Israel's Good News Newsletter to 11th Feb 18



(Currently visiting family in the UK. Next newsletter 4th March)
In the 11th Feb 18 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli 3D printers are making prosthetic limbs for amputees globally.
·         An Israeli-Ethiopian girl won X-Factor Israel.
·         An Israeli sanitation system is saving lives in India.
·         10,000 delegates attended Israel’s largest investment summit.
·         An Israeli singer takes on lead role in Broadway musical.
·         Members of the lost tribe of Menashe return to pray in Jerusalem.

·         Click here to see the 4th Feb newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Inclusive and Global and Technology. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “Bearing Fruit to Those Who Want It”.  Also on Jerusalem Post,  Israel Seen and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) translated into 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 over 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

Printing prosthetic arms for amputees. Israel’s Stratasys is teaming up with multinational 3D software company Dassault Systèmes and robotics innovator Easton LaChappelle to provide amputees with affordable, custom-made, battery-powered prosthetic limbs, created using 3D scanners for printing anywhere in the world.

British girl’s leg is saved.  I reported previously (7th Jan) that the only chance Kyra Warrell, of Brighton, UK had of saving her leg from amputation, was for surgery at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center by visiting US (Israeli-born) surgeon Dr Dror Paley. Many Israelis helped Kyra’s family and the operation was a success.

Israel marks World Cancer Day.  This video of five major Israeli cancer detection and treatments was released to mark World Cancer Day on 4th Feb. They are Velcade for multiple myeloma; IceCure; RAD51 gene research; bone marrow transplants for leukemia; and Doxil’s delivery direct to the tumor.

On the trail of the malaria virus.  I reported previously (Mar 2015) that Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists made progress countering the way the malaria virus hides its genes from the immune system. Now Weizmann Institute scientists have disabled the gene that fools the immune system into attacking decoy cells.

NHS target for Israeli digital health tech startups. British Jewish philanthropist David Dangoor is launching the UK Israel Dangoor Health Initiative. This new accelerator/hub will match a pipeline of Israeli digital-health startups with Britain’s NHS. http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/philanthropist-david-dangoor-well-pipe-israeli-health-tech-directly-into-the-nhs/

Doctors remove battery from infant’s stomach.  10-month-old Ram Jannam from the Druze/Arab town of Maghar, broke his toy telephone and swallowed the battery. Doctors at Israel’s Padeh-Poriya Medical Center in Tiberias, extracted the battery endoscopically under anesthesia.  Ram is now back home and doing well.

Israeli innovations saving lives.  Nice short video featuring some of the many Israeli life-saving and life-enhancing medical innovations.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/7wMHmKHDiJI?rel=0


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Helping kids fight cancer pain. The non-profit Kids Kicking Cancer has enlisted 15 martial arts teachers to become volunteers, helping children with cancer and other serious illnesses achieve a sense of physical and emotional well-being through free martial arts classes, counseling, and other kinds of support.

Ethiopian-Israeli wins X-Factor Israel.  Ethiopian-Israeli Eden Alene, 17, of Jerusalem, won Israel’s “X-Factor 2018.  Her performance of pop star Demi Lovato’s song “Stone Cold” went viral.  Alene, who was raised by her Orthodox Jewish single mother, sang “Human” by Christina Perri for her final performance.

Training for all.  At the non-profit Akko Center of Arts and Technology (ACAT), among the students of the Entrepreneurship in the Travel Industry course are a Druze beekeeper, a Bedouin mother and daughter who serve homemade meals in their home, and a Jewish woman with guest cabins near the Lebanon border.

Young Jerusalem Arabs are integrating. 22-year-old Ro’aa is typical of a growing number of Jerusalem Arabs. She works in a Jewish area of Western Jerusalem.  “On the Israeli side you get paid more and receive all your benefits, and if they see you are working hard you get promoted.”

No politics in Knesset backgammon tournament.  Jewish and Arab Israeli lawmakers from the coalition and opposition competed together at the Knesset (parliament) backgammon tournament. The competition was won by Oren Hazan (Likud) who ironically has been suspended from the Knesset for his bad behavior.

The weekly influx of Syrian wounded.  Operation Good Neighbor – the transportation of wounded Syrian children to Israeli hospitals – isn’t a one-off event; every week Israel receives a busload of sick kids. There is also a field clinic for non-emergencies. Read the individual stories.

Owls for Peace. (TY Irene) I reported previously (3 times) on how Israelis have convinced farmers in Israel and Jordan to use owls as a natural control of rodent pests. This article brings us up to date and suggests that the cross-border solution is even helping Israel’s relations with Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Tunisia and Morocco.

Knesset members develop Jewish-Muslim ties in Croatia. Israeli-Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Esawi Frej (Meretz) and Avraham Neguise (Likud) visited Croatia last week to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Panama gives award to United Hatzalah.  Panama’s Homefront Command has presented an award to Israeli emergency response organization United Hatzalah. The award is to honor the life-saving aid that United Hatzalah has provided to the Central American nation.

Strong ties with Greece.  Israeli President Rivlin concluded his state visit to Greece by lauding the warm relations between the two countries and the growing security cooperation, which contributes to the stability of the region. https://worldisraelnews.com/rivlin-concludes-greece-visit-praise-strong-ties-security-cooperation/

Planes from Israel may overfly Saudi Arabia. Early reports indicate that Saudi Arabia has approved Air India to cross its airspace for direct flights between New Delhi and Tel Aviv. If confirmed, it will be the first time that flights to Israel have been allowed through Saudi skies.

A cyber security superpower. Former CIA director Gen (Ret) David H. Petraeus hailed Israel as “a small country in all aspects, but it is a cyber superpower.”. He was speaking in Tel Aviv at CyberTech 2018. The 3-day event attracted 15,000 attendees from 80 countries, including 160 international delegations.

UK Defense Secretary – “Israel is a beacon of light”. (TY Hazel) Speaking to the Conservative Friends of Israel, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defense, Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson MP, praised Israel as a “beacon of light and hope, in a region where there is so much hatred and hurt”. https://cfoi.co.uk/defence-secretary-gavin-williamson-hails-amazing-relationship-with-israel-at-cfi-parliamentary-reception/


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Earthquake warning systems.  Israel is installing a tsunami warning system along its Western coast at Ashdod, Hadera and Haifa. It is also installing a 120-sensor earthquake early-warning system in the East, adjacent to the Great Rift Valley.  Both systems are expected to be operational by 2019.

Protecting trains from cyber-attack. Israeli startup Cylus is developing technology to protect railway and metro systems from cyber-attack. Its solution enables rail companies to detect cyber-attacks in their operational network (including signaling systems and rolling stocks) and block attackers before they can cause any damage.

Satellite broadband for Australia. Israel’s Gilat Satellite Networks reported that its satellite platform has been selected by NBN and Speedcast to provide broadband services to businesses and government customers across Australia, especially remote areas. The deal is worth tens of millions of dollars spread over several years.

A new sanitation system.  Israeli startup Soapy has set-up simple hygiene stations in Bagepalli, India to provide children with hand-washing facilities in rural areas and slums where there is no running water. The station takes water from the air, adds soap and dispenses the cleaning solution 24/7.

Protecting websites from hijacking. (TY WIN) Israel’s PAGESEAL blocks malicious attempts to steal customers away from retailers’ websites. https://www.youtube.com/embed/3oeL7TCFstc?rel=0


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Investment grade, with a positive outlook. Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has reaffirmed Israel’s credit rating at its third highest “investment” grade, with a positive outlook. S&P praised Israel’s prosperous and diverse economy, strong external balance sheet, and flexible monetary framework.

Currency reserves increase by $4.6 billion. Israel’s reserves of foreign currency jumped by a record $4.6 billion to a new high of $117.6 billion at the end of January, compared to the end of December.

The OurCrowd Global Investors Summit.  (TY Sharon) On 1st Feb, OurCrowd, a leading global equity crowdfunding platform, held its largest annual investor conference in Jerusalem. 10,000 attendees from over 90 countries; 1,000 startups, 500 multinationals and 500 venture capitalists. See Jon Medved’s video preview.

Tech startup is now a $2 billion giant. Israel’s Ori Allon founded Compass in 2012. It has been reshaping the real estate market in the US with its algorithm-based platform. Having sold his Orion search algorithm to Google and his Julpan social analytics company to Twitter, Ori says that he will hold onto Compass this time.

Frutarom’s 32nd takeover. Israeli flavors and fine ingredients company Frutarom has just bought Israel’s IBR (Israeli Biotechnology Research) for $21 million – Frutarom’s 32nd acquisition since 2015. IBR produces active ingredients for cosmetics and dietary supplements.

Opening a new barrel. I reported previously (twice) about Israeli startup Weissbeerger and its technology to monitor beer taps in a bar. Weissbeerger has just been acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the makers of Budweiser, Corona, and Stella Artois.

Better by design – together.  Israeli-founded home remodeling and design company Houzz has just acquired Tel Aviv-based IvyMark, a startup developing online business management tools for interior designers.

Half of Merck healthcare revenue is due to Israel.  Kai Beckmann, CEO of Performance Materials at German giant Merck, stated that Israeli innovation is behind almost half of Merck’s healthcare revenues. Merck has just opened a new technology innovation laboratory at its subsidiary, Qlight Nanotech in Jerusalem.

Honda likes Israeli startups. (TY WIN) A Honda Xcelerator representative identifies the innovative Israeli technology that Honda is seeking and cultivating.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/PMv-KhrhRqU?rel=0


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israeli gets lead road in Chicago on Broadway. (TY UWI) Israeli singer and actress Shiri Maimon is set to play the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of Chicago in September. She will follow Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields and Melanie Griffith, who have all played Roxie in the long-running Broadway hit.

Liev Schreiber gives master class at TAU.  Actor director Liev Schreiber, star of the “Ray Donovan” TV series, came to Israel to attend a friend’s wedding, enjoy some “warmer weather, good humus, and lots of fizzy bobolah!” He also gave a master class in drama at Tel Aviv University. Video is of a previous trip in 2009.

Super blue-blood moon over Jerusalem. Although I missed it, the “once in a lifetime” event of a super blue blood moon was visible from Israel. A super moon is when the moon is at its closest to the Earth. A blue moon is a second full moon in one month.  And a blood moon is an eclipse of the moon, which turns it reddish.

An Israeli boxing prodigy. 17-year-old Israeli welterweight boxer David Kaminsky has turned pro, having won 94 out of 102 amateur contests. He has been signed by veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum, founder of Top Rank, who promoted George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr and Muhammad Ali.  https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/02/02/veteran-boxing-promoter-hopes-to-hear-shofar-blown-as-israeli-fighting-prodigy-steps-into-ring/# 

Extreme female cyclist. Israel’s Noga Korem recently joined the famous GT Factory Team - a professional extreme endurance bicycle racing team in the United States. As the only woman on the “Enduro” team, Noga follows the same rigorous training and competition rules as her male counterparts.

Israel’s rowing center is making waves. In memory of potential Israeli Olympic rower Daniel Amichai Marcus, his family built the Daniel Rowing Centre on the banks of the Yarkon River. (They even widened the river.) It is a place that Israelis come to compete, heal from injuries and enjoy the beautiful sport of rowing.

More about Israel’s skeleton Olympian. Sharon (Real Jerusalem Streets) has written a feature for Israellycool about AJ Edelman – Israel’s first-ever Winter Olympics competitor in the Skeleton bobsleigh event.


THE JEWISH STATE

Na Na – it cannot be!  It’s common to see (and hear) the sub-group of Breslover Hasidim dancing and singing on Israeli streets.  But this sight of one dancing on top of a car with a Palestinian Arab is somewhat unusual. 

My choice is Israel. Fred Maroun frequently writes blogs favorably comparing Israel against Arab states. In this article he explains why although he is Arab by birth, he is Zionist by choice.

“Lost tribe” returns to pray in Jerusalem.  After their exile from Israel 2,700 years ago, members of the “lost tribe” of Bnei Menashe finally arrived in Jerusalem for an emotional, early-morning prayer service at the Western Wall.  https://unitedwithisrael.org/watch-lost-tribe-returns-to-pray-in-jerusalem/

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.