Israel's Good News Newsletter to 9th Dec 18



·         A new Israeli treatment for advanced chronic kidney disease
·         Jewish paramedics in Judea save the life of a Palestinian Arab boy.
·         Israeli system blocked several unauthorized drones at the G20 Summit.
·         A new Israeli environmentally-friendly space-rocket fuel is being developed.
·         Skoda has just partnered with its sixth Israeli tech company.
·         The number of tourists visiting Jerusalem last year rose by 38%.
·         Israeli technology has uncovered a 2,600-year-old Jewish town in Judea.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Cell-therapy for advanced kidney disease. Israeli biotech KidneyCure is developing personalized cell-therapy technology for treating advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). An estimated 30 million adults in the US have CKD (most are undiagnosed) with 600,000 on dialysis.

Non-Hodgins lymphoma treatment approved. Israel’s Teva has received US FDA approval for its Truxima treatment for several conditions of the deadly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Truxima is a bio-similar (tested low-cost alternative) to Rituxan (Rituximab) manufactured by Roche.

Good results in H. pylori treatment. Israeli biotech Redhill announced positive top-line results from its confirmatory Phase 3 study using its TALICIA treatment for H. pylori Infection. Of 455 trial participants, the antibiotic-resistant infection was eradicated completely in 85% of cases compared to 58% using an alternative.

Giving an amputee a reason to live. 72-year old Israeli Yehuda lost both legs after an infection and was considering ending his life. But when volunteers from NGO United Hatzalah’s ‘Ten Kavod’ project heard of his plight, they took him swimming in the sea and even on a yacht trip. It has totally changed his life.

Boosting Israel’s life-science powerhouse. Israeli NGO 8400 Network is building a network of 400 top Israeli health-tech brains over 8 years (hence 8400). These leaders are using the best practices of global life-sciences ecosystems to initiate projects that promote growth in the health-related industry in Israel.

EU award for cancer breath-test inventor. Israel Technion Professor Hossam Haick (see here) received the European Commission Innovation Prize in Lisbon for inventing the SniffPhone, a smartphone device to detect cancer in the breath. He was “the most innovative scientist realizing an idea in the field of electronic systems”.

Nursing training for Ethiopian-Israelis. Israeli NGO JobKatif has established Achotenu - a program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital, for Ethiopian-Israelis to earn a degree in nursing and long-term employment. The current program has 58 students including those in this inspiring video.

Israeli leads the cardiovascular world. (TY Hazel) Israel is number one in the world for medical patents per capita. These patents have led to numerous revolutionary cardiovascular procedures and devices. E.g. aortic valve replacement, mitral valve repair, tiny pacemakers, heart monitoring chips and especially stents.

Charity’s 3,000th transplant. Israeli charity Ezer Mizion is celebrating the 3,000-milestone for the number of life-saving stem-cell transplants performed as a direct result of its bone-marrow registry. Prior to Ezer Mizion, chances of a Jewish patient finding a genetic match was 8%. Now, 76% of requests receive a positive response.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Hi-tech training for Negev Arabs and Jews.  Founded in 2009, Israeli NGO A New Dawn in the Negev improves quality of life for Israel’s Bedouin community. Its Tech2Peace program in Yeruham trained 30 young men and women (15 Israeli Arabs and 15 Jews) in software development, graphic design and 3D printing.

Israeli-Druze woman is Public Broadcaster’s TV News anchor. (TY Hazel) Israeli-Druze Gadeer Mreeh is the first non-Jewish woman to anchor the Hebrew news at the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation. A mother of two, she has a BA from Bar-Ilan University and a master’s in international relations from Haifa University.

Israeli Arab “is privileged” to serve in the IDF. (TY Hazel) “T” - a 19-year-old Israeli Arab from the Jerusalem area joined the IDF Border Police and completed basic training. The teenager says it's "a privilege to serve my country,” Following T.'s decision to enlist, three of his close friends decided to follow his footsteps.

Palestinian Arab boy’s life saved. (TY Avi) Efrat is a Judean town situated between Bethlehem and Hebron. Arab residents from neighboring Wadi Nis brought to Efrat a boy from their village who was seriously hurt in a fall from his second-floor balcony. Efrat’s Jewish paramedics provided advanced treatment, saving his life.

Co-existence projects in the Jordan Valley. Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry has partnered the Jordan Valley Regional Council to promote agricultural cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian Arab communities. Head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, David Elhayani tells more.  

Haifa welcomes European navy ships. Haifa port, on Israel’s northern coast, often hosts ships from allied naval forces. On 28th November, a French navy vessel docked at the port and it is shortly to be joined by ships from Italy, Spain and Britain. https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/189754-181128-exclusive-french-warship-docks-in-israel-to-be-joined-by-italy-britain-spain

Latino Christian Zionists in LA. (TY IsraPundit) Latino evangelicals from Southern California gathered at the Igelsia Evangelica Latina church in Los Angeles for a special event honoring the State of Israel. The event was also attended by local Jewish community leaders and a representative of the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles.

UN adopts Israel’s national rescue team. Israel’s Home Front Command National Rescue Unit has joined the prestigious “INSARAG" - a United Nations body that centralizes rescue units from around the world to coordinate, optimize and utilize rescue operations in disaster-stricken areas and save lives.

Drones neutralized at G20 Summit. Last week (see here) I wrote that Israel provided security for the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. In fact, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary ELTA, deployed its Drone Guard detection system and successfully blocked several suspicious drones from flying towards the global leaders.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Making Tel Aviv bloom – with sheep! Ecologist Liav Shalem has deployed Asaf Gal to graze his herd of sheep in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon River Park as a pilot project to rehabilitate 52 patches of undeveloped nature in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Grazing restores the natural ecological balance, promoting the growth of flowers.

Training migrants in computer skills. We frequently hear bad news about Tel Aviv’s asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea. In contrast, this initiative of Israeli NGO African Refugee Development Center and the Developer Institute is to teach some of them coding skills and integrate them into the Israeli hi-tech sector.

Card games to teach innovation. Israeli start-up Innovations Nations Games (TING) has developed a learning ‘Toolkit’ in the form of card games to help develop innovative and creative thinking skills. Players brainstorm ideas for new innovative ventures or solutions for existing challenges.

Wireless charging anywhere you want it. I reported previously (17th June) on Israel’s Humavox and its smart recharging technology. It is now promising to turn everyday places (e.g. handbags, briefcases, drawers, even toy boxes) into wireless battery chargers.  https://www.israel21c.org/wireless-charging-anywhere-you-want-it/

Israeli agricultural conference in Vietnam.  (TY Nevet) The Israeli embassy in Vietnam held a conference on hi-tech agriculture to help Vietnamese farmers. Vice Chairman of Ha Noi People’s Committee Nguyen Doan Toan praised Israel and anticipated Israeli companies would help the city develop its hi-tech agriculture sector.

Whatever happened to Iron Beam? I reported previously (26th Jan) on the laser beam system to stop short-rage mortars. The project was stopped to give priority to Iron Dome. But now Israel Aerospace Industries is “at a very advanced stage,” in its development and “successful experiments have already been carried out".

Gel propulsion. Israeli startup NewRocket is developing gel propulsion – a cheaper, more environmentally friendly rocket-engine technology offering the same level of performance and control as toxic “legacy fuel” and a better solution for smaller satellites. The technology was invented by Prof. Benny Natan of Israel’s Technion.

Facing threats full in the face. I’ve reported on many Israeli startups (see here) that have developed innovative face-recognition technology. Israel’s AnyVision uses artificial intelligence (AI) to perform real-time forensic analysis of video images for pro-active threat intervention. Investors include Qualcomm and Bosch.

Developing cybersecurity with Japan. Israel’s (female) ambassador to Japan Yaffa Ben-Ari and Japan’s Minister of the Interior and Communications Masatoshi Ishida signed an accord in Tokyo to cooperate in research and development, information exchange, and training programs in the field of cybersecurity.  

Two global game-changers. New York-based data company CB Insights named two Israeli startups in its 2019 Game Changers report of 36 international fast-growing firms that are changing the world. I reported (see here) on connected car startup Autotalks and AdVerif.ai uses AI to keep users safe from spam and malicious content.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel is a hot spot for tourism. (TY WIN & I24 News) Having broken the all-time record for tourist numbers to Israel, the Israel Hotel Investment Summit some of the top world hoteliers have come to Israel and are ready to invest.  In particular, the number of tourists visiting Jerusalem rose by 38% in the past year.

Salary growth declines, except in Israel. The Global Wage Report 2018/19 finds that the world’s average wage growth slowed in 2017 compared with 2016 and is considered the lowest rate since 2008. But in Israel, the average real wage has increased every year since 2013 when the rise was 1.4%. In 2017 wages rose 3%.

Direct flights to Vietnam. Vietnam Airlines has announced that it will start direct flights, twice-a-week, from Hanoi to Tel Aviv from Sep 2019. Vietnam Airlines CEO Thanh Tri Duong was reportedly in Israel in November for meetings on the new operation. He also signed a code-sharing agreement with El Al.

Israeli security and water for UN African Peacekeepers. The United Nations has signed an $8 million agreement Israel’s MER for defense sensors in Africa where 61 peacekeepers were killed last year. In addition, Israeli water treatment technology company Odis has won a UN tender worth $42 million.

Radar protection for South Korea. (TY WIN) ELTA Systems Ltd., a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), has won a deal reported to be worth $292 million to supply two long-range warning systems to South Korea. The mobile, ground-based Green Pine radar systems detect and track long-range missiles.

Skoda accelerates in Israel. Czech car-maker Skoda has revealed that it is working with two Israel-based startups - Chakratec and UVeye and already testing their technologies. Skoda started seeking Israeli innovation in 2017 and has already partnered with Israel’s Anagog, XM Cyber, Guardian, and Otonomo.

Keeping Chinese eyes on the road. New regulations come into force in Shenzhen, China in 2019 that require all heavy trucks to have driver monitoring systems. So, China’s Exsun has partnered with Israel-based motion recognition startup EyeSight Technologies to integrate its systems with Exsun’s truck fleet management tools.

German firm acquired for $100 million. Israeli companies don’t exit as much as they did a few years ago., Israeli gaming giant Playtika has just bought out its German rival Wooga (makers of puzzles) for $100 million. Playtika’s annual revenue following the acquisition will surpass $1 billion.  No small shakes!

Moving from Cloud to Cloud to IBM. Israeli startup NooBaa’s technology makes it easy for companies to move data from one Cloud location to another or manage it in multiple locations as if in a single coherent data set. Anyway, NooBaa’s software is so good that Red Hat Inc (owned by IBM) just had to buy the company.

Free cybersecurity for the hotel industry. Israeli cybersecurity startup ITsMine is to provide its AI-based Data Loss Prevention solution free of charge to the worldwide hotel industry through the end of 2019. It follows Marriott hotel’s recent data breach that exposed the financial data of approximately 500 million guests.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

ArtBnB in Jerusalem. No, not a spelling mistake. Project ArtBnB brings 21 artists from 17 countries to “live and create” in one of three Jerusalem cultural centers. They will be guested by 21 local artists from Dec 9 – 20, culminating in an exhibition to showcase their works in the fields of cinema, theater and photography.

Moses led Romanian Jews to the Promised Land. “Bucharest Diary: Romania’s Journey from Darkness to Light” is a new book by 89-year-old American Alfred Moses. In it, he recounts his 13-years work from 1976, bringing thousands of Jews to Israel from Communist Romania.

Israeli wine wins International double-gold. Israel’s Tom Winery won "Best Winery" in the boutique winery category, plus the top "Double Gold" award for their "Cabernet Franc 2016" in the "Terra Vino" international wine competition in Ashdod. 30 international judges tasted and graded 500 wines from all over the world.

Shark observation center opens. Every winter, about 20 to 30 dusky and sandbar sharks come to enjoy basking in the pure warm waters surrounding Israel’s Orot Rabin power plant in Hadera. From Dec to Apr, visitors can watch them and learn about sharks at the new information and shark observation station.

New Tel Aviv bike trails. I reported previously (24th July) on Tel Aviv’s many bike pathways and how easy it is to rent a bike. Now, Tel Aviv’s Mayor Ron Huldai has just inaugurated the first section of a new 110-kilometer network of bicycle trails that “will turn Tel Aviv into the Amsterdam of the Middle East”.


THE JEWISH STATE

Jerusalem’s Yemenite synagogue. In 1885, Jews from Yemen built a synagogue in the village of Shiloah (Silwan), right outside Jerusalem's Old City. The British evacuated the Jews during the 1936-9 Arab riots and the Jordanian army destroyed the synagogue in 1948. It is now being rebuilt and discoveries are being made.

Kosovo would move its embassy to Jerusalem – if it had one! Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaci, said that were his country to have an embassy in Israel, he would put it in Jerusalem. Israel and Kosovo (a majority Muslim country) have warm relations but currently do not have formal diplomatic ties.

Technology reveals ancient Judean village. Over 2600 years old, the vanished village of Beit Lehi-Beit Loya is re-emerging, southwest of Jerusalem. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology and a 360-degree UVU drone-mounted 4K camera have revealed 20% of the village and some amazing remains. Visit it on-line.

Local evidence of Babylonian exile. Just north of Netanya, Israel, a cuneiform tablet has been discovered documenting the sale of slaves, in the Biblical Land of Israel. The Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) fell to the Assyrians around 722 BCE and the ten northern Tribes of Israel were exiled as slaves to Babylon.

Ancient mask connects Israel to birth of civilization. Israeli archaeologists discovered a Neolithic 9,000-year-old stone mask - one of only 15 in the world - at Pnei Hever in Judea. Experts link stone masks to the transition from hunting and gathering into a domestic farming economy with ritual-religious activities.

Helping French Jews settle in. Israel’s Ministry of Education has launched “Feel at Home” – a program specific to the needs of young Olim from France. It aims to increase and ease their integration into Israeli society with after-school activities for children, projects promoting leadership and study enrichment centers.

World’s largest Hanukah menorah is now in Jerusalem. The world’s biggest Hanukah menorah (Hanukiyah) has been erected on top of the Hadar Mall in Jerusalem. At 11 meters tall and 56 meters wide, it can be seen from any outside location in the capital. The previous record (candle) holder was in New York City.

Or Gadol – a great light.  (TY Leonie) Recorded last year, but appropriate for Chanukah - the Jewish festival of lights. Israel’s Koolulam gathered hundreds of people in Jerusalem for a few hours just to sing together. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak79axDkIEw