Israel's Good News Newsletter to 18th Aug 19


·         Israeli scientists have developed a new treatment for melanoma.
·         Israel gave free sports footware to Kenyan lacrosse players.
·         Israeli space technology is out of this world.
·         New Israeli plastics are eco-friendly and extend food shelf-life.
·         Over 1,000 invest in new Israeli treatment for ALS.
·         Lionel Richie is coming to Israel.
·         Following the recent Jewish day of romance, two cancer survivors are to wed.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

A nano-vaccine for melanoma. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed a novel nano-vaccine for melanoma (skin cancer) that has proved effective in laboratory tests. Tiny particles made of bio-degradable polymer were packed with two “safe” cancer-expressed peptides for the body to develop immunity against.

New test for Alzheimer’s. The SRY subsidiary of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center has developed Vizamyl, a radioactive agent that can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Used in a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, it estimates amyloid neuritic plaque density in the brain - the main indication of Alzheimer’s.

Good results for anti-radiation vaccine. I reported previously (see here) on the PLX-R18 stem cell treatment for radiation sickness from Israel’s Pluristem. Animal trials by the US Department of Defense demonstrated that PLX-R18, administered before and after radiation exposure increased survival rates by 46-70%.

US approval for antibacterial dental fillings. I reported previously (Aug 2018) about Israel’s Nobio and its nano-polymer that causes bacteria to die immediately on contact. Nobio has just received FDA approval to market its antibacterial material for dental fillings.

Agreement for psoriasis treatment. I reported previously (see here) on the small molecule treatments from Israel’s Can-Fite for psoriasis, liver and inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Can-Fite AND South Korea-based Kyongbo have just signed a distribution agreement for Can-Fite’s psoriasis treatment Piclidenoson (CF101).

Innovation hub for hi-tech medicine. Israel’s Innovation Authority and the National Digital Israel Initiative are setting up an innovation hub dedicated to computational biology, digital health, pharmaceuticals, and artificial intelligence. They are asking for bids worth up to NIS 32 million to build the hub.

Ultrasound skin therapy. Israeli startup SofWave Medical is developing non-invasive ultrasound technology for skin tightening. It targets specific layers of skin to reduce wrinkles and has received CE (European) approval. SofWave has just raised $8.4 million of funding.  https://alon-medtech.com/portfolio/

Facial recognition of genetic diseases. Israeli-founded FDNA has developed artificial intelligence to detect physiological patterns (phenotypes) that reveal disease-causing genetic variations. With one of the fastest growing and most comprehensive genomic databases, FDNA is changing the game for precision medicine. https://www.fdna.com/


First response training for medics in Chile. (TY Hazel) Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom is helping to train municipal security personnel as first responders to medical emergencies in the Chilean capital Santiago. It is in preparation for Chile hosting two major international conferences at the end of the year.

Israeli-Druze officer saves Jordanian boy. (TY Hazel) Kalai Housam Tarif, an Israeli Prison Officer of the Druze community, donated half of his liver to an unrelated eight-year-old boy from Jordan. Surgeons at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikvah transplanted around half of Tarif’s liver to save the boy.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Hi-tech co-existence. (TY UWI & TPS) Nazareth- based NGT (Next Generation Technology) serves as an incubator for 19 innovative life science and medical technology companies. It also has a social agenda – to bring Arab and Jewish entrepreneurs together to work in the same environment and achieve startup success.

UK ambassador’s strong links to Israel. Britain’s new ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin. He revealed that he first met his wife Yael in Israel on a previous posting in 2002. Also, his grandfather was the commander of British forces that liberated Bergen-Belsen.

Best foot forward. When Israel played Kenya in the 2019 Women's Lacrosse U19 World Championships, they saw that the Kenyans were wearing sneakers instead of lacrosse cleats (shoes with special studs).  The next day, the Israelis presented each Kenyan with her own pair of cleats.

Marine science exchange program. Israel is to host 27 graduate students from 24 US institutions as part of the Limnology and Oceanography Research Exchange (LOREX) program. Students will study at the University of Haifa’s marine sciences school and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat.

Huge delegation of House Reps visits Israel. 72 members of the US Congress (over 15% of the entire House of Representatives) came to Israel on concurrent Republican and Democrat trips to get a firsthand view of the challenges Israel faces and to express unconditional, bipartisan support for the Jewish state.

Improving air safety in the US. Israel’s giant IT company NICE has just won a $137 million order from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help it improve the safety of air transportation in over 770 sites. NICE’s tools will enable faster incident response and greater visibility into incident data.

Israel leads international tsunami drill. Israel's navy has been leading a major training exercise involving 11 countries in preparation for an expected earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Greece, France and the US were in the main participants based at Haifa port, supported by Germany, Italy, Canada, Chile, Cyprus and others.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Amos 17 satellite launched. Israel’s Spacecom’s Amos-17 satellite (see here) was successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Great youtube videos.

A satellite to help understand the universe. Israel’s Weizmann Institute and the Israel Space Agency are to build ULTRASAT - a next-generation satellite with a telescope that will observe the universe in UV light. It will investigate black holes, neutron stars, stars with possible habitable planets and much more.

Data from the Sun. I reported previously (see here) on the CMOS image sensor from Israel’s TowerJazz aboard the NASA Parker Solar Probe. The high-resolution images of the Sun’s corona taken during the first two fly-pasts have exceeded all expectations. A third encounter with the Sun will take place imminently.

The Bible is a jewel. I reported previously (see here) when scientists from Israel’s Technion Institute produced a Hebrew Bible the size of a sugar grain.  Now Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists and Tanaor Jewelry have embedded a nano-sized Bible into a jewel that can be worn around the neck.

The origin of Israel’s desert water. Researchers from Israel’s Ben Gurion University have used radio-krypton dating to map the history of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer system, which lies beneath Israel’s Negev desert.  It has also identified the climate conditions that produced it thousands of years ago.

Construction technology saves lives. (TY Itai) There have been many preventable deaths and injuries at construction sites.  SafetyFirst, Safeguard, SiteAware, SiteWatch and INTSITE are just five Israeli startups helping to prevent work-related accidents. It’s the first appearance in my newsletter for all of these.

A better future for plastic. Rotem Shemesh is Head of Research at Israel’s Carmel Olefins. She is developing plastic that are easier to recycle. Another product is antimicrobial plastic packaging to prolong the shelf life of food. And she is determined to remove the plastic particles responsible for that “new car smell”.

Duckweed is a superfood. BGU researchers have determined that Mankai, a high-protein aquatic plant strain of duckweed, has significant potential as a superfood. It provides glycemic control needed after carbohydrate consumption. After two weeks, participants had much better glucose levels and felt more full.

Unique drone technology. This video features six innovative Israeli drone technology startups.  I’ve featured five of them previously, except for Civdorne, which develops a device that turns drones into land surveying, measuring, and marking machines for construction sites.

Eco-friendly vines. Israeli agronomist and viticulturalist, Michal Akerman, has worked with the Society for the Preservation of Nature in Israel to make the vines at her Tabor vinyards friendlier to biodiversity. Her efforts have encouraged storks, otters, lizards, rabbits, chameleons and wild boar to return to the area.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS


Direct flights from Dallas. (TY Janglo) American Airlines is launching a non-stop service from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas to Tel Aviv. The 3-flights-a-week operation will commence in Sep 2020 and will be American Airlines’ first direct service to Israel since 2015.

Summer jobs lead to hi-tech careers. During the summer months, many Israeli hi-tech companies offer 10-week paid internship programs to the children of their employees. The students receive practical experience, while the company gets highly motivated temporary workers for little recruitment cost.

Emigration from Israel at record low. The number of Israelis moving abroad fell to the lowest level in more than three decades. Since 2002, emigration has fallen by half, from 27,300 emigrants in 2002 to 14,300 in 2017. Returning Israelis and new immigrants results in a net increase in Israel of over 22,000 citizens in 2017.

Billion-dollar exit for Clicksoftware. (TY WIN) US software giant Salesforce.com has already acquired several Israeli startups and some 500 of their employees.  But its latest $1.35 billion takeover of Israel’s workforce management software startup Clicksoftware, and its 700 employees, dwarfs all of them.

Corindus exits for $1.1 billion. I reported previously (Oct 2014) on Israeli-founded Corindus Vascular Robotics and its robotic-assisted medical devices for groundbreaking catheterizations. Now, German medtech company Siemens Healthineers is acquiring Corindus, and its 100 employees, for approximately $1.1 billion.

Another $200 million for Cybereason. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Cybereason, which uses AI and big data analytics to protect a company’s endpoints. In two years, Cybereason has tripled its customer base and now protects 6 million endpoints. Japan’s Softbank has just led a $200 million investment in Cybereason.

Over one thousand backers for ALS therapy developer. I reported previously (Mar 2017) on Israel’s NeuroSense, which is developing a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). NeuroSense has just raised NIS 4 million from over 1,100 backers in a crowdfunding campaign.

FAA approves food deliveries by drone. I reported previously (Sep 2017) when Israel’s Flytrex began commercial food deliveries by drone to customers in Iceland.  Now, the US Federal Aviation Administration has given approval to Flytrex for a trial delivery of food by drone to residents in Holly Springs, North Carolina.

Defense manufacturer buys drone company. Israeli defense contractor Rafael (makers of Iron Dome) has bought Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics for an estimated NIS 850 million.

Amazon buys Israeli storage startup. (TY Janglo) US retail tech giant Amazon is acquiring Israeli storage technology startup E8 Storage for an estimated $50-60 million. E8 Storage develops flash storage installations based on software, which E8 Storage say are cheaper than current hardware solutions, but ten times faster.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Arts, crafts and music on Jerusalem streets. (TY Janglo) Jerusaem’s Hutzot HaYotzer festival (until 24th Aug) features 150 artists from Israel and 30 countries. Artisans showcase their creations and sell their crafts, from watches to hammocks to paintings. Events include live concerts, dance performances and workshops.

Shakespeare in the Rough. (TY Janglo) “Measure for Measure: In Motion” by the Theater in the Rough group is being performed until 27th Aug in the Bloomfield Gardens Jerusalem. Entrance is free of charge.

37,000 Phantom fans. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical, Phantom of the Opera, currently at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, is a smash hit with Israeli audiences. Already, 37,000 tickets have been sold for its 32 performances, running until the first week in September.

Lionel Richie to say “Hello”. Pop legend Lionel Richie is coming to Israel for a performance on Sep 12th in Live Park Rishon Lezion. He has rejected BDS boycott calls, indicating that he is “Stuck On You” Israelis. With such an “Endless Love”, he could be singing “All Night Long”!

Award-winning Israeli restaurants. (TY Jacques) Six Israeli restaurants won awards at the World Luxury Restaurants Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia, voted by 100,000 guests, travelers and industry professionals. Aria won 3 awards. The other winners were Milgo   Milbar, Herbert Samuel, Chloelys, Hola, and Nomi.

Going underground. Israel's unique and breathtaking subterranean scenery is attracting a growing number of cavers. Around three years ago, Yoav Negev founded the Israel Cave Explorers Club and, more recently, a rescue unit that is now part of the European Cave Rescue Association.

NBA’s loss is Israel’s gain. Omri Caspi was the first Israeli to play in the National Basketball Association league. He has now returned to Israel, having signed a 3-year contract to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He said he was “proud and excited to be wearing the Maccabi jersey with the star of David on the back”.


THE JEWISH STATE

Cleaning up the holy city. (TY Janglo) The Jerusalem municipality has instigated several sanitation reforms in order to improve the environment and quality of life in the capital. These include garbage disposal on Saturday night, additional cleaning companies, removing abandoned vehicles and cleaning historic buildings.

Photographic history of Temple Mount. A new exhibit “The Mount” at the Tower of David Museum offers the public a unique glimpse at 180 years of photographs of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. They document the history of the most holy Jewish site from 1839 to recent times.

Holocaust survivor celebrates with 400 descendants. Holocaust survivor Shoshana Ovitz celebrated her celebrated her 104th birthday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem together with 90% of her descendants - over 400 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/08/07/104-year-old-holocaust-survivor-celebrates-birthday-at-western-wall-with-400-descendants/

Cancer survivors to wed. University students Eliav Marland and Etti Davidov will marry this coming week. They met thanks to cancer charity Zichron Menachem having both recovered from cancer treatment. A lovely story to celebrate Tu b’Av (15th of Av) - the Jewish traditional day of romance.

Hundreds start new lives in Israel. (TY UWI) 242 new immigrants (Olim) from the US and Canada have just arrived in Israel. They came on the 60th charter flight organized by NGO Nefesh b’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency. They included the 60,000th Oleh to be funded by NbN since the NGO began work in 2002.