Israel's Good News Newsletter to 21st Jan 18

In the 21st Jan 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists can kill cancer cells by cutting off their energy.
·         At one Israeli winery the wine is produced by people with special needs.
·         A delegation of 150 business people went to India with the Israeli PM.
·         Israeli in-car sensors can detect a baby’s heartbeat.
·         Israeli government’s new 30-year bonds were 19 times over-subscribed.
·         The new Einstein museum will be in the Jerusalem university he co-founded.
·         An Israeli family discovered a Jewish 2000-year-old storage site under their house.

·         Click here to see the 14th Jan newsletter on IsraelSeen, Janglo and United With Israel with additional features on Technology and Medical. Also (TY Sandra) in German
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New target for cancer treatments. Researchers at Israel’s Bar Ilan University have discovered a new enzyme called FerT, which exists only in the energy-generating mitochondria of cancer cells. When the enzyme was targeted in lab tests, the malignant cells were unable to produce energy and died.

US approval for Leukemia treatment. Following a Priority Review, the US FDA has approved Israel TEVA’s Leukemia treatment, TRISENOX® (arsenic trioxidec). Trisenox is to be used in combination with tretinoin for treatment of recently-diagnosed low-risk adults with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

Lymphoma treatment approved.  I reported previously (3rd Sep) on the US takeover of Israeli biotech Kite for $12 billion. The US FDA has now approved Kite’s Yescarta treatment for adults with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma. The treatment uses Israeli-developed CAR-T therapy from the patient’s own T-cells.

Stem cell treatment inhibits cancer.  I’ve reported previously (18 times) on Israeli biotech Pluristem’s PLX stem cell treatment for many life-threatening conditions. Recent lab trials with modified PLX cells showed significant inhibitory effect on various lines of breast, colorectal, kidney, liver, lung, muscle and skin cancers.

Successful trials of implant to prevent OAB.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (July 2016) that the minimally invasive RENOVA leg implant from Israel’s BlueWind to treat Overactive Bladder (OAB) had been granted European approval. Recent trials show that device gave over 50% improvement to 71% of participants.

Creator Award for MyMDBand. I featured previously (twice) the Israeli-developed MyMDBand QR-coded wristband that provides paramedics with a patient’s vital medical data. Israeli Asaf Luxembourg, just won a WeWork Creator Award for it.  United Hatzalah have distributed thousands of MyMDBands to the elderly.

Analyze your scan for $1. I featured previously (9 times) Israeli startup Zebra Medical Vision which uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze the results of medical scans. Zebra is offering all its algorithms for $1 per scan. Now all hospitals can afford to test patients for osteoporosis, cardiac disease, liver disease, early cancer etc.


Special wine made by special people.  Israel’s Kishorit winery and vineyard provides vocational training for students at a nearby school for teenagers with special needs. The students run the wine production process from the beginning to the end. The 160 adults in Kishorit connect with the land, their community, and their work.

Jews and Arabs work together on huge solar project.  (TY WIN) I’ve reported previously (several times) on the Ashalim project to build the world’s tallest solar tower in Israel’s Negev desert. The project employs Jews from the nearby town of Ashalim and local Arab Bedouin from Bir Hadaj, including 50 members of one family.

Abandoned Gazan girl reunited with her mother. An Arab man from Gaza escorted his sick daughter to Israel for treatment but on the return journey abandoned her in the taxi. Israeli police calmed, fed and cared for the girl and then reunited her with her mother at the Erez crossing to Gaza. Her father was found and arrested.

Bridge of Peace. I reported previously (2nd July) on Israel’s plan to link Haifa to Jordan via the  Jezreel Valley railway. Israel’s Minister of Transportation, Yisrael Katz, has now allocated NIS 15 million in the 2019 budget to extend the Israeli railroad from Beit She’an to the Sheikh Hussein crossing at the border with Jordan.

Aid to Central African Republic refugees.  Israeli NGO “Innovation: Africa” is working to provide solar power, clean water and healthcare to tens of thousands of refugees living in the war-torn Central African Republic.

Who is IsraAID? I’ve previously featured a total of 56 articles (see here) about Israel’s emergency response NGO IsraAID. This article gives an insight as to their setup and some of their missions in America.

The largest overseas delegation ever.  India’s PM Narendra Modi changed his schedule and met Israeli PM Netanyahu personally on his arrival in India. The 150 members of the business delegation that flew with the Israeli PM makes it the largest that has ever accompanied an Israeli prime minister on an official visit.

Israeli science in Philippines school. (TY UWI) One of the public high schools Davao, Philippines, is to pilot the Israeli Sci-Tech Schools’ i-STEAM education model to improve math, science and technology. I-STEAM won the European Training Foundation’s Good Practice award and has been adopted in Europe and the US.

Iran allows access to Waze.  It looks like the Iranian regime can’t find its way around the country without Israeli technology.  Use of the Israeli-developed app Waze was blocked in Iran in March, reinstated in September and blocked again in October. It is now available again, according to Iran’s Tasnim News.

United With Israel reaches 5 million.  There are now over five million followers of United With Israel (UWI) – the largest grass-roots Israeli support organization. Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar became the 5-millionth follower. UWI has supporters in 170 countries and helps promote VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


Artificial Intelligence on display.  (TY WIN) The recent GPU Artificial Intelligence conference at Tel Aviv’s Fairgrounds showcased smart city plans, cyber-security and healthcare apps. It featured virtual reality headsets, audio-driven facial recognition, police cars with drones on the roof, and Viper sensors from Israel’s Adasky.

First-ever conference on 3D printing.  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem hosted a one-day conference entitled “3D Printing and Beyond: Current and Future Trends in the World of 3D Printing.” It featured startups focusing on printing objects including buildings, prosthetics, electronic circuits, ceramics and medical devices.

In-car sensor detects heartbeats.  I reported previously (here, here, here and here) on devices to prevent parents from leaving infants in hot cars.  Israel’s Guardian Optical Technologies uses optical motion analysis to detect tiny movements within the car, including an infant heartbeat. (See video for more benefits)

4 cameras for autonomous car vision. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (28th May) on Israel’s Foresight’s 3D Eyes-On camera Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). Foresight demonstrated its upgraded QuadSight 4-camera (visible-light and infra-red) all-weather all-lighting solution at CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Smart TVs for South Africa. Israel’s Comigo has won a $7 million deal to develop and manufacture set-top boxes for the recently launched content service of South Africa’s Cell C.  Comigo’s interactive set-top box is a broadcasting and video-on-demand device that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance the TV experience.

WiFi interference solved in South Africa.  (TY Atid-EDI) South African ISP Bioniq had promised its WiFi customers 130 Mbps Internet speeds but was only providing 1Mbps due to five other ISPs using the same frequency band.  Bioniq turned to Israel’s Radwin, who solved the problem with their JET AIR PtMP solution.

Turning highways into smart roads.  Israeli startup Valerann has developed a road monitoring and traffic control system that uses wireless sensory systems installed on the road itself. Its sensors, algorithm and communication system send data on (e.g.) traffic, icy roads and stranded cars, to drivers and road operators.

Improve your system performance. Israeli startup Centerity performs real-time analysis of critical business systems including for banks, airports, seaports and tech companies. Its clients include Dell EMC, Siemens, IKEA and the Israeli Parliament. Centerity just received a $10 million investment from Merlin International.

Satellite tugboat startup signs first contract. I reported previously (Sep 2014) on Israel’s Effective Space Solutions (ESE) which has built space drones to maneuver satellites that fail to get into their correct orbit. ESE has signed the first-ever in-orbit service contract – a $100 million deal for a “major regional satellite operator.”


High demand for new Israeli bonds.  Israel’s latest sale of $2 billion of government (10-year and 30-year) bonds was over-subscribed by a massive $16 billion. Interest rates were only slightly above the equivalent US government debt, indicating investors' confidence in the Israeli economy.

A success in the collapsing Middle East.  Daniel Krygier summarizes Israel’s 2017. For the first time average GDP per capita ($44,019) exceeded that of Britain, Japan and France. It is 5 times Lebanon’s and 20 times Egypt’s. Krygier recommends The Rise of Israel: A History of the Revolutionary State by Jonathan Adelman.

A toolbox for startups to navigate US healthcare.  Start-up Nation Central, PwC Israel and Health Research Institute have jointly set up a digital health toolbox for Israeli startups, to help them navigate the intricate US healthcare system. It includes details of hospitals for trials/pilots, stakeholders, contracts and the FDA process.

India and Israel sign trade agreements. During his trip to India, Israeli PM Netanyahu signed agreements with Indian PM Modi, on cybersecurity, energy, the film industry, and air transportation. They also launched a $40 million Industrial R&D fund I4F that will finance 50% of tech projects involving startups from both states.

Indian tech company invests in Israeli startups. Mumbai’s IT and consulting firm Tech Mahindra Ltd. is launching a startup collaboration program in Tel Aviv. Tech Mahindra NxT will invest in twenty Israeli startups in its first year, across the domains of cybersecurity, mobility, artificial intelligence, fintech and data analytics.

A Chinese Israeli innovation center. Haier Electronics, China’s largest home appliance maker, has opened its first innovation center in Israel, in Tel Aviv. It will focus on finding Israeli technologies for Haier product lines, specifically sensor technology, materials, chips, Internet of Things (IoT), smart homes, and energy innovation.

Launch of Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce. (TY Sharon) The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) launched its Israel Division by hosting an Anglo Business Networking Event in Jerusalem. OJC's mission is to help people interact and the program helped business owners in all industries to network.

Israelis help commercialize US University tech.  Harvard and UCLA have chosen experienced Israelis to direct their technology-transfer offices. Universities urgently need to streamline the transfer of inventions from lab bench to market. Israelis generate more revenue from Intellectual Property sales than any other country except the US.


Einstein Museum to be in Jerusalem. (TY Janglo & WIN) A former planetarium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is to be converted into a museum dedicated to Albert Einstein, father of the theory of relativity. Einstein bequeathed his personal archives to the Hebrew University, of which he was a founder.

Eilat Chamber Music Festival.  This year’s Eilat Chamber Music Festival takes place from 7th to 10th Feb. Artists include: Ensemble Pygmalion, the Hermès Quartet, The Busch Piano Trio, Daniel Ciobanu and Mark Padmore. The festival also offers Master classes led by Israeli and international musicians.

Jerusalem’s Winter Noise Festival. Jerusalem’s Winter Noise Festival features artists, musicians, and small businesses lighting up Monday nights and awakening the streets of Jerusalem with numerous festivities.

Darom Adom – Red South 2018.  Each year, the Darom Adom Festival, follows the rainy season, when the ordinarily green landscape of the northern Negev is covered with a magnificent carpet of scarlet red anemones. The festival events (mostly on weekends during Feb) include bike races, poetry readings and concerts.


70 hours for 70 years.  (TY Janglo and UWI) Israel’s 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish state begins on 18th Apr with 70 Hours of Celebrations. Torch lighting, global singing, folk dancing, fireworks and parties. The overall theme is “Heritage of Innovation”. It will link modern and Biblical; earthly and Heavenly.

New ambassadors welcomed to Israel. President Rivlin welcomed new foreign Ambassadors to Israel from the EU, Italy, Denmark and Nigeria. EU Ambassador Giaufret’s son was born in Israel during previous service. And Italian Ambassador Benedetti is an academic who initiated the translation of the Talmud into Italian.

The Zionism University.  Readers who are interested in the events and individuals crucial to the founding and development of the Jewish State are recommended to enroll (free) in the online Zionism University (Zionism U). It replaces the site Zionism 101 and contains resources to over 40 excellent short videos and other materials.

Roman-era caves found under Galilee house. It’s amazing what you can find in your own backyard in Israel. One family in the Galilee town of Eilabun discovered a 2000-year-old labyrinth of caves under their house that was used for storage by the Jewish residents of Eilabun during the Roman occupation.

Moishe’le returns to Mumbai. As promised, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu brought Moshe Holzberg with him on his trip to India. Moshe visited the site from where he was rescued as an infant by his Indian nanny from the terrorists who killed his parents nine years ago. His nanny (now Israeli) keeps in close contact with Moshe.

Instead of a lecture, they saved a life.  When two United Hatzalah EMTs came to Netanya to give a presentation to WIZO, they were interrupted after only 5 minutes by having to respond to a call nearby.  They managed to revive a 77-year-old man who had no pulse. They returned to the WIZO hall to a standing ovation.

Into the Hands of the Few

On the Jewish festival of Hanukah, we give thanks for the victory in Jerusalem in 164 BCE of the tiny Jewish army over the mighty Greek-Syrian empire - for deliverance of the many into the hands of the few. Today, we continue to see tiny Israel rise to the massive challenges in the world and we can be inspired by the few.

Israel is one of the smallest nations in the world – yet it has a massive positive impact on global health, food and water security, disaster relief and the economies of developing and developed countries. Here are just a few examples from the last three months.

Israel continues to have a significant effect in the fight against cancer. Europe has now approved Weizmann Institute’s breakthrough Tookad prostate cancer treatment that was featured on the BBC back in January.  And Israeli biotech Ayala has joined the many Israeli companies developing personalized cancer treatments targeting individuals rather than specific parts of the body.

Having already helped West Africa defeat the Ebola virus, Israel is now running training courses on how to fight epidemics. Meanwhile, as a recent addition to the dozens of Israeli research projects to solve global threat from antibiotic resistance, Hebrew University researchers are calculating optimum treatment procedures to avoid the under / over-treatment of infections.

An Israeli-developed space laboratory is currently orbiting our planet on the International Space Station. It allows scientists here on Earth to perform unique medical research by remote control. Back on the ground, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry has been funding surgeons from Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart to perform life-saving surgery on 500 Kurdish children from Iraq, the PA, Syria and Jordan. So perhaps it is not surprising that 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.

With all the latest tantrums at the United Nations, readers may have missed the recent Israeli resolution promoting the utilizing of agricultural technology for sustainable development. It was passed by the UN Second Committee by 141 to 1.  One specific project is that of Israeli companies Evogene and Rahan Meristem which have developed non-GMO bananas resistant to the Black Sigatoka fungus which has been threatening world-wide crops. Finally, I highly recommend this article on Israeli water conservation and this video about Israeli food technologies.

You probably already know about the IDF rescue unit of 71 specialists that saved lives following the earthquake in Mexico. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico certainly was grateful.  Regarding other disasters, Israeli NGO IsraAID sent an emergency response team to help victims of Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico. And the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the South African branch of Magen David Adom sent medical aid to Madagascar to help combat what the World Health Organization described as the worst outbreak of bubonic / pneumonic plague in 50 years.

The situation in Syria is a disaster by any definition. Israel has now treated 4000 wounded Syrians.  Ziv Medical Center in Safed will shortly begin treating Syrian children for hearing loss. The IDF even recently helped establish a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. When the UN does send humanitarian aid to Syria, the only safe route is through Israel.

Israeli latest support for specific African countries includes the JNF / KKL helping the Kenyan government turn its deserts into forests.  Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID has also recently helped build a center in South Sudan for the study of science and technology. Israel’s Fluence Corporation has supplied a water desalination system to South Africa. And 13-year-old Eytan Kramer from Ra’anana commemorated his Bar Mitzva by raising $18,000 to provide solar power for the Bukalikha Primary School in Uganda.

Across the African continent, Israel recently joined the Power Africa initiative so that Israeli companies can help overcome Africa’s energy crisis and to connect consumers.  The Israeli government is also now partnering with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help bring electricity to Africa.

Israel is vital to the security of Western nations, as former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp explains. Israel also has a major role in NATO and just recently signed an agreement to help expand the sharing of classified intelligence between Israel and NATO. And for 11 days in November, 1,000 pilots and crews from India, the US, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Israel took part in Israel’s largest ever aerial exercises.

The UK is buying Israel's Iron Dome short range missile defense system to boost its defense of the Falkland Islands. And 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. Even Pope Francis employed the Israeli-made Skystar 180 surveillance balloon system during his visits to Uganda and more recently to Colombia.
In other areas, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel have agreed to build the world's longest underwater pipeline to bring Israeli natural gas to Europe.  And large delegations from the UK and Florida visited Israel to highlight continued demand for Israeli business and innovation.

I return to the medical arena to finish, by focusing on just one of those few Israelis who make a huge difference almost every day.  Meir Farkash is a legend in his home town Ramat Hasharon.  In his four years as a volunteer paramedic for Israeli emergency service United Hatzalah, Meir has responded to more than 2,500 emergency calls (over 300 life-threatening) on his personal pedal-bike. The residents of Ramat Hasharon wanted to honor him, so … they bought him an electric bicycle.

Israelis may only be few in numbers, but don’t worry…

You’re in safe hands.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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