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



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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.