History of Israel's Good News - Oct to Dec 2017



171029
In the 29th Oct 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli artificial cornea will soon help give sight to the blind.
·         An Israeli has been elected President of the World Medical Association.
·         Dozens of Arabs enjoyed hospitality in the Mayor of Efrat’s tabernacle.
·         A new highway has been built to test Israeli driverless car technology.
·         An Israeli autonomous vehicle operates underwater.
·         Amazon and Alibaba are opening Israeli development centers.
·         Israel’s Alon Day won the NASCAR Euro Championship.

·         Click here to see the 8th Oct newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “Harvest for the World”.  Also on the Jerusalem Post, IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours and United with Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Please click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of more than 11,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should send a request to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

An artificial cornea. (TY Nevet) Israeli startup CorNeat Vision has completed the design and development stage of its artificial cornea implant. The CorNeat KPro is produced using nanoscale chemical engineering that stimulates cellular growth. CorNeat is aiming for its first implantation in humans by mid-2018.

50% less deaths from heart disease.  (TY Eli) Israel has seen a 50% decrease in mortality rates from heart disease over the past 15 years and is one of the leading Western countries in heart disease detection, prevention and treatment. In 2000, 20% of patients died one month after their first heart attack. In 2016 it was just 7.5%.

Lonza to open Israeli R&D center.  Swiss-based life sciences company Lonza is establishing a Research and Development center in Haifa. The Lonza Collaborative Innovation Center will leverage Israel's scientific strength in areas such as engineering, software and cell and molecular biology.

5 days after “dying”, infant dances on stage.  Two-year-old Elchanan wandered off from his family’s succah and fell into a nearby pond.  When United Hatzalah EMT volunteers arrived, Elchanan was clinically dead. After on-site and hospital CPR, Elchanan made a full recovery and danced at his Sukkot concert 5 days later.

Computer-generated protein design.  Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have engineered new proteins, e.g. antibodies or enzymes, that do not exist in nature.  They are designed to have specific properties and can usher in a new age of custom-designed medical treatments. http://www.pnas.org/content/114/41/10900.abstract

Israeli to head World Medical Association. Israel Medical Association Chairman Professor Leonid Eidelman has been elected President of the World Medical Association (WMA), an umbrella body representing national medical associations with more than nine million members around the world.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

The first Druze IAF navigator.  Major A joined the Israel Air Force Flight Academy whilst studying at Israel’s Technion Institute. On completion, he became the first Druze navigator in the IDF. Two other Druze men are now following in his footsteps. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5017799,00.html

Dozens of Arabs come to Judean mayor’s succah.  Over 30 Palestinian Arabs joined dozens of Israelis as guests at the sukkah of Efrat mayor Oded Revivi in Judea. The event included music from a joint Muslim-Jewish group, and was attended by Efrat’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.

Israel is important to NATO.  Israel’s Liaison Officer, Lt.-Cmdr. Ortal represents Israel’s naval forces at NATO ’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in London, the central command of all NATO maritime forces. She describes Israel’s role in NATO.

Pakistani and Afghani students attend on-line course.  Students from Muslim-majority nations such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are among those signed up for “The Bible in Light of the Ancient Near East” - an innovative online program offered by Israel’s Bar Ilan University commencing 25th Oct.

Mexican President thanks Israel. (TY Zev) Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto thanked Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the Israeli search and rescue team sent to Mexico City following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The Israeli team was the first foreign group on the scene, arriving just two days later.

London police chief looks for Israeli help. (TY Hazel) City of London Police Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland made his sixth trip to Israel to see how Israeli techniques and products could be integrated into his police department. He also spoke at the IDC Herzliya’s annual counterterrorism conference.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Robots to the rescue. (TY Eli) The BIRD (Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation has awarded a $900,000 grant to US-based Mantaro Networks. and Beeper Communications Israel to develop unmanned search and rescue technologies that can complement the work of human first responders.

4 new solar farms in the Negev. Israel’s Orad is to build four photovoltaic solar energy production plants in the Negev with an aggregate capacity of 35.5 megawatts. Its subsidiary Solarpower will operate and maintain them for 10 years. Completion is planned by end 2018.

A highway for driverless cars.  Israel has opened a new 1.5 km stretch of Road 531 north of Herzliya for two months, exclusively for five companies to test their technology for autonomous cars. The five are Nexar (dashboard camera), GM (autonomous car). Mobileye, Innoviz (LIDAR sensors and Argus Cyber Security.

The fast lane to autonomous driving.  Israel’s Cognata has developed a deep learning simulation engine to enable autonomous car manufacturers to test thousands of different scenarios based on various geographic locations and driver behaviors, and sharing the road with other users.

Double-helix bridge wins international award.  Beersheva's High-Tech Park Bridge was the winner in the long span category of the triannual Footbridge Awards at the Footbridge 2017 conference in Berlin. The 75-meter bridge, in the shape of a double helix, is also known as the DNA or spectacles bridge.

How is Israel’s moonshot going? (TY Eli) SpaceIL - Israeli representative in the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition -  is busy constructing the spacecraft to be launched next year. They have completed the skeleton and the eight engines.  https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5017213,00.html

Another Israeli satellite.  When I reported previously (3rd Sep) on the successful launch of Israel’s VENµS environmental satellite, I missed the fact that the same rocket put another Israeli satellite into orbit. The second one was IAI’s advanced observation Optsat 3000 satellite, for use by the Italian Ministry of Defense.

Preventing pipeline breaks.  Israel’s Precognize uses artificial intelligence to detect glitches in pipelines and prevent leaks by sending out clear alerts. The predictive maintenance technology translates the raw information from sensors into timely warnings.

1989 prediction is proved in 2017.  In 1989, Professor Tsvi Piran of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem predicted (in the journal Nature) that the merger of two Neutron stars would produce a burst of gamma rays. He was either ignored or met with skepticism. Now 28 years later, his prediction was proved correct.

Israeli food technologies. (TY Zvi) This new short video could have summarized my latest blog “Harvest for the World”. It features three Israeli companies previously featured in my newsletters – WaterGen (water from air), Genie (one-minute kitchen) and Evogene (high-yield, resistant crops).

Underwater autonomous vehicle.  While the motor industry is watching Israel developments in driverless cars, Ben Gurion University scientists have developed HydroCamel II, Israel’s first Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). The 2.5-meter vehicle will assist the security, oil & gas and marine research sectors.

Intel Israel’s artificial intelligence center.  Intel Israel is hiring dozens of new employees to work in a new artificial intelligence (AI) center being established by the company at its Ra’anana and Haifa campuses. Intel Israel already has 10,000 employees in Kiryat Gat, Yakum, Ra'anana, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, and Haifa.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel gets more competitive.  Israel has leapt eight places to number sixteen in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018. It is the top country in the Middle East and is ahead of Australia, France, China, Spain and Russia. Israel was 3rd in the Innovation category and 7th in Technological Readiness.

Government deficit falls below 2%.  Thanks to Intel’s purchase of Israel’s Mobileye, the Israeli government received $4.1 billion of CGT from shareholders selling to Intel. It reduced government deficit to 1.9% of GDP. The IMF also raised its growth forecast for Israel’s economy to 3.1% for 2017 and 3.4% for 2018.

Chinese tourists discover Israel.  (TY WIN) A growing number of Chinese visitors come to the Holy Land. Israel is encouraging the influx, with direct flights from Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Tourism Ministry has even launched a Mandarin version of its website.

An underrated travel destination.  The UK’s Telegraph lists ten reasons to visit the holy land, including the beaches, weather, nightlife, food, architecture, museums, history and ticket prices.

Israeli wines have the critics in good spirits.  (TY Zvi) Victor Schoenfeld of Yarden Wines explains why wine from the Golan Heights taste so good. Reasons include the Mediterranean climate, different volcanic soils, elevations from 1,200 to 4,000 feet and one of the world’s oldest tradition for winemaking.

A sunny addition to the TASE. I featured previously (30th Apr) Israel’s SolarPaint has developed ultra-thin wireframe and nanoparticle-infused coating to generate solar power. It has merged with Or City Holdings, changed its name to Apollo Power, raised NIS 9.4 million and listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

SolarEdge becomes a Unicorn.  Israel’s SolarEdge Technologies, the world’s largest provider of solar power optimization units, has celebrated a financial milestone. The company has tripled its stock value in less than a year and at $1.2 billion it joins Israel’s growing number of Unicorn companies (worth over one billion dollars).

Amazon to set-up two Israeli R&D centers.  Online shopping giant Amazon is to set up research and development centers with 100 staff in Tel Aviv and Haifa. It wants to further improve its Alexa Voice Shopping system, which allows shoppers to speak their order into a machine rather than typing it into a computer.

Alibaba to open Israeli R&D center. Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is to open a Research & Development lab in Israel. Alibaba has already invested in Israeli startups including Visualead, Infinity Augmented Reality, Lumus and Twiggle. It is also a partner of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

Wizz Air planes to be Israeli maintained.  The Bedek Aviation subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries is to perform maintenance and provide technical services to Wizz Air. The Hungarian low-cost airline flies from Tel Aviv to 17 European destinations, including London Luton.

Connecting British Telecom customers.  Israel’s AudioCodes has been selected by communications provider British Telecom to provide session border controller (SBC) solutions (for connectivity between IP networks) to be stationed at British Telecom's business customers.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Wonder Woman hosts Saturday Night Live. Israeli superstar actress Gal Gadot, who won acclaim in the title role of the movie “Wonder Woman”, opened the second episode of Saturday Night Live’s 43rd season with a Hebrew monologue.

Pretenders “stand by” Israel.  (TY Hazel) Chrissie Hynde opened The Pretenders’ Tel Aviv gig by waving a giant Israeli flag, and ended it by declaring the crowd to be “the best audience in the world.” The vegetarian singer also proclaimed Israel as one of the leaders in animal rights. Video is of the classic “I’ll stand by you.”

Sir Cliff Richard performs in Israel.  Legendary British singer, Sir Cliff Richard, performed in Tel Aviv and also helped to promote peace amongst Israel’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian youth.  Sir Cliff has visited the Jewish State numerous times over the years - the most recent time before this trip was in 2013. http://www.cufi.org.uk/news/sir-cliff-richard-visits-israel-performs-in-tel-aviv-and-promotes-peace-with-israeli-youth/

Silver medal for Israeli gymnast.  Artem Dolgopyat became just the second Israeli to claim a medal at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, taking a silver in the floor final in Montreal, Canada.

Silver medal for Paralympic rower. Paralympian Moran Samuel claimed a silver medal at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida. It was her third medal in a row, having won silver in 2014 and gold in 2015. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Sports/Israels-Samuel-captures-silver-at-rowing-Worlds-506461

Israeli and Pakistani ATP doubles winners.  40-year-old Israeli Yoni Erlich claimed his first ATP Tour title in almost two years, winning the Chengdu Open doubles event in China with Pakistani Muslim partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. https://unitedwithisrael.org/israeli-pakistani-tennis-players-win-match-together/

Three Israelis win judoka gold medals.  Three Israeli judokas won gold medals at the Tashkent Grand Prix in Uzbekistan. Or Sasson won the men’s over-100 kg class, Sagi Muki won the men’s under 81kg class and Betina Temelkova won the women’s under-52 kg class.  Israel topped the medals table of the 27 competing nations.

Israeli wins NASCAR Euro Championship.  Israel’s Alon Day made local motor sport history by clinching the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series championship in Zolder, Belgium. Racing for CAAL Racing, Day finished second in 2015 and third in 2016. He is now looking for sponsorship for the US NASCAR Cup Series.


THE JEWISH STATE

60,000 marched through Jerusalem.  (TY Sharon) 60,000 Christian Evangelicals and other Israel supporters from over 80 countries marched with Israelis at a parade in Jerusalem, marking the Jewish festival of Sukkot, or the Feast of the Tabernacles.

Why I’m a Christian Zionist. (TY BIG) Jonathan Farrell is a young Christian Zionist who founded the Exeter University Friends of Israel society. He knows that the Bible mentions the word “Israel” approximately 2500 times and shares his personal story about why he believes Christians should feel duty bound to be Zionists.


171008
In the 8th Oct 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli visor gives surgeons an X-ray view of the patient as they operate.
·         Israeli rescue teams save lives in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
·         Israelis have designed Intel’s fastest-ever microchips.
·         Indian and Spanish investors will be able to crowd-fund Israeli startups.
·         Take That are to perform in Israel.
·         Sukkot (Tabernacles) is Israel’s most beautiful festival.

·         Click here to see the 17th Sept newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Medical Achievements. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Click here to read “Ten Years” – a special feature to mark the tenth anniversary of my move to Israel.  Also on the Jerusalem Post, IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, San Diego Jewish News and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Click here to read “5777 – What a Year That Was” – My first good news feature to be published in the main paper of the Jerusalem Post (1st Oct 2017 print and on-line edition). Also on my own site (with links and videos) and on IsraelSeen and United With Israel (with 1,400 likes). Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Please click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of more than 11,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should send a request to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

AR headset for surgeons.  Geordi La Forge’s visor in the Star Trek science fiction series may soon be a reality. Israel’s Augmedics is developing the VIZOR - an Augmented Reality (AR) headset that shows surgeons an X ray-like visualization of the patient. Augmedics has just raised $8.3 million of funding.

Monitoring heart surgery wirelessly.  Israel’s CathWorks has developed innovative non-invasive systems and algorithms to construct 3D images of the coronary tree to help surgeons perform heart catheterizations. The systems use standard angiograms and no additional wires. CathWorks has just raised $15.8 million of funding.

A device for weak hearts.  Israel’s Magenta Medical has developed a catheter for patients with Acute Decompensated Heart Failure (ADHF), where the heart is too weak to pump enough blood throughout the body. Magenta has just raised $15 million of funds. http://www.pitango.com/portfolio/magenta-medical/

Ultrasound delivery of meds.  I reported previously (Sep 2016) on Israel’s Vensica and its innovative method of using ultrasound to increase the porosity of skin tissue and allow treatments to be given without the use of needles. Vensica has just raised $2 million of funds to enable it to begin human trials by end 2018.

Pull your (electric) socks up.  Israel’s ElastiMed develops a leg compression device for daily wear that mimics natural muscle contraction and stimulates blood flow using electrical pulses. The device treats swelling, blood clots, chronic wounds and sports injuries. ElastiMed has just raised $1 million to help fund clinical studies and regulatory filings. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3721868,00.html

A sleeve to prevent post-op leakage.  After colon surgery, there is a 22% risk of intestinal leakage. Israel’s Colospan has developed the CG-100 - a clinical sleeve to protect the inside of the colon. Colospan has received CE approval and has just raised $7.7 million to launch in Europe and fund trials to obtain US FDA approval.

Israeli study featured on BBC radio.  The BBC World Service’s “The Thought Show” featured the study by Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists of declining male fertility.  The BBC praised the study method and allowed lead study author Dr. Hagai Levine to advise listeners on how to improve their lifestyles.

Europe approves Israeli prostate cancer treatment. Readers will remember (8th Jan) when the BBC finally recognized Israel’s Weizmann Institute Tookad prostate cancer treatment. Israel’s Steba Biotech has now been given approval to market Tookad in Europe.  The treatment is already approved for use in Israel and Mexico.

Efficient diabetes monitoring.  I reported previously (Apr 16) on the “Digital Diabetes Clinic” developed by Israel’s GlucoMe. Yiftah Ben Aharon, CEO and co-founder of GlucoMe explains in an interview how GlucoMe helps the diabetic’s doctor make efficient use of the limited time available to review the patient’s condition.

Just enough antibiotics.  (TY WIN) Hebrew University researchers are working on preventing the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They are analyzing the concentrations of antibiotics and their timescales for destroying bacteria, to optimize treatment regimens and avoid the under / over-treatment of infections.

“Chemotherapy will become just a bad memory”.  I reported previously (3rd Sep) of Gilead’s $11.9 billion buyout of Kite - a biotech founded by Israel’s Professor Arie Belldegrun. Kite’s CAR-T technology cures non-Hodgkin lymphoma that kills 7,000 patients annually in the US alone. Prof Belldegrun gave his first interview since the deal. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-chemotherapy-will-become-just-a-bad-memory-1001206978

JNF & Hemsley Trust build new medical center.  The Jewish National Trust, support from the Hemsley Trust, have constructed a brand-new medical facility in Halutza, southwest Israel. Halutza was established in 2005 by Israelis evacuated from their homes during Israel's disengagement from Gaza.

Israeli surgeons save Iraqi Kurdish children.  Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi visited Kurdish children at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon who are receiving medical treatment from Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart.  The Ministry has funded heart surgery for about 500 children from Iraq, the PA, Syria and Jordan.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Israel-saves-Kurdish-children-with-heart-disease-despite-Erdogan-criticism-506558

Living safely at Home.  I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s Essence and its @Home smart systems for monitoring the elderly in their own homes.  Essence is one of Israel's 50 largest exporters with global sales of 20 million systems. Two of Essence’s senior executives explain their systems in a recent Globes interview.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Trains connect Arab towns to Tel Aviv. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli Arabs from the Galilee in northern Israel will join their Jewish neighbors in enjoying a new fast train link from Karmiel to Tel Aviv. New bus lines will link 15 Arab towns with the new stations and residents will get 50% rail fare discounts for two years.

Ethiopian Jew is new Israel UN rep.  Ethiopian immigrant Danielle Daseta, will represent Israel at the United Nations for environmental, developmental and economic issues. Daseta made Aliyah in 1984 during Operation Moses. She has a BA in governance and diplomacy and attended the "Israel@heart" leadership program.

Israel’s Druze Communications Minister.  Ayoub Kara is the first non-Jewish minister to have a portfolio in the Israeli Knesset.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed the Druze MK to the position of Minister of Communications.  He tells of his family background, the Druze, his work and his love for the State of Israel.

Funding hearing loss treatment for Syrians.  (TY Zev) Israel’s Moshe Kahn and the Genesis Prize Foundation have made a six-figure grant to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed for treating hearing loss among Syrian children. They will receive a diagnostic examination, clinical treatments, surgery and rehabilitation.

Post-IDF volunteering in Mumbai.  Prior to dispersing for their post-IDF India trip, 23 Israelis renovated and taught at a school in Mumbai, India. The mission was organized by the "Heroes for Life" non-governmental organization. Although only two weeks, for many of the Indian children it was a life-changing event.

Moslem states warm to Israel (TY Zev) At a meeting in Los Angeles with Simon Wiesenthal Center Director Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa denounced the Arab boycott of Israel and said that his subjects are free to visit the Jewish state. More good news also, from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

US army to use Israeli defense system.  (TY Ruth) The US Army is to install the Trophy active-protection system developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on many of its M1A2 Abrams tanks. The system detects and destroys incoming anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

71-strong IDF team to Mexico. An IDF rescue unit of 71 specialists has been in Mexico City assisting in operations after the recent earthquake. The team arrived just 36 hours after the earthquake struck and helped save lives. They brought in radio-wave technology developed by Israel’s Camero-Tech that can “see” through rubble for buried victims.  https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5019490,00.html

Israeli aid to Puerto Rico. An emergency response team from Israeli NGO IsraAID, including professionals from its established team in Haiti, is in Puerto Rico. Its priority was to distribute and set-up water filters in the most affected places. It has also been distributing food and hygiene kits and offering post-trauma support.

A great speech at the UN.  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a hugely positive speech at the United Nations, publicizing Israel’s benefits to the world. He concluded, “Israel is becoming a rising power among the nations. And at long last, its light is shining across the continents, bringing hope and salvation to the ends of the earth.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JF9cWmjgEc  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Prime-Minister-Netanyahus-Speech-at-the-United-Nations-General-Assembly-505566

Lights in a Dark Continent.  My friend and fellow blogger Ruth King has written an article summarizing Jewish and Israeli involvement in Africa during the last 70 or so years.

If it weren’t for Israel.  Elise Cooper in American Thinker writes a great piece about Israel’s global role in defense, agriculture, water, cyber-security and medicine. She concludes, “Jews should be proud of Israel – and so should others all over the world.”


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Can Israeli water technology save the world? (TY Nevet) Another good Israeli water story by Jeevan Vipinachandran. He writes that Israeli innovation in water conservation is benefiting water-stressed regions of the world, from Kenya to India to California. It can prevent wars from being waged over water scarcity.

More good technology news.  (TY Dan E) One of my subscribers has given me the URL of the site of a new source of Israeli technology and business news.  I will include selected articles in future newsletters.

Israeli technology protects Pope again. I reported previously (Jan 2016) that the Israeli-made Skystar 180 surveillance balloon system monitored Pope Francis on his visit to Uganda.  The balloon system, made by the Yavne-based RT Aerostats Systems, was back in action for the Pope’s recent visit to Colombia.

Eilat’s coral reef is glowing.  (TY Jacques) Researchers from Israel and the UK have discovered Red Sea corals that absorb blue light to make a protein to help them glow in the dark.  This only happens with healthy coral and only in the Red Sea. The study may help save dying corals in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Intel’s fastest microprocessors yet.  Intel has unveiled a new family of desktop computer processors, designed in Israel, that are at least 25% faster than previous versions. The 8th Gen Intel Core processors include the “best gaming processor ever” Intel Core i7-8700K and are built for those who need high performing standards.

Saving the banana.  I reported previously (Aug 2013) about Israeli companies Evogene and Rahan Meristem and their joint non-GMO development of bananas resistant to Black Sigatoka fungus. Now second-year field trials with specialized banana strains have shown effectiveness against the hugely damaging fungus.

Digital employees.  Israel’s Kryon Systems is developing intelligent Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions. The aim is to offload mundane processes to a more accurate, efficient and productive digital virtual workforce, enabling enterprises to focus on their core business. Kryon has just raised $12 million of funding.

Turning glass opaque at a touch of a button. (TY WIN & ILTV News) Israel’s Shviro Holon has developed thin flexible polyester clear pockets, filled with a liquid that turns opaque immediately after connection to an electric circuit. The pockets can be stuck on glass partitions, to provide low-cost privacy at a touch of a button.

Now an unmanned helicopter.  Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has demonstrated its new Air Hopper unmanned helicopter. It simulated the evacuation of a seriously-wounded soldier, including airborne monitoring of vital signs. It also simulated carrying supplies (up to 180kg) to an isolated position in any weather or time.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Economy continues to grow.  The Bank of Israel's Composite State of the Economy Index for August 2017 increased by 0.3 percent, slightly more than previous months. Highlights were the increase in goods exports and in the job vacancy rate.

$600 million funding for startups.  The $350 average monthly influx of funds to Israel startups was boosted in September to $600 million thanks to Via (ridesharing) which raised $250 million. Innoviz (automobile sensors) raised $65 million and StoreDot (fast-charge car batteries) raised $60 million.

Doubling the proportion of hi-tech workers.  In its annual report, the Israel Innovation Authority (formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist) included an operational plan for increasing the proportion of employees in the Israeli technology industry to 15%. More Israelis would get higher salaries and Israel’s growth and competitive edge would be maintained. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-israel-innovation-authority-1001207022

New Spanish and Indian crowdfunding ventures.  Israel’s leading crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has formed a strategic partnership with Cardumen Capital, a Spanish-Israeli venture capital fund to help Spanish investors to invest in Israeli companies and joint Israeli-Spanish technology. In June, OurCrowd formed a strategic partnership with LetsVenture, India’s largest marketplace for startup funding.

Cancer treatment returns to Israel.  Israeli biotech CureTech developed pidilizumab cancer treatment which was sold to US biotech Medivation which the giant Pfizer took over last year. Pidilizumab is an orphan treatment (for rare brain stem cancer) and of no commercial interest to Pfizer. So CureTech has bought it back.

SAP buys Gigya for around $350 million. SAP, the German multinational software corporation, has acquired Israel-founded Gigya, one of the market leaders in customer identity and access management, for an estimated $350 million. Gigya’s web identity software is used by more than 700 of the world’s leading businesses.

Non-toxic pesticide to go global.  (TY Dan E) I’ve reported previously (several times) on the non-toxic pesticide from Israel’s EdenShield which repels pests with its aroma. Edenshield sells in Israel, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Greece and has just raised $2 million to help fund its expansion into the USA, Mexico and the EU.

Israeli startups join Chinese incubator.  Five Israeli startups have been selected for the first class of a new startup accelerator in Beijing, funded by Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. China’s ShengJing Group (one of the world's largest private equity fund of funds) will provide free professional services to the startups.

Huge growth in digital farming startup.  I reported previously (three times) on Israel’s Phytech and its innovative crop sensors that boost agriculture productivity. Phytech has seen phenomenal growth and has just raised $11 million to support its worldwide deployment.

Flights to Hong Kong now daily.  I reported (28th May) that Cathay Pacific has begun its 4-days-a-week service between Tel Aviv and Hong Kong.  The route has obviously proved so popular that the airline has increased the frequency to daily.

More sales for Sleep Apnea device.  I reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Itamar Medical and its WatchPat Sleep Apnea monitoring device. Itamar has just received a purchase order for an undisclosed amount of WatchPAT devices from the famous US Mayo Clinic for the next 3-years.

Funds for immunotherapy treatment.  I reported previously (three times) on Israel’s Enlivex and its Allocetra / Apocell treatment to prevent Graft vs Host Disease – a common problem after bone marrow transplants.  Elivex has just received $8 million of funding which will help it progress to Phase 3 trials.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

200 global artists for Jerusalem Biennale. From Oct 1 - Nov 16, the third Jerusalem Biennale features 17 group and 8 solo contemporary Jewish art exhibitions on the theme “Watershed”. They include photography, video, installation and performance art created by 200 artists from the US, Europe, Argentina, India, Singapore and of course Israel.  https://www.israel21c.org/jerusalem-biennale-displays-works-of-200-global-artists/

Tamar Dead Sea festival.  Israel’s Tamar festival takes place from Oct 8-11 near the Dead Sea with shows at Masada, Kibbutz Ein Gedi and the Neot Hakikar Eco Park. Performers include Jane Bordeaux, Ehud and Eviatar Banai and Hadag Nahash.  http://www.deadsea.com/explore/arts-entertainment/tamar-festival

Take That to perform in Israel.  Iconic British band Take That are to hold a revival concert on Nov 27 in Tel Aviv. Three of the original members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, will perform the band’s hits from the years of success, 1990 to 1996, when the band also included Robbie Williams.

Two hot Israeli-owned hotels.  Condé Nast Traveller (UK edition) just gave a nod to the Israel-based Brown Hotels boutique hotel chain, naming The Poli House in Tel Aviv and Brown Beach House Croatia as two of the year’s best new hotels in its Hot List 2017.  The Poli house is one of Tel Aviv’s historic Bauhaus properties.

Yom Kippur stops play.  Israeli tennis star Dudi Sela pulled out of his ATP tour match against Alexandr Dolgopolov in China because the holiday of Yom Kippur was about to begin. His original request for an earlier match start was refused. So, at one-set all, Dudi quit and forfeited the $30,000 prize money he was guaranteed.


THE JEWISH STATE

233 people changed their lives forever.  (TY Avi and Meir) The excitement generated on this Nefesh b’Nefesh Aliya flight from New York is quite infectious.  Watch as 233 people, young and old, religious and secular become Israeli.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/i8E1p3wV00U?rel=0

Bikers to mark Battle of Beersheva.  In October a group of Australians and New Zealanders bikers will ride 100 kilometers to mark the centennial of the Battle of Beersheva. The great ANZAC cavalry charge of WW1 led to the defeat of the Ottoman Turks and the formation of the British mandate that preceded the Jewish State.

A remarkable journey.  As Ed Elhaderi traveled from Jerusalem to Safed to Rehovot, Israel entered his bloodstream.  Hard to imagine that he had been born a Libyan Moslem, educated to hate Jews. He then went to the US University of Wisconsin, met and married a Jewish woman and converted to Judaism.

When Tom Petty toured Israel.  Legendary U.S. rocker Tom Petty, who passed away recently, performed in Israel in 1987 with the Heartbreakers band on his “Temple in Flames” tour. He had a life-changing experience when he visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. https://www.youtube.com/embed/k-EWgmQu8o0?rel=0

US Embassy staff try New Year foods.  Watch how American diplomats at the Tel Aviv embassy handle Rosh Hashana delicacies gefilte fish and regel krusha (calf’s foot jello).  It may make them move to Jerusalem!

Scholarships for students who do community service. (TY Janglo) For the 2017-2018 academic year, the Municipality of Jerusalem has launched its municipal scholarship fund, which will handout scholarships of NIS 10,000, to 600 students who contribute 140 hours to community service during the academic year.

Forgive Us.  (TY Yaakov Kirschen) I particularly enjoyed this timely cartoon from Dry Bones.

Harvesting lulavs for Sukkot / Tabernacles.  (TY UWI) Fresh lulavs (palm branches) from the trees on Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi in the Beit Shean Valley.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/fEfe2BAD9HE?rel=0

Views of Sukkot.  11 gorgeous pictures that capture the beauty of the harvest festival in Israel.  And (TY Sharon) pictures of Jerusalem moving from the festival of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) into Sukkot.