Israel's Good News Newsletter to 4th Dec 16



In the 4th Dec 16 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli micro robots can help avoid brain surgery.
·         Israeli startups won the top 3 prizes at an international medical trade fair.
·         Israeli NGOs helped wheelchair users hike across the Negev desert.
·         Israel’s new Ambassador has arrived in Turkey.
·         Israeli recycled paper is the eco-friendliest in the world.
·         An Israeli automobile 3D vision system can see even in thick fog.
·         Top businesswomen led Israel Day at the NY Stock Exchange.
·         Nov & Dec highlights include two Ethiopian-Jewish festivals.

·         Click here to see the 27th Nov newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo, IsraPundit and United With Israel with additional features on Health, Inclusiveness, Technology and Culture. Also (TY Sandra) available in German and (TY Karen) available in Portuguese. Please pass relevant links onto German-speaking and Portuguese-speaking readers.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Micro robots to clean pipes in the brain.  Israel’s Microbot develops miniature robots for cleaning drainage pipes in the body, for example in the urethra or the brain thereby removing the necessity for surgery to replace them. Microbot has just completed its merger into Nasdaq-listed US company Stem Cell.

US approval for upright proton therapy.  Israel’s P-Cure has received US FDA approval for its image-guided proton therapy solution that treats patients in a comfortable upright position. Patients to benefit from this clinical breakthrough will initially be those treated for cancers of the lung, breast, chest, the head and neck, and lower torso.  http://www.israel21c.org/making-proton-therapy-available-to-more-cancer-patients/

Huntington’s treatment gets US approval. (TY Atid-EDI) The SD-809 (deutetrabenazine) treatment by Israel’s Teva for Huntington disease has been approved by the US FDA.

Israeli tech for disabled displayed in London.  Israeli charity for the disabled, Beit Issie Shapiro, organized an event at Google’s London campus in which Israeli firms explained their technology for empowering the disabled. This included the Sesame phone, robots for autistic kids and smartphone navigation of wheelchairs.

MDA’s underground blood center breaks ground.  (TY Sarah) I reported previously (3 Apr) on the huge $25 million donation to help fund Magen David’s new underground blood services center in Ramla. The groundbreaking event for the state-of-the-art rocket-proof site took place on Nov 17.

Yad Sarah and United Hatzalah build closer ties to save lives.  Shift managers from Israel’s emergency response organization United Hatzalah visited medical charity Yad Sarah’s Jerusalem headquarters to gain a better understanding of their operation.  http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/485739/yad-sarah-and-united-hatzalah-increase-cooperation-to-save-lives.html

Top three medical prizes.  Israeli startups took the top honors in the App Competition, during Medica, the world’s leading annual medical trade fair. UpRight won €2,000 for its app and device to optimize posture, Biop Medical came 2nd with its cervical cancer testing device.  TytoCare came 3rd with its telemedicine solution.

Anglo-Israel cardiovascular conference. Tiberias is hosting the 6th Anglo Israel Cardiovascular Symposium - a two-day international conference of notable cardiologists and heart surgeons from Israel and the UK. One of the symposium founders - Dr. Romeo Vecht – was previously the cardiologist for the King of Jordan.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Disabled cross the Negev.  75 Canadians were among the participants of the 9th annual cross-Negev hike for the disabled, organized by OneFamily and Paratrek.  Hikers included those who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and brain injuries, blind hikers and (for the first time) wheelchair users.

Ethiopian-Israelis are closing educational gaps.  There are currently 141,200 citizens of Ethiopian origin in Israel. Of those graduating from high school, 89% took the matriculation tests compared with the national average of 94%.  The dropout rate of 1.21% was slightly lower than the 1.4% among all Jewish students.

Scholarships to mark Sigd.  Israel’s Science, Technology and Space Ministry has announced that is marking the Ethiopian-Jewish holiday of Sigd by allocating scholarships totaling some NIS 1.8 million to Ethiopian students.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Education-system-marks-both-Sigd-holiday-and-day-of-expulsion-from-Arab-countries-and-Iran-474120

Parachuting beyond the glass ceiling.  Two decades after Ronit Budette became Israel’s first female parachuting instructor, 20 women have enrolled in the IDF Paratroop Brigade’s instructors course. Ronit was inspired by seeing the historic images of paratroopers reconquering the Western Wall from Jordan in 1967.

Israeli firms are socially responsible.  Israel has just held its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Experience Conference. The Maala CSR Index - set up to promote social and environmental innovation - comprises 98 Israeli companies that employ 310,000 with $94 billion sales – about one-third of Israel’s GDP.

Israel’s Heron completes first mission for Germany in Mali.  Germany is currently in charge of the UN peacekeeping intelligence unit in Mali and successfully completed its first mission using an Israeli-made Heron 1 drone. Germany has leased 3 Israeli Aerospace Industries Heron drones for $100 million.

Israel’s new Ambassador to Turkey.  After five years, Israel and Turkey have resumed full diplomatic ties. Eitan Na’eh arrived in Ankara to take up the position of Israel’s new ambassador.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Israels-new-ambassador-to-Turkey-arrives-in-Ankara-474167

Guatemala’s president makes historic visit.  During Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ state visit to Israel he and Israeli Prime Minister signed agreements in agriculture, science, technology and security. He was honored at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University for Guatemala’s mobilizing of support for the 1947 UN partition plan that led to the establishment of Israel. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/221087


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Russian PM visits Israeli agro-tech center.  Dmitry Medvedev and his delegation were more interested in Israeli agriculture technology than politics on the Russian Prime Minister’s November trip to Israel. They visited the Volcani Center in Beit Dagan, one of the world’s most advanced facilities for agriculture research.

Israel to boost solar energy production.  (TY SDM) Israel’s Public Utility Authority is to issue more than 1,000 megawatts of fresh solar energy development quotas. It is to ensure that Israel achieves its goals of making 10% of the country’s electricity supply renewable by 2020.

$4 million for joint US-Israel renewable energy projects. The BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation announced $4 million grants for five joint Israeli-US renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Israeli beneficiaries are BrightSource, CelDezyner, Solview, Waves Audio and the Technion. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-bird-to-invest-4m-in-renewable-energy-projects-1001160818

Water summit in Las Vegas.  The BusinessH2O Summit in Las Vegas on Dec 12 features Governors, CEOs, academics and a veritable “who’s who” of Israeli water experts.  They will discuss best practices in corporate water stewardship and public policies to address the growing demand for water.

The world’s most eco-friendly paper.  One of the Israeli companies highlighted at the CSR Experience Conference (see above) is the Hadera Paper company, producer of the world’s most recycled & environment-friendly paper.  Repaper is made entirely of wastepaper and free of cellulous or any polluting chemicals.

AT&T’s Israeli TV app.  US telecomms giant AT&T has launched DirectTV - a new TV project, in which content from 120 channels is streamed to the web. The app (for Apple and Android in the US) was developed by AT&T’s Israel R&D center, which was formed when AT&T took over Israeli startup Interwise in 2007.

Your computer can really help you.  Israeli startup Ai Type offers computer users personal assistance based on keywords in the messages they type.  For example, type “I have to collect my kids early” and Ai Type can offer to connect you to a cab company. 

Israeli app for team-building.  Israeli startup Strayboots provides mobile experiences for corporate team building, group adventures and city exploration. It has set up scavenger hunts and other activities in over 50 cities worldwide and is used by more than 1000 companies, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Nike.

Israeli tech is worth its weight in diamonds.  Assessing a diamond’s color and clarity used to be a laborious and subjective manual process. Now Israel’s Sarine Technologies has developed machine learning technologies to automatically and objectively grade the clarity and color of stones, far more accurately than the human eye. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-tech-lets-diamonds-true-color-and-clarity-shine-through/

Autonomous cars need a deep view.  Israeli startup Oryx Vision has raised $17 million to build a depth sensing solution for autonomous vehicles. Its “coherent optical radar” is based on a long-wave infrared laser and nano-antennas that receive light waves like radio waves. Unlike alternatives, Oryx’s system can see in fog.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Record private equity investment.  18 deals, worth $1.7 billion, in the third quarter of 2016 raised private equity investment in Israeli companies in the nine months of 2016 to $3.26 billion. This is more than the $3.22 billion for the whole of 2015. The 2016 figure includes BC Partners’ $1.4 billion July buy-out of Keter plastics.

Investing in Israel’s IoT.  A group called Israel IoT Innovations – i3 Equity Partners (“i3”) has been set up to invest $20 million in Israeli startups developing IoT (Internet of Things) solutions. The consortium includes Microsoft, China’s HNA, India’s Tata, GE, Qualcomm, Tel Aviv University and Pitango.

Israel Day at the NYSE. The America-Israel Friendship League honored four Israeli businesswomen during the 10th annual Israel Day at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). They were Tzameret Fuerst of Circ MedTech, Karen Haruvi of Teva, fashion designer Noa Raviv and Liat Mordechay Hertanu of 24me.

Connex delegation to Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) Conexx, a private, not-for-profit organization, helps US firms identify innovations and R&D opportunities in Israel, as well as help Israelis establish a successful presence in South Eastern USA. A Connex delegation came to Jerusalem to meet some of its start-up community.

Billion-dollar deal is on again.  I reported previously (Sep 2015) that Israel’s Valtech Cardio was to be bought by US-based HeartWare International for over $900 million. Although the deal fell through (in Jan 2016), now Valtech is to be acquired by US medical giant Edwards LifeSciences for a staged payment of $990 million.

Frutarom moves into Mexico.  Israeli flavors company, Frutarom, has purchased 75% of Piasa Group, Mexico’s leading local company for savory solutions, for approximately $20.5 million.  It is Frutarom’s eighth acquisition of 2016.  http://ir.frutarom.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=185607&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2221247

New flights from Germany. Low-cost airline, Germania will launch direct flights from Nuremberg to Tel Aviv in Nov 2017, supplementing its routes from Hamburg and Dusseldorf. The Nuremberg service will operate twice a week, every Monday and Thursday.

Warren Buffett raises $60 million in Israeli bonds.  US entrepreneur Warren Buffett hosted an evening with 43 US investors, each buying at least $1 million in Israeli bonds.  Buffett bought $5 million himself, saying, “If you are looking for brains, energy and dynamism in the Middle East, Israel is the only place you need to go.”


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israeli-Ethiopian Arts Festival warms up Jerusalem.  The annual Hullegeb Israeli-Ethiopian Arts Festival 15-21 Dec will bring a bit of sunshine to a chilly Jerusalem. Hullegeb means “open to everyone/everything” and the festival is dedicated to creations by artists of Ethiopian origin in the fields of dance, music and theater.

Guns ‘N Roses are coming back.  I reported previously (Jul 2012) when legends of Rock Guns ‘N Roses with Axl Rose were last in Israel in 2012. They are returning in the summer (probably July 15) and this time are bringing guitarist Slash with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUEHQHpofB8

Stranglers in Tel Aviv.  English punk-rock band “The Stranglers” performed some of their classic hits at Tel Aviv’s Charles Bronfman Auditorium on Nov 17, including “Golden Brown” and “No More Heroes”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fkd_acrbDDY  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBxYmfsdJM8

Another Israeli TV series goes global.  The hit Israeli TV series “Fauda” will soon be available for streaming on Netflix, which purchased the rights to it from Israel’s YES satellite TV company. “Fauda” (Arabic for “chaos”) is about a team of Israeli undercover counter-terrorism operatives.

Crossroads – Janglo Night Run.  Crossroads Jerusalem has organized a night run on Dec 8 to help fund its critically-needed programs and social services for at-risk, English-speaking youth in Israel. Crossroads supports the homeless, those struggling with drug addiction and social, emotional, and educational difficulties and victims of violence/domestic abuse.  http://run4crossroads.com/night-run-2/


THE JEWISH STATE

Sigd. Thousands of Israelis (Ethiopians and others) celebrated the Day of Sigd in Jerusalem. The traditional Ethiopian-Jewish festival marks the 50th day after Yom Kippur and brings together a variety of Jewish prayer and customs. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/celebration-challenges-as-ethiopian-community-celebrates-sigd-festival/2016/12/02/ 

Another Israeli bus driver story.  More anecdotal evidence of Jewish values exhibited by some Israeli transportation employees.  http://israelseen.com/2016/11/23/paula-r-stern-the-bus-driver/

Waze for Graves.  (TY Janglo) Israel’s Ministry of Religious Services is working on a project to make it easier to locate graves a person might be looking for. They are calling it the Waze of cemeteries.

Haredi schools are going green. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem Municipality and non-profit Leshomra, have launched the “Our Garden” education program in 20 Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) schools.  Based on Torah values, it teaches core environmental concepts, such as not littering, recycling, composting, and water conservation, as the children plant, tend and harvest vegetables in their own schoolyard mini-farm.  http://leshomra.org/

A Muslim woman at the Kotel.  (TY Janglo) Let’s hope that this kind of video helps bring a new perspective to the conflicts at this holy site. https://www.facebook.com/StepUpforIsrael/videos/1277994638910039/

Winter finally arrives.  After many prayers, Israel has had a few consecutive rainy days.  There was even snow on Mount Hermon.  It may be connected to this editor’s visit to the Bob Dylan exhibition at Tel Aviv’s Diaspora Museum where he heard “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”, “Blowing in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s Going to Fall”.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/first-snow-on-mount-hermon-as-winter-weather-finally-arrives/ 

Judea rediscovered.  University of Haifa researchers have discovered a massive rectangular stone inscribed with the name Gargilius Antiques, and states that he was Rome’s Prefect of Judea. He ruled during the period leading up to the outbreak of the Bar Kochva revolt in 131 CE. Later, the Romans renamed Judea “Palaestina”.