Israel's Good News Newsletter to 22nd Apr 18


In the 22nd Apr 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Study proves that Israeli medical reminder app saves lives.
·         One quarter of all United Nations Ambassadors visited Israel on its 70th birthday.
·         300 drones lit up Jerusalem’s skies on Israel’s 70th Anniversary.
·         An Israeli app can quickly identify crop diseases and their treatment.
·         The first Israeli startup venture fund for University students and graduates.
·         Two Israeli TV series won top awards at Cannes.
·         Israel has opened a 70km hi-tech Jewish historical trail in the Galilee.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Long-lasting MS treatment.  Israeli biotech Mapi has developed a formulation of Glatiramer Acetate that Multiple Sclerosis patients only need take once a month, rather than daily. Glatiramer Acetate Depot is still in Phase 3 trials but Mapi has already sold the marketing rights to multinational giant Mylan.

More generic alternatives. (TY Atid EDI) Israel’s Teva has launched generic versions of the anti-nausea treatment ALOXI and Lialda delayed-release mesalamine.  It is good news for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and ulcerative colitis sufferers respectively.

Glucose monitor approved for iPhones. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (Jan 2016) that the Israeli Dario blood sugar monitor had received FDA approval. Now approval has been extended for the device to be used on the latest Apple iPhones including iPhone 7, 8 and X. http://mydario.investorroom.com/2018-03-26-DarioHealth-Receives-U-S-FDA-Clearance-for-iPhone-7-8-and-iPhone-X-Smart-Glucose-Meter

Smartphone-based urine tests at home. Israeli startup Healthy.io has partnered with the American National Kidney Foundation and Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System to offer its home testing kits to U.S. patients. Healthy.io transforms a regular smartphone into a device that performs lab-standard urine analysis.
https://vimeo.com/195720514  BBC doesn’t mention Israel.  CNBC does! https://vimeo.com/154610009

Diagnosing resistant hypertension. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (Aug 2011) that Hadassah surgeons had devised and used an innovative tool to treat resistant hypertension due to overactive kidney nerves. Now Israel’s Pythagoras Medical has received the CE mark for its ConfidenHT System to help identify such patients.

Israeli “nagging” app saves lives.  (TY Atid EDI) I reported previously (see here) about the SimpleMed app from Israel’s Vaica that reminds patients to take their meds. Now a Canadian trial has shown a 66% improved adherence for teen and young kidney transplant recipients taking life-saving anti-rejection medicine.

Mental health prescriptions by video. I reported previously (Nov 2014) about Israel’s Talkspace that provides on-line psychological advice. Now US therapist physicians will begin prescribing medication using Talkspace’s video chat facility to comply with state and federal regulations. Talkspace already has 1 million users.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

12,000 strangers sing together in Jerusalem. To celebrate Israel’s 70th Independence Day, Koolulam invited 12,000 people (who hadn’t met before) to sing together in a special event in Jerusalem. Together with Israeli singer Shlomi Shabat and the Jerusalem Street Orchestra they performed Naomi Shemer’s “Al Kol Eleh”.

Co-working space for Orthodox Jews.  I’ve reported previously (see here) on the work of Israeli non-profit KamaTech to help integrate Haredi Jews into the hi-tech industry.  Now KamaTech has launched in Bnei Brak “Ampersand” - the first ultra-Orthodox co-working space in Israel. It is supported by Cisco and WeWork.

Arabic version of BoI website.  Governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr. Karnit Flug, hopes that the launch of the Arabic version of the Bank of Israel website would encourage the Arab community to broaden its economic knowledge and contribute to increased integration of the Arab community in all parts of the Israeli economy.

40 UN Ambassadors visit Israel.  40 United Nations Ambassadors (25% of the countries with ties to Israel) came to Israel thanks to the American Zionist Movement and Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon. They met government officials, toured historical, religious and strategic sites and joined in 70th Anniversary celebrations.

Breaking the deadly cycle in Africa.  Israel’s Innovation: Africa CEO Sivan Yaari links Africa’s poor health to its lack of doctors, medicine, water and electricity. So, she delivers solar panels to African villages and now they have electricity to pump water, to power refrigerators that can store medicines for doctors to treat the sick.

Happy 70th birthday Israel, from the White House.  (TY UWI) The White House on released a video sending Happy Independence Day wishes to Israel as well. The video shows President Trump and his family visiting the Western Wall during their visit to Israel last year. The President also sent his best wishes in a tweet.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Lighting up the skies over Jerusalem.  During the 70th Anniversary Independence Day ceremony in Jerusalem, 300 Intel quadcopters staged a light and music display in the sky. The drones weigh just 300 grams with LEDs to make 4 billion color combinations. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was in the audience.

$50 million boost for Quantum science center. I reported previously (Jun 2016) on the Israel Technion’s opening of the Center for Quantum Science. Now the Helen Diller Family Foundation has donated $50 million to recruit staff, establish new infrastructure and fund research and development.

Food-tech hub near Lebanese border. The Israeli government has approved the allocation of $27 million to build a food-tech research institute, startup accelerator and a micro industry hub in its northernmost city Kiryat Shmona. The project, part of Israel Initiative ii2020, includes budget to promote new startups in the region.

Honor for lab-grown meat inventor. Yaacov Nahmias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was inducted as a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Nahmias invented Future Meat, the process for growing meat artificially.  He also founded Tissue Dynamics (see here) and its screening platform.

Free security for automobiles. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (see here) on several Israeli companies providing security for cars. Now Israel’s C2a (Cyber 2 Automotive Security) is supplying its technology free to global auto manufacturers and suppliers. C2a’s Stamper system protects connected cars at the microchip level.

The world’s first visual fragrance.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Amkiri has launched the world’s first ever ‘visual fragrance’ technology.  Amkiri has developed and patented long-lasting “scented ink” which is applied to the skin via specifically developed applicators. It allows the user to create body art combining scent and color.

Israeli app plugs Facebook data leak. Israel’s MyPermissions (soon to be “MyPrivacy”) prevents the misuse of your data. It runs a scan on your smartphone, looking at social media accounts (e.g. Facebook) and shows which third-party apps have access to your data. You then can block access for any privacy-infringing apps.

Powering the largest super computers.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Mellanox has been chosen to accelerate the new 2-Petaflop NVIDIA DGX-2 artificial intelligence (AI) system. Mellanox adapters with smart acceleration engines enable the highest performance for AI and Deep Learning applications. 

Detecting unsafe food.  (TY Myer) I have reported previously (see here) on several Israeli startups that have developed devices to detect contaminated food. Here is another – Inspecto can be used at any point in the supply chain and displays its results in real time. Inspecto recently received an EU Horizon 2020 grant.

Saving crops from disease and pests. (TY Lynn) Israeli startup Saillog has developed Agrio - a smartphone app that allows farmers to upload photos of diseased crops. AI and experts identify the pathogen responsible and appropriate treatment. Misdiagnosis and late diagnosis results in 30% of global agriculture yield losses.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

World’s second most cybersecurity deals.  Tiny Israel ranked second after the US for the number of deals involving cybersecurity companies between 2013 – 2017.  Israel was ahead of the UK, Canada and China. New York data firm CB Insights also named six Israeli companies in its list of 29 pioneering “cyber defenders”.

University Venture Fund. Tel Aviv University is to set up an early-stage startup venture fund, the first of its kind by an Israeli university. It has already raised some $20 million to invest in startups mainly by university graduates or students. The university will also provide its labs, knowledge and its network of contacts.

Need a ride?  Share a bike.  If you need to get around a city in Israel you can catch a bus / minibus, call a taxi or rent a bike.  Car2Go operates its Mobike service which provide bicycles that you can pick up from a bike stand, pay for, scan the QR code and you’re ready to go. Then drop off the bike at a stand near your destination.

Elbit opens Berlin office.  Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems has opened a Berlin office to help expand its activities in the German market. The office will serve as its technological, industrial, and commercial base in the country. Elbit employs around 12,500 people worldwide, of which 10,000 are in Israel.

Nike buys Israeli fashion tech startup. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Invertex which uses 3D imaging and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to scan your feet, so you always buy the right size shoes.  Now Nike, Inc. has acquired Invertex to help “create the most compelling Nike consumer experience at every touch point”.  https://www.timesofisrael.com/nike-buys-israel-computer-vision-startup-invertex/


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

What does it mean to be Israeli?  This video may answer one of the most complex questions of our time.  Then again, it might not! https://www.youtube.com/embed/RVwsV7L-WeQ?rel=0

The world’s new dining hotspot.  Israel has one of the most exciting dining scenes in the world, and it is just starting to be discovered as a food destination like New York or London. Restaurateurs in Tel Aviv say as many as 30 percent of their guests are now foreign visitors, led by Americans, British, Russians, French and more.

3-day Yoga festival. The Israel Yoga Festival is underway for the third time from 7-9 June.  It features over 80 of the leading Yoga teachers in Israel and more than 1000 practitioners are expected to attend.

Cannes “Best Series”. The Israeli drama “When Heroes Fly” won the top honor of Best Series at the Cannes International Series Festival. On accepting the honor on stage, actor Tomer Kapon recited a Hebrew blessing. The other Israeli entry, the series “Miguel,” took home the award for “Special Performance.”

Israel hosts 2018 European Judo Championships.  (TY WIN) As reported last year, (Apr 2017) Israel is hosting the European Judo Championships for the first time, beginning on 26th Apr. Israeli medal prospects include Ori Sasson, Sagi Muki and Tal Flicker.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrgjLnNrf0g


THE JEWISH STATE

Revival of a Nation.  Lovely 10-minute animation highlighting the last 2000 years of Jewish history and the return to the Land of Israel.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZJMS9sLHYTY?rel=0

“Am Yisrael Chai”. Israeli law currently prevents Jews from praying on Temple Mount. However, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court has ruled that it is permitted for visitors to the Temple Mount compound to call out, “Am Yisrael chai” (“The people of Israel live”), because it is a patriotic slogan rather than a prayer.

Stoudemire is converting to Judaism. Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire has long claimed to have “Hebrew roots”, studied Judaism and practiced its cultural customs. Now he is formally converting to the Jewish religion. Stoudemire partly owns hoops team Hapoel Jerusalem and has his own brand of Israeli wine.

The Sanhedrin Trail. Thousands of Israeli school pupils and volunteers have prepared a new public 70km path in the Galilee called the Sanhedrin Trail. Tourists will learn the archaeology, nature and history from hi-tech milestones that transmit data directly to smartphones. Many Jewish relics were also found along the trail.

70 reasons to admire Israel.  To celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday, writer Robert Sarner has prepared a list of notable things Israel has done over the past 12 months. He admits that it’s only a small sampling of what the country has accomplished since Independence Day 2017. Apologies if I’ve missed reporting any of these.

Israel at 70 - mature and prosperous. Joseph Puder writes that the number 70 has significant meaning in Jewish tradition.  It recalls the 70-year Babylonian Exile that led to the start of the 2nd Jewish Commonwealth in 530 BCE. Puder highlights similarities between the returnees from the Babylonian Exile and Israelis today.

“I am the luckiest Jew".  Shmuel Rosner says it for me - in the NY Times no less. “I am the Jew who gets to see Jewish ingenuity unapologetically celebrated, Jewish material success flourish, Jewish might acknowledged and the Jewish language rejuvenated. I am the Jew who after 2,000 years gets to witness Jewish political independence.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/opinion/jewish-state-israel-70th-anniversary.html

Bearing Fruit to Those Who Want It



The Jewish festival of Tu B’Shvat (New Year for Trees) inspired me to look back over the year at the agricultural and environmental benefits Israel and Israeli companies have provided internationally. But I was only motivated to write this blog when I heard that my cousins in Cape Town, South Africa have been ordered to ration their water usage and from April will have their water cut off.  Why?  Because South Africa has refused Israel’s offers to help solve their water management problems.  As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.”

Down the road from South Africa, Israeli experts in drip irrigation and crop management trained nineteen educators in Swaziland, which was almost crippled by drought last year. In the same continent, but at the other end of the scale, Israeli NGO “Innovation: Africa” has been providing clean water and aid to millions of Africans, including tens of thousands of refugees living in the war-torn Central African Republic.  The NGO also saved the whole village of Akuyam in Karamoja, Uganda where many hadn’t eaten for three days.




Ironically, in late 2016 (before the South African boycott), Israel’s Fluence installed a potable desalination system to solve dire drought conditions in KwaZulu-Natal – a semi-autonomous region in South Africa. No wonder the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithinii, monarch of 12 million Zulus urged (fruitlessly) the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) to retain close ties with Israel.

On the other hand, those countries that have accepted Israel’s help are reaping the benefits. Take water, for example. In India, Israel’s WaterGen has launched a pilot with India’s Tata to generate water out of thin air.  




Israel’s water systems are certainly appreciated by the US State of Wisconsin, and by water professionals from Canada, China and the Czech Republic. In Ghana, Israel’s Yam Pro is using water to produce 150 megawatts of wave energy. Meanwhile, Israel’s TaKaDu is preventing major water leakages from Australia to Vietnam, not forgetting Spain, the UK and the USA.




Appropriately, for the Jewish New Year for Trees, here are just a few agricultural items. Israeli charity KKL-JNF was asked by Kenya to help turn its deserts into forests, using Israeli technology that can conserve soil, capture rain runoff, monitor precipitation and promote conservation. Then, just over a month ago the municipality of Jerusalem (Israel’s capital) gave away free fir trees to those Christian residents who wanted them. Finally, take a look at the FarmZee app from Israeli startup Farmster, which is saving Tanzania’s crops from going to waste.by providing farmers (without Internet access) with a special SMS link to buyers for their crops.




There are many South Africans that speak the truth about Israel’s work to benefit humanity. They agree with what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his recent speech to the United Nations.  “So many countries around the world have woken up to what Israel can do for them.” “Israel is the place for cutting-edge technology, in agriculture, in water… You name it, we’ve got it”.

And it won’t cost the earth.