Israel's Good News Newsletter to 19th Jan 20



·         An Israeli medication has been selected for a major US multiple ALS treatment trial.
·         Historic joint Israeli-Egypt statement as Israeli exports natural gas to Egypt.
·         An Israeli video analysis system is helping to combat fires in Australia.
·         An Israeli electromagnetic breakthrough can reveal hidden objects.
·         A major Russian airline is starting direct flights to Israel from Siberia.
·         The first Israeli Formula One racing team test driver.
·         Vast numbers of Israelis celebrated completing the 7.5-year cycle of daily Talmud study.

·         Click here to see the 12th January newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional article on Inclusive and Global with 1,600 shares.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also Hebrew translation of articles in 12th Jan newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

US approves freezing of tumors. The US FDA has granted approval for Israel’s IceCure Medical to use its tumor-freezing technology to destroy cancerous and benign tumors of the kidney, liver, ear, nose, and throat. It already has FDA approval for benign breast tumors and European approval to treat malignant breast tumors.

UK hospital introduces Israeli remote diagnostic device. (TY OurCrowd) As reported previously (see here), Israel’s TytoCare device allows for doctors to examine patients from remote locations. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to be the first provider in the UK to partner with TytoCare.

Israeli treatment in Mass trials. (TY Atid-EDI) Pridopidine, from Israeli biotech Prilenia, has been chosen by the Healey Center at Massachusetts General hospital for the first-ever platform (multiple treatments) trial for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prilenia is trialing Pridopidine for several neurodegenerative disorders.

Two potential IBD therapies. (TY Atid-EDI) As reported previously (see here) Israel’s Biomica is using the human microbiome (stomach bacteria) to fight cancer, IBD, acne etc. Bionica is starting pre-clinical studies for BMC321 & BMC322, two developed microbial consortia aimed to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Spotting problems that doctors may have missed. Israel-based medical device startup IMedis AI develops technology that analyzes medical images and documents to reveal discrepancies and unreported findings. The technology can assist in the early detection of cancer, heart diseases, and vascular diseases.

Women at risk of diabetes during pregnancy. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have developed an algorithm that can predict which women have a high risk of gestational diabetes. Records of 600,000 Israeli pregnancies were examined. Those found to be at risk could avoid diabetes with exercise and diet.  

An all-in-one genetic test. Israel’s Variantyx has developed the first comprehensive, all-in-one diagnosis test for rare inherited disorders. It eliminates the need to order multiple tests, saving time, money and (potentially) lives. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases, affecting 30 million in the US and over 350 million globally.

Helping patients breathe. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Biovo Technologies manufactures the Airway Medix line of disposable respiratory devices, used for mechanically ventilated (usually unconscious) intubated ICU patients.

Don’t over-vaccinate your pet. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Biogal-Galed Labs (reported here previously) has launched CombCam, an automated reading device that helps veterinarians interpret antibody and vaccine tests on animals. Biogal’s various veterinary diagnostic products are now available in over 35 countries.

From cancer to shrimps. This article focuses on Dr Avi Schroeder of Israel’s Technion Institute. His company PEEP Therapeutics is developing a cancer treatment based on Elephant protein gene P53 (see here).  He is also working on personalized chemotherapy and a cure for a deadly shrimp virus. He is a manager in four startups.

Israeli medical startups in San Francisco. 16 of OurCrowd’s Israeli medical portfolio companies attended the 38th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco (Jan 13-15). Their innovative solutions include cancer treatments, blood testing, wound care, care for older adults, diabetes management and more.

Israeli startups to help UK healthcare. Ten Israeli heath tech startups have been invited by UK Government’s Israel Tech Hub to help UK healthcare organizations build more modern and effective healthcare services. They will meet AstraZeneca, NHSX, Care UK, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Amazon Web Services in London.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Hi-tech Haredim conference. (TY Sharon) As reported previously, (see here) Bizmax is a business center for ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem residents. It has just sponsored a hi-tech employment conference in Jerusalem, in association with the Kemach Foundation, which has already helped over 20,000 Haredim find jobs.

Israel begins exports of natural gas to Egypt. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla, jointly confirmed that Israeli natural gas is now flowing to Egypt. It was hailed as the most significant economic cooperation since the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries.

Free hi-res weather forecasts for India. As reported previously, (see here) Israel’s ClimaCell develops a highly accurate weather forecasting system. It has now partnered with Google Cloud to launch a free high-resolution model in India that predicts the weather for a 2km area in 15-min timesteps for the next 48 hours.

Going back to the Moon. As reported (1st Dec) Israel’s SpaceIL plans to make another attempt to land an Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. These plans have just received a boost with a $1 million donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. It will also support putting Israel’s first nanosatellite into lunar orbit.

Giving a voice to those unable to speak. As reported previously (see here) Israeli startup Click2speak and Israeli charity Ezer Mizion are developing a keyboard for stroke victims and others to operate with just their eyes. Ezer Mizion also operates the Middle East’s only loan center for speech generating devices.

Extinguishing fires in Australia. One of the Israeli startups exhibiting at CES 2020 Las Vegas was drone video analyst Edgybees (reported here previously). Having helped combat the fires in California last year, they responded to an urgent request from Australia and donated their system to help put out fires in New South Wales.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Israel’s national communications satellite. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) will develop and build Israel’s national communication satellite, “Dror 1”. The deal with the Israeli Government is worth $190 million and is intended to fulfill the country’s satellite communication needs for the next 15 years.

Record number of Israeli startups at CES 2020. This newsletter reported last week (see here) that three dozen Israeli startups exhibited at CES 2020 Las Vegas.  It has now been reported that there were far more. 70 Israeli startups presented their technologies, just in the area of transportation, smart cities, and logistics.

A revealing scientific breakthrough. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a new way to produce and control terahertz waves, which can pass through opaque materials to detect hidden objects and reveal their composition. The scientists shone infra-red light at nano-structured materials, to generate the terahertz waves.

App helps visually impaired avoid obstacles. Students at Israel’s Technion Institute have been awarded the IEEE International Student Projects Award for an app to increase the safety of visually impaired individuals. The “Bionic Eye” app sends vibrations to the belt of the user to help negotiate stairways and other obstacles.

Autonomous taxis in South Korea. Israel-based Mobileye will test and deploy robot taxis powered by its autonomous vehicle technology in Daegu, South Korea. Rollout is planned by 2022.  Mobileye has already announced its plans to have hundreds of autonomous taxis operating in Tel Aviv’s streets, also by 2022.

Top Nine is number one.  Top Nine is the most popular Instagram app in the US and UK. It gives Instagram users a three-by-three grid collage of their most popular posts. It was developed by Kevin Natanzon, founder of Beta Labs, who attributes his Aliya, and the Israeli startup ecosystem, as the reason Top Nine went viral.

Milk chocolate, same taste, nearly half the sugar.  The SureChoc project is a partnership between leading industrial bodies and the UK’s University of Reading. Its milk chocolate bar uses special sugar developed by Israel’s DouxMatok (see here). It has the same taste as regular chocolate, but 44% less sugar and more fiber.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS


Multinationals benefit Israeli economy. The 362 multinational companies operating in Israel paid nearly $9 billion in direct taxation in 2019 – approximately 18% of all tax income received by the Israeli Government. They employ some 62,000 staff – the largest being Intel (11,000) followed by HP (3,000) and IBM (2,000).

Startup Jerusalem. Good video highlighting the innovation and startup ecosystem of Israel’s capital.

Direct flights from Siberia. Russia's second-largest airline S7 Airlines is to begin direct flights between Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport and Novosibirsk, Siberia. Apparently, half of Russian visitors to Israel come from near Siberia and previously had to fly through Moscow. S7 begins the new service on 2nd Apr.

Even more Japanese investment. 2018’s 28 investments and acquisitions worth $710 million by Japanese companies in Israeli startups (reported here) was eclipsed in 2019 by 53 deals worth $815 million. Japanese interest in Israel surged after PM Netanyahu’s 2014 Japan visit and PM Shinzo Abe’s to Israel in 2015.

Tel Aviv fintech innovation hub launched. A new fintech and insurtech (finance & insurance technology) innovation hub - “Axell” - has been launched in Tel Aviv. It aims to generate partnerships between local and international corporations (e.g. Generali, AIG and Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services), and Israeli startups.

Second Israeli cybersecurity acquisition for Mimecast. US cybersecurity company Mimecast has acquired Israeli cybersecurity phishing protection startup Segasec Labs for around $40 million. In 2018, Mimecast acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup Solebit Labs for $88 million in cash.

Sapiens intelligent acquisitions. Israel’s Sapiens (see here) has previously taken over US and Spanish companies to build up its insurance software empire. Now it has bought German digitalization software developer Sum.cumo GmbH for 28.4 million euros to help expansion into Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Another connected car connection. (TY Hazel) As reported previously (see here) Israeli connected car data company Otonomo has partnered Daimler/Mercedes, Skoda, Jaguar/Land Rover and Avis. Now, it is to provide Mitsubishi Motors with parking apps, smart electric vehicle charging, mapping etc. from over 100 companies.

See Israeli companies in Beverley Hills. 18 Israeli companies will be presenting at “Merage-Homeland / Cybersecurity" in Beverley Hills on 22nd Jan. The event has been arranged by the Southern California-Israel Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Elite Entrepreneur Organization.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

The Jews of Yemen. (TY Sharon) A new exhibition “From Sheba to Jerusalem" at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, displays the history and culture of the (now non-existent) Jews of Yemen and South Arabia. They traded with the land of Israel and in the 4th century CE became subjects of the “Jewish Kingdom of Himyar”.

Israel Space Week. The events being held for Israel Space Week at the end of Jan include the Bloomfield Science museum Jerusalem marking 50 years of the first Moon landing. Visitors to Netanya Planetanya can pretend to be astronauts and the Israeli Space Agency hosts the 15th Ilan Ramon International conference

CNN and UK Times recommend yet-to-open hotel. The Six Senses Shaharut hotel in Israel’s Negev desert has been recommended by CNN as well as the UK’s Times as one of the top new lodges to stay at in 2020. “The perfect destination for the intrepid luxury traveler” only opens later this year.

Israeli MasterChef judge to feed Microsoft employees. Microsoft has hired celebrity TV chef Haim Cohen to oversee six dining areas available to employees in its new campus in the central Israeli town of Herzliya. Cohen owns two Tel Aviv restaurants and is currently a judge on the Israeli TV version of MasterChef.

Israel’s first Olympic skiing medals. 17-year-old Israeli Noa Szollos made history by winning two skiing medals at the Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland. She won silver in the Alpine Combined and bronze in the Super G, to gain Israel’s first ever winter games medals for either youth or adult Olympics.

Israeli becomes Formula One test driver. British Formula One motor racing team and constructor ROKiT Williams Racing has signed 25-year-old Israeli Roy Nissany to their 2020 driver lineup. He will test drive in Formula One and race in Formula Two until he gains enough points to compete in Formula One.


THE JEWISH STATE


Bags of room on Israeli bus. A 19-year-old US tourist discovered that Israeli bus drivers are sometimes too keen to keep to the timetable. He was trapped inside the luggage compartment whilst extracting his suitcase. As the bus drove off, he phoned the police who tracked him by GPS and rescued him unharmed after 20 minutes.

Safed gets its first traffic light. Israel’s Northern city of Safed (Tzfat) and its cobbled alleyways have been the center of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah since the 16th century. Modern technology, however, has finally caught up with it, as its popularity with tourists has resulted in an upgrade to its roads and its first traffic light.

Learn Hebrew from milk cartons.  (TY Jacob Richman) The birthday of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, father of modern spoken Hebrew, is also Hebrew Language Day in Israel.  This year, on 16th Jan, the Academy of the Hebrew Language, together with Tnuva, have printed groups of Hebrew words on the side of milk cartons.

New club house for lone soldiers. The charity Lone Soldier Center caters for the physical and social needs of around 7,000 IDF soldiers who came to Israel without their parents. It had been operating a Jerusalem club in the basement in Yafo Street. It now moves to much larger premises, able to host many more for Shabbat meals.

Completing the daily Talmud study program. (TY Sharon) Israeli cities have been celebrating the world-wide completion of Daf Yomi (a page a day) study of the Talmud. The program takes 7.5 years. Thousands attended the Siyum HaShas (end of Talmud) ceremony at Jerusalem’s International Conference Center.