Israel's Good News Newsletter to 25th Jan 2015

In the 25th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·        Jerusalem exhibits a Jewish doctor’s vaccine from 1892 that saved millions of lives.
·        Israel funds the training of Palestinian Arab farmers.
·        Johnson & Johnson and Takeda have started a biotech incubator in Israel.
·        2014 saw a massive increase in international investment into Israeli companies.
·        Japan used a huge jumbo jet to bring hundreds of businessmen to Israel.
·        For the first time, an Israeli has won a European speed-skating gold medal.
·        Israel is bringing home from Argentina the plane that rescued Jews from Iraq in 1947.

·        Last week’s JPost Israel Good News descriptive summary.  Click here for “Israel is Getting it Together” (fast-loading version, no adverts).  Also on Jerusalem Post, IsraPundit and San Diego Jewish World.
·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News, IsraelSeen, Janglo, IsraPundit, “Ruthfully Yours” and United with Israel.

Page Down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.


Jerusalem displays Jewish-developed cholera vaccine.  Dr Waldemar Haffkine, a Russian-Jewish microbiologist, developed the cholera vaccine in 1892.  Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is now exhibiting one of the original ampoules of vaccine.  Dr Haffkine also developed a vaccine for plague and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897.  Sir Waldemar donated his extensive personal archive to the National Library of Israel.

ALS treatment trial shows success.  Israel’s Brainstorm has announced positive final results from its phase 2a clinical trial of NurOwn cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients used on 14 subjects at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.  Nearly all subjects experienced clinical benefit.

Good results for Fabry Disease treatment.  Israel’s Protalix Biotherepeutics reported good results in its trials of its PRX-102 treatment for the genetic disease Fabry’s.  Even a low dosage had an average 78.8% decrease in the effect of pain on the patients' functioning.

Teva launches a generic painkiller.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Teva has launched the first FDA-approved generic equivalent to Celebrex (Celecoxib) Capsules in the US.  Celebrex is used to treat arthritis, pain, menstrual cramps, and colonic polyps.

The fruitful way to conceive.  Israel’s Fruitful Way Ltd. has pioneered a new, natural fertility and conception toolkit for couples who are trying to get pregnant. It includes a unique, science-backed dietary supplement, scientifically mated with a sophisticated fertility app.

Israeli science saves 5-year-old girl.  A 35-year-old study by Israel’s Professor Raphael Mechoulam convinced Denver-based physician Dr. Alan Shackelford to use synthesized cannabidiol or CBD to save 5-year-old Charlotte Figi who suffered 300 epileptic fits a week.  Dr Shackelford immigrated to Israel in 2012.


Beer Sheva – a “City of Tomorrow”.  Beer-Sheva is one of seven locations worldwide included in the Global Technology Emerging Markets study by Brandeis International and T3 Advisors of emerging, up-and-coming hubs that technology and life sciences companies should consider as they evaluate their global location strategy. 

Israeli Christians who fight for Israel.  A UK reporter finally realizes that there are Christians in Israel who identify with the Jewish State.  (However, he falsely defines what a Jewish State is.)

Israeli-Turkish relations requires a woman’s touch.  Israel has appointed Amira Oron as head of its embassy in Ankara.  Oron has been serving as the head of the Egypt Department at the Foreign Ministry. Israel recently appointed seven new top women foreign diplomats including Einat Shlain, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan.

Israeli support to Palestinian Arab farmers.  The Israeli government has donated 300,000 shekels to five Palestinian Arab farmers to upgrade their strawberry facilities.  In addition 30 Palestinian Arab farmers came to Israel to study strawberry cultivation.  Annually, Israel funds 1200 Palestinian Arab farmers to study in Israel.

Water for India – out of thin air.  (Thanks to Michelle) Israel’s Water-Gen is to bring its pioneering air-to-water technology to India, where more than 50% of the urban poor (over 150 million) are not connected to a water supply.

Israel adopts Grand Challenges Canada.  (Thanks to Nevet – Israel’s new “Grand Challenges Israel” program is modeled on Grand Challenges Canada. Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman and Canada’s John Baird unveiled ten Israeli innovation projects, addressing cancer, malaria, aquaculture, wheelchairs etc.

Japan to partner Israel technology.  Flying out of Tel Aviv last week I passed by the Japan Airlines 747 that brought in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his large delegation of Japanese businessmen.  Abe and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presided over a "Japan-Israel Business Forum" to promote mutual connections.


A technology innovation leader.  Frost & Sullivan have awarded their prestigious Global Technology Innovation Leader Award to Israel’s Windward.  The award reflects Windward's unique technology, which is bringing cutting edge innovation to one of the last 'wild west' frontiers: ships navigating the world's oceans.

Horizon 2020.  Ben Gurion University’s Dr. Natalie Elia and Dr. Eyal Arbely were awarded a European Horizon 2020 ERC Starting Grant for their project, “Quantitative Nanoscale Visualization of Macromolecular Complexes in Live Cells using Genetic Code Expansion and High-Resolution Imaging”.  (Don’t ask!)

Another Israeli R&D center.  (Thanks to Michelle) Teradata – the US giant data analytics company, has bought Appoxee - an Israeli startup aimed at publishers and developers that want to send out messages to increase user engagement in their apps.  Appoxee will become Teradata’s research and development center.

Biotech incubator opens.  Johnson and Johnson, together with Takeda and OrbiMed have launched FutuRx in Rehovot’s Weizmann Science Park.  Its first start-up is Hepy Biosciences, which is developing a tumor enzyme inhibitor. The second, XoNovo, is developing a treatment that targets a protein implicated in Alzheimer’s.

Israel’s water graduates are on a crest of a wave.  Delegates at Kinneret College’s first water conference learnt about the work of its BSc graduates in Water Industry Engineering.  One breakthrough project is the extension of a wastewater system under Israel’s main Tel Aviv highway, undertaken without disrupting traffic.

Cambridge University funds Israeli scientists.  The Blavatnik Family Foundation has set up a new multi-million pound investment fund for Israeli scientists to pursue post-doctorate research at Cambridge University.  Three Israeli scientists are now furthering their research in engineering, genetics and physics at Cambridge.


Huge investment in Israeli innovation.  (Thanks to Michelle) The Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center reported that Israeli venture capital funds attracted $914 million in 2014, up 68 percent on 2013.  Israeli companies raised $2.1 billion with US Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in 2014 - up from $360 million in 2013.

Israel exhibition pavilion opens in India.  (Thanks to Stuart Palmer) The Israel pavilion entitled “Israel Innovation in India” opened at Vibrant Gujarat 2015, exhibiting the ongoing Indo-Israeli cooperation and showcasing advanced Israeli technologies in the fields of agriculture and homeland security.

Games are a big business.  Israel’s TabTable is one of the world’s top 10 mobile games publishers with operations in Israel, the U.S., China, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.  TabTable has just bought Serbia’s Level Bit, developers of Genesis Rising - the biggest PC game hit by a Serbian company.

Moovit is really moving.  (Thanks to Michelle) Israel’s Moovit has raised $50 million for its mobile app that lets riders plan trips and avoid obstacles on public transit systems in more than 500 cities around the world.

Bone-repair company plans NASDAQ IPO.  Israel’s PolyPid is preparing to launch on NASDAQ.  PolyPid, develops an antibiotic coating for safer bone repair.  It also has two candidate bone grafting materials and a unique PLEX (Polymer-Lipid Encapsulation MatriX) mechanism for delivering medicine into the body.

Microsoft buys another Israeli startup.  Software giant Microsoft is acquiring Israel’s Equivo for at least $150 million.  Equivio’s text analysis software summarizes and condenses lengthy documents.  Microsoft plans to integrate the product into its Office 365 package to boost user productivity.


Boutique revolution puts Israeli wines on world map.  (Thanks to Israel21c) This AFP news story about Israeli boutique wines has been reprinted in Malaysia, China, South Africa, Bangladesh, the UK, Sweden and France.  Globes also reports that Israeli wine sales increased by 10% in 2014.

Now you can fish in Jerusalem.  (Thanks to Janglo) Nachal Refaim Park is a new Jerusalem park between the neighborhoods of Malcha, Givat Masua and Kiryat Menachem.  Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat, found a good place in the park to do some river fishing.

Israel wins European speed-skating gold medal.  (Hot off the press) Israel’s Vladislav Bykanov won gold in the 3000m race of the European Short Track Speed Skating championship. It is the first time an Israeli has won the competition.  The 26-year-old from Kiryat Shmona beat world champion Viktor Ahn by 500 meters.

“Mortally wounded” Israeli recovers to launch triathlon.  Ohad Ben-Yishai received critical shrapnel wounds to the head during Operation Protective Edge.  Still in a wheelchair, Ohad was given a break from his rehabilitation to officiate at the start of Eilat’s “Ironman” triathlon, in which his father is competing.


Safed – one of Israel’s holiest cities.  Surrounded by the mountains and forests of the green Upper Galilee, Safed (Tzfat) is world-famous for its winding alleyways and old majestic synagogues, its Artists Quarter, its musicians, its history of kabbalah and spirituality.

The Modern Day Miracle of Israel.  Armstrong Williams writes an inspiring account of his journey across Israel and the PA territories. His key sentence is, “When you pause to consider what Israel has managed to give to the world, despite being under constant fire from its enemies, it is staggering.”

Historic plane rescued from scrap yard.  A Curtiss C-46 Commando transport aircraft, used to rescue 100 Iraqi Jews in 1947, will soon return to Israel after being saved from a metal scrap yard in Argentina.  Operation Michaelberg was launched when the British denied persecuted Iraqi Jews permission to enter Israel legally.

US ex-Army amputee volunteers for Israel.  US Christian Brian Mast, who lost both legs from a bomb-blast in Afghanistan, has joined the IDF’s Sar El volunteer program.  He puts his pro-Israel attitude down to his upbringing, military contacts with IDF personnel and warm relations with his Florida Jewish neighbors.

Don’t judge Israel before you’ve seen it.  Irish Catholic Belinda Hickey visited Israel for the first time in 2006, when love for Israel was kindled in her heart.  Now she is a role model in courage as she promotes Israel in the face of anti-Semitism in Ireland.