-cancer-cells-to-self-destruct/2017/03/27/ http://www.impactjournals.com/oncotarget/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=15343

Prolonging the lives of cancer patients.  Professor Dror Harats, CEO of VBL Therapeutics on ILTV News described the Phase 2 results of VB-111. The treatment (now in Phase 3 trials) doubles survival time for brain tumor patients and ovarian cancer patients.  It works for most solid tumor cancers. (Reported here previously)

Israeli doctor leads world congress on miscarriage. (TY Eli) Professor Asher Bashiri of Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center led the 2017 World Congress on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, held in Cannes, France. Doctors representing over 50 countries attended.  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4911295,00.html

PolyPid joins US infectious disease program.  I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s PolyPid slow-release antibiotic bone implants.  PolyPid has just been accepted into the US FDA Qualified Infectious Disease Program - a new FDA status for innovative products in the treatment of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Incubating nine medical startups.  Israel’s Teva and Philips Healthcare selected 9 from 750 startups for their Sanara joint Israeli medical incubator.  They include MeWay (nebulizer) Myhomedoc (smartphone checkup and diagnosis), BReathme (asthma management), Purecare (gum treatment), Lensfree (lowers CT radiation), Lifegraph (migraine prevention), Lidus (blood vessel suturing) and SpirCare (lung capacity measurement).

Israeli takeover of UK cancer biotech.  Israel’s BiolineRx is buying UK’s Agalimmune,for $6 million. The private UK-based company has developed an innovative, anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. treatment that not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response.  http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-biolinerx-buys-uk-co-1001182333

Worms to treat auto-immune diseases.  I reported previously (Apr 2015) about Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld of Israel’s Sheba Hospital. He has now founded startup TPCera which found that parasitic Helminth worms excrete a substance that stops the immune system attacking it.  It can be used to treat auto-immune diseases.

Jerusalem factory for Universal Flu vaccine.  Israeli biotech Biondvax is to receive a Government grant for 20% of the NIS 20 million required to build a Jerusalem factory for commercial scale production of its M-001 Universal Flu vaccine.  Biondvax plans to produce tens of millions of doses of M-001 annually, including for Phase 3 trials.  http://www.biondvax.com/2017/03/biondvax-approved-for-grant-from-israels-ministry-of-economy-and-industry-to-build-facility-for-commercial-scale-production-of-its-universal-flu-vaccine/

First transplant using innovative stem cell collection.  I reported previously (Jun 2014) on the ApoGraft fast system for collecting stem cells, developed by Israel’s Cellect. A patient dying from leukemia has just received the first transplant using these cells. Cellect (and much of the medical world) are closely monitoring results.

Israeli ALS treatment for Titans linebacker.  Ex-Tennessee Titans footballer Tim Shaw has just returned from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center following a stem cell transplant to treat ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Cells collected from him in January were purified, replicated and injected back into his spine.

Bone marrow match for “bubble baby”.  Thanks to Israeli health charity Ezer Mizion, an Israeli infant with immunodeficiency syndrome SCID no longer needs to live in a bacteria-free “bubble”.  A DNA match was found on Ezer Mizion’s bone marrow database and a transplant has transformed the little boy’s life.

Psycho-trauma therapy on 4 legs.  Israel’s United Hatzalah volunteer emergency response service has a trauma and crisis response unit. The Psycho-trauma Unit’s latest recruit is a dog named Lucy. Therapy dogs have proven to be very helpful in traumatic situations, especially when dealing with children and the elderly.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Everybody should be able to enjoy nature.  LOTEM is an Israeli organization dedicated to enable people with special needs to experience Israel's beautiful landscapes and scenic parks. Through workshops and guided tours, its volunteers are using the great outdoors to bring strength and smiles to children and adults alike.

More maternity leave.  (TY Janglo) Israel is increasing Government-paid maternity leave. An increase from 14 to 15 weeks was unanimously agreed by 54 MKs at its first reading. A proposal to increase it to 16 weeks is expected to be approved within six months. Israeli law also gives mothers flexibility to transfer leave to fathers.

Program to curb food waste.  (TY Janglo) Israel’s Agriculture Ministry has developed a program to help stem the estimated 18 billion shekels ($5 billion) of food that is wasted annually. It includes funding the harvesting of crops that farmers cannot sell and their distribution to needy families. It will also promote packaging to extend shelf life.  http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/1.778777

Hi-tech Israeli-Arabs.  (TY Israel21c) Israeli Arab Jamil R. Mazzawi founded Optima Design Automation in Nazareth, which develops software for protecting and boosting the processing of sensitive microchips.  These include preventing errors from cosmic radiation that disrupt medical devices and automobile systems.

Israeli-Arab woman head of Neuroscience.  (TY Israel21c) Maronite Christian Arab Professor Mouna Maroun is head of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at Haifa University. She is the first Arab woman in Israel to hold a university faculty position in neuroscience.

Palestinian-Arab cancer patients in Israel.  (TY Hazel) 40% of Dr. Yoram Neumann’s oncology patients at Israel’s Sheba hospital are Palestinian-Arab children from the Territories and Gaza.  Palestinian Arab children occupy 50% of the unit’s beds.  http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Israeli-doctors-Palestinian-children-478208

Where not to fly a kite.  Israeli border police rushed to the aid of a Palestinian Arab boy who fell off a roof in Hebron whilst flying his kite.  Other children directed the police paramedic and an escort to the youngster, who had suffered head injuries. After treatment, an IDF ambulance took the injured boy to hospital. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/227529

Israeli biogas for Syrian refugees in Jordan.  (TY Eli) Israel’s HomeBiogas has donated two of its organic waste-to-cooking-gas converters to Syrian refugees in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The systems provide clean renewable energy and replace some of the unsanitary cookers that have caused deadly fires in the camp.

Israel’s top international aid program.  Jerusalem Post editor Seth Frantzman describes how tiny Israel is doing much more on the ground to help African states than the masses amount of aid wasted by wealthier donating countries. Israeli assistance encompasses agriculture, water, medicine, security, education and more.

UN scores Israel high for human development.  The latest United Nations Human Development Report, which analyzes life expectancy, education, gender equality, and financial wealth, ranks Israel 19th out of 195 countries. Israel comes ahead of Luxembourg, France, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Italy and Spain.

Preserving the DNA of endangered species.  (TY Eli) Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari is working with Germany’s Leibniz Institute to try and preserve animals expected to go extinct in the next few years. DNA from tissue samples will be frozen and stored at the Safari. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4900650,00.html

Austria looks for Israeli security expertise.  (TY Bennett) Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka visited Israel to deepen Austria’s relationship with Israel. One major objective was to seek guidance on emulating Israel’s open and free society and effective border control.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Austrian-Interior-Minister-looks-to-Israel-for-security-expertise-481952


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

From garbage dump to energy resource.  I’ve reported previously (four times) on Israel’s Hiriya garbage dump that is now an environmental park.  Hiriya’s Refuge Derived Fuel (RDF) plant has just been launched, processing 1,500 tons of waste every day, to produce energy for the nearby Nesher cement production plant.

$66 million for smart transportation.  (TY Eli) The Israeli Cabinet has approved a 250 million-shekel ($66 million) plan to advance and strengthen the smart transportation industry in Israel. The goal is to "position the Israeli high-tech industry as a global leader in the field”, which could be worth $7 trillion in 2030.

Joint work with USA on cybersecurity.  The new United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2017 (see Jan 8) creates a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development projects. http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2017/2/13/us-israel-cybersecurity-cooperation-grows-as-common-enemies-move-battlefield-online 

Israel’s tallest building approved.  Tel Aviv has given the go-ahead for a 100-floor skyscraper to be built in the vicinity of Tel Aviv’s central railway station. It will be Israel’s tallest building.

Collision protection for 4,500 NYC hire cars.  4,500 for-hire vehicles in New York City will feature vision sensors and technologies from Israel’s Mobileye (now part of Intel) to identify potential dangerous scenarios in real time, and alert drivers about impending collisions, giving them time to react.

Listenapp wins Startup Live.  I publicized previously (Mar 5) Israel’s Startup Live festival on 29 March.  Israel’s IMNA Solutions won the festival’s startup competition with Listenapp – a smartphone app that helps keep conversations secure. IMNA will now join the European incubation program Global Incubator Network (GIN). http://i-hls.com/2017/03/startup-festival-wealth-innovation-lot-good-advice/

Sign with your watch.  (TY Eli) Researchers at Ben Gurion and Tel Aviv Universities have developed a smartwatch application capable of verifying handwritten signatures by gathering data from a person’s wrist movement during the signing process.  You need to (temporarily at least) put the watch onto your signing hand.

Mind your backs.  I reported previously (here and here) on the wearable muscle-training device from Israel’s Upright that helps you develop good posture and prevent back pain.  Trials at Ernst & Young improved posture and decreased back pain, resulting in employees being more productive and alert.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel’s annual economic report.  High points of the Bank of Israel Annual Report include good growth, low unemployment, low inflation, rising wages, low budget deficit and good tech exports, despite a high Shekel.

Retail is booming in Israel.  Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, took her team on a four-day innovation technology tour to Israel. She was impressed with the level of investment, tie-ups with multinationals and accelerators hosted by Adidas and GE.

Encouraging Israeli startups to list in Australia.  I reported previously (Nov 13) on the popularity of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) for Israeli companies to go public. ASX is now actively marketing its advantages over NASDAQ and London, both inside Israel and to Israeli delegations visiting Australia.

Israel-UK trade reinforced by Brexit.  United Kingdom’s International Trade Minister, Lord Price, arrived in Israel for the first meeting of the new UK-Israel Trade Working Group, on the same day Britain chose to notify the European Union of its intention to leave.  Annual bilateral trade is currently worth around $6.2 billion.

Mexico’s 4th biggest investor.  Israel is Mexico’s biggest investor, after the USA, Spain and Germany.  Direct Investment in 2016 from Israeli ventures rose from $900 million to over $2 billion - beating Canada and Japan.

The plane from Spain.  The numbers of passengers flying with Air Europa between Madrid and Tel Aviv have soared by 47% since January. The airline already added an extra flight in June last year (reported here) and is now adding another two extra flights per week, using their new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the route.

Yet more flights.  Ten airlines will begin operations at Ben Gurion Airport shortly, including Air India, Air Transat, WOW, Eurowings, Cobalt Air, Envelop, Yarmal and Pegas Fly. Wizz announced 3 more routes and Ryanair celebrated its first flight into Ben Gurion. 11 airlines will fly to France, Italy and Spain.

Study for a degree in Israel. Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya is launching Israel’s first BA program in Entrepreneurship in October (in English). Alternatively, the Jerusalem College of Technology offers a BSc in Computer Science (English) or BA degree course in Business Administration (partly in Hebrew).

Mighty Sesame goes from strength to strength.  I reported previously (Jul 15) on Israel’s Rushdi Foods and its Mighty Sesame tahini.  Rushdi has now launched the ready-to-use, long shelf-life, vegan, natural, organic, sustainable, no additives, high-protein, gluten-free tahini in the UK. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ready-to-use-organic-tahini-launches-at-whole-foods-300406922.html

Apple buys Israeli face-recognition security startup.   Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup RealFace - whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users. Its Pickeez app automatically chooses the user’s best photos.            This is Apple’s fourth acquisition in Israel.

The big one - Intel buys Mobileye for $15 billion.  Immediately after my last newsletter, Intel bought Israeli vehicle safety and automation systems company Mobileye for just over $15 billion, which makes it the biggest ever exit in the history of Israel's high-tech industry. The company’s HQ will remain in Israel.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Yoga – Israeli style.  (TY Janglo) Preschool yoga, prenatal yoga, workplace yoga, yoga for soldiers… yoga in its many forms has found its way into virtually every area of Israeli life. Even government ministries and the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office offer weekly yoga sessions to workers. But Israelis like it with a local flavor.

Have a beer before (or after) Pesach.  (TY Janglo) Doug Greener writes about the surge in availability of Israeli craft beers on tap as well as bottled.  Take a trip around Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda and you will find delicious Israeli draft (draught) beers in 17 bars and restaurants.  “Lechayim!”.  A map even shows you where.

Britney’s concert date announced.  (TY Janglo) Britney Spears will perform her first ever concert in Israel on July 3 at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park. The concert is part of Britney’s summer tour throughout Asia, promoting her new album Glory.

That’s entertainment!  Israel’s schedule for 2017 Spring and Summer concerts includes Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Radiohead, Nick Cave, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, The Pixies, Britney Spears, Pet Shop Boys and many more.  http://www.creativecommunityforpeace.com/

96-year-old Olympic gymnast wins Israel Prize.  Israel’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, has been awarded to 96-year-old Agnes Keleti, the world’s 10th top Olympic gymnast.  Saved from the Holocaust by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Keleti, made Aliyah from Hungary in 1957 and then founded Israeli gymnastics. She holds the most gold Olympic medals in the State of Israel.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-news/holocaust/96-yr-old-holocaust-survivor-olympian-wins-israel-prize/2017/02/17/


THE JEWISH STATE

The gateway to the Mishna.  The northern Israeli town of Beit She’arim is where the Mishna (Oral Law) was compiled during Roman times. The town’s name means “House of Gates”.  Archaeologists from the University of Haifa were therefore amazed to discover a massive gateway during recent excavations at the site.

Temple menorah at UNESCO. (TY Bennett) Israel’s Foreign Ministry is placing a replica of the Second Temple menorah (candelabra) on permanent display at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. The statue, similar to that on Rome’s Titus Arch, will also include a written explanation in English, French, Hebrew and Arabic.

Party benchers with a difference.  Israeli startup Let’s Bench allows party organizers to print personalized Grace After Meals benchers (birkonim) (booklets and cards) for their celebrations.  Family photos can be incorporated throughout.  http://letsbench.com/  https://www.youtube.com/embed/amXLl0_cONI?rel=0

The land of (soy) milk and (date) honey.  The World Zionist Organization is using Israel’s vegan culture to cultivate connections between Israel and the rest of world Jewry and non-Jewry.  It recently ran vegan workshops for attendees of Berlin’s first-ever, weeklong Jewish food festival, Nosh Berlin.

Connecting diaspora Jewish girls with Israel.  (TY Eli) The Naale/Elite Academy brings Jewish teenage girls from around the world for a free high school matriculation program in top Israeli religious educational institutions all over Israel.  Naale is fully subsidized and supervised by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

No Oleh alone for Seder.  (TY Janglo) I reported previously (Feb 2016) on the NGO KeepOlim, dedicated to helping Olim to remain in Israel. KeepOlim’s “No Oleh Alone Program for Pesach” is designed to provide any Israeli immigrant, who wants to attend a Seder in Israel, with a willing and suitable host.

The tomb of Ibn Ezra?  (TY Janglo) A grave has been unearthed in the Israeli town of Tzfat with the Hebrew inscription "the elderly sage, the doctor Avraham Ben Ezra".  The biblical commentator was said to have immigrated from Spain to Israel at the end of his life in 1164, but his grave has never previously been located.  

250 Ukrainian Jews arrive for Pesach.  Right before Passover, 230 new immigrants from Ukraine landed in Ben Gurion Airport on the Freedom Flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. They included four Holocaust survivors, and over 40 children.