Israel's Good News Newsletter to 26th Feb 17



In the 26th Feb 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli “wonder” treatment can cure patients of thyroid cancer.
·         An Israeli doctor has fixed the hearing of 16 deaf Palestinian Arab children.
·         New Israeli Supreme Court judges include a Christian Arab and a religious Jewess.
·         The first-ever visit of an Israeli Prime Minister to Australia.
·         A new Israeli flying camera can be controlled from your smartphone.
·         6,000 people attended Israel’s biggest investment event.
·         One Israeli company’s analytics software is on 98% of all smartphones.
·         The largest-ever Aliya fair is being held in New York City.

·         Click here to see the 19th Feb newsletter on IsraelSeen, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on The Jewish State. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese and (TY Jenka) in Hebrew. Please pass relevant links onto German-speaking,  Portuguese-speaking and Hebrew-speaking readers.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Positive results for “wonder” cancer treatment.  I reported previously (Dec 2013) that VB-111 from Israel’s Vascular Biogenics (VBL Therapeutics) had been fast-tracked by the US FDA for the treatment of GBM - aggressive brain cancer.  Meanwhile, VBL has announced that VB-111’s Phase 2 trial for thyroid cancer was successful.  http://seekingalpha.com/pr/16747478-vbl-therapeutics-reports-full-data-vbminus-111-monotherapy-phase-2-trial-recurrent-thyroid 

Co-operating to study cancer.  Researchers from Israeli and Palestinian Arab hospitals together found risk factors for B Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Studying 823 patients with the disease from both communities, plus a similar number of healthy controls, they found genetic, environmental, lifestyle and medical links.

Life-saving prize. Israel's national volunteer emergency medical services organization, United Hatzalah, received the Jerusalem Prize for excellence in lifesaving. It was awarded in honor of the 3,200 volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and doctors, who work with the organization.

Bacteria sleep to evade antibiotics.  Biophysicists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found that bacteria go dormant to prevent being killed by antibiotics.  This process also helps the bacteria develop faster resistance and suggests that resistance can be prevented by targeting dormant bacteria with separate treatments.

Teva’s “blockbuster” treatment pipeline.  Israel’s Teva expects FDA approval in 2017 for seven innovative treatments. They include for chronic migraine, multiple sclerosis, Huntington's Disease and tardive dyskinesia (movement disorder). http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-tevas-pipeline-shows-promise-1001177680

Detecting vertebral fractures.  (TY Atid-EDI) Yet another diagnostic algorithm from Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision.  This time its machine and deep learning Imaging Analytics engine will be able to detect compression fractures from uploaded scans and also identify people at risk of subsequent osteoporotic fractures.

Discovery can help diagnose dyslexics.  (TY Avivit) Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have discovered that dyslexics have a shorter implicit memory than non-dyslexics. On hearing a sound repeated sometime later, dyslexics failed to recognize it.  The findings pave the way to early diagnosis and intervention.

Brain surgery cures patient of rare tinnitus.  For the first time in Israel, doctors at Beersheba’s Soroka-University Medical Center performed a brain catheterization on a patient suffering from severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears).  The condition was due to an aneurysm of veins in the brain, causing blood flow to press on air cells in the ear. http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Brain-catheterization-treats-rare-tinnitus-482345

16 Palestinian Arab children can hear for the first time.  Dr. Michal Kaufmann of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital performed cochlear implant surgery on 16 Palestinian Arab deaf and mute children to allow them to hear for the first time in their lives.  She performed six of the operations in just one month.

European approval for pain monitor.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (May 2015) on the pain measurement device developed by Israel’s Medasense Biometrics.  The innovative PMD200 has now received CE approval, allowing physicians to assess and manage pain for patients who cannot communicate.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Transmitters for elderly patients.  The Yad Sarah organization will provide distress transmitters to all elderly hospital patients living in geriatric nursing institutions. The transmitters will notify Yad Sarah headquarters around the clock if the patient falls or is shaken by someone.

Inclusive Supreme Court judges.  The judges chosen to serve on Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice include George Kara, a Christian Arab who replaces Christian Arab Justice Salim Joubran who retires after serving since 2003. And Yael Vilner is the first orthodox Jewish woman to get a permanent seat on the Supreme Court.

The first Druze Arab female news presenter.  Ghadir Kamal Meriach from the Israeli-Druze-Arab village of Daliat al-Carmel made history as the first woman from Israel’s Druze community to present the news on Israeli TV. Since 2011, she presented the main news broadcast on Channel 1’s Arabic-language channel.

A day with Syrian children in an Israeli hospital.  Wounded Syrian children and their relatives were told Israel is as bad as Satan. But at Ziv Medical Center, Issa - an Arab Israeli - is their constant companion as the children are treated by Israeli physicians. "I was afraid of the Jews," a child says. "Now I'm not afraid at all."

Arab journalists praise Israel (sort of). Egyptian journalists writing for the al-Mizri, al-Yom, and al-Aharam newspapers said Israel's successes in invention and science were an embarrassment to the entire Arab world.

Israeli Jews and Arabs to teach Syrians in Greece.  Jewish Israeli youth movement Hashomer Hatzair and the Arab Israeli youth movement Ajyal are sending educators and counselors to the Greek island of Lesbos to teach Syrian refugee children. They join IsraAID and Israel’s Natan International Humanitarian Aid.

World Bank and Israel work together for Africa.  (TY The Tower) Israel and the World Bank are to expand cooperation in water, cybersecurity and agriculture in African countries.  Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen said that it “is an opportunity for us to showcase some of the capabilities and innovation that Israel can offer to developing countries.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-world-bank-to-increase-joint-work-in-africa/

Israel is back in all Africa.  Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey formally invited Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to Togo in October.  West Africa’s Togo is the venue for the Africa-Israel summit for hi-tech, communications, agriculture and security, which is to be attended by approximately 20-25 African leaders.

The US and Israel – “A new day”.  The Israeli PM and US President are to setup joint teams to upgrade relations between Israel and the US in all of the main areas: Security, intelligence, cyber, technology, economics and many others.

Next stop Singapore.  (TY Bennett) Gallery and video of the Israeli PM’s visit to Singapore and its Jewish community. Also, the transcript of his speech to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

And finally, Australia.  The first-ever visit by a serving Israeli Prime Minister to Australia was notable for the warm welcome given by Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull and the Jewish community. Both PMs and 2000 guests attended Sydney’s Central Synagogue. Direct flights between the two countries are now being planned.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The largest-ever energy project in Israel. The partners of the Leviathan natural gas reservoir have announced that they will invest $3.75 billion in its development. The three-year project constitutes both the largest energy project and largest financial investment in Israel’s history and secures its energy future. 

Jerusalem’s Old City installs Wi-Fi.  Jerusalem is installing free wi-fi into all four quarters of the Old City to benefit millions of tourists, merchants and residents. The pilot near Jaffa Gate and the Christian Quarter will be rolled-out to the entire Old City, adding to existing free wi-fi in the German Colony and Ben Yehuda street.

The writing is on the … windscreen!  I reported previously (Aug 30) that Israel’s Liquid Crystal Glass (LCG) developer Gauzy had been selected for Mercedes-Benz’s AutoBahn Accelerator program. Gauzy presented its LCG message projection prototype to 1200 people at the Accelerator’s Expo Day in Stuttgart. Hundreds of Daimlers will now be fitted with the technology. 

Helping to simplify US passport procedures.  Israel-based startup Insights.US is using its crowd-consulting software to help reform US passport issuing process. The US Government engaged Insights to ask the public about how to simplify its on-line procedures and improve accessible. Nearly 1000 responses were received.

Improving African staple crops.  Thanks to a $6.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, one of the world’s largest independent plant science institutes, has selected Israel’s NRGene to advance the breeding of staple African crops such as grain sorghum.

Pocket-sized flying camera.  This is so cool - the ultimate in smartphone photo-capture. Israel’s SELFLY is a $100 pocket-sized remote camera for your phone that you send up into the air to capture amazing aerial photos. It reached its $125,000 crowdfunding goal in just 5 days and now is close to raising half a million dollars.

An Israeli camera in every smartphone?  (TY Atid-EDI) When I reported on Israel’s Corephotonics in May 2014 its innovative dual camera technology hadn’t attracted major smartphone manufacturers.  However, latest investors include Samsung Ventures and Foxconn (makers of Apple’s iPhone). I think we’re getting the picture!

Iron Dome is upgraded.  The latest version of Iron Dome passed a series of recent complex tests, improving the system’s capabilities. Its Tamir interceptor intercepted multiple targets fired simultaneously at different ranges. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4926270,00.html


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

6,000 attend OurCrowd Conference.  (TY Sharon) OurCrowd, the leading global equity crowdfunding platform, hosted Israel’s largest-ever investment event at Jerusalem’s International Conference Center. Over 6,000 attended, from 82 countries, including startups, investors and 200 multinational corporations.

Tech investment in Israel exceeds Europe.  (TY TPS) Per capita, the $4.8 billion invested in technology companies for Israel’s 8.5 million population last year was far higher than the $13.6 billion invested in the whole of Europe where 700 million live.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/business-economy/tech-investment-in-israel-outstrips-all-of-europe/2017/02/21/

Honda and Volvo open joint Israeli innovation center.  (TY Bennett) Honda, Volvo, Hertz and Israeli telematics company Ituran are to launch a new Israeli transportation innovation center in Tel Aviv. Startups and entrepreneurs will also benefit from the innovation hub DRIVE and Honda’s Xcelerator program.

Competition for Negev startups.  The SilicoNegev startup competition aims to stimulate Negev development by offering the winning startup an investment of up to NIS 500,000. The organizers want to help “implement the excellent ideas created in the Negev, and bring advanced technological solutions to the entire world.”

5 Arab startups for Haifa accelerator. I reported previously (Oct 10) about the LEAP Haifa program for Arab entrepreneurs. LEAP’s first startups are AgRobic (wastewater treatment), HealthyMize (COPD monitor), Innosphere (ADHD wearable), MindoLife (IoT smart homes), and BambooBike (bamboo bikes).

New light rail from Haifa to Nazareth.  Israel has approved the building of a 43km light railway between Haifa and Nazareth.  The line includes 17 stations and will cost an estimated NIS 5.9 billion. It is scheduled to begin operating in 2023. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-haifa-nazareth-light-rail-line-approved-1001177887

Microsoft catches up with Illusive Networks.  I’ve reported previously (twice) about Israeli cybersecurity startup Illusive Networks that deceives hackers by laying traps of false data. Illusive has just received a strategic investment by Microsoft Ventures to help development, marketing and global expansion.

Enjoy your Jaffa Orri mandarins.  (TY Liat) Thanks to an early start to the season, exports of Israel’s Jaffa Orri Mandarins are on track to increase from 60,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 100,000 this year.  Good Israeli harvests contrast with poor weather in Europe. The Israeli crop is expected to soar even further by 2020.

Gourmet sandwiches for 8 Shekels.  (TY Janglo) Israel’s only Michelin star chef Moshik Roth is opening his gourmet sandwich chain EIGHT all over Israel. Every item on the menu is just 8 shekels ($2.1) each.  Sandwich fillings include corned beef, duck and rib eye. Other menu items include entrecote steak and vegetable omelet.  http://yeahthatskosher.com/2017/02/full-8-shekel-menu-at-this-new-kosher-chef-sandwich-chain-in-israel-eight/  http://www.8eight.co.il/#branches

Strengthening English teaching.  (TY Janglo) In partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Education, Masa Israel Journey is to bring 300 overseas graduates to Israel to teach English as a Second Language. It is part of Masa’s Teaching Fellows program. Participants are paid to teach, plus volunteer on programs to learn Israeli culture. 

UK Press Association invests in Wochit.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Wochit enables newsrooms, editorial teams and social media editors to capture and expand audience attention through the power of video. It has just received a strategic investment from PA Group - parent company of the Press Association for UK and Ireland.

Success in measuring success.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s AppsFlyer allows mobile advertisers to see how well (or badly) their latest campaign performed from any source (e.g. Facebook, email etc.)  The software has been installed on 98% of all smartphones – 2.1 billion devices. AppsFlyer has just raised $56 million of funds and its business is flying! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9rzspOIj28

Is this startup into money-laundering?  Israeli startup Kvishi’s on-demand laundry pickup and delivery app is expanding fast and was concerned about its lack of funds.  It then turned to its customers with whom it sharing dirty laundry with and the equity crowdfunding campaign has already raised about $150,000.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Baby mandrill saved.  At Ramat Gan safari, Israeli zookeepers nursed a weak newborn mandrill back to life and reunited him with Tinkerbell - his mother. The mandrill species is classified as vulnerable in the wild.

Win a holiday at a 5-star hotel in a lifeguard tower.  A lifeguard tower on Tel Aviv’s Frishman Beach is being converted into a luxurious 5-star hotel. The winner of a photo competition will be flown to Tel Aviv for a 4-night break, including one night at the hotel with a personal butler. Afterwards, the hotel reverts to a lifeguard station for the summer season.  http://nocamels.com/2017/02/tel-aviv-lifeguard-tower-hotel/

Rappel down the Ramon Crater.  Makhtesh Ramon is a geological feature of Israel's Negev desert. Watch award-winning journalist Dayvee Sutton rappel down the 25-mile, 1,600-feet deep phenomenon.

Israel soccer team blooms in the desert.  Although soccer team Hapoel Beer Sheva was eliminated at the final stages of the Europa League, it is still top of the Israeli National League. The club is owned by Alona Barkat - the only woman to own a professional soccer team in Israel, and known as “The Princess of the Desert”.


THE JEWISH STATE

1800-year-old Hebrew carvings in Galilee village.  (TY IFCJ) Archaeologists discovered two 1,800-year-old Hebrew inscriptions carved into a limestone column capital in the Druze Galilee village of Peki’in, It reinforces Peki’in’s link to Beka - a Talmud-era center of Jewish scholarship where Shimon bar Yochai hid from the Romans. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/225397

The 400-year-old foundation of US-Israel ties.  Ambassador Yoram Ettinger describes how the unshakable social, cultural, legal and political bonds between the US and Israel are cemented on a long history of America’s recognition of Jewish religious leaders, texts and Judeo-Christian values.

The largest-ever Aliya fair. (TY Janglo) Nefesh B’Nefesh is holding its annual Israel Aliya Mega Event on Sun 26 Feb at John Jay College in Manhattan. Some 1,500 potential Olim are expected to attend, making it the biggest Aliya event of its kind. Additional Aliyah Fairs will be held in Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles.