Israel's Good News Newsletter to 23rd Sep 18


·         Israeli scientists have developed more effective, personalized melanoma treatment.
·         An Israeli charity has tripled the number of Israelis willing to donate a kidney.
·         An Israeli midwife enabled the opening of a new maternity clinic in Uganda.
·         An Israeli eco-friendly fungicide is saving crops in 11 countries.
·         The European Investment Bank made its first Israeli Investment.
·         An Israeli-Ethiopian won “Best Female Director” at the Toronto Film Festival.
·         Israel’s top rhythmic gymnast won two silver medals at the World Championships.
·         The Czech Republic is moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Fast route to new treatments.  (TY ILTV & NoCamels) Technion scientists have developed an Artificial Intelligent system for faster and cheaper discovery of new medical treatments. An algorithm identifies molecules with potentially beneficial therapeutic properties. It amazed delegates at London’s KDD conference.

Breakthrough melanoma treatment. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann and Technion Institutes have found that each melanoma patient has a different profile of neo-antigens (mutated peptides) on their tumors. Doctors can then extract and grow the T-cells best suited to target the neo-antigens on both primary and secondary cancers.

Canadian partner for research program. (TY Atid-EDI) A new clinical research program has been launched in Israel that will trial cannabinoid-based IBD treatment and other products from Israel’s SciCann. The program partners SciCann with Canada’s FSD and Mor – the technology transfer arm of Israel’s Clalit HealthCare.

Alternative to steroids. Israel’s Stero Biotechs has received a US patent for its Cannabidiol based treatment for over 100 autoimmune & chronic inflammatory diseases. Stero’s first product ST-101 for AutoImmune Hepatitis – a liver disease which requires long-term steroid treatment – is shortly to begin Phase 2 trials. (TY Atid-EDI)

US approval for migraine treatment. I reported previously (see here) on the AJOVY fremanezumab migraine treatment from Israel’s Teva. The US FDA has just given approval for AJOVY - the only anti-CGRP treatment for the prevention of migraine.  About 40% of migraine sufferers may be candidates for this treatment.

Israeli diagnostics for cervical cancer. I’ve now reported (see here) on five Israeli bio-techs that have developed devices for diagnosing cervical cancer. Biop Medical (see here) has just raised $22 million in funds.

Afghan girl has heart treatment in Israel. 5-year-old Noorina was brought by her father to Israel where she will receive life-saving surgery by doctors from Israeli charity Save A Child’s Heart. Noorina is the fifth child from Afghanistan to be brought to SACH thanks to the efforts of “Jangzapali” – an anonymous Afghan man.

New treatment for day blindness. Israeli scientists (Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Volcani Institute) used a virus to restore the sight of a herd of Awassi sheep suffering hereditary day blindness (achromatopsia). The virus replaced a missing gene. The US FDA has now approved human trials.

Kidney donations triple. (TY WIN)  The number of live kidney transplants performed per year in Israel has nearly tripled since 2010 mainly due to increased donations from healthy orthodox Jewish Israelis. Key to the increase is Israeli NGO Matnat Chaim (“Gift of Life”) which both publicizes the need and facilitates donation.

Bringing closure. I reported previously (see here) on TopClosure from Israel’s IVT Medical. The innovative wound closure technique is now saving lives in China and Africa.  IVT has also developed Vcare Alpha - a suction device to remove infectious materials from wounds and accelerate wound recovery.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Israel stands with the USA to remember 9/11. Many nations appear to have forgotten the terrorist attacks of 9th Sept 2001 but not Israel. This year’s memorial was held early, as 9th Sept fell on the Jewish New Year.

Israel enforces OECD anti-bribery laws.  (TY Hazel) Israel is one of only 7 countries to strictly enforce the OECD’s 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention. In just 3 years, Israel has gone from the bottom of the enforcement league to the top with several high-profile cases brought to justice.

Maternity center in Uganda. Israeli midwife, Ilana Shemesh, was shocked by the conditions of the centers treating pregnant women in Uganda. So, she raised $12,000 to help build the Shifra and Puah maternity center in Abayudaya. The center has already assisted in two births - the first during the night after its opening.

Rare white rhino born in Israel on Yom Kippur.  (TY WIN) Israel is a major contributor to world efforts to save vanishing species.  On Yom Kippur, a fifth baby white rhino was born to Tanda and Atari at Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari. Israel’s 13-rhino herd is the largest in Europe’s program to breed the endangered species.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

A robot that navigates like a bat. Tel Aviv University scientists have developed a “Robat” – the first fully autonomous robot that, like a bat, emits sounds and analyzes the returning echoes to recognize, map and navigate obstacles. Future applications include cleaning robots, agricultural robots and rescue robots.

Everyone needs to study innovation. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has established the HUstart Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. Its aim is that every student will learn about innovation, arguing that even historians and philosophers need to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

Projects for first responders.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has granted $2 million for joint US-Israeli projects. Firstly, an advanced drone mounted search and rescue system; secondly a first responders emergency radio repeater system for high-rise buildings.

Israel’s first satellite – 30 years ago.  Film just declassified of the 19 Sep 1988 launch of Ofek 1 (Horizon 1), Israel’s first satellite, from Israel’s Palmachim Air Base with a Shavit rocket. The Jewish State thus became the 8th country in the world to have launched an object into orbit.  The latest Ofek (11) was launched in Sep 2016.

A high-tech hub in the Galilee. Yokneam, in Israel’s Lower Galilee, is the headquarters of several Israeli hi-tech companies. I featured previously (see here) UPnRide’s device which allows almost every wheelchair user to stand upright and recently PixCell’s blood analysis (see here). Here is the latest update on both companies.

Friendly fungicide. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli biotech STK has developed REGEV – the world’s first leaf-targeted ‘hybrid’ fungicide. It combines Tea Tree Oil and Difenoconazole to give a low chemical residue. REGEV is used in 10 countries and has just been registered for use in Argentina, initially for peanut crops.

All-Israeli partnership for satellite tugboat. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Effective Space and its proposed tugboat solution for extending the life of space satellites. Now Effective Space has partnered with Israel Aerospace Industries in the tugboat (now named SPACE DRONETM) development.

Mobile communications using nanosatellites. Israel’s Sky and Space Global made history when it initiated the first mobile telephone call using its network of three nanosatellites launched in Jun 2017.  It plans to have up to 200 nanosatellites in orbit by 2020, providing communications to remote parts of the world.

A most innovative cybersecurity company.  I reported previously (Sep 2017) on Israel’s ITsMINE and how it secures companies from internal and external cybersecurity threats. ITsMINE has just been named in the “Top 10 most innovative cybersecurity startups” at China’s Internet Security Conference (ISC) in Beijing.

Bullet-proof backpack. Israel’s Masada-Armour has developed a unique backpack that transforms into a bulletproof vest in under two seconds. It was designed to protect children against the threat of school shootings. The basic 3kg version stops handgun bullets and the upgraded 4.2kg version blocks rifle fire.

A Virtual Reality seat at live events.  Israel’s Texel makes it possible for broadcasters to offer viewers virtual seats for live events. Texel advertises an experience as if the viewer was physically at the venue, in the arena or at the pool.  Texel has just raised $3 million in a funding round led by Deutsche Telekom.

A robot for hazardous environments. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel Aerospace Industries is partnering with Croatia’s DOK-ING to develop a robotic system for high risk areas, including ones contaminated by chemical, biological and radioactive agents. It will include autonomous movement and sensors for identifying contaminants.

Forever changing lives.  (TY IsraelUnwired and TIP) Great new video showing how much US wheelchair users are benefiting from Israel’s SoftWheel.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/wwGc7NV2vEo?rel=0


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel’s financial system is stable. The Bank of Israel’s analysis of the environment in which the domestic financial system operates, and its level of robustness, states that “it remains stable.  This has improved over the years, supported by the economic environment and the positive business cycle enjoyed by the Israeli economy.”

Growing tech trade ties in the UK. Another rare positive BBC article (see here for previous) about increased trade between Israel and the UK. The UK Israel Tech Hub is at the core of this expansion, involving more than 150 UK and 490 Israeli firms. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45485255

Europe Bank’s first Israeli equity investment. (TY NoCamels) The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the European Investment Bank, has made its first equity investment in Israel, injecting up to $20 million into a fund being set up by Israel Cleantech Ventures (ICV). The EIF expects another two Israeli investments shortly.

Israel at the Paris Motor Show.  I reported previously (17th June) about Israel’s center role in the tech conference at the 120th Paris Motor Show (Oct 2 – 6).  Here are more details, and a video.

Engie moves up a gear.  BNP Paribas is partnering with Israeli startup Engie. The European bank’s UK subsidiary Warranty Direct (WD) will issue Engie’s car maintenance device and app free to customers who buy WD’s extended warranty policies. Engie remotely detects car malfunctions and finds suitable mechanics.

Save money in the Cloud. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Spotinst helps businesses to manage mission-critical systems across different cloud providers but retaining high performance and availability. Spotinst promises savings of 80% on average on regular cloud computing costs. Spotinst has just raised $35 million of funds.

Smart money management. Israeli fintech Pagaya has developed an Artificial Intelligent (AI) asset management system that finds new opportunities for Institutional investors to manage fixed income funds. Pagaya has just raised $14 million of funds to expand its 20-person team.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Was beer invented in Israel?  Archaeologists working in the Raqefet cave south of Haifa have found what they believe is the world's oldest site for alcohol production. They discovered equipment, used by a people called the Natufians, for brewing a fermented, weak alcoholic soup-like liquid, some 13,000 years ago.

Israeli-Ethiopian is Best Director.  Aalam-Warqe Davidian won the “Best Female Director” award at the Toronto Film Festival. Her debut “Fig Tree”, in Amharic with Hebrew and English subtitles, takes place in Ethiopia at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War. Davidian, 38, made Aliya from Ethiopia at the age of 11.

See Israeli wildlife during the holidays.  (TY Janglo) Israel has many sites where animal lovers can see and learn about a wide assortment of the creatures with which we share this land.  Here are 10 of the best.

Fast recovery.  Israeli soccer striker Tomer Hemed made a late appearance on Wednesday night for his English 1st Division soccer team QPR. He spent the first half fasting until Yom Kippur ended. Then, after a quick meal of pasta and fruit, he came on as substitute in the 72nd minute to help his side to a 2-0 victory over Millwall.

More medals for Linoy. (TY Janglo) Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram has just won her 26th medal of the year. She won a silver medal in the Hoop discipline at the World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. She then went on to win a bronze in the Rope discipline followed by another silver in the individual all-around final.


THE JEWISH STATE

Next year in Jerusalem? Israel’s Prime Minister invites Jews from around the world to visit Israel.

Czech Republic to move embassy to Jerusalem.  The Czech Republic’s President, Prime Minister, Parliament Speaker and Foreign and Defense ministers have all endorsed the move of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Czech President Milos Zeman is scheduled to open the embassy during his visit in November.

Red heifer born in Israel. (TY Janglo) A red heifer (Para Aduma – totally red female calf) has been born – the first in Israel. A red heifer is the source of the purification waters that were sprinkled in Temple times on anyone with ritual impurity. https://www.youtube.com/embed/mOMH2qY6RCY/rel=0

A year to remember.  A short glimpse of some of the more memorable of Israel’s achievements in 5778.

Fiji stands with Israel. Very moving video of Fijian Israel supporters celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The most important pro-Israel organization you may not have heard of. Since its launch in 2015, the Maccabee Task Force (MTF) has been providing students with “the strategies and resources they need to tell the truth about Israel.” Last year MTF held 891 pro-Israel events and brought 746 campus leaders to Israel.

US Ambassador corrects a mistake. In the excitement of the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Ambassador David Friedman misplaced an important item.  Watch him on his mission to replace it.

Sukkot in Jerusalem. (TY Janglo) Highlights of activities in Jerusalem over the festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles) include the Jerusalem Parade, tours in Safra Square , "BeChatzerot" ("In the Courtyards") music festival and tours in the enchanted courtyards of Jerusalem, Ein Kerem Festival and Beit Lechem Road Festival.

A million visit Western Wall. More than one million people visited the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem during the past month. And see the photos of the many thousands that went to the Kotel for special prayers on the day before Yom Kippur.  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/431336