Israel's Good News Newsletter to 24th Jun 18


In the 24th June 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Thanks to Israeli designers, a disabled Arab boy can now feed himself.
·         A huge Israeli flag made entirely of cookies has “crumbled” the world record.
·         IBM Israel set up a globally-broadcast debate between a computer and two Israelis.
·         An Israeli fabric reduces the energy needed to produce desalinated water.
·         Ford and Iveco are to use Israeli innovative wheel technology.
·         Thousands of fans enjoyed A-ha’s first concert in Israel.
·         225 members of the “lost tribe” of Bnei Menashe made Aliya.

·         Click here to see the 17th June newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo, and United With Israel with extra features on Health and Entertainment. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Cells go into a huddle before fighting infection. Weizmann scientists have discovered that cells in the immune system cluster together to decide tactics, before being sent out to battle infections. These “helper T-cells” resemble American football and basketball teams that frequently go into a huddle during their games.

Cats (no not Katz!) can help fight AIDS virus. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute are learning more about the human AIDS virus from discoveries made researching the feline equivalent (FIV). They have uncovered a protein that is resistant to treatment. Breaking this resistance will help fight human AIDS.

More accurate radiotherapy.  Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center is the first hospital in the Middle East to install the state-of-the-art Spine SRS software from Germany’s Brainlab. It allows doctors to give a single dose of higher level radiation to patients suffering from spine cancer without damaging nearby healthy tissue.

Tailored rehabilitation solutions. Innovators at Pele, a tech-innovation program at the Jerusalem-based ALYN Hospital, develop personalized solutions for children with special needs. For 8-year-old Arab boy Yusuf, who cannot bend his joints, it is a structure that allows him to feed himself. 

Rambam trauma training. 22 participants from 16 nations attended the 19th “Developing and Organizing a Trauma System” and Mass Casualty Management Course at Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus. To date the center has trained more than 3,000 health care professionals and officials from 61 nations.

Your medical questions answered. Israel’s Medint Medical Intelligence collects and analyzes information from medical websites, social platforms, blogs, and forums to help patients with cancer and chronic illnesses make informed medical decisions. E.g. find doctors treating similar conditions, or relevant clinical trials.

Neurosurgery saves two children.  It was a busy week at Israel’s Schneider children’s hospital. First 10-year-old Ilai had emergency minimally invasive surgery to remove a large colloid cyst in his brain. Then doctors performed a 13-hour operation to remove a huge brain tumor from 13-year-old Maxim. Both are now home.

Ex-NYC Mayor and terror victim reunited.  In 2002, 13-year-old Dvir Musai was blown up by a terrorist’s mine. At Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital he was visited by then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Now employed at Hadassah Herzstein Heritage Center, father-of-two, Dvir received another visit from Mr Giuliani.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Subsidized English tuition for children. Israel’s Education Ministry and the Association of Community Centers’ Shalem volunteer organization are to provide 4th to 8th-graders with after-school spoken English lessons. Fees will be just NIS 4 ($1.10) an hour, far less than current private tuition fees.

77,100 academic degrees. 77,100 Israeli residents received academic titles from institutions of higher education in Israel during the 2016/17 school year - a 1.4% rise compared to the previous year. Israeli Arabs gaining first degrees rose to 11.9% of the population from 11% last year.

Arabs & Jews celebrate together at SodaStream. (TY WIN) Israel’s Sodastream is using its employment model to show that coexistence between Jews and Arabs is possible in the region.

Israel’s Ramadan Responders. On June 13th, the penultimate day of Ramadan, five Muslim United Hatzalah emergency medical volunteers responded to a huge fire in Umm al-Fahm. Despite fasting, they treated many children who suffered from smoke inhalation and light injuries. United Hatzalah has 400 Muslim volunteers.

Educating for co-existence. Eran Schwartz, director of Beit Yigal Allon, went on ILTV to explain the purpose and program of his organization based at Kibbutz Ginnosar, by the Kinneret (Sea of the Galilee). It educates Israeli youth in how Jews and its minorities can live together in harmony.

World Day to Combat Desertification. (TY UWI) Although 60% of Israel is desert, it is the only country in the world where the desert is receding. Thus, the UN designated Israel an expert in combating desertification -the process by which drought, deforestation, and inappropriate agriculture turns fertile land into desert.

More Israel-Asia Center graduates.  I wrote previously (30 July) about some of last year’s graduates from the Israel-Asia Center’s Leaders Fellowship. This recent article features three graduates from the current program. They are from Indonesia (which doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Israel), Vietnam and India.

The largest cookie flag. (TY UWI & ILTV) Using 117,000 cookies laid out to form a giant Israeli flag, the Jewish community of Atlanta, Georgia not only shattered a world record, it also raised considerable funds for worthy charities all over Israel. Afterwards, the cookies were donated to local Georgia food banks.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

8,000 at cybersecurity conference. (TY UWI) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu opened the 2018 Cyber Week International Cybersecurity Conference at Tel Aviv University by telling delegates from 60 countries, “you couldn’t have come to a better place for cybersecurity” than Israel. His speech included a simulated cyberattack.

International sports science conference. Dr. Devora Hellerstein of the Academic College at Wingate went on ILTV to report on the fifth bi-annual international congress of exercise and sports science. The conference, organized in conjunction with the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, attracted delegates from 25 countries.

Innovate Israel.  Innovate Israel 2018 on 3rd July in London highlights the most exciting Israeli innovations. Over 20 leading Israeli thought leaders will give 10-minute talks covering artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cybersecurity, digital health, machine learning and Satellite technology. El Al frequent fliers get 15% discount.

Israel wins the debate.  Did you hear about the fascinating debate between two humans and an IBM computer, that many said the computer won?  Did you hear or read any of the global media organizations mention that it was an IBM Israel project or that the two humans were two Israeli international debating champions?

Israeli startups win counter-terrorism competition. Two Israeli companies won a counter-terrorism technology competition sponsored by the Israeli and U.S. governments. CardioScale won $100,000 for its survivor vitals monitoring device. Colugo Systems won $10,000 for its hybrid quadrotor & fixed-wing drone.

The drone company to watch.  I reported previously (30th July) on Israeli drone developer Airobotics. The startup has just been chosen as one of the Wall Street Journal's 25 Tech Companies to Watch in 2018. Israeli cybersecurity startup Claroty was also included in the list.

Deep learning chip for automobiles. Israeli startup, Hailo Technologies, has developed a deep learning chip designed to run AI (Artificial Intelligence) applications. Hailo’s first target is the driverless car market.

Award-winning ATM security.  I reported previously (Nov 2014) on Israeli cybersecurity startup  Thetaray – a billion dollar company in the making. Thetaray has just won the 2018 ATMIA Global Award for 'Next Generation ATM Security'. Its systems detect illicit and suspicious ATM activity using machine learning.

Protecting a million endpoints. I reported previously (27th Feb) on Israeli cybersecurity startup Morphisec, which protects against new threats (e.g. ransomware and trojans) like no other company. In just two years, Morphisec now protects one million endpoints – the fastest growth of any subscription B2B security company.

Protecting pedestrians from automobiles. (TY UWI) I’ve reported previously (see here) on the Eye-Net collision prevention technology from Israel’s Foresight. In a recent trial in Ashdod, Eye-Net was integrated with the smart traffic light sensors of Israel’s NoTraffic, proving that many potential accidents can be avoided.

Startup uses its own tech to buy properties. Israeli-founded Skyline AI has developed a machine learning algorithm that identifies real estate opportunities and calculates an asset's current market value and potential future value. It has just used the algorithm to purchase two residential building complexes in Philadelphia.

Keep an eye (or a bracelet) on your children. I reported previously (May 2017) on Israel’s Barkid that has launched a smart bracelet that enables parents to supervise their children. Chaim Messika, VP of Barkid, explains the latest about the product and discloses that it has already saved the lives of two Israelis.

Automated planting of crops. Israel’s Superplanter has developed technology to revolutionize one of the most difficult of agricultural activities – the large-scale planting of vegetables, grains and field crops. https://www.youtube.com/embed/1UNZYdPHeCA?rel=0

Making a video of Wikipedia.  Israel’s Kinedio has developed technology that brings online encyclopedia pages to life. It transforms Wikipedia’s static information into a cool video platform, appropriate for today’s audience.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/CIi3nifDTKY?rel=0

Improved desalination technology.  Israel’s Hydrop has developed an innovative fabric that when applied to reverse osmosis desalination membranes reduces energy consumption, making the resulting water purification cheaper and more efficient. https://www.youtube.com/embed/0xslngtLL_k?rel=0   https://www.hydropm.com/

Model farm shows latest technology. (TY UWI) The Neve Ya’ar Research Center in Israel’s Jezreel Valley, is run by Israel’s Volcani Center-Agricultural Research Organization. The full-scale sustainable educational farm will be an international showcase for cutting-edge Israeli technologies in precision agriculture.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Tourism from US up 39% in 2018. (TY WIN) Israeli tourism has seen increases of nearly 40% so far in 2018, giving the Israeli economy a $577 million boost in the last five months alone. North America Israel Tourism Commissioner Uri Steinberg explains the latest trends and events on i24NEWS.

Environmentally friendly salt production.  Israel’s Salt of the Earth has implemented an extensive (NIS 1 million plus) program to protect waterfowl of all species in its salt pools. It includes a specific island nature reserve. Since the program has started, the population of little terns (Sterna albifrons) has more than tripled.

Making it easy to get your VAT back. Waze co-founder Uri Levine is now piloting Refundit – an app that helps tourists process a VAT refund request on leaving a country. It’s simple, quick, no queues, no closed counters, no need to show the goods and the handling fee drops to 9% from the current 35 - 40%.

Wizz to fly from London to Eilat.  Low-cost airline Wizz Air has taken over the London-Eilat route that was formerly operated by now defunct Monarch Airlines. Twice-weekly flights will commence from Oct 28. Wizz already operates services from Eilat’s Ovda airport to Bucharest, Warsaw, and Riga.

From Tbilisi they did it MyWay. Georgian airline “MyWay Airlines” launches its first direct flight between Tbilisi and Tel Aviv on 28th June. MyWay is a subsidiary of the China-based Hooling Group established in 1988, and is one of the youngest airlines in Georgia.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/myway-airlines-begins-direct-flights-from-tbilisi-to-tel-aviv/2018/06/21/

It’s all go for Softwheel.  I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Softwheel and its revolutionary new wheel technology.  The latest news is that Softwheel is partnering car-maker Ford and truck-maker Iveco. Both companies are embarking on electric vehicle projects and have chosen Softwheel to give them a smooth ride.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

London in Jerusalem.  If you are in Jerusalem in the coming months, the new Tower of David exhibition “London in Jerusalem: Culture on the Streets of the City 1918-1948” could be an interesting addition to your itinerary. It examines the cultural activity of the British, Arabs and Jews during the British Mandate.

Israeli Opera events. The Akko Opera festival takes place on 2nd and 4th August. It features a special production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. And on Thursday 9 Aug, the Tel Aviv municipality is hosting a performance of Verdi’s Nabucco in Hayarkon Park. Admission is free.

White Night in Tel Aviv.  On Thursday 28 June, Tel Aviv holds its annual White Night shindig. Dozens of (mostly free) events take place in cultural and art centers, commercial establishments and clubs citywide, many of which stay open late. Outdoor performances are held until the early hours of the morning.

A-ha’s first Israeli concert. Legendary 80s icons a-ha performed their first ever concert in the Holy Land on 21st June at the Amphi Park in Ranaana. Video is of their classic hit “Take On Me”.


THE JEWISH STATE

Jerusalem’s ancient cistern. (TY Avi) This new video shows the Gihon spring and Jerusalem’s ancient cistern that provided water to the city in Biblical times more than 3,000 years ago when King David ruled. Over 300 years later, King Hezekiah of Judah diverted the spring to prevent it from sustaining the Assyrian invaders.

225 Bnei Menashe make Aliya. (TY UWI) 225 members of the Bnei Menashe community from the state of Manipur in northeast India have just completed their Aliyah through Shavei Israel. 4 separate groups joined 429 members of the Bnei Menashe community who have already made Aliyah since the beginning of January 2018,

92-year-old survivor makes Aliya. Shoah survivor Jack Nasielski, 92, from Edison New Jersey, fulfilled his lifelong dream, making Aliya with his daughter Lilly and her husband Bruce. They join Lilly and Bruce’s four children and Jack’s many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who already live in Israel. 

Rescuer of Yemen’s Jews honored. Capt. Elgen Long is the last surviving member of a commercial flight crew that saved 1,800 Jewish refugees stranded in Yemen in 1949 by flying them to Israel. In Shanghai, they removed the seats on their Alaska airlines DC-4 and flew 150 refugees on each of many trips from Yemen.

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.