Israel's Good News Newsletter to 9th/10th June 19

(I will be on holiday in the UK.  Next newsletter hopefully on 30th June)



·         Rare positive news in the search for pancreatic cancer treatment.
·         Israeli experts are helping seven Muslim countries save their coral reefs.
·         Intel Israel has launched its 10th generation microprocessor.
·         Europe’s pursuit of Israeli innovation increases.
·         Google Express shopping is packaged using Israeli bio-degradable plastic.
·         A 15-year-old Israeli boy is European youth laser sailing champion.
·         Israeli divers have discovered a Biblical fortress - underwater.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Treatment for genetic pancreatic cancer. Researchers at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center have had positive results in trials of Lynparza (olaparib) for treating pancreatic cancer in carriers of BRCA mutations. An international trial of 154 patients showed improved response, time to progression and quality of life.

New early test for Parkinson’s. Tel Aviv University scientists have discovered a new method for detecting the aggregation of the protein alpha-synuclein, before Parkinson’s symptoms appear. Doctors can then monitor how treatments affect this aggregation.

Transmitting neural messages to the next generation. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have identified a nervous system mechanism that can transmit neural messages to future generations. They showed that data on environmental factors are stored in brain cells (neurons) and expressed in germline genes to one’s children.

US approval for soft Exo-suit. Last week (see here) ReWalk’s soft exoskeleton received European (CE) approval.  This week, the US FDA approved the Israeli innovation. Things are “looking up” for stroke victims.

Tracking response to cancer treatment. Israel-based Techsomed develops an image analysis system that helps track tissue response to thermal ablation - the process of destroying tumors using extreme heat or cold. It works with ultrasound to simulate the effects over time and provide surgeons with better control and accuracy.

Israeli diet is good for the brain. I reported previously (14th Apr) that Israel has the lowest rate of diet-related deaths in the world.  Now, the American Academy of Neurology medical journal has found that the diet can also help preserve memory and thinking abilities.

Foolproof Ambulance inventory list. Three students from Jerusalem College of Technology won first prize at the college’s third annual Great Minds hackathon. They devised a system using sensors to eliminate human error when checking crucial inventory on ambulances before they are dispatched from their stations.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

An app to simplify volunteering. (TY Benyamin) Israeli ex-supermodel Michaela Bercu and her husband Israeli tech entrepreneur Ron Zuckerman developed Tribu - an app which connects volunteering needs with those who wish to help. It is in use all over Israel and a pilot has recently been setup at a California university.

Faiths co-operate to clean up Old City site. Israel, Jordan, the Gulf States and Christian leaders have agreed for the Jerusalem Development Authority to clear a long-standing Wakf-administered garbage dump just outside the Old City walls. A new promenade is now being built on the site to improve access for tourists.

Pope welcomes cross-border owl project. Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian Arab and Swiss bird experts recently traveled to the Vatican to discuss their successful cross-border project using barn owls (see here) for natural pest control. https://www.israel21c.org/pope-welcomes-israeli-jordanian-palestinian-bird-experts/

Ramadan in Israel. This video shows how the month-long Muslim festival of Ramadan is observed and celebrated in the towns of Ein Nakuba and Abu Ghosh – between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  Residents and leaders highlight the importance of improving ethical behavior and especially relationships with non-Muslims.

Middle East unites to save coral reefs. Professor Maoz Fine of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University has set up the Red Sea Transnational Research Center to help try to save global coral reefs. The center brings together experts from Israel and seven Muslim countries - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti.

Israel hosts joint US-Russia summit. (TY WIN) In the first meeting of its kind, the US national security adviser, and his Russian and Israeli counterparts will meet in Jerusalem to discuss regional security issues and Syria in particular.  https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/06/02/52-years-later-israel-and-the-superpowers/

Rare animals born in Jerusalem.  Israel again demonstrated its work to save rare species.  Two rare golden lion tamarin monkeys were born at Jerusalem’s Biblical zoo. Thanks to efforts like that of Israel, the population of these monkeys has risen from 80 in 1980 to around 3,200 today.  Also five Griffin vultures were hatched.

World Environment Day. This video produced for World Environment Day on 5th Jun, highlights Israel’s progress with renewable energy, wastewater recycling, desalination. Israel promotes the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and works with many countries in their efforts to achieve them.

Israeli innovation at its very best. A great summary of the work of Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa which has brought clean water and electricity to over a million villagers in rural Africa.

How one tiny aid NGO changed an island. After Hurricane Maria, IsraAID distributed food and water filters to remote Puerto Rican communities. They operated mobile health clinics, treated trauma victims and trained medical staff. But it is two long-term projects (water and resiliency) that have transformed Puerto Rican lives.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Seven Tel Aviv tech conferences this month. Thousands of investors, entrepreneurs, and tech experts will be flocking to Tel Aviv in June to attend EdTech (4th-5th), EcoMotion (10th-13th), Travel Tech (11th), Mobile Summit (12th), IBM Think (13th), Cyber Week (23rd-27th) and Calcalist’s FinTech (24th).

Top patents.  The National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) listed Tel Aviv University as the 66th top university worldwide, after registering 37 US utility patents through its technology transfer arm Ramot. Israel’s Technion Institute was 75th with 32 utility patents.

Weizmann Institute in top 25 for R&D. Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science has been ranked among the top 25 research institutes/universities in the world.  It received this high ranking in two main categories: Top-cited Publications and Patents Awarded.

Intel’s new Israeli processors have AI. I only recently reported (13h May) that Intel Haifa had launched its 9th generation of microprocessors. Intel is now shipping its 10th generation chips – code named “Ice Lake” and again developed by their Israeli team. Intel says it will bring broad-scale Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the PC.

Award-winning deep-learning microprocessors. (TY OurCrowd) Just as Intel are launching their new AI microprocessor, Israeli AI chip manufacturer Hailo (reported here in Jun 2018) has been selected as a winner of Red Herring's Top 100 North America Award in the AI/Machine Learning Sector.

Radio Frequency Energy. I briefly mentioned about Israel’s InMode (Aug 2012) when it was called Invasix and selling its cosmetic treatments to Lebanese women. InMode states that its products use Radio Frequency Energy to tighten skin, remove fat, hair, spots, vascular lesions etc. A NASDAQ listing is said to be close.

Catch that mosquito. Israeli startup Bzigo is developing a device that uses lasers to track mosquitos within a room. It then marks the mosquito’s exact location with a red laser once it lands and uses WiFi to send alerts to users.  It is currently at the prototype stage.

Taking down drones and balloons. Finally, a solution to the Gaza firebombs and drones.  The IDF have been trialing the Smash 2000 from Israel’s Smart Shooter. https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/SMASH-2000-The-Israeli-technology-taking-down-Gazan-drones-and-balloons-591778  https://www.smart-shooter.com/

Paying royalties for music. Israeli startup Revelator is launching a music mobile payment app called Artist Wallet. When an artist’s song is streamed or played on the radio, rights holders are notified and royalties are distributed as per a blockchain digital contract. The platform supports 90,000 rights holders in 25 countries.

Israeli Argan oil. (TY Stuart) I wrote previously (see here) about Israelis growing Argan trees for their oil. Recently our friend Stuart Palmer visited Israel’s Oren Farm. Their Argan trees were originally grown by Israel for Morocco but rejected due to the Arab boycott. These trees produce 5 times more oil than Moroccan trees.

Israeli technology becomes international standard. Global standards organization MIPI Alliance (including Intel, Texas Instruments, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung) has selected the technology of Israel-based Valens Semiconductor as a standard for high-speed links for cameras, displays and sensors for autonomous vehicles.

Grab & Go supermarket shopping. I’ve reported previously (see here) on the scan and buy systems of Israeli startups SuperSmart and ShelfX. Now Israel’s Trigo Vision is beginning an advanced pilot of its computer vision technology with Israeli supermarket giant Shufersal.

Floating cities. (TY Benyamin) Viewers of the movie Waterworld can imagine a future with cities that float on the oceans. Israeli naval architect Gil Wang and three colleagues have devised a smart, economical way to build urban suburbs on water. Their Modular Floating Structures (MFS) project is now a Technion Ph.D. program.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Millions more tourists. 1.8 million tourists have visited Israel in the five months since the beginning of 2019. May 2019 saw an 11% increase on May 2018 with 400,000 tourists arriving. And contrary to reports from biased media outlets, hundreds of thousands of Christians, Muslims and Jews peacefully visited Jerusalem.

EU has funded over 1,000 Israeli projects. Horizon 2020, Europe’s flagship innovation program, gave grants to 423 Israeli projects in 2018. Since Horizon 2020 was set up in 2014, it has funded 1,062 Israeli recipients to the tune of 742 million euros. Cooperation was celebrated at an awards ceremony in Jaffa on 4th June.

EU giants innovate in Israel. There are 41 top European firms with Israeli innovation offices - nearly half established in the last 3 years. And unlike Silicon Valley, most of the Israeli offices are fully-fledged R&D centers with over 50 employees - not simply outposts. Most work in automotive, electronics and Life sciences.

Renewing Amazon’s planes. Retail giant Amazon has its own airline called Prime Air, comprising 40 second-hand Boeing 767s. Israel Aerospace Industries has converted 80% of the fleet from passenger planes to cargo planes and the refurbished aircraft are now good for another 20 years of service.

PayPal moves its customer service to Israel. Global payments giant PayPal is setting up a new customer service center in Israel. It will replace its current operation, run by an external company in Bulgaria. PayPal already has a Research & Development center in Tel Aviv with 230 employees.

Another Israeli Unicorn.  I reported previously (Mar 2017) when Israeli-founded cybersecurity company SentinelOne raised $70 million of funds. It has just raised another $120 million, to join the ranks of “Unicorn” companies – those worth around $1 billion.

Huge new co-working site in Ramat Gan. Israel’s MindSpace is opening a new 4,125 square meters co-working location at the Rogovin Tidhar Tower in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv. It will accommodate 640 people who want shared office facilities. It will be MindSpace’s 29th site, which includes in the US, UK and Germany.

Google to use Israeli bio-degradable plastic. I reported previously (see here) on the environmentally-friendly compostable packaging developed by Israeli startup TIPA. Now Google’s shopping site, Google Express, is to package purchases in TIPA’s bio-degradable plastic. UK supermarket Waitrose and others already use TIPA.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Hebrew Book Week. The people of the book celebrate Hebrew Book Week, June 12-22 in Tel Aviv (Kikar Rabin), Jerusalem (the First Station), and Haifa (Hecht Garden) plus specific days in other cities. It will include a tri-city public book reading on June 12, at 6 p.m., in the three major locations.

Kosher and tasty. Celebrity Israeli chefs Meir Adoni, Yoram Nitzan, Eyal Shani and several others have moved into the kosher sphere over the last few years, accommodating the growing number of kosher diners in Tel Aviv seeking fine dining, and the ingredients (and wine lists), that go with it.

Fresh Paint fair. Billed as Israel’s largest art event, the Fresh Paint art fair had exhibitions throughout Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Expo Tel Aviv hosted the Independent Artists’ Greenhouse, Fresh Design Complex, New Media and Video Area. Ten museums, hotels, boutiques and restaurants hosted events in Tel Aviv & Jaffa.

Jerusalem’s really cultured streets.  (TY Sharon) This RJS article “Jerusalem Day, What Next” incorporates recent and upcoming events, including a memorial to Ethiopian Jews, the re-opening of the Sifting Project, Iftar, the Israel Festival, Islamic Jewelry exhibition, Beat/Second, Nabucco (Jun 20), White Night and more.

Heavy metal support. Heavy metal group 'Disturbed' prioritized their upcoming European tour around their 2nd July Rishon LeZion concert. Front man, David Draiman sits on the advisory body of Creative Community for Peace. Please see the video of his unexpectedly fascinating interview and his wise words against BDS.

Four Euro golds for 15-year-old sailor. 15-year-old Yogev Alcalay of Caesarea Israel won four gold medals at the EurILCA (International Laser Class Association) 2019 Laser 4.7 Youth Europeans in Hyeres, France. Yogev made history winning the top U-16 and U-18 medals ahead of competitors from 50 countries.


THE JEWISH STATE

Biblical fortress discovered. (TY WIN) Marine archaeologists have found a 2,200-year-old maritime fortress off the coast at Tel Dor, south of Haifa. The site, mentioned in biblical texts, was built by a Hellenistic ruler during the period of the Hasmoneans. The fortress in underwater due to the sea level rising over the centuries.

The Biblical town of Achziv. (TY I24 News) The city of Achziz in Northern Israel dates to the Israelite tribe of Asher in the Bible. It is also mentioned in the Book of Judges. Its beach has some breathtaking scenery.

Brazilian diplomats find ancient coin in Shiloh. A delegation of governors and congress members from Brazil were visiting the archaeological dig in Shiloh where the Jewish tabernacle was sited over 3,000 years ago. During the visit, a coin was discovered dating from the time of the Hasmoneans, some 2,000 years ago.

NYC celebrates Israel.  40,000 participated in the annual Celebrate Israel Parade in Manhattan. A delegation of diplomats from around the world took part, including UN ambassadors from Australia, Germany, Ukraine, Norway, Nigeria and several other countries. The theme of the event was “Rak B’Yisrael – Only in Israel”

Celebrating Jerusalem Day. (TY Jacob) Tens of thousands of flag-waving Israelis marched through Jerusalem to mark the unification of Jerusalem’s eastern and western sectors in the 1967 Six Day War. See Jacob Richman’s photos – click on the first link and then on the arrows. And worth watching the Six-Day-War video.