Israel's Good News Newsletter to 10th Nov 19


·         Israeli scientists have identified the gene that causes deadly heart rhythm problems.
·         A blind Israeli woman is serving in the Israeli Air Force.
·         5000 Tanzanians have clean water thanks to an Israeli boy’s Bar Mitzva present.
·         An Israeli radiation protection vest has begun NASA space trials.
·         Skoda, Jaguar Land-Rover and Porsche announced new Israeli partnerships.
·         Israel has a new world champion kickboxer.
·         15,000 Israelis have helped excavate an ancient Jewish village in the Galilee.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

US approval for H. pylori treatment. The US FDA has given approval for Israel’s Redhill Biopharma to market its RHB-105 (Talicia) treatment for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). It follows successful Phase 3 trials, as reported (here) previously. H. pylori affects some 2 million US patients.

Turning mosquitos against themselves. As reported previously (see here) there are several Israeli innovations developed to help reduce numbers of disease infecting mosquitos. Now Ben Gurion University scientists have discovered and activated bacteria in the male mosquito that is poisonous only to mosquito larvae.

Genetic cause of atrial fibrillation. Scientists at Ben Gurion University have found that common (mostly night-time) atrial fibrillation (heart rhythm problems) is caused by a mutation in a gene (KCND2). They are now developing an anti-arrhythmia medication, based on their findings. It could save 200,000 lives each year.

Detecting and treating prostate cancer. For Men’s Health Awareness Month, here are 7 Israeli startups focused on detection and treatment of prostate cancer. Two have not been reported here previously. They are Keren Medical’s anastomosis device for bladder operations; and UC-Care’s ultrasound tumor tracking tools.

Relieving pain for pancreatic cancer patients. (TY WIN & I24 News) Doctors at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center have managed to substantially reduce the pain suffered by cancer patients. Radiation is targeted at a nerve behind the pancreas. After 3 weeks, the patient is strong enough to embark on further cancer treatment.

The first medical school in Samaria is open. Seventy students were accepted into the first class of the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University. It is the sixth medical school in Israel and the first in Samaria. US Ambassador David Friedman gave the traditional Hebrew ‘Shecheyanu’ blessing.  

Sheba hospital – the Cyprus connection. Several newsletter articles (see here) highlight the humanitarian work done at Israel’s Sheba medical center in Tel Hashomer on behalf of citizens of Cyprus. Another example here is when a Cypriot police officer was shot in the spine and airlifted to Sheba for successful treatment.

NATO recognizes Israel as key medical assistance partner. NATO has recognized the Israeli Navy as a key medical-assistance partner in the Mediterranean following a drill held last month practicing emergency evacuations of personnel. “Crystal Sea 2020” involved the United Kingdom, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Blindness not a barrier for IDF officer. Ori was born blind, but that didn’t stop her from fulfilling her dream of serving in the Israel Defense Forces. She overcame all odds and drafted into the Israeli Air Force. After 18 months’ service, Lt. Ori was awarded a medal of excellence.

Female Chief Intelligence Officer. Major General “N” is the first female officer in IDF history to lead an intelligence division at a command level. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi appointed her as Chief Intelligence Officer for the IDF regional command.

IDF soldiers save Arab woman injured in car accident. (TY TPS) An Arab woman was hit by a car driven by a Palestinian Arab in the Jordan Valley. IDF soldiers rushed to the scene, gave her initial treatment and evacuated her by helicopter to the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for further medical treatment.

Miss Congeniality is an inspiration. Israel’s Noy Ben Artzi was chosen by her fellow 53 competitors to receive the title Miss Congeniality at the Miss Asia Pacific pageant held in the Philippines. She inspired five-year-old Filipino Angela Briana Alforque to dress as Miss Israel at her Manila school’s United Nations Day.

Ukraine to open Jerusalem innovation center. The Ukrainian government has announced that it will open an innovation and investment center in Jerusalem. “The office will be equivalent of a diplomatic office and be a part of the Ukrainian embassy in Israel,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

Israeli chief of UN business intelligence. Natalia Nadal is the first Israeli to be elected to serve as the Chief of the United Nations’ enabling and outreach service. She will oversee the UN business intelligence operation, in charge of improving relations between the UN and the various companies it engages for products and services.

Water from the air for Colombia.  Christian Pastor Andrés Suárez is general manager of the Alliance Project with the State of Israel in Colombia. He has arranged for the installation of a WaterGen GEN-M atmospheric water generator in El Talento, Colombia to demonstrate its benefit to towns with no access to clean water.

How a 13-year-old Israeli brought water to 5000 people. Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa has released this latest video of Lev Ari – a 13-year-old Israeli boy with “attitude”. Lev relinquished his bar mitzva presents and instead raised $50,000 to bring solar power-generated clean water to the Tanzanian village of Sasajila.

Extending rescue operations worldwide. Israeli international mass disaster response agency ZAKA Search and Rescue is establishing bases in strategic cities in North and South America and the Caribbean. The UN-recognized organization’s missions include Haiti (2010), Nepal (2015), Guatemala and Pittsburgh (2018).

Israeli EMS model for Jersey City. (TY WIN) Israeli Emergency Medical Service United Hatzalah is working with Jersey City USA municipality to implement a 90-second volunteer emergency response service.

Israeli volunteers are still helping victims in Paradise. (TY UWI) As reported (see here) previously, Israeli NGO IsraAID helped victims of the fires that destroyed the Californian town of Paradise in Nov 2018. One year later, IsraAID volunteers are still there, providing trauma relief and other support to Israel’s American friends.

F35s join international exercise. The air forces from the United States, Greece and Italy have been training alongside Israeli pilots out of the Uvda airbase north of Eilat. It is the first international ‘Fifth Generation’ exercise held in Israel involving the latest F-35 advanced stealth aircraft.

Astronaut sees Israel from space and honors Israeli father. Jewish NASA astronaut Jessica Meir tweeted photos of Israel from the International Space Station. She then wrote about her Israeli surgeon father who was an inspiration to many in her immediate and extended family. See photos (TY Jacob Richman)


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New fund to pay for fast internet. Israel’s Communications Ministry is setting up a fund to finance the deployment of fiber optic cables countrywide. Money will be given out via a tender process to telecom firms to install fiber optic cable to improve internet speeds in the Startup Nation.

Technology to help Skoda make engines. As reported previously (Jan 2016) Israeli startup Seebo’s tools and technology helps companies develop smart products. Now, Czech carmaker Skoda is to use Seebo’s AI-based software to optimize manufacturing processes on its engine production lines.

Super wine. (TY ILTV News) Scientists at Tel-Hai College in northern Israel have developed “super-wine,” an alcoholic beverage infused with nutritious organic supplements. Among super-wine’s ingredients is a substance called “resveratrol,” which is found in plants and is being hailed as a new “superfood.”

A multi-purpose robotic arm. On automated production lines, manufacturers use a different robotic arm for each stage of the process. Not anymore – scientists at Ben Gurion University have developed and patented a sophisticated algorithm that enables the design of one robotic arm that can grasp multiple objects.

Identifying which products can be 3D-printed. Israeli startup Castor develops 3D printing software that automatically scans a company’s parts catalog to identify parts that could be manufactured using a 3D printer. It results in fast-produced, lightweight parts that are ideal for the automotive and aviation industries.

Radiation vest blasts off. The innovative radiation protective vest made by Israel’s StemRad has been reported here several times. (see here) It has just been taken to the International Space Station (ISS) where it will start six months of tests.

Israeli tech reduces motorcycle insurance premiums. As reported previously (July 2018) the collision aversion technology from Israel’s Ride Vision protects motorcyclists. Now, Italian insurance company Sara Assicurazioni will offer Ride Vision’s visual alert system to motorcyclists it insures to reduce their premiums.

Making Chinese self-driving cars. Israeli-founded Mobileye (now part of Intel) is partnering with China’s electric car maker NIO to develop automated and autonomous vehicles. NIO will engineer and manufacture a “first of its kind” self-driving system designed by Mobileye and based on Mobileye’s EyeQ chip.  


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

More gas and oil. Estimates of the recent natural gas discovery by Energean in the Karish North field, reported (here) previously, have been upgraded by another 25 billion cubic meters (0.9 trillion cubic feet). The new estimate also includes 34 million barrels of light crude oil.

34 years of economic co-operation. More than 80 officials gathered at the US Department of State for the 34th US-Israel Joint Economic Development Group. They discussed risk management for foreign investments; women’s economic empowerment; quantum information science, artificial-intelligence research and more.

Education council grant inspires university entrepreneurs. The NIS 6 million from Israel’s Council of Higher Education to establish the Yazamut 360° center for entrepreneurship at Ben-Gurion University (see here) has led to 60 proposed new student startups. Nine of these have now signed formal business agreements.

Israel’s special sauce. Jon Medved, CEO of Israel’s OurCrowd, discusses the success of his crowdsourcing company and explains why he believes Israeli food tech companies to be a big investment opportunity. He also recommends Israeli startups that aim to transform traditional industries. 

Can I help you? Israeli startup Mmuze (pronounced “muse”) brings the advantages of a knowledgeable in-store representative to online retailers. Its artificial intelligence and NLU (Natural Language Understanding) generate a virtual shopping assistant, using text, voice, or chat (or a combination) on smartphone or desktop.

Helping “Americanize” Israeli products. (TY Nurit) Newsletter subscriber Nurit Greenger’s latest article describes the work of Fusion LA - the first Los-Angeles based education accelerator for Israeli startups. Its goal is to commercialize their products with investment, office space, mentoring and networking opportunities.

Tech for Jaguar-Land Rover. Jaguar Land-Rover is partnering with Israeli startup Fleetonomy to launch JLR’s new premium electric chauffeur service Havn. Fleetonomy’s AI fleet management mobility technology is behind the new up-market smartphone app ride request for a Jaguar I-PACE taxi.  https://www.ridehavn.com/

Porsche feels its way into Israel auto technology. As reported previously (see here) Israel’s Tactile Mobility develops software that allows cars to “feel” the road.  German car maker Porsche has made several Israeli investments (see here) and has now made another, leading a $9 million funding round into Tactile.

Isracard chairman is also a drone entrepreneur. As reported previously (24th Mar) Israel’s Tevel Aerobotics has developed an autonomous drone that can pick fruit. Tevel’s chairman Eyel Desheh is also chairman of Isracard, the credit card spinoff of Bank Hapoalim. This article explains both why and how he does both jobs.

ObeserveIT exits for $225 million. Israeli-founded cybersecurity company ObserveIT identifies insider cybersecurity threats. Nearly half of its 150 employees work at its Tel Aviv R&D center. It has just been taken over by US cybersecurity company Proofpoint Inc for $224 million – Proofpoint’s third Israeli acquisition.

InMode becomes a Unicorn. By now readers will know that a Unicorn in financial terms is a company worth over $1 billion. When Israel’s InMode Aesthetic Solutions was last reported here (10th Jun) it was close to launching on NASDAQ. It launched in August and its value has since soared to more than $1 billion.

Helping Europe sell to the Chinese. The online payment processing technology from Israel’s Credorax is licensed in all 32 European Union countries. Credorax has now partnered Chinese mobile payment services WeChat Pay, Alipay, and UnionPay, allowing European retailers to accept payments from Chinese customers.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Richard Branson haggles in the Jaffa flea market. Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson continued to enjoy his recent stopover in Israel. Having formally launched Virgin Atlantic’s new London to Tel Aviv direct service, he embarked on a business “venture” at Jaffa flea market to conduct some Middle Eastern negotiations.

Schug is global culinary trend of 2019. (TY UWI) The spicy Israeli condiment schug (or zhoug) has been named by Forbes magazine as the top global culinary trend of the year. The Yemeni hot sauce has experienced a 129% increase in social mentions in the US from 2017 to 2018.

Tel Aviv night race attracts 25,000 runners. (TY UWI) 25,000 Israelis flocked to Tel Aviv to take part in the annual 10 km (six mile) Tel Aviv Night Race – a road race that culminated in a dance party and pizza feast!

Gold and three silvers for Israeli kickboxers. Yulia Sachkov finished first in the Under 52kg class for K-1 style kickboxing at the world championships in Bosnia. Israelis Shir Cohen, Daniella Pashayev and Or Moshe won silver in their classes at the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations competition in Sarajevo.


THE JEWISH STATE

Zubin Mehta gave Israel his heart. Indian-born Zubin Mehta gave his final concert as musical director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The blog article gives amazing examples of the maestro’s love for Israel.

Maccabees defend Israel on campus. The Maccabee Task Force launched in 2016 to counter anti-Israel attacks at six universities in North America. Today it is active at 80 US universities and is targeting at least 20 more US campuses plus 11 universities in six European countries.

Rebirth through Aliya. Aliya Day on 5th Nov triggers a personal reflection by Anna Krycer on the blessings of living in Israel. She highlights the independence of young children; 2400 active centenarians hosted by President Reuven Rivlin; the passion and diversity of its citizens, the amazing food and “only in Israel” events.

Thousands excavate ancient Jewish Galilee village. Over the past year, 15,000 Israelis have worked with the Israel Antiquities Authority to uncover the 1800-year-old Jewish Galilee village of Usha. Among the finds are ritual baths (mikvaot), oil and wine presses, plus evidence of the local manufacture of glass and iron tools.

“Footprints” of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. (TY i24) Archaeologists have uncovered six “sandal-shaped” sites where the ancient Jewish tabernacle rested during the Joshua-led conquest of Canaan by the Children of Israel. Each contains a priestly “footprint” domain, a tabernacle/altar area and an amphitheater for the Israelites.