Israel's Good News Newsletter to 28th Aug 16



In the 28th Aug 16 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli-led study has discovered chemicals to stop melanoma spreading.
·         Israeli surgeons saved the life of an Afghan boy.
·         Israelis are building shelters for victims of the Italian earthquake.
·         An Israeli startup uses Artificial Intelligence to increase crop yields.
·         Israel is first to produce a robot that can crawl, climb and swim.
·         A 2000-year-old synagogue has been unearthed in the Galilee.

·         Click here to see the 14th August newsletter on IsraelSeen, IsraPundit, Janglo and United With Israel with features on Health, Inclusiveness, . 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 and Portuguese 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.  Apologies for the late publication due to my travelling computer having been repaired in the UK. The good news is that it is now running faster than ever before and I hope to catch up when I return to Israel in September.  Please use IsraelActive to search the archives.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Breakthrough in search for melanoma cure.  Researchers, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Carmit Levy, have unraveled the metastatic mechanism of melanoma (how it spreads to other organs).  They have also crucially found chemical substances that can stop the process - promising news for future treatments.

New treatment for fatty liver disease.  (TY Karen) Hadasit, the Hadassah Medical Organization’s technology transfer company, and Israel’s BioLineRx are to develop a treatment BL-1210 for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or fatty liver disease.  It modulates the immune system to reduce scarring that leads to cirrhosis.  There is currently no FDA approved treatments.  http://www.hadassah.org/news-stories/NASH-liver-disease.html

Physiotherapy using Virtual Reality.  Israeli startup VRPhysio matches virtual reality and physiotherapy to help patients exercise and speed up recovery.  The system includes a headset, a mobile app, weights and body sensors to monitor body movement and a set of virtual reality games that aim to make exercising more fun.

A device to cure pelvic floor prolapse.  (TY Dan) Israel’s POP Medical has obtained US FDA approval for the marketing of its medical device for treatment of pelvic floor prolapse. 20% of the women in the world suffer from this condition at any given moment, and 30% at some time in their lives.

Diagnosing sleep apnea in pregnancy.  (TY Nevet) 25% of pregnant women may suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) but receive no treatment.  Now researchers from Israel and the USA recommend a new diagnosis, ‘‘Gestational Sleep Apnea” (GSA) to properly describe, diagnose and treat OSA in pregnant women,

Helping the visually impaired.  (TY Nevet) Israeli startup RenewSenses develops the EyeCane, a small flashlight-like device that translates distance into sound and vibrations. Also EyeMusic which translates color and shape into music. RenewSenses has just joined Brainnovation - Israel’s Brain Technologies accelerator.

New soft material for artificial limbs.  Researchers at Tel Aviv University and in the Netherlands have developed a breakthrough material that can be “morphed” into any shape.  The programmable metamaterial could be ideal for prostheses or wearable technology in which a close fit with the body is important.

Cardiac surgery saves Afghan boy’s life.  (TY Ron) A covert operation has ensured that Yehia (born with multiple heart defects) is the first Afghan to have been treated by Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart organization, joining over 4,000 children from over 50 other countries who have been saved by SACH.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

100 teachers for Israeli special needs kids.  (TY Eli) TALMA, the Israel Program for Excellence in English, has brought some 100 teachers from English speaking countries to Israel to teach English as a Second Language to underprivileged elementary school pupils.

Nursing scholarships for 18 Ethiopians. (TY Karen) Eighteen Ethiopian young men and women have received Lapan scholarships to fulfill their dream of becoming nurses.  The Hadassah program helps new immigrants, provides jobs, and strengthens health care in Jerusalem.

Innovation for all.  (TY Dan) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuben Rivlin and ex-President Shimon Peres laid the cornerstone for the Israeli Innovation Center.  Thousands of interactive screens, will showcase the Start-up Nation and host an entrepreneurial hub for Israelis of all ethnic and social groupings.

Israeli and Palestinian Arab joint water programs.  (TY Dan) Whilst the global media misreports water issues in the Palestinian territories, the UK is funding two joint Israeli-PA water research programs.  “Stream” finds solutions to water problems.  “Growth” brings Palestinian Arabs to Israeli labs to study water technology.

Palestinian Arabs prefer Israeli employers.  (TY Adela) A new Palestinian Media Watch report reveals the truth that Palestinian Arabs rather work for Israelis than the Palestinian Authority. Israelis pay twice the wages; Israeli law protects employees (no exploitation or middlemen) and Israeli working conditions are much better.

Sodastream hires hundreds of Arabs.  Israel’s Sodastream was subjected to major boycott campaign when it employed hundreds of Palestinian Arab workers at its Maale Adumim site.  Since that factory closed, it has moved to the Negev where it now employs hundreds of Bedouin Arabs.

No hardship here.  Dulan abu-Saleh, the mayor of Majdal Shams, the largest Druze town in the Golan, told Makor Rishon that the UN Economic and Social Council’s recent statement on the area was “a total joke.” UNESCO had accused Israel of imposing economic and social hardships on his community.

The best university in the Middle East.  (TY Nevet) The Center for World University Rankings, based in Saudi Arabia, has ranked The Hebrew University of Jerusalem at number 26 of the 25,000+ degree-granting institutions in the world. The annual rankings also place the Hebrew University at number 1 in the Middle East. https://www.afhu.org/center-for-world-university-rankings-lists-hebrew-university-1-in-middle-east-26-worldwide/about

The 6th best international airport hub.  (TY Nevet) Everyone knows that Ben-Gurion International Airport is one of the most secure airports in the world (see here) and the best in the Middle East .  Now a recent poll of Travel+Leisure readers’ has ranked it as the world’s sixth best global air hub.

Friendship with Kurdistan.  For centuries, Kurdistan was once home to thousands of Kurdish Jews.  Nowadays, the Kurds tend to see Israel as a role model for an independent Kurdistan; a small nation surrounded by enemies and bolstered by a strategic partnership with the United States.

The first to give aid to Italy.  A team of 20 Israeli volunteers from IsraAID is the first foreign NGO to arrive in quake-struck Italy. IsraAID is building temporary shelters for homeless families, distributing food and other items, and providing grief counseling. Israel has also offered to send search and rescue teams.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Gene sequencing ancient barley.  (TY Eli) Scientists from Israel, Germany, the USA and UK have genetically sequenced 6000-year-old barley seeds discovered in the Yoram cave in Israel’s Judean Desert. The DNA-analysis will provide essential information as to the origin, domestication and spread of crop plants.

Artificial Intelligence to grow better crops.  Israeli startup Prospera uses artificial intelligence to help farmers better monitor their crops.  Using in-field cameras and climatic sensors, farmers can irrigate, manage pesticides and fertilizers to achieve maximum crop yields. Prospera has just raised $7 million of funding.

Israeli smart glass for Mercedes cars.  I reported previously (Sep 2013) about Israeli startup Gauzy and its innovative glass that goes from transparent to opaque and back again.  Now Gauzy has been selected to take part in Mercedes-Benz’s accelerator program.  Gauzy already has offices in Israel, Hungary and Los Angeles.

Here’s looking at you.  I reported previously (in June 2015) on Israeli startup FST Biometrics and its ability to recognize individuals from facial images, voice analytics and behavior.  Recent attacks in Europe have prompted a huge rise in demand for FST’s identification technology.

Games to help learn Math.  Israeli startup Matific develops educational math and science games for children in kindergarten and elementary school.  It enables students in 20 countries to access superior math tools in 20 languages at an affordable cost.  Matific has just raised $45 million of funding to expand distribution and R&D.

Engie on TV.  (TY Karen) I featured previously (Jun 2015) Engie – the Israel startup which provides an app that connects to your car via Bluetooth and diagnoses mechanical faults.  It then helps you contact the repair shops that can fix your problem efficiently at the lowest price.  Engie was just featured on Israel’s ILTV daily.

Robot can crawl, climb and swim.  (TY Nevet) Engineers at Ben-Gurion University have developed a 3D-printed robot called SAW (Single Actuator Wave-like) that can move quickly, forward or backward, in a wave-like motion over unstable terrain.  It can even be miniaturized for travelling internally through the human body.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

More efficient deliveries.  (TY Dan) Israeli startup Bringoz helps its clients deliver purchases to customers in the most efficient way.  Bringoz’s algorithms organize couriers to combine shipments to avoid unnecessary transportation costs.  They take into account urgency, route, volume, weather and more.

The Australians are landing.  A delegation of 10 Australian cybersecurity and fintech startups will take part in an accelerator program in Tel Aviv in September to boost Sydney’s position as an innovation hub.  It is part of the Australian Government’s Landing Pads initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia.

Support Israel – buy an ibox.  (TY Adela) Now you can counter BDS attempts to boycott Israeli goods by ordering an ibox.  The ibox is a surprise box consisting of Israeli products, that is delivered to your door.  The specialty ibox will let you hear, taste, see, smell and feel Israel. Profits will benefit organizations fighting BDS.

Hi-tech mutual funds to benefit Israeli investors.  The Israeli Government is promoting mutual funds for investing in public and private high-tech companies.  In this way, the Israeli public can participate in Israel’s high-tech sector – an area dominated previously by overseas shareholders.

Israel’s economy is an island of stability.  Ambassador Yoram Ettinger’s latest report shows Israel is one of the top five world high-tech powers thanks to billion-dollar investments by Apple, USA, China, Russia and India.  GDP has doubled since 2006, FX reserves are over $90 billion, unemployment is falling, etc. etc.  Jonathan Adelman also writes a very positive analysis “Israel emerges as a player on the World stage”.

Oxford University press – latest news.  (TY Dan) I reported previously (Feb 7) on the digitizing tie-up between Oxford University press and Israeli start-ups Tiny Tap, Kidoz, and Total Boox.  Here is how they have been progressing.  http://publishingperspectives.com/2016/07/israeli-startups-oxford-university-press/

Fly from Terminal 1.  (TY Janglo) After the new Terminal 3 was opened in 2004, Terminal 1 has been used initially only for domestic flights and check-in, border control and security for international flights. Passengers are bused to Terminal 3 to board the plane.  But in summer 2017, passengers could board flights at Terminal 1, eat at restaurants and shop at duty free stores.  http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4835318,00.html


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israeli designer has 4 London shows.  (TY SDM) Israeli artist, architect and designer Ron Arad has three major public artworks on display in London, plus a solo exhibition at a Mayfair gallery. His exhibit “Spyre” is a 16-meter high, constantly moving steel sculpture in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.

Take a bite of Haifa.  (TY Jacques) A new special sightseeing tour is aimed to show that Haifa has much more to offer than the visit of the famous Bahai Gardens: With the Haifa Street Food tours you can experience the city with your taste buds.  http://israelbetweenthelines.com/2016/08/04/take-a-bite-of-haifa/

The vibrant flavors of Israeli food.  (TY SDM) The UK’s Telegraph featured the new East-London restaurant “Struck & Cluck” owned by Israel’s Amir Chen.  It also mentioned Barbary in Covent Garden, Honey & Co in Warren Street and Shwarma Bar in Exmouth Market – all run by Israelis.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/a-cuisine-without-borders-the-vibrant-flavours-of-israeli-food-i/

If I forget you, Jerusalem.  (TY Janglo) A beautiful rendition of “Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim” (If I forget you Jerusalem) by KOLture Shock. Signalling the end of the sadness of the Three Weeks between the fasts of Tammuz and Av. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulNTsAQbMsc

Jessye Norman receives Wolf Prize for music.  (TY SDM) 70-year-old American-born iconic opera singer Jessye Norman received Israel’s coveted Wolf Prize for Music. Poor health prevented her from collecting it last year and she almost missed out again this year, arriving in an electric wheelchair after fracturing her ankle.


THE JEWISH STATE

Home for all Jews - plus.  Arifa and Assad Farajov recently immigrated to Israel from Azerbaijan.  Arifa, the wife, is Jewish and a lecturer in Russian literature. Assad, her husband, is Muslim - a former military judge who says “I've fallen in love with Israel.”  Arifa’s grandmother was a Rabbi’s daughter who also married a Muslim.

Be fruitful and multiply.  The average Israeli household has three children, nearly double the OECD average.  But it puts a strain on the childcare system.  Israel’s oldest charity, Colel Chabad runs a network of daycare centers across Israel.  They provide children nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks six days per week.

Nine new Rabbinical judges.  (TY Sharon) For the first time in nine years, nine new dayanim (Rabbinic judges) were appointed to the Supreme Rabbinical Court - Israel's highest. They include Rabbis who have served in the IDF.  The appointments committee included its first female member, Dr Rachel Levmore.

Jerusalem, old and new.  (TY Sharon) The Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem used to be known mostly for its garages.  But as another tech startup initiative opened in the area, the garages are being replaced with modern office buildings and showrooms.  https://rjstreets.com/2016/07/28/jerusalem-old-and-new/

2000-year-old synagogue unearthed.  The remains of a structure that served as a synagogue during Second Temple times have been unearthed in an archaeological excavation at Tel Rechesh in the heart of the Nahal Tavor Nature Reserve in Israel’s lower Galilee. Eight 2nd Temple synagogues have been discovered in Israel.