Good News History Jan to Mar 2018

180121



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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of nearly 12,000 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

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. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/27/zebra-medical-vision-is-using-ai-to-detect-cancer-before-humans-can-for-1.html


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

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. http://www.jpost.com/business-and-innovation/tech/israeli-ngo-installs-sustainable-tech-for-thousands-of-african-refugees-508674

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.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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.”


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

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. https://www.israel21c.org/why-israel-rocks-at-commercializing-academic-innovations/


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

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.


THE JEWISH STATE

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.



180114
In the 14th Jan 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli breakthrough stem cell treatment saved five patients from leg amputations.
·         50 Israeli doctors saved a baby born with a 1kg tumor.
·         Israel brought a kidney donor from Algeria to save his Gazan brother.
·         Israel is the first overseas aid team to fight Zambia’s cholera outbreak.
·         An Israeli invention provides undisturbed listening without earphones.
·         Israelis have invented nano-cellulose ink for 3D printing tasty nutritious meals.
·         Intel has opened a film studio that uses Israeli Virtual Reality technology.
·         A Jewish mother got help for her sick son in New York from paramedics in Israel.

·         Click here to see the 7th Jan newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Medical (with 1,900 likes), Inclusiveness (with 1,600 likes), Business (with 2,800 likes) and Entertainment (with 1,500 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 nearly 12,000 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

Stem cells save limbs from amputation. (TY Stuart) Israel’s Laniado hospital used groundbreaking stem cell treatment from Israel’s BioGenCell to save amputating the legs of five diabetic patients with poor circulation. Stem cells from the patients’ blood injected into their leg muscles grew new blood vessels to bypass blockages.

Sinus stent gets US approval.  Israel’s STS Medical has received regulatory clearance from the US FDA for its composite sinus stent. Following nasal surgery (e.g. on sinusitis and allergic rhinitis sufferers where other treatments have not worked) the stent keeps the nasal airways open to allow the sinus tissue to heal.

Europe approves colon screening pill. Israel’s Check-cap has just received the CE Mark for its C-Scan ingestible capsule for preparation-free, colorectal cancer screening. The capsule (see here) uses low-dose X-rays to obtain 3D images of the colon whilst allowing patients to go about their normal daily routines.

Colon cleaning system to launch on NASDAQ.  Israeli startup Motus GI has developed the FDA-approved Pure-Vu system, that allowing doctors to clean poorly prepped colons during a colonoscopy. It would make preparing for a colonoscopy much easier. Motus is preparing a NASDAQ launch to raise up to $28.8 million.

Tiny catheters for tiny operations.  Israel’s Accurate Medical has developed a range of microcatheters for cutting off the blood supply (embolization) to tumors and vascular aneurysms. French medical imaging company Guerbet has just acquired Accurate for up to 57 million Euros.  Accurate will continue to operate from Israel. https://www.globes.co.il/en/article-guerbet-buys-israeli-mini-catheter-co-accurate-medical-1001218822

Gold target for radiation treatment.  I reported previously (Oct 2012) that Israeli bio-tech Metallo Therapy was using gold nanoparticles to improve radiotherapy treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, Metallo folded in 2016, but now a team of Israeli researchers are headed down the same precious “yellow-brick” road.

Fast cancer diagnosis. The Rapid Cancer Diagnostic Unit at Sheba Medical Center uses new diagnostic oncology technology developed by Dr. Damien Urban. It cuts patient waiting time from previously 3 months to just two weeks. Its goal is to help overcome the devastating delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

An alternative to Dr Google.  Israeli health fund Maccabi has launched K Health - an app to give its customers medical advice that many seek currently by using search engines such as Google. The information is sourced from thousands of similar cases in Maccabi’s records database. Currently in Hebrew and Israel only.

Israeli solutions for aging and brain health project.  (TY NoCamels) Israeli companies HeartBeat Technologies and Brainsway have been selected for a joint Israel-Canada partnership program. They will test their innovative aging and brain health solutions at two Canadian seniors care organizations.

The right color for your denture. ILTV News interviewed Shlomo Emanuel, CEO of Israel’s Dentalics which has developed an app to help dentists and dental technicians match up the color of implants, bridges, crowns etc. with the patient’s real teeth. It is planned to launch globally in Feb 2018.

50 doctors save newborn with 1kg tumor. 50 doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center have performed “the impossible”. They conducted three highly complex operations to save a 2kg premature baby that was born with a rare “teratoma” – a 1kg tumor attached to her brain, jaw, neck, chest, airways and blood vessels.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

54% of Israeli judges are women.  With Esther Hayut as the new president of Israel’s Supreme Court, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked noted that 54% of judges in Israel are female. Israel has had three women presidents of the Supreme Court. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Supreme-court-president-swears-in-seven-new-judges-including-five-women-510906

Inspiring Israeli women. (TY Janglo) Israeli Barr Yaron has setup the “Women of Startup Nation” Facebook page to raise awareness of successful Israeli women in high-tech. The site features around 50 stories of women who have succeeded in hi-tech and serves to inspire women all over the world to change their own lives.

13 Bedouin become emergency responders.  Israeli emergency medical service United Hatzalah has just completed training a team of 13 Bedouin women and four men to become EMS first responders. They will now serve their Galilee home towns of Shibli and Umm al-Ghanam plus other Arab and Jewish towns in the area.

Israeli surgeons put PA teenager back on his feet.  Yousef Rabaya from Jenin was born with Cerebral Palsy. His curved back caused much pain and he couldn’t stand. After a previous operation in the US failed, surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center performed reconstruction surgery and now Yousef can walk again.

Israel flies in Gaza student from Algeria to save brother. Surgeons at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center successfully transplanted a kidney into a 13-year-old Gazan boy suffering from renal failure. The donor was his brother who was flown in via Jordan from Algeria where he was studying.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Gazan-student-in-Algeria-flown-to-Israel-to-donate-kidney-to-teen-brother-533041

Zaka helps rescue South Africans after storms. Forty volunteers from the Israel’s ZAKA rescue and recovery organization assisted thousands of Johannesburg residents after severe storms ripped through homes in different parts of the city between December 31 and January 2.  http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/ZAKA-helps-with-disaster-relief-following-severe-storms-in-South-Africa-532947

Zulu king pleas for continued Israeli help.  King Goodwill Zwelithinii, monarch of 12 million Zulus has urged the country’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) to retain close ties with Israel. Israel has been helping South Africa combat drought and HIV infections. https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/01/11/south-african-zulu-king-invokes-fight-against-aids-drought-in-plea-to-anc-government-to-retain-close-israel-ties/#

Israeli specialists help Zambia fight cholera.  (TY Nevet) Israel’s Sheba Medical Center is the first and only international medical team in Zambia combating the current cholera outbreak. They have assembled a team of epidemiologists and water engineers who have already identified the source of the contamination. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/01/prweb15072115.htm


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

For your ears only. Israel’s Noveto has invented “sowlo” - the virtual headphone – that beams the sound from your device directly into your ears. Sowlo’s 3D sensors and algorithms find your face and a tiny speaker focuses the sound at your ears. No sound leaks out even when you move your head. My wife can’t believe this.

The smallest and sweetest tomatoes.  The Kedma company, in Israel’s southern Arava desert, has developed the Tipa (meaning "drop”) tomato, about the size of a blueberry - the smallest ever cultivated in Israel, perhaps even in the world. It has also developed the Bon Bon Tomato, the world’s sweetest tomato.

New source of food for animals.  I reported previously (10th Sep) on Israeli startup Flying SpArk which is developing protein powder from fruit fly larvae for human consumption.  Now Israel’s BioBee is doing the same with soldier fly larvae, except they are using it as an animal feed.

Lishtot wins CES startup competition.  Israeli water tech company Lishtot, Hebrew for “drink,” won the 2018 CES Startup Night competition in Las Vegas. The 15 finalists had just 60 seconds to showcase their technology. CEO Netanel Raisch demonstrated Lishtot’s TestDrop Pro device that detects water contaminants.

Free travel on Israel’s new high-speed train.  Israelis will be able to get a free ride for the first 3 months after the launch of the new high-speed train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, due 30 Mar 2018. The train is expected to transport its passengers from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in just 28 minutes.

Intel’s Israeli WiFi chip is 40% faster.  Intel unveiled its new “made in Israel” 802.11ax WiFi chip at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. The chips increase maximum speeds by 40% but average supply to users will improve by 400%. The chips are to be used in household routers and many other devices.

The first nanosatellite formation.  Israel’s Technion and the Israel Space Agency have arranged for a group of three nanosatellites to be launched into space in late 2018. The goal of the Adelis-SAMSON Project is to fly multiple satellites in a controlled formation for one year while orbiting at an altitude of about 600 km.

Israeli life-changing technologies.  (TY UWI) New video showing how Israeli innovations ReWalk, EyeControl and OrCam are giving the disabled back their lives.

3D printing of vegetarian food to order.  (TY Zvi) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Yissum Research Development Company has unveiled breakthrough 3D printing of food based on nano-cellulose (calorie-free, edible natural fiber). It can lead to instant, low-calorie, vegetarian meals geared to satisfy all personal tastes.

20% increase in corn yield.  I’ve reported previously (many times) on Israel’s Evogene which improves crop strains. Its partnership with DuPont-Pioneer (Nov 2013) has literally born fruit, with second-year trials showing a 20% increase in corn yield thanks to Evogene’s bio-simulant microbial seed treatment.

Smoke less, live longer. (TY UCI) Smokers in the US, Canada, France, Israel and Turkey are trialing a “quit smoking” app called SmokeBeat from Israel’s Somatix. It detects smoking from hand-to-mouth gestures picked up by sensors built into smartwatches and wristbands and provides analysis and support via your smartphone.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Record-breaking year of tech deals.  The combined value of acquisitions of Israeli-linked technology companies and Israeli-linked technology IPOs totaled at an all-time high of $23 billion in 2017. Numbers of exits decreased, but values increased - the largest being Intel’s $15.3 billion takeover of Mobileye.

Foreign reserves rise by almost $1 billion. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves increased in December to end at $113 billion – $931 million higher than their end Nov 2017 position. They represent 33.2 percent of GDP.

IKEA to open in Beersheva. Swedish ready-to-assemble retail furniture chain IKEA will open its fourth store in Israel next month. The new store in Beersheva will join existing Israeli outlets in Rishon Lezion, Netanya and Kiryat Ata, near Haifa.

Another partner for Mobileye. I reported previously (5th Mar) that Chinese car-maker SAIC is opening an R&D center in Israel.  Now it is partnering with Israel’s Mobileye (part of Intel) to develop autonomous (self-driving) vehicles. Meanwhile, Virginia State is to install Mobileye systems all its public transportation vehicles.

Eilat tourist numbers to quadruple this winter. 70,000 tourists came to Eilat on direct flights last winter. The Tourism Ministry expects 280,000 this winter. The Ministry of Tourism has made agreements with low cost airlines Ryanair and Wizz Air to bring overseas tourist directly to Eilat.

Wizz flights from Tel Aviv to Vienna.  Low-cost Hungarian airline Wizz is to operate direct flights between Israel and the Austrian capital of Vienna four days a week, starting in June. Wizz Air currently offers 22 routes between Israel and nine countries in Europe.

Intel film studio for Israeli VR technology.  Intel have begun filming its first Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality content using the 360-degree 3D technology from its Israeli subsidiary Replay Technologies. The 25,000 square-foot Intel Studios in Los Angeles features the world’s largest volumetric video capture stage.

Israeli bourbon-style whiskey. (TY Janglo) Norm Cohen and Alan Cohl are creating Israel’s first distillery for American bourbon-style whiskey. The Legends Distillery in Israel’s Elah valley is on the site of the epic fight between David and Goliath. Legends joins Milk and Honey (single malt) and Golan Heights (two-grain).

Nine new Israel-USA projects. (TY Atid-EDI) The BIRD Foundation is to fund $7.5 million for 9 new joint Israeli-USA projects. The Israeli companies include AgRobics, Axon Vision, Farm Dog, ImageSat, MyndYou, NSLComm, RunEL NGMT and Taranis. They involve agrotech, communications, medical devices, digital health, environment, homeland security and more.  http://www.birdf.com/?CategoryID=427&ArticleID=515


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israeli-Chinese dance. Israeli dance choreographer Eyal Dadon spent two months in China creating “DU-K” - a work for 14 Israeli and Chinese dancers. DU-K refers to the Hebrew term du kium (coexistence) overcoming language, training, and cultural gaps in the two countries. DU-K is showing across Israel from Jan 16 -19.

Salt Years.  Israeli sculptor Sigalit Landau is producing her book “Sigalit Landau Salt Years” containing images of her “love affair” with the Dead Sea.  Sigalit is famous for her salt crystal impregnated creations formed by suspending everyday items in the super-concentrated salt water of the lowest sea on Earth.

Baby it’s cold outside (not really!)  Just in case anyone is unhappy being outside in Israel’s 18 degrees Centigrade winter, here are details of 22 indoor activities for all the family to enjoy. You can even fly!

Wonder woman is the face of the future.  Israeli actress Gal Gadot, star of the movie “Wonder Woman”, has been chosen as “celebrity spokesperson” to Huawei Technologies, the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world. Gadot was also named a Global Ambassador for Revlon’s Live Boldly campaign.


THE JEWISH STATE

The father of modern Hebrew’s 160th birthday. (TY Jacob Richman) Eliezer Ben Yehuda was born on the 21st Tevet 160 years ago. Chiefly due to his efforts, biblical Hebrew was revived from its over 3000-years-old roots into today’s spoken Hebrew language - Ivrit. Another modern miracle.

Digging up the Bible in Jerusalem. (TY UWI) Archaeologists looking for evidence of the existence of biblical characters and events are succeeding. They can almost search with a bible in one hand and a trowel in the other! https://www.youtube.com/embed/VU0gv4i3zlA?rel=0

Free meal to lone soldiers.  (TY Janglo) Orit Dahan and her family own the well-known downtown Jerusalem restaurant Piccolino. Every Friday, Dahan - with The Lone Soldier Center - brings lone soldiers in the IDF to her restaurant for a free hot meal, as her way of thanking them for their selfless service to the country.

Learn Torah with Israel’s President. (TY Sharon) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and First Lady Nechama Rivlin have regularly hosted Torah study sessions at Beit Hanasi – the President’s House. Guests at their latest session included the President of the Supreme Court, a top judge, a famous actor and a well-known writer.

Druze firefighter saves Torah scrolls. Druze firefighter Wiam Nevuani arrived at a fire in a synagogue at the northern city of Nahariah and did not hesitate when he burst into the burning building to save the Torah scrolls. Wiam said that he realized the importance of the site and felt he was saving a soul.

Ten Israeli hedgehogs go on a diet.   The land of milk and honey was too tempting for ten Israeli hedgehogs. Overfed and overweight, they were unable to roll into balls to fend off predators. Locals found them waddling through Israeli streets and brought them to Ramat Gan Safari where they went on food and exercise regimes.

How did he know?  When a baby born with Wiscott-Aldrich disorder was given just five years to live, Israeli charity Ezer Mizion found a perfect match on their bone marrow database. Two years after the successful transplant, Ezer Mizion brought donor Lior to meet his stem cells recipient for the first time. And the shy little boy ran to the “stranger” and kissed him!  http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/like-magnet-to-metal/

Going the extra mile (or 5,000).  When a distressed mother phoned the dispatch service of United Hatzalah in Israel about her sick son in Monsey, New York, they didn’t hang up on her. Instead they contacted NYC paramedics and arranged his transfer to a hospital where he had successful surgery.


180107
In the 7th Jan 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli discovery has identified a new way to treat pancreatic cancer.
·         Israeli blood glucose monitors are being supplied to 200,000 Indian diabetics.
·         Women are in charge at many of Israel’s top financial organizations.
·         Tel Aviv residents honored the memory of an Arab boy with a 36m-high toy tower.
·         Israeli-developed 100% bio-degradable packaging has now gone global.
·         The Israeli kibbutz is now a major part of the hi-tech Startup Nation.
·         Israel’s women’s Thai boxing world champion is now also European champion.
·         Clay seal found of the Jewish governor of Jerusalem from 700 BCE.

·         Click here to see the 31st Dec newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Medical (with 17,000 likes), Inclusivity (with 2,300 likes), Technology and Business (with 2100 likes). Also (TY Sandra) in German

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

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Breakthrough in pancreatic cancer research.  Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that 7% of pancreatic cancer sufferers survive more than five years due to high levels of the gene miR-34a and low levels of the gene PLK1. They then devised a nanoparticle to deliver miR-34a and a PLK1 silencer direct to the tumor.

Vitamins and folic acid reduce autism risk.  A study of 26,702 Israeli expectant mothers and 45,300 children by a team led by Haifa University researchers, has revealed that mothers who take folic acid and multivitamin supplements before and during pregnancy are 73% less likely to have an autistic child.

Surgeons separate baby’s fused jaws.  Doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center successfully operated on a two-month-old baby born with a very rare defect in which his jaws were fused shut. Worldwide, there have been only about 50 cases. The team comprised orthodontists, anesthetists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

More smart socks.  I reported previously (Feb 2016) on the Israeli SenseGo socks that spot incorrect posture or ill-fitting shoes. Now an Israeli startup has developed Elastimed – smart socks that improve circulation in the legs for treating venous and lymphatic diseases. Electric pulses compress and massage calf muscles to increase blood flow. http://nocamels.com/2017/12/elastimed-smart-socks-market-2019/

Israeli biotechs merge.  I reported previously (28th May) on Israeli biotech BiomX which develops treatments using human bacteria (microbiome).  BiomX has now acquired Israel’s RondinX, which has built a cutting-edge technology platform set to unlock the potential of microbiome therapeutics.

200,000 Indian diabetics to get Israeli glucose meters. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s GlucoMe blood glucose monitors for diabetics.  Now, Apollo Sugar - the Indian national chain of 55 diabetes clinics – is to supply kits containing a GlucoMe monitor to each of its 200,000 diabetic patients.

A cancer patient’s “virtual” legs.  When a cancer patient is unable to walk, even simple tasks such as making coffee, selecting a magazine or doing the laundry becomes impossible.  Volunteers from Israeli charity Ezer Mizion become a patient’s “virtual” legs.  They also cheer up the patient, which helps them battle the disease.

Only Rambam can save her leg. (TY Stuart) Six-year-old Kyra Warrell from Brighton in the UK has proximal focal femoral deficiency in her leg, which UK doctors want to amputate. But her parents are raising £58,000 to go to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center where visiting US surgeon Dr Dror Paley says he can cure her condition.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Women running banks is the norm in Israel.  (TY Hazel) Three of Israel's top banks (Leumi, Israel Discount and First International) are currently led by women. So is the Bank of Israel. At Leumi 40% of top management are women. So is the supervisor of banks, the director of the capital markets, insurance and savings authority and others. https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/in-israel-women-running-banks-is-the-norm

Female lone soldier home opens in Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) Over 6,000 lone soldiers (without families in Israel to support them) serve in the IDF - over 30% female. On Dec 29, the first lone soldier home for young women, The Norton and Sylvia Alvery Bayit L'Chayalot, opened in Mekor Chaim, Jerusalem.

Arab woman has triplets and new grandson on same day. Tahrir gave birth to healthy triplet boys just hours after the wife of her eldest son Muhammad had given her a first grandson at the same hospital – Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem. The high-risk pregnancy team of specialists and nurses all wished her Mazel Tov.

36m toy brick tower in Arab boy’s memory. (TY WIN) Thousands of Tel Aviv residents built a 36-meter tower in Rabin Square from 500,000 K’nex and Lego bricks. They were honoring the memory of Omer Sayag, an 8-year-old cancer victim from Tel Aviv who used to love constructing with plastic bricks.

From spaghetti to snakebite antidotes. This extensive article describes some of the humanitarian aid that Israel provides to the Syrian victims of their civil war. It includes spaghetti, flour, baby formula, diapers, school supplies, fuel, generators, snakebite antivenom and even piping for water wells.

A one-minute summary of 2017.  (TY TIP and UWI) Here is a short video showing just a few of the positive Israeli activities last year.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/xjBFkyrRRUE?rel=0

Illinois delegation visits Israel.  Illinois governor Bruce Rauner made his first official visit to Israel as head of a delegation from the University of Illinois looking to expand its collaboration with Israeli universities. Governor Rauner’s wife is Jewish and two of their children have spent some time in Israel.

Israel’s work in the 3rd world.  Aron White writes that Israel joining the Power Africa project (see 10th Dec) will have a major beneficial impact on the lives of millions of Africans.  It deserves much more publicity – as do all of Israel’s humanitarian activities.  https://ukmediawatch.org/2017/12/28/when-is-a-humanitarian-crisis-not-important-when-israel-is-part-of-the-solution/  https://www.youtube.com/embed/UjJQCVP0K74?rel=0

Israeli world-saving water technology. (TY WIN) Watch this new video from Israel’s WATEC highlighting experts from Canada, China and the Czech Republic, extol the virtues of Israeli water technologies.  Examples featured are WaterGen (water from the air) and Kando (wastewater treatment).


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Working with South Korea on robotic and vehicle tech. (TY Atid-EDI and Nocamels) Israeli and South Korean robotics researchers signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on robotics and autonomous vehicles.  The agreement, came after the annual Korea-Israel Industrial Collaboration Conference in Seoul.

Water research partnership with Wisconsin. The Water Council of the US state of Wisconsin has signed accords with Ben-Gurion University and the Israel Innovation Authority to collaborate on water research. Israeli and Wisconsin water technology startups will develop joint applications for Wisconsin water utilities.

High-school training by IDF intelligence services. Unit 8200, the Israeli military's NSA equivalent, is working with the Israeli Ministry of Education on a new big data training program for the country's high schoolers. A military service at Unit 8200 is regarded as a sure path to higher income jobs in Israel.

How is the Jerusalem underground station project doing? I wrote previously (Sep 2016) about Jerusalem building its largest, deepest train station. It’s progressing well. And the link to Tel Aviv is almost on track!

7 very intelligent companies.  (TY Nevet) Seven Israeli companies appear the latest prestige AI (Artificial Intelligence) 100 list compiled by San Francisco-based CB Insights. They are Applitools (new to VGNI - see links), Cybereason, Dynamic Yield (new to VGNI - see links), OrCam, Prospera, Twiggle and Workey.

Awards for 3 young scientists. (TY Nevet) Israeli scientists Oded Rechavi (Tel Aviv U), Charles Diesendruck and Anat Levin (both Technion) have won $100,000 Blavatnik Awards, which recognizes exceptional scientists and engineers aged 42 or younger. The awards are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Jerusalem clean air plan. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem City Council has approved a new municipal “reduced emission area” bylaw that restricts the entry of heavy and polluting vehicles into the city center. Cameras and a computer system will analyze the details of entering vehicles, according to the vehicle’s license plate.

SodaStream wins Sustainability Award. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s SodaStream has been recognized as a 2017 Sustainability Award Product winner by the Business Intelligence Group for its line of eco-friendly sparkling water makers. Studies show that SodaStream owners save an average of 550 plastic bottles each year.

Eco-friendly packaging startup gets re-fueled.  (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (see here) about TIPA’s 100% bio-degradable packaging startup founded by two Israeli mothers. TIPA is now available in the USA, UK, France and Netherlands. TIPA has won three global awards and has just raised $11 million of funds.

Award for kinetic battery. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Chakratec and its flywheel battery technology. Chakratec recently won the award for Electric Mobility & Autonomous Driving, Energy Storage category, held at the eMove360° Europe 2017 international trade fair for Mobility in Munich.

Gesture tech doesn’t distract drivers. South Korean electronics giant LG Electronics has selected Israeli gesture recognition company eyeSight Mobile Technologies as a supplier of control systems for its car information and entertainment systems. The co-developed product will decrease distracted driving.

AI products for Japan.  I reported previously (Jan 2016) on Israel’s Vayyar which develops amazing 3D imaging sensors. (Just see some of the youtubes below). Vayyar is now partnering with Japan’s Softbank to develop AI (artificial intelligence)-based IoT products for the Japanese market, with a focus on public transportation, construction, and elderly care.  http://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3728508,00.html  https://www.youtube.com/embed/VB2fLHVEhjs?rel=0


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

2017 exports top $100 billion. Israel’s Export and International Cooperation Institute (IEICI) has calculated that Israel’s exports of goods and services exceeded $100 billion in 2017 - 5% more than in 2016. Goods exports to the European Union (EU) grew 20% to $16 billion, accounting for 35% of Israel's 2017 total.

NASDAQ to help grow Israeli startups.  I reported previously (Jan 2016) on the NASDAQ joint venture with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to setup a new private exchange for Israeli startups. Now, NASDAQ and Israel’s LeumiTech have launched a joint program “Gateway to Global Growth” to help expand these companies.

Kibbutzim invest in hi-tech.  2017 saw a 46% increase on 2016 in kibbutz investments into startup ventures, totaling some NIS 76 million. 24 kibbutzim invested in 19 startup companies. Kibbutzim are also renting space for local entrepreneurs to set-up new businesses.  https://www.timesofisrael.com/claiming-to-be-israels-first-startup-ventures-kibbutzim-jump-on-tech-bandwagon/

Israeli smart farming gets preferential funding. (TY Atid-EDI) A report by Start-Up Nation Central shows that during the first half of 2017 Israeli on-farm technology companies raised 7% of global investment in such technologies – out of all proportion to Israel’s tiny size. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/israeli-smart-farming-winning-outsized-share-of-global-funding---report-by-start-up-nation-central-653001423.html

A cyber incubator with Japan’s NEC.  Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Japanese electronics giant NEC are founding AlphaC - a new incubator for early stage cyber startups. Ten early stage ventures will join an intensive three-month program, receiving access to TAU resources, workspace, business contacts and mentors.

A $240 million bio-tech fund. Israel-based venture capital firm Pontifax raised another fund of $240 million – its fifth such fund. Excess demand for the fund saw it closed within two months, and Pontifax is expected to invest most of the money raised in the life-sciences industry.

More direct flights.  At December’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conference in Sri Lanka, Israel signed new air transport agreements with the U.K., Switzerland, Chile, South Africa, Vietnam, Canada, Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Uganda and Jordan. These will increase direct flights to Israel.

El Al to fly direct to San Francisco.  I reported previously (Jun 2016) that United Airlines increased their direct service between Tel Aviv and San Francisco to a daily schedule.  Now El Al have announced they are to launch a 3-times-a-week direct service between the two leading technology hubs later this year.

Co-working reaches new heights.  Israel’s tallest building - the 238m Azrieli Sarona tower in Tel Aviv - is near completion, but already on two of its top 61 floors Israel’s Teddy Sagi Group has launched Labs - its shared office venture. Labs will have offices, meeting rooms, shared workspaces, a convention hall, studio, projection room, lounge and a gym. http://labs.com/location/azrieli-sarona-tower-tel-aviv/

Wireless charging in co-working offices.  Israel’s Powermat (see here) has partnered with Regus Israel, supplying wireless charging services to Israeli co-working offices. Regus is the world's largest provider of flexible workspace solutions. Regus has 15 co-working locations in Israel, mostly in Tel Aviv and Herzliya.

Get your purchase money back.  Israel-based Boom25 offers a unique opportunity for UK shoppers who purchase from any of the 600 retailers affiliated to Boom25’s website. Every 25th purchaser gets their purchase money back.  Its an alternative to accumulating points.

Meatless meat in 3 years.  I wrote previously (July 2016) about Israel’s SuperMeat which is developing lab-produced meat from animal cells. SuperMeat has just raised $3 million and plans to bring its “clean chicken” products to market within three years, at a price similar to current conventional chicken products.

Toyota invests in Israeli robotics. (TY OurCrowd) I reported previously (Jan 2017) on Israel’s Intuition Robotics, and its ElliQ empathic desk lamp. Intuition has since raised tens of millions of dollars, including from Toyota and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. https://www.intuitionrobotics.com/copy-of-press-release-funding-14m

Billion-dollar prediction coming true. I reported previously in 2014 (see here) that Forbes predicted that Israel’s Kaltura was most likely to be “one of the next billion-dollar exits” thanks to its wide-ranging video solutions platform. Well guess what - Kaltura is planning a 2018 launch on NASDAQ, at a value of $1 billion.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israel, wonders of bird migration.  (TY Janglo) For those readers who have difficulty sleeping, this is a great restful video to help you relax before going to bed. https://www.youtube.com/embed/G8_kW3ILTvs?rel=0

The Master guitarist.  Legendary US guitarist, composer, singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Vai will hold a master class in Tel Aviv in March. The three-time Grammy Award winner was voted the “10th Greatest Guitarist” by Guitar World magazine, and has sold over 15 million records. It is Vai’s third visit to Israel.

Seinfeld flies in.  American comedian Jerry Seinfeld returned to Israel in December for two more shows, performing at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena.  Later that week he visited the IAF’s Ramon airbase near the Egyptian border, with a brief photo-op in front of an IAF F-16I fighter jet.

Things to do in January.  Comedian Chris Rock is performing in Tel Aviv on 8th Jan. And Jan 16-20 sees the first edition of the African Film Festival in Tel Aviv.  The second link suggests activities in Jerusalem.

World champion Thai boxer wins European championship. (TY Nevet) Four-time world champion Israeli Nili Block claimed another title, winning the gold medal at the Thai Boxing European Championships in Paris.


THE JEWISH STATE

Guatemala offers relocation help to others.  Guatemala’s foreign minister Sandra Lovel not only hopes other countries will move their embassies to Jerusalem, but she indicated her government’s readiness to help them. “We as a country are willing to support other countries who want to follow Guatemala’s example,” she said.

What goes around … Quick action by Shlomi Bergman saved the life of Gadi Rimon who was shot by a terrorist. Gadi’s mother Tamari searched in vain to thank the savior of Gadi. A year later, Shlomi’s mother Anat visited Ashdod and discovered Tamari in her grocery store. Anat then realized they had met 22 years earlier. Please don’t miss this amazing story….. https://www.youtube.com/embed/e_Om7BkH6QQ?rel=0

Clay seal of Jerusalem’s governor 2700 years ago.  A tiny clay seal impression inscribed in ancient Hebrew script, 'Belonging to the governor of the city' was found in ongoing excavations at Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza. It has been dated to 700 BCE – i.e. 2,700 years old, when the First Temple stood in Jerusalem.