Israel's Good News Newsletter to 9th Sept 18


(Next newsletter 23rd Sep)

In the 9th Sep 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         UK children will receive leukemia treatment originally developed in Israel.
·         Israel has built the first country club for Arab Bedouin.
·         Israeli gynecologists saved a mother and baby in Myanmar.
·         An Israeli smartphone app can analyze human stress levels.
·         Available soon - your Israeli robot personal assistant.
·         New trade agreements with Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Netherlands.
·         A new Virtual Reality tour of Jerusalem.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Alpha radiation destroys solid tumors safely. (TY OurCrowd) Israel’s Alpha Tau Medical uses alpha radiation to treat various types of solid tumors. Alpha DaRT (Dіffusіng Alpha-emіtters Radіatіon Therapy), developed at Tel Aviv University, is to begin clinical trials in Massachusetts USA.

Israeli leukemia treatment approved for UK children. The breakthrough CAR-T personalized leukemia therapy devised by Professor Zelig Eshhar of Israel’s Weizmann Institute (see here) is now available in the UK.  The National Health Service will fund Kymriah – the CAR-T treatment commercialized by Novartis.

Good results for colon capsule scan. Israeli biotech Check-Cap announced positive interim results for its post-CE approval study of the C-Scan system Version 3. Check-Cap’s capsule detects polyps (cancerous or precancerous) in patients without them having to undergo a colonoscopy or even any preparation.

Preventing hemorrhagic shock. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University and Hadassah Medical Center have developed software named VitalMiner to predict blood pressure instability in intensive care patients. It can give several extra hours’ warning of impending hypotension, where vital organs are starved of oxygenated blood.

 “Natural” protein to treat osteoporosis. Ben Gurion University scientists have discovered a natural protein in the body that can be tailored to treat osteoporosis. The protein can be modified to inhibit its standard bone destruction function, which avoids many of the side effects common with current treatments.

Safer transplants. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Orgenesis which was developing a treatment for diabetes based on replacing cells in the body.  Ogenesis is now working with Ben Gurion University to develop a cell transplantation process that avoids being attacked by the immune system.

Auto-adjusting orthopedic brace. Israeli startup OrthoSpin is developing an electric brace to help with bone lengthening, setting complex fractures, and correcting deformities. The system tunes the brace’s position from pre-programmed instructions by an orthopedist who monitors progress remotely.

Eye drops to correct far-sightedness. I reported previously (18th Mar) that Israeli scientists were developing eye drops to improve vision. Israeli startup Orasis is also working on eye drops to treat presbyopia - age-related far-sightedness due to loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye.

Probiotics are personal. Two studies by scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have turned knowledge about probiotics on its head. Firstly, probiotics are only effective if your microbiome doesn’t resist the probiotics. Secondly, using probiotics alongside antibiotics is ineffective in restoring your natural microbiome.

UK-Israel conference on aging. Nearly 80 leading Israeli scientists joined their UK peers in London at two unprecedented academic conferences over 3 days. Topics included the role of genetics and “precision medicine” in age-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Program. Newsletter readers know Ezer Mizion is a charity that operates a life-saving Bone Marrow Registry.  But that’s far from all it does, as this mother found out when she sought respite from looking after her schizophrenic husband. Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 Israelis.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Education as a work of heart. (TY Leah) Meled Jerusalem is an alternative high school for Jewish students who struggled to fit into Israel’s mainstream religious school system. The school is led by its founder, development psychologist Dr. Menachem Gottesman, and described in his book “Not at Risk”.

2.3 million children start school together.  Over 2,310,000 students started the school year at some 5,000 Israeli schools. New educational initiatives include innovative research equipment, extra staff at 6,000 kindergartens, smaller class sizes and expansion of studies in mathematics, English and the Hebrew language.

Genesis Prize empowers Israeli women. The Genesis Prize Foundation and the Kahn Foundation has awarded $1 million in grants to 37 Israeli nonprofits. They represent Jewish, Arab, Druze and Bedouin communities focused on socioeconomic opportunity, gender equality, minority rights or violence prevention for women..

Training Haredim for civil service leadership. (TY Sharon) Israeli President Reuben Rivlin presented awards to Haredi graduates of the “Influencers” program. The 19 strictly orthodox men will fill government roles including the fields of economy, science, education and law.

More on Krembo Wings. I reported previously (12 Aug) that Israeli NGO Krembo Wings had been awarded special advisor status to the United Nations for its work integrating disabled children with other children.  Here now is a new video that highlights the work of the organization.

Country club for Bedouin Arabs.  (Y Hazel) The Israeli government has built a country club in the Bedouin city of Rahat in Southern Israel. It includes a fitness center, saunas, sports facilities and the first swimming pool in a Bedouin settlement in Israel. The club will serve many thousands of Bedouin Arabs from the Negev area.

The quality of life for Israeli Arabs.  (TY UWI) This article describes excellently the unprecedented advancements during the last decade in the quality of life for Israel's Arab citizens. It covers health, education, communities, employment and business development.  http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/what-apartheid/

First ever visit by a Philippines President. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his 400-person delegation to Jerusalem. The two countries signed agreements, in trade, science and caregiving. Mr Duterte praised the work conditions of the 30,000 Filipino care workers in Israel.

CPR training for Kenya. A team from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center conducted an advanced resuscitation skills course for local medical and nursing staff in Nakuru, Kenya. The course was conducted with cooperation of Israel’s Technion and included lectures, simulations and individual training.

Saving lives in Myanmar. (TY Hazel) Two top gynecologists from Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital spent two weeks in Pindaya, Myanmar, helping train local doctors. On their first day they saved two lives. Infant mortality in Myanmar is 40.1 deaths per 1000 live births. The OECD average is 5.9; In Israel it is 2.9.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Bringing companies into the digital age. (TY WIN) Israeli software company CodeOasis has been quietly transforming company systems for 13 years. Solutions for the likes of IsraCard, Super-Pharm, Wix, Strauss and SodaStream, CEO Amir Golan was interviewed on ILTV about CodeOasis’ innovative services.

Drink me. Dehydration results in over 1.5 million outpatient visits, 200,000 hospitalizations, and 300 deaths in the US per year. Israeli startup Water.io has developed “Reminder” - an IoT (Internet of Things) smart cap and sensor for disposable water bottles that blinks, vibrates or sounds an alarm when you need to take a drink.

Smartphone analyzes mental state. Israeli 3D imaging company Mantis Vision has just acquired Israeli AI (Artificial Intelligence) startup BrainVu. BrainVu uses machine vision (e.g. of eye dynamics and blood flow) to identify the mental state (e.g. stress levels) of a person from images captured by a smartphone camera.

SkyTrain for Netanya. My local council has just approved plans for Israel's first skyTran pod cable car rapid personal transit system. The 600-meter line is designed to overcome traffic congestion and link-up Netanya's residential and industrial areas. Each skyTran 2-person pod will operate using magnetic levitation.

A drone to save you from drowning. (TY Hazel & UWI) Israeli startup Blueskimmer developed drones to thwart firebombing kites and balloons from Gaza. Now the drones have been adapted to release floats to rescue people at risk of drowning. The drones are controlled by lifeguards and have a public address system.

Israeli summer school for science students.  73 international high school graduates came to Israel this summer to participate in a hands-on scientific research program at the Weizmann Institute of Science. More than 3,000 students (Jews and non-Jews) have attended the 4-week course over the years.

Untold News on Buzzfeed. One of my favorite NGO’s Untold News has published another article on Buzzfeed highlighting 10 Israeli futuristic innovations. 300,000 saw their last article and this one is well worth reading.

Syte is so cool. (TY Atid-EDI) Gartner has named Israel’s Syte in its 2018 Cool Vendors in AI for Retail report. Syte provides Artificial Intelligent image search technology and in-store solutions to track social media and create a more seamless shopping experience.  Customers include UK’s Marks & Spencer, Intu and Boohoo.

Your personal Israeli robot. (TY Atid-EDI) temi is an Israeli-developed personal robot that aims to become an essential addition to every home.  temi traverses the home without colliding with furniture, providing a host of services. Another Israeli startup, Newsight Imaging will provide the sensors for temi’s 3D visual system.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

The best universities for entrepreneurs. Seattle-based market research company Pitchbook rated Tel Aviv University at number eight (up from nine) in its list of global undergraduate programs that produce venture capital-backed entrepreneurs. Israel’s Technion came 14th and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was 35th.

Financial Tech agreement with Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s Finance Minister Paul Chan visited Israel with a delegation of 20. He signed an agreement with Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to promote cooperation in the field of Fintech. Other initiatives explored included the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Biotech.

Dutch Prince seeks hi-tech investment. Prince Constantijn van Oranje of the Netherlands, head of Dutch innovation organization StartupDelta, is in Israel with a delegation of Dutch investors. His aim is to attract Israeli hi-tech startups to Holland and to learn how to establish technology and innovation centers.

Japan opens Israeli startup accelerator. The Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) – a government agency - is opening a business center and accelerator program for Israeli startups to help them expand of their business to Japan.

More multinational investment. Over the last 18 months, 16 multinational financial firms started operating in Israel, or increased previous business through strategic partnerships and investments. Newcomers include AXA SA, Bank of Montreal, Fosun, TD Bank, AmTrust, and Mastercard. The attraction? - Israeli technology. Plus two video reminders of the 4 multi-billion-dollar exits so far in 2018.

Award-winning Proof of Concept.  I reported previously (see here) about Israeli startup prooV and its service that allow companies to perform Proof of Concept (PoC) testing on new technology. The Business Intelligence Group has now named prooV a 2018 Stratus Award winner, for its unique cloud technology solution.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Rare chance to see Worms Mahzor.  For the first time in 30 years, and ahead of the High-holidays, the Worms Mahzor - a famous 13th-century prayer book - will go on display at the National Library of Israel. The exhibition, “Our hearts responded in ancient prayer…” features many beautiful medieval Hebrew manuscripts.

Vibrations are still good for Brian Wilson. Beach Boys founder and composer Brian Wilson performed at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. Two years after his Israeli debut, Wilson and his 10-piece band played through an outstanding songbook of classics. At 76, how does he do it? The answer is in the video.

Virtual Reality tour of Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) I’ve reported previously (see here) on several VR (Virtual Reality) tours where you can step back in time to see ancient Israel. Now the Tower of David Museum is launching “Step into History” - a VR tour of Jerusalem as it looked 2000 years ago.

Hiking in Israel. (TY Erez) There is a new English website for foreign tourists, dedicated to nature and hiking in Israel. It is great news for the traveler who wants to explore Israel independently but doesn’t speak Hebrew. The descriptions are accompanied by high-quality hiking maps, GPS track files and transport links.


THE JEWISH STATE

The Jewish foundations under Mount Zion. (TY WIN) Mount Zion, South West of Jerusalem’s Old City, sits on top of thousands of years of history. Archeologists recently discovered evidence of Hasmonean construction from the time of the Second Temple.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/SP_iuw5JKLE?rel=0

Uncovering the City of David. Doron Spielman, of the City of David Foundation, was interviewed on ILTV about the latest findings in the 4,000-year-old city of King David that was only re-discovered a few years ago. Layers have been peeled away like an onion to reveal the Pilgrimage Road leading up to Temple Mount.

1,020 ancient clay seals discovered. Archeologists have uncovered a trove of 1,020 clay seal impressions dated from the Maccabean era, over 2,100 years ago. They were found in a newly discovered 7-room cave complex at the ancient city of Maresha, part of the Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park in central Israel.

The US-Israeli pilot who stopped Egyptian army.  US citizen Gideon Lichtman, who died recently aged 94, made history in 1948 when he volunteered for the emerging Israeli Air Force and shot down its first enemy plane. His Machal 101 squadron prevented the Egyptian army from capturing Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem prepares for New Year. (TY Sharon) In Israel’s capital, people are extremely busy. Activities include an update for Sacher Park, musical events in the streets and synagogues. One “unique” photo shows the candidates for position of the next Mayor of Jerusalem dancing together. And the first Sukkah (tabernacle).

A country, not a cause. I reported previously (28th Jan) about The Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF). Founder Adam Bellos urges American Jews to look beyond the politics and to come to Israel, learn the language, meet the people, listen to the music, drink the wine and enjoy the country. Israel has so much to offer.

Ancient tree may help cure diseases. On Kibbutz Katura, I saw Methuselah - a Judean date palm that scientist Elaine Solowey planted on Tu Bishvat from 2000-year-old seeds discovered by archeologists at Masada. Now scientists believe that the tree’s ancient genetic properties could have major medical benefits.

Free-gift at Ben Gurion airport. (TY Janglo) To prevent the importing of diseases, Israel’s Agriculture Ministry has banned passengers from bringing 3 of the set of 4 species (palm branch, myrtle, willow) required to be used during the Sukkot (Tabernacles) holiday.  A free set will be given to those passengers who want one.