Israel's Good News Newsletter to 26th Jun 16



In the 26th Jun 16 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart has saved its 4000th child.
·         An Israeli startup can build anti-bacterial protection into any fabric.
·         Israel is giving a trust fund to every Israeli child.
·         Israeli planes helped extinguish huge forest fires in Cyprus.
·         Israeli-bred insects are on their way to save Russia’s agriculture.
·         Israeli startups won top prizes at Asia Smartphone Apps contest.
·         An Israeli app gets you a better air fare than the one you bought.
·         Israeli gymnasts have won Euro and World Cup gold medals.

·         Last week’s Israel Good News feature article.  Click here for “Israel is in Europe too”.  Also published on the IsraelSeen and United With Israel websites.  My “The Gift of Life” blog on the Netanya MDA ambulance dedication was featured on the Jerusalem Post.

·         Click here to see the 19th June newsletter on IsraelSeen, Janglo, IsraPundit and United With Israel with extra features on Health, Global Impact and Technology.  Also (TY Sandra) available in German.

Page Down for details on these and more good news stories from Israel.  Thank You to all who have sent me links to many of these positive news articles.  Please use IsraelActive to search the archives.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

SACH saves its 4000th child.  (TY Hazel) 4-year-old Sanusey was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. The surgery needed to repair his heart is not available in Gambia. Sanusey is now recovering from open heart surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel. He is the 4,000th child saved by Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart organization.  Other children currently being treated include five from Iraq and Zead from Gaza.

Good trials of colon X-ray capsule.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported about Israel’s Check-cap previously (Feb 2012) that requires no prior preparation or hospital visit.  After 4 years, trials on 54 participants of its ingestible and disposable low-dose 3D imaging capsule proved safe and well tolerated and detected small and large polyps.

US approves CT radiation safety system.  (TY Atid-EDI) The SafeCT-29 solution from Israel’s Medic Vision Imaging Solutions produces high-quality medical scan images but reduces radiation doses by up to 80%.  SafeCT-29 works with any CT scanner and has just been approved by the US FDA.

Canada approves tremor treatment.  (TY Atid-EDI) Canada’s federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, Health Canada, has approved the Exablate Neuro system for the treatment of essential tremor developed by Israel’s Insightec.  http://www.insightec.com/news-events/press-releases/2016/health-canada-approves-insightec-s-exablate-neuro-system-for-the-treatment-of-essential-tremor/

Skin stickers to monitor activity.  A new medical innovation, developed at Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, uses ‘stick it and forget it’ electrodes affixed to the skin, to monitor muscle activity.  Applications include monitoring driver alertness and individuals with neuro-degenerative diseases. 

The science of daydreaming.  Scientists at Bar-Ilan University have used low-level electricity to increase the rate at which daydreams - or spontaneous, self-directed thoughts and associations - occur.  They also discovered that daydreams have a positive effect on task performance.

Help for patients and care-givers.  Israeli Marni Mandell launched the startup CareHood to provide patients and care-givers with a website where they can learn what has helped other people in similar situations. They can then build a care package of services, gifts, tasks and errands that their friends and family can assist with.

Monitoring cancer in the genes.  Israel’s NovellusDx monitors the effect of cancer therapies on a patient’s genetic mutations.  NovellusDx reports to the oncologist on the contribution of the driver mutations to the activation of the signaling pathways.  NovellusDx has just received $2.5 million funds from the VC Orbimed.

Making any fabric antibacterial.  I reported on Israel’s Nano Textile previously (Feb 2015) when it announced its antibacterial Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nano-coating for bed linen and clothing to prevent hospital infections.  Nano Textile has now announced that it can make any fabric (natural or synthetic) antibacterial.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

A trust fund for every child.  For the first time in the history of the state, starting January 1, 2017, every Israeli child below the age of 18 will receive a trust fund in which the National Insurance Administration (Israel’s Social Security) will be making monthly deposits.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/its-about-time-government-trust-fund-for-every-israeli-child/2016/06/21/

Mekonen’s story.  The film “Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew,” (see Nov 2015 newsletter) has just been released.  Mekonen Abebe is a young Ethiopian shepherd who overcame financial and familial hardships to realize his dream of becoming an officer in the IDF.

Dogs visit Knesset on Blind Day.  Dogs training to be guides for the blind visited the Knesset Tuesday, in honor of Israel’s sixth annual “Blind Day.”  The Israeli parliament voted to introduce fines for (a) refusing to admit a blind person with a guide dog or (b) not employing a blind person because he or she uses a guide dog.

Israeli youth village fosters Jewish-Christian bonds.  The Ahava Village in Kiryat Bialik near Haifa, treats over 250 at-risk child residents in 15 family units.  Ahava receives funds from the many Jewish and Christian supporters of Bnai Zion Foundation, a century-old Jewish organization that funds Israeli humanitarian projects.

Eritrean refugees praise Israel’s democracy.  Hundreds of Eritrean asylum-seekers marched in Tel Aviv in support of a UN probe into the African state's regime, considered one of the world's most repressive.  One typical demonstrator said, "for a march like this one we would already be dead in Eritrea."

Israel gets recognition at last. My criticism of the BBC last week, for ignoring the Israeli source of life-saving melanoma treatment, was picked up by Israel National News (see here).  But more importantly, it looks like the BBC has also taken notice.  This week, the BBC World Service (and others) featured a report on the largest solar tower being built in Israel’s Negev desert that I reported in Feb (see here).

Hatikva rings out at Antwerp Cathedral.  (TY Leonie) The Belgium city of Antwerp greeted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with the Israeli national anthem played on the bells of the city cathedral.

Special Israeli delegation at the UN.  (TY Algemeiner) Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon invited a delegation from the Special in Uniform (SIU) initiative to the U.N. to share their stories about how people with disabilities can contribute to society and to a nation.

Israel helps fight fires in Cyprus.  The IDF sent three military firefighting planes and a cargo plane together with personnel to Cyprus to help combat raging fires near the Cypriot city of Paphos.  It was the biggest fire Cyprus had seen in recent years, with strong winds making it difficult to bring the fire under control.

Israel’s benefit to Massachusetts’ economy.  (TY Dan) In 2012 Israel-founded companies contributed $6 billion in direct revenue and over 6,600 jobs in Massachusetts (see here).  For 2015 the figures are $9.3 billion and nearly 9,000 jobs. Israeli companies directly generate nearly 4% of the State’s GDP.

Israel South Africa Water Week.  (TY Dan) The first annual Israel South Africa Water Week held successful sessions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Over a dozen Israeli companies were joined by South African partners, NGO’s and high ranking members of national and provincial governments to focus on solutions for water scarcity in South Africa. http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/successful-israel-south-africa-water-week-creates-partnerships-2016-06-09/

Liberia’s President praises Israel.  (TY Dan) Israel hosted the "Entrepreneurship Conference for Developing Countries” where Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed delight in Israeli entrepreneurs whose commitment to innovation has transformed their nation and improved the lives of its people.

Israeli universities go global.  (TY Dan) Good article detailing some of the international partnerships of the Technion (US), Tel Aviv University (China), Ben Gurion University (China), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Singapore), University of Haifa (China), Weizmann Institute (France) and Bar Ilan University (China).  Also, the HUJ and TAU are in the Times Higher Education’s top 20 Asian universities.  

Saving children from malnutrition.  (TY Dan) The 3 Million Club is an Israeli NGO that works in Haiti, Nepal, and is now starting in India.  It supplies nutritional bars that are specially formulated to cure children from malnutrition within 12-weeks.  http://www.geektime.com/2016/06/12/this-hybrid-israeli-humanitarian-startup-is-a-lean-mean-child-hunger-fighting-machine/


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Hospitals to convert to natural gas.  Eleven Israeli general hospitals and two psychiatric hospitals are to convert to natural gas for kitchens, sanitation, and heating.  The hospitals spend NIS 150-200 million a year on energy, and the transition to natural gas is expected to save them NIS 60 million.

Exporting insects to Russia.  Israel’s Biobee has sent Russia 500 million predatory insects as natural, non-toxic methods to get rid of agricultural pests.  BioBee also sent Russian farmers its home-grown bumblebees for pollination, without which there is no horticulture.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-exports-500-million-predatory-insects-bumblebees-to-russia/2016/06/19/

Filtering polluted groundwater.  JNF has opened the Center for Water-Sensitive Cities in Israel in the city of Kfar Saba.  It employs a hybrid bio-filter - the first of its kind in the world, purifying dirty runoff rainwater in the winter and performing “aquifer dialysis” to purify polluted underground water in the rainless summer. 

Israel-US conference to combat terrorism.  (TY Dan) The Defense departments of Israel and the USA together with MIT sponsored the recent Combating Terrorism Technology Conference in Tel Aviv.  It included two $100,000 prize competitions for Israeli security-related startups, won by Duke Robotic Systems and Spectory.  http://www.geektime.com/2016/06/08/u-s-defense-department-comes-to-tel-aviv-looking-for-security-innovation/

US and Israel sign cyber-sharing agreement.  US and Israel have signed a new agreement which will automate their sharing of cyber data for the first time.  It will take the speed of sharing to an entirely different level to deal with constantly evolving cyber-attacks on the two countries.

Israeli cyber firms get their act together.  Good to see two Israeli hi-tech companies getting together to enhance cybersecurity.  Checkpoint is installing Mellanox’s 40GbE adapter cards in its 15000 and 23000 series security appliances in order to discover malicious behavior before it enters the network.

Stop spam at the push of a button.  Israel’s IronScales has developed IronTrap which company Google mail and Gmail users can use to eliminate phishing spam.  When an authorized employee highlights a suspicious email, IronTrap will analyze it, disable it and remove it from every mailbox on the company’s network.

Nice for Israeli smart city tech.  The Israeli innovation pavilion at the Innovative City Conference in Nice included Aquarius Spectrum (leak detection), ElectRoad, Elencon (efficient air-con), GreenQ (truck sensors), Sowillo (solar panels) and TruckNet (reduces number of empty trucks).

Extending shelf-life for Indian produce.  (TY Dan) Susan Lurie and Edna Pesis from Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture are advising the Indo-Israel Agricultural Project (IIAP) on maintaining the post-harvest quality of Indian fruit and vegetables. Techniques include “hot water brushing”, waxing and permeable packaging. 

Planes for the Italian Air Force.  (TY Atid-EDI) The first of two Gulfstream G550 business jets for the Italian Air Force has arrived at Israel Aerospace Industries’ facilities, to be reconfigured into an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Top of the mobile apps.  (TY UWI) Israeli startups won three of the four top prizes at the Asia Smartphone Apps Competition in Hong Kong.  Tekoia’s universal remote, won the grand prize for the event, and also the advertising and marketing category. Castle Builders won the games and edutainment category, and Bazz, came in second in the creative lifestyle category.

Professional videos made easy.  Israel’s Slidely enables businesses and individuals to make a video with licensed music for a price as low as $20.  Slidely has now joined forces with Getty Images, providing access to Getty’s library of nearly two million stock video clips.  Slidely has over 100 million registered users.

Video messaging on smartwatches.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli video-messaging startup Glide (featured here) is now working on a new project for smartwatches that it plans to unveil later this summer.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Unemployment down to 4.8%.  Israel’s annualized employment rate fell to 4.8% in May, its lowest point in a decade.  The rate of participation in the labor force in the 25-64 age bracket reached 80.4% in May, while the unemployment rate in this age group dropped from 4.3% in April to 4.1% in May.

GM to triple size of Israeli R&D center.  General Motors is to increase the pool of employees in Israel from 100 to 300 this year.  Its center in Herzliya will be the only GM center globally specializing in autonomous vehicle technology outside the US. GM has also invested in, and purchased, several Israeli startups.

University invests $5 million in Israel. (From Richmond Times-Dispatch) Liberty University in Virginia USA is to invest $5 million of its endowment in Israeli healthcare fund that focuses on bio-techs immunotherapy and digital health.  Liberty said it was glad to support a democracy that’s a close ally of the United States. 

Paying artists for their work.  (TY Dan) Israeli mobile platform EscapeX helps musicians, actors, comedians and other creative artists profit from their work and share it with fans.  They create and run their branded mobile apps for free, organize their content, and make it universally available without need for Internet access.

Helping Korea develop startups.  (TY Dan) One of the drivers for Israel becoming the Startup Nation was the efforts of the Israeli Venture Capital organization Yozma.  Now Yozma has created a win-win situation in Korea where it partners the South Korean government in its efforts to foster tech startups and create jobs.

Free trade talks with Russia.  (TY Dan) Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia and Israel will work to build a free trade zone between the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Israel.   At his latest meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, several bilateral deals were inked in the spheres of energy, agriculture, and customs.  http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-06/08/c_135422362.htm

A better air fare. (TY Dan) Israeli app FairFly finds the best possible fare after you’ve booked.  You send a copy of your itinerary to FairFly which scans for lower fares.  If FairFly finds a better deal even after you add the airline’s rebooking charge – you’ll receive an alert on your smartphone.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Itzhak Perlman donates his $1 million Genesis Prize.  Genesis Prize-winner Itzhak Perlman has said he will donate his $1m prize money to music education and helping people with disabilities.  The Israeli-American violinist, was awarded the ‘Jewish Nobel’ for his accomplishments as a musician, teacher and advocate for the disabled.  http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/159617/choosing-a-cause-his-1m-genesis-prize-money-a-challenge-itzhak-perlman   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGRyh-8lw6o

Helen Mirren sings Israel’s praises again.  Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren was in Israel to host the Genesis Prize. And she had some more nice things to say about this country of ours.

Jerusalem park to go hi-tech.  (TY Janglo) 40-acre Gan Sacher is Jerusalem’s largest public park.  Built in 1963, it is to be made safer and greener.  The upgrade includes smart lighting, new irrigation, photovoltaic panels, electric bike and smart phone charging stations, park-wide public Wi-Fi and … a coffee shop.

News from Israel.  Israel News Talk Radio (INTR) is a new online radio station for Israeli news and talk programming in English.  It says it provides an inside voice on what is happening on the ground in Israel and is committed to candid and straightforward reporting of Israeli news, events and current affairs.

Whiskey galore.  The third annual Whisky Live Israel show will take place on June 29-30 at the Avigdor Complex Tel Aviv, with more than 250 different whiskies from all around the globe.

68 facts about Israel.  (TY Grace) I don’t normally publish these, but it is a particularly entertaining video.

LA Dodgers sign up Israeli.  (TY Algemeiner) The Los Angeles Dodgers is the first Major League Baseball (MLB) team to sign an Israeli citizen to a contract.  Pitcher Dean Kremer was drafted by the San Diego Padres last year (see here), but did not sign with them.  Kremer played for Israel in the 2014 European Championships.

Gymnasts win Euro gold.  (TY Dan) Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team won the gold medal in the clubs and hoops category at the European Championships in Holon, Israel.  The team also won a silver medal for its ribbon routine, and the bronze in the all-around competition.

Gymnast wins World Cup gold medal.  Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov claimed a gold medal in his final event before the Rio Olympics, finishing in first place in the floor final at the World Challenge Cup competition in Anadia, Portugal.

Israeli wins air rifle bronze.  Israel’s Sergey Richter won a bronze medal in the 10-meter air rifle competition at the World Cup event in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Iranian Hossein Bagheri, who won the silver medal, didn't show up for the medal ceremony but shook Richter’s hand off camera.


THE JEWISH STATE

No queues for the elderly.   Israel is to introduce legislation exempting those over 80 from having to stand in line at post offices, banks, theaters, cinemas, supermarkets and more.  Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel quoted the biblical proverb from Leviticus, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly”.

Sheep may safely graze.  (TY Janette) Every summer the Jewish National Fund sends a herd of around 500 sheep to the fields surrounding the Israeli city of Modi’in.  The sheep help prevent fires by eating dried grass and thistles. They also lower the herbarium, giving smaller plant species the opportunity to develop and blossom.  http://www.modiinfo.com/newstop/item/5357-sheep-in-the-city-to-help-prevent-the-spread-of-fires

Two great songs in one.  (TY Avi) Ronny W – an ex-Israeli tank commander, now music artist – recorded this tribute for the recent Jerusalem Day.  It combines “Jerusalem of Gold” with “If I forget you Jerusalem”.  It received over 100,000 hits on Ronny’s Facebook site in one day.

Milka’s Fund.  Israeli charity Yad Eliezer has set up a new Crowdfunding site where you can directly support campaigns to save individual lives.  Contributions are tax-deductible for US tax payers.

We meet again.  During the traumatic task of clearing up after a multi-vehicle accident, Yisroel Fischer saw one of the body bags move – a baby girl had come back to life.  Years later, Yisroel, a volunteer driver for Ezer Mizion, transported a mother and daughter.  He then realized that the baby he had saved was now the young girl in the back of his car.  http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/next-stop-meron/

Arab and Jewish kids at an Israeli hospital.  Nadim is a Palestinian Arab. Ariel is an Israeli/American Jew.  Nadim speaks only Arabic.  Ariel speaks English and Hebrew.  These two boys communicate as only little kids can. Ariel and Nadim chase each other in their wheelchairs, play table basketball together, and just laugh.