Israel's Good News Newsletter to 25th Sep 16



In the 25th Sept 16 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists have been able to stop breast cancer from spreading.
·         Israel’s “bacteria or virus?” blood test received a huge grant from the EU.
·         Palestinian Arabs entered Israel to celebrate Eid al Adha on Jaffa beaches.
·         Israel’s first Ambassador to NATO presented his credentials.
·         See Israel’s largest infrastructure project - the Jerusalem railway station.
·         Israel sent a natural remedy to eradicate South Africa’s mealybugs.
·         Israel has opened trade offices in Peru and Chile.
·         Ford and Uber snapped up two Israeli autonomous vehicle tech startups.
·         “David defeated Goliath.” Beersheba beat Inter Milan in Europa Cup soccer.
·         The world’s oldest man celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, 100 years late.

·         Click here to see the 11th Sept newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with features on Health, Global Impact, Technology and Culture. Also (TY Sandra) available in German and (TY Karen) available in Portuguese. Please promote the terrific work of these volunteers by passing their links onto German-speaking and Portuguese-speaking readers.

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

Stopping the spread of breast cancer.  In laboratory tests, researchers at Tel Aviv University and MIT have used gene therapy to prevent metastasis - the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body. 80% of women with metastatic cancer die from the disease within five years of being diagnosed.

A cure for motion sickness. MotionCure from Israel’s Sidis Labs can provide relief from motion sickness within minutes.  MotionCure’s combination of a neck collar and a travel pillow transmits customized pulses to the median nerve at the back of neck. These counter negative signals from the brain that upset the stomach.

Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease.  (TY Atid-EDI) The first patient with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) has received a transplant of CordIn from Israeli biotech Gamida Cell.  CordIn is an alternative for patients awaiting a suitable match for bone marrow transplants.  Trials of CordIn are planned for patients with aplastic anemia.

Patent for ocular neuro-protectant treatment.  Quark is a US company with its R&D in Israel.  The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Quark a key patent covering the treatment of patients suffering from non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) with the Company’s ocular neuro-protectant QPI-1007.

Boost for colon X-ray capsule.  Israel’s Check-cap, developer of the world’s first ingestible colon X-ray capsule, has announced three key news items.  It is partnering with GE Healthcare to develop high-volume manufacturing. It also received $1.2 million from the Israeli government and $5.9 million from private sources.

More treatments from Teva.  Israel’s Teva has launched in the US the generic equivalent to Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) for the treatment of leukemia and other cancer-related diseases. Also, Europe has approved Teva’s CINQAERO (reslizumab) – the first intravenous anti-IL-5 biologic therapy for severe eosinophilic asthma.

Europe funds Israeli blood test for viruses and bacteria.  The UN has prioritized fighting antibiotic resistance. Meanwhile, the European Commission has granted 2.3 million Euros to Israeli biotech MeMed to help develop its fast blood test that distinguishes between bacterial and viral infections – and thus significantly reduces the unnecessary use of antibiotics. (See Aug 2015 newsletter)

Device to seal burst arteries.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s InSeal Medical has received CE Mark approval for its InClosure VCD (Vascular Closure Device), designed to close large bore arterial punctures. These could be emergencies such as abdominal aortic aneurysms or in procedures such as heart valve replacements.

Corneal edema treatment approved for the US.  (TY Atid-EDI) The US FDA has approved the Hyper-CL contact lens for the treatment of corneal edema developed by Israel’s EyeYon Medical. The product is already approved for marketing in Europe. About two million people develop corneal edema annually.

Using Virtual Reality to prevents falls.  Tel Aviv University researchers have proved that exercise using Virtual Reality (VR) systems can halve the number of incidents of falls in the elderly.  Falls in adults aged 65 and over account for about 2% of all healthcare expenditures in high-income countries,

Pain relief machines for women in labor.  Yad Sarah, the voluntary organization that lends out medical equipment and offers many other services to the ill, lonely and elderly, has bought hundreds of TENS machines. These provide pain relief for women in labor and will be lent to expectant mothers from Yad Sarah branches.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Dental clinics for the poor.  Israel’s oldest charity Colel Chabad has established nine dental clinics to serve Israel’s neediest. They include Jerusalem, Afula, Akko, Ashdod and Netanya. Heavily subsidized prices make oral hygiene affordable for thousands of adults who would otherwise have no recourse.

After school programs for disadvantaged kids.  Israel’s Knesset (parliament) has approved a bill allocating some NIS 500 million ($130 million) to the budget for after-school informal education for children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. It will mainly teach workforce skills to ultra-Orthodox and Arab children.

Everybody can do everything.  (TY Bennett) The Special in Uniform program proved that anything is possible when Shai Levi enlisted in the IDF to work at the Eilat Naval base.  Shai suffers from Cerebral Palsy.

$374 million for Arab-sector housing. Israel is to allocate 1.41 billion shekels ($374 million) toward building public housing for Israeli Arabs and to lift restrictions from construction on private land.  The agreement with the heads of 15 local municipal Arab authorities will facilitate the construction of 30,000 housing units.

Thousands of Arabs do National Service.  In 2010, only 600 non-Jews served in Israel’s national service program. Now, 4,500 non-Jews (mostly Israeli Arabs) do national service, including 100 from East Jerusalem. Participants volunteer for one to two years in public institutions like schools, hospitals, courts or health clinics.

Integrating Arabs into hi-tech.  (TY Dan) The ExcelHT program from Israeli NGO IT Works provides much needed manpower to Israeli hi-tech companies while providing employment opportunities for the Arab sector. ExcelHT provides career counseling, coaching, English language skills and much needed business contacts.

Palestinian Arabs flock to Jaffa beaches.  The entrance to Jaffa was turned into a makeshift bus station as hundreds of Palestinian Arabs arrived in private buses to spend Eid al Adha in Jaffa and the adjacent beaches.

New shopping mall for all.  (TY Janglo) A new mall for Jews and Palestinians Arabs has opened at the Gush Etzion junction in Judea and Samaria.  Muslim women wearing hijabs and traditional dress, shopped alongside religious Jewish women in skirts and scarves tied over their hair.  http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/New-mall-for-settlers-and-Palestinians-opens-in-Gush-Etzion-464175

The fifth best country for social entrepreneurs.  The Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of almost 900 social enterprise experts in the world's 45 biggest economies ranked Israel as the fifth best nation (after the US, Canada, Britain and Singapore) for social entrepreneurs – people who use businesses to tackle social problems.

Partnering with Australia’s Victoria state.  (TY Dan) A delegation of eleven Victorian Coalition MPs took part in AIJAC’s Rambam Israel Fellowship Program. They were especially impressed by Ben Gurion University’s social entrepreneurs, OurCrowd’s “Our Innovation Australia Fund” and Australia’s Landing Pad in Tel Aviv.  http://www.jwire.com.au/victorian-coalition-delegation-looks-israel-innovation-inspiration/

Hunting African wildlife traffickers.  I reported previously (Nov 2014) on Israel’s Dr Bill Clark combating poaching in Kenya. Now another Israeli, Ofir Drori, has launched the EAGLE network and put 1300 poachers behind bars in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Senegal, Uganda and Madagascar. 

Nigeria scientific delegation to Israel.  (TY Dan) Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Onu, went on a 4-day official visit to Israel, to stimulate the Technology Acquisition and Transfer initiative.  He was accompanied by the Heads of Nigeria’s Space R&D and Environmental Sciences and Technology.

Israel’s first ambassador to NATO.  Aharon “Ronny” Leshno-Yaar presented his credentials as Israel’s first ambassador to the 28-member NATO military alliance. NATO announced upgraded ties with Israel in May, recognizing an official Israeli representative and granting Israel a permanent office at its Brussels headquarters.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Electric buses for Tel Aviv.  The Dan bus company is to run five new entirely electric buses on its No.4 route in Tel Aviv. The technology uses supercapacitors rather than batteries, with a 3-minute recharge between trips. Dan will introduce another 17 electric buses this year and intends to replace its entire fleet with electric buses.

Jerusalem’s new railway station.  (TY Janglo) In 2018, Israel’s first high speed train is scheduled to leave Tel Aviv. It will travel over Israel’s longest bridge, through Israel’s longest tunnel and atop its tallest bridge, before (just 28 minutes later) reaching Jerusalem – Israel’s deepest station and one of the largest in the world.

Protecting the Olympics.  SayVU is one of the many Israeli security products and services deployed in Rio to protect the Olympic Games. It enables a user to send a distress signal to an emergency hotline even if a phone is locked. The message can be sent by shaking the device, tapping the camera button, or speaking into the phone.

Driving by laser radar.  Israel-based startup Innoviz Technologies is developing game-changing high definition solid state LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensors that are essential for autonomous (self-driving) automobiles. Current LIDAR systems are too large, complex, expensive and unreliable.

Moovit increases people-power.  The new Android version (4.13) of Israeli crowdsourcing public transportation app Moovit allows its 40 million users to add information regarding stations including exits, elevator outages, parking etc.  www.geektime.com/2016/08/09/israeli-transit-app-moovit-expands-crowdsourcing-to-give-users-more-info-for-their-commute/

Showing Israeli tech to US sports leagues.  (TY Dan) 13 Israeli companies visited San Francisco and New York to show the world's leading companies their innovative sports technology. Innovations presented included performance sensors, real-time video analysis, and new ways of creating connection between fans and brands.

Math and science games go global.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported on Israeli startup Slate Science previously (in Dec 2012). Since then, its Matific educational math and science games have been implemented in hundreds of schools worldwide and in 20 languages.  Slate Sciences has just raised $45 million of funding.

Fast standalone mobile broadband.  (TY Atid-EDI) The standalone mobile system from Israel’s Celliboost is suitable for government, law enforcement, emergency and media services in rugged, rural terrain. Customers in Mexico and Chile have already purchased the fast, large-volume, landline-quality, high-resolution data, audio, and video communications system.  http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-celliboost-launches-secure-broadband-communications-for-rugged-terrain-1001143476  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0Ywo23Bvo8

Reducing parasites in South Africa.  (TY NoCamels) Israel’s Biobee has sent 160 million predatory wasps to South Africa in order to reduce infestation levels of both the citrus mealybug and vine mealybug. Biobee’s insects have previously been used effectively in Russia, the Balkans and in Israel (see here).

Intel Israel’s merged reality system.  Intel’s Project Alloy was unveiled at Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco.  The headset uses Intel Haifa’s RealSense technology to merge objects in the real world with virtual reality (VR). Cameras on the headset protect the user from collisions and allow them to see friends.

App puts fun into museum visit. Nathalie Half founded Israeli startup Museloop when her children stopped joining her on her museum visits. Now when they walk through the exhibits, the app plays “I Spy” or “Spot the difference” or makes a jigsaw puzzle of the artwork or starts a trivia game. Some museums give incentives to the winner.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-start-up-brings-tech-to-museums-for-fun-games/


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Exports jump 11.5%.  Israel's exports continue powering ahead: in June-August 2016, the export of goods (excluding ships, planes and diamonds) rose an annualized 11.5%.  Exports of hi-tech goods and medicines were chiefly responsible for the increase.

Another currency reserves record high.  Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of August 2016 stood at a record $97,626 million - an increase of $233 million from their level at the end of the previous month.

Expanding trade with Peru and Chile.  The opening of trade offices in Peru and Chile increases Israel’s integration with the Pacific Alliance – a trade group that includes both countries, as well as Colombia and Mexico – bringing trade opportunities for Israeli firms in South America and beyond.

Trade with Kazakhstan up 36%. (TY Dan) Trade between Israel and Kazakhstan rose 36 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. Israel’s exports to Kazakhstan (mainly manufactured goods and chemical products) amounted to $18 million (16 million euros), up $2 million from 2015. (See also July 31 newsletter)  http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2418615&CategoryId=12396

Reducing the cost of hotel rooms. (TY Atid-EDI and Dan) The Knesset had passed a new law to encourage the building of hotels and thus make tourism cheaper.  It will streamline planning and building procedures and offers incentives to developers, including an allowance of up to 20% extra space for residential construction.

A good future for fintech. (TY Dan) Fintech firms flourish in Israel due to strong overseas interest, innovation and local talent devoted to addressing the specific needs of this industry. Israel has approximately 430 fintech companies.  Six are highlighted in this article, with “I Know First” and “Leverate Ltd” new to this newsletter.

A gift to the UK.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported on Israeli startup Zeek previously (in Sep 2014). Zeek’s app and website allows users to buy gift cards and vouchers at a discount and sell unwanted gift vouchers for cash. Zeek has since expanded to the U.K. and has just raised $9.5 million to help fund the move and further growth.

Helping to grow your online business. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s SoLoMoTo provides a digital platform to help small and medium businesses (SMBs) control their online trading. SoLoMoTo now has over 100,000 customers and is about to launch in the USA which has 30 million SMBs.

Teva acquires US distribution company.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Teva is spending another half-a-billion dollars to buy Allergan’s Anda, the 4th largest distributor of generic treatments in the U.S. Teva will acquire distribution centers in Olive Branch, MS; Weston, FL and Groveport, OH, with a total of over 650 employees.

Finance systems for Monaco Telecom.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s BillRun has implemented an advanced billing system worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for quad-play communication services at Monaco Telecom (MT). BillRun’s charging systems have also been implemented at Israel’s Pelephone and Golan telecom.

Big data can also get personal.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Pontis (part of Amdocs) leverages real-time Big Data Analytics to provide a unified and contextual view of every customer to keep them happy and achieve company goals. Pontis has been ranked in the list of “100 Most Promising Big Data Solution Providers” by CIOReview.

The first mobile performance advertising agency.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Matomy Media Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange.  It recently launched mtmy – a mobile advertising agency offering a fully-managed service. In two months, Matomy’s share price has risen almost 60%.

Ford acquires Israeli autonomous car tech.  (TY Izek) Ford Motor Co. has acquired Israel’s SAIPS to strengthen its expertise in artificial intelligence and enhance computer vision. It is part of Ford’s project to develop a fully autonomous vehicle and put it on the road by 2021. SAIPS tech collects visual data through sensors and translates it into usable data.

Uber acquires Israeli autonomous trucks.  (TY Dan) Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies has recently finalized a $680 million acquisition of Otto Motors, an Israeli startup specializing in converting normal trucks into autonomous ones.  Otto co-founder Anthony Levandowski will head Uber's self-driving division.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Shakespeare comes to Tel Aviv.  The Tmuna Theater’s 2016 International Theater, Performance and Dance Festival includes five dance productions - from Germany, Poland, the UK and Israel. There are 12 theater and dance premieres, workshops, movies and symposiums, all based around the works of Shakespeare.

The best tour guide in Tel Aviv.  Tourists will soon be flocking to Israel for the Jewish festivals, so it is a good time to tell you that our friend Samuel Green was recently awarded the title of “Best Bespoke Tour Operator in Tel Aviv” by Luxury Travel Guide.  http://myisraeliguide.com/  
           
Sobar’s grand opening.  The day has arrived – the official opening of the smoke-free, no-alcohol, Sobar Music and Creative Arts Club for youth in downtown Jerusalem.  Head to Shoshan Street in back of Yaffo 19 at 7pm on Tues 27th Sept.  https://www.facebook.com/events/589648134574633/   www.sobarjerusalem.net

The Teder phenomenon.  (TY Jacques) Teder.fm is a pop-up radio bar, which appears every summer night at Beit Romano, a shopping mall located at Derech Yaffo 9 (Jaffa Street) Tel Aviv. In the evening, Teder (Hebrew for “frequency”) becomes a hip open air place with DJ music, beer and pizza.  By morning, it’s gone.

Israeli animation wins design award.  “Scapegoat,” a short film by Bezalel Academy graduates Gal Haklay and Shulamit Tager, won first prize in the original design category at the 13th annual Animation Block Party Awards in Brooklyn.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I0VlFsNRk4

Paralympics medalists.  Israeli athletes that won medals in the Rio Paralympics include Moran Samuel (rowing bronze in arms-shoulders women's single sculls), Doron Shaziri (shooting bronze in men’s 50-meter rifle three positions) and Inbal Pezaro (swimming bronze in women’s 200M individual medley)

Beersheba beats Inter Milan.  In its first-ever European soccer group stage match, tiny Beersheba beat three-time European Champions Inter Milan 2-0 in the Europa League at the Italians’ San Siro stadium.  It constituted one of the greatest wins by an Israeli club in European competitions.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Sports/Beersheba-on-cloud-nine-Mac-TA-searching-for-explanations-468006


THE JEWISH STATE

2nd Temple High Priest’s stone deciphered.  The inscription on a 2000-year-old stone weight, discovered in 2013 excavations of Jerusalem’s Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, has just been translated. It contains the family name Katros (in both Aramaic and ancient Persian) of a Second Temple High Priest, mentioned in the Mishna.

World’s oldest man celebrates Bar Mitzvah.  The world’s oldest man, Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, now lives in Haifa. Due to World War 1, he was unable to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in Poland, so a few years late...100 years late… he was called up to read the Torah for his delayed Bar Mitzvah – on his 113th birthday.

Lone soldier center opens in Jerusalem.  When Michael Levin, a lone soldier who made Aliyah from the USA, was killed in the Second Lebanon War, it set in motion a community-wide, grass roots effort to establish the Lone Soldier Center. On Michael’s 10th yartzheit (anniversary of death) the Jerusalem center opened. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-jerusalem-lone-soldier-center-opens-on-michael-levins-yartzheit/2016/08/12/

Nefesh b’Nefesh brings home 50,000.  (TY Janglo & Jacob) The 233 North American Olim that landed in Israel on 17th August included the 50,000th immigrant to make Aliya through Nefesh b’Nefesh.  They were greeted in a special ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.

Muslim and Arab Zionists are growing.  (TY Phillip) Muslims and Arabs who openly identify as Zionists are growing in number. Read here about Muhammad Zoabi, Mahdi Satri, Ahmed Meligy, Nonie Darwish, Qanta Ahmed, Mosab Hassan Yousef, Mohammad Hosseini, Gabriel Nadaf, Monaliza Abdo and Lucy Aharish.

When things couldn’t get any worse…. The full entire support system of Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division was mobilized when both mother and father of a newborn baby were diagnosed with tumors. Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 Israelis, plus its Bone Marrow Registry saves lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over. http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/when-things-couldnt-get-any-worse/

Siblings reunited after 65 years.  Just before the last Jewish New Year, Simon Glassberg flew from Canada to Israel to meet his sister Hilda Shlick (nee Glassberg) whom he thought had died in the Holocaust.  In 1999 another Canadian brother, Karol, entered Hilda’s details into the Yad Vashem database, to be discovered only in 2015 by Hilda’s Israeli grandson David Shlick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGkF54fzG3I