History of Israel's Good News Jan to Mar 2020


200216
In the 16th Feb 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists have developed electrical fields to control single bacteria cells.
·         Israel’s Olympic cycling team includes a Moroccan Arab.
·         Israeli scientists extract Hydrogen from water using only sunlight.
·         An Israeli company brings old photos to life.
·         As one Israeli startup is valued at $1.1 billion, another exits for $1.9 billion.
·         Tel Aviv hosted a huge vegan culinary education event for chefs.
·         A 2000-year-old entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City is re-opened.
·         On the Jewish New Year for Trees, Israel is blossoming.

·         Click here to see the 9th February newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours and United With Israel.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also, Hebrew translation of articles in 9th Feb newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of nearly 16,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Breakthrough in nanomedicine. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed a microbiological technique to generate electrical fields that can manipulate individual bacteria cells. They can then introduce chemicals or DNA into a single cell, either for speeding up treatment testing or improving diagnostic tests.

Decoding your brain signals. Israeli-founded startup Arctop is developing AI-based software called Neuos, which algorithms to decode emotion, attention, and memory from biosensor feeds of human brain signals. It opens a whole new world of possibilities for communication, health, training, entertainment and much more.

Telemedicine to treat coronavirus patients. (TY JNS) Israel’s Sheba Medical Center can treat potential coronavirus patients without risking the health of hospital staff and other patients. A remote-controlled robot enters the infected patient’s room and monitors the patient’s vital signs using a telemedicine app called Datos.

Joined-up cancer research and treatment. Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center and Hala - The Rachel Nash Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic have joined forces in multinational research studies in the field of early detection of breast cancer. Hadassah will also serve as the main hospital for the treatment of all Hala patients.

Monitoring kidney damage in hospital. (TY Atid-EDI) Serenno Medical has launched Sentinel - a device for automatic continuous monitoring and detection of kidney damage (AKI) in hospitalized patients. Monitoring of kidney function in ICU is intermittent and injury is detected late, leading to life-threatening conditions.

Bringing early detection home. The amazing story of Yehudit Abrams, inventor of the MonitHer device for home breast cancer monitoring. Yehudit was born a Quaker, discovered Judaism and converted. She became a doctor, worked in Third World countries and then NASA. She invented the MonitHer after her cousin died.

Jewish first responder saves his Arab neighbor. (TY UWI) Josh, a Jewish volunteer for emergency service United Hatzalah, saved the life of Munir - his Muslim next-door neighbor. Munir had been stabbed during an argument with other Arabs in Ma’ale Hazetim, a predominantly Moslem neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Lior Suchard has all the right numbers. Having previously raised funds only in the UK, the charity umbrella organization myIsrael (reported here previously) has now launched in the Jewish State. Its opening event brought star Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard to amaze the spellbound audience with his mind-reading act.

At risk kids run Miami marathon. Eleven members of the Emunah Bet Elazraki Children’s Home in Netanya took part in the recent Miami marathon.  They raised funds for various projects at the Home, where more than 170 at-risk children live.  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/275765   

Helping parents fight their children’s cancer. Israeli Oded Grinstein’s struggle to find information about his daughter’s cancer inspired him to found MyChild’sCancer (MCC) It helps 40-50 families each year resolve issues from access to experts and clinical trials to translations and negotiating bills and insurance claims.

A woman wins Israel Prize for Talmud Studies. Tel Aviv University Professor Vered Noam has become the first woman to be awarded the Israel Prize for Talmudic Studies to be awarded on Independence Day. Talmud (Oral Law) study, traditionally men only, has been more popular with women over the past several decades.

Head of MBA for AI and big data at IDC. Interesting article about Hagit Perry, the first female to join the elite IDF 8200 cyber defense unit. Following a PhD from Berkeley’s school of business, she now heads the MBA program for artificial intelligence and big data at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Muslim Arab joins Israeli Olympic cycling team. Chokri Elmehdi, an Arab Muslim from Morocco, has joined the Israel Start-Up Nation cycling team (see here) that will compete in the 2020 Tour de France. Chokru joins seven Israelis and five others from Canada, Eritrea, Australia, Colombia, and the Czech Republic.    

Judoka friends for life. Israeli judoka Sagi embraced former Iranian champion Saeid Mollaei, who fled to Berlin after the Iranian government ordered him to lose bouts to avoid competing against Israelis. “Friend for life!!!” reads the caption to Muki’s Instagram photo. “Tag Israel and Iran people for peace!” he urged

Cyber security for Tokyo Olympics. Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), has signed an agreement with a leading (unnamed) energy utility in Japan to help it secure infrastructure against cyberattacks during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. IEC has developed software and hardware to protect the energy industry from cyberattacks.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Turning carbon waste into gas for energy. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a technology to turn carbon-containing waste into gas, including hydrogen and methane that can be burnt to produce energy. The process involves heated and pressurized water that decomposes organic matter.

Hydrogen from water and solar energy. Researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have developed the world’s first (prototype) system for the efficient and safe production of hydrogen using only solar energy. https://www.technion.ac.il/en/2020/01/water-sun-hydrogen/

The 4th industrial revolution. Israel’s II4 (Israel Industry 4) Week 2020 at Expo Tel Aviv (Feb 24 – 27) is one of the world’s largest industrial innovation technology conferences. Delegates from 15 countries will hear the latest advances in automation, AI, IoT, cloud computing etc. that are revolutionizing industrial production.

Giving AI power to memory. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have partnered with Israel’s TowerJazz to develop technology for adapting flash memory to the artificial intelligence era. It transforms digital hardware into a platform resembling the human brain - capable of performing millions of simultaneous processes.

Microgrids for more efficient energy. Israel’s Brightmerge has developed artificial intelligence algorithms to help countries and cities move to decentralized “microgrids.” They are less expensive and more sustainable than a single electricity supply grid. They also reduce carbon emissions and are more resilient to power-outages.

A Global AI energy company. Israeli-founded Grid4C (reported here previously) has been selected as one of five leading AI companies in the Energy Market among ABB, Siemens, GE, and IBM in "Global AI in Energy Market Analysis and Forecast 2019-2025" report by CMFE Insights. It also raised $6 million in funds.

Making sensitive data invisible. Researchers from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University have developed the first all-optical “stealth” encryption technology. It uses fiber-optic light transmissions to secure cloud computing and data center network transmission. It works on the principle that if you can’t detect it, you can’t steal it.

App turns B&W photos into color. Israeli family tree software company MyHeritage has launched a groundbreaking feature to automatically colorize black and white photos. It brings family pictures to life and helps relate more personally to events and people from times gone by. See the youtube to watch the process.

Where is the bus stop? Israel’s Moovit has launched Way Finder, an augmented reality feature that adds digital directions, icons, and notifications to live camera view to help users locate correct bus stops and subway stations. It was in response to a user who said he was waiting for the bus on the wrong side of the street.

Drone dome tests are 100% successful. (TY WIN) Israeli defense technology company Rafael’s Counter – Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) protects airports and critical infrastructure against malicious drones. Recent testing has resulted in 100% success in all scenarios.

Seedless lemons. (TY UWI) At Israel’s annual Citrus Conference, the Ministry of Agriculture presented seven new citrus varieties including the seedless Ayelet lemon. Other varieties included Einat (white pomelo / red grapefruit) and Aliza (mandarin / red pomelo) – both seedless.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

UK and Israel discuss free-trade zone. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his British counterpart Boris Johnson have agreed to begin talks on establishing a free trade zone between Israel and the UK. Israel was the first country in the world to sign a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK (see here).

Fifty startups head for Berlin. WeTech Berlin 2020 (Feb 26 – 27) is an exclusive innovation conference hosted by CTech and Calcalist. Fifty Israeli startups will showcase technologies and meet with local investors and strategic partners in European and German corporations. (All 50 startups are listed in the following link)

Axis Tel Aviv Conference. Conferences do not have to be big to be successful. Axis Tel Aviv is limited to 250 decision makers and international investors - many visiting Israel for the first time. Israeli startups pitching to investors include in the fields of mobility, media and telecommunications, fintech, insurtech, and commerce.

Israeli freelancers earn double the global average. A survey by Israeli-founded Payoneer reveals that the $42 average hourly wage of Israeli freelance workers is nearly double that of their counterparts in other countries. 7,000 freelance workers in 150 countries were surveyed.

Maryland delegation seeks Israeli entrepreneurs. Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford recently visited Israel as the head of a delegation of state employees and Maryland-based businesses. His aim was to encourage Israeli companies and entrepreneurs looking to enter the US market, that Maryland is the ideal partner.

Sisense becomes a Unicorn. Israeli business intelligence company Sisense (reported here previously) has just raised $100 million from US-based VC and private equity firm Insight Partners. It gives Sisense a valuation of $1.1 billion dollars – joining the “club” of over 20 other Israel companies with “Unicorn” financial status.

Forescout exits for $1.9 billion. Israeli-founded cybersecurity company ForeScout was reported here in Nov 2018 when it paid $113 million for a US-Dutch company. Now Forescout itself has been bought by US-based Advent International for $1.9 billion, eclipsing the $1.1 billion (see here) that Insight paid for Israel’s Armis.

Milan Fashion Week for 21-year-old. Israel’s Maya Reik, fashion designer and founder of Marei1998 is debuting her Faux Fur at Milan's fashion week - at the age of 21.  Maya left school at 14 and studied fashion. Entrepreneurial skills run in her family. Her father sold his shipping business to DHL for $100 million.

Brewing up a secure partnership. The world’s largest beer company AB InBev has signed a partnership agreement with Israeli cybersecurity startup foundry Team8, which will liaise between Israeli cyber companies and AB InBev. In June, AB InBev established a cybersecurity-focused hub in Tel Aviv.

Innoviz partners Shaanxi for autonomous trucks. As part of the global expansion of Israel’s Innoviz and its all-seeing LiDAR sensors (reported here previously) , it has now partnered with China truck manufacturer Shaanxi to deploy up to 600 autonomous trucks in Xi’an, one of the biggest ports in China.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`

British synagogues on display in Tel Aviv. British artist Beverley-Jane Stewart is currently exhibiting her collection of paintings at Tel Aviv University’s Cimbalista Jewish Heritage Center until 20th Feb. “Halls of Prayer, The Spirit of British Jews” includes synagogues in London’s East End, Central London and elsewhere.

Lenny Ravich at Center Stage. Humor “expert” Lenny Ravich performs “Dance Life…Don’t Drag It” on 25th Feb at Center Stage - the new theater for English Speaking audiences in Raanana. Lenny’s hilarious journey touches on relationships, family, education and health. Lenny is director of the Gestalt Institute of Israel.

A thousand vegan chefs. Israel’s Vegan-Friendly and the nonprofit Meatless Monday held a culinary innovation conference at Tel Aviv Port to showcase vegetarian and vegan food trends and developments to over 1000 chefs, catering companies, restaurateurs and food service professionals in Israel.

Enjoy the tastes of Israel. Here are just some of the food and drink events and festivals in Israel that you may wish to partake of / in during 2020.  They include Tel Aviv Eat, Vegan Fest, Jerusalem Wine Festival, Jerusalem Beer Festival and Tel Aviv Cocktail Week.

SodaStream at the Super Bowl. Israel’s SodaStream aired a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl. It featured US scientist Bill Nye and 18-year-old US astronaut-in-training Alyssa Carson. It portrays water being found on Mars, but another astronaut mistakenly puts it in a SodaStream system and drinks it.

Haredi woman wins Miami half-marathon. Haredi orthodox Israeli mother of five, Beatie Deutsch (reported here previously) won the Miami women’s half-marathon race, beating over 20,000 other runners. She is training to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, but she will not compete as the Marathon is scheduled for a Shabbat.

Longest journey on a scooter. (TY Nevet) Israel’s Yonatan Belik and his American friend Mike Reid have just completed a tour of the 48 contiguous US states on 50cc scooters. It earned them the title of Guinness World Record holders for the “Longest journey on a 50cc scooter.”


THE JEWISH STATE

Ancient Old City gate re-opened in Jerusalem. (TY Arutz Sheva & ILTV) After 2000 years, Israel has re-opened an entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, previously discovered in the 1930s. Buried underneath the Damascus Gate, the entrance and plaza were used by the Romans when they ruled Judea.

Kirk Douglas – great supporter of Israel. (TY TPS) Actor Kirk Douglas, who passed away last week at the age of 103, portrayed US Colonel Mickey Marcus in the movie Cast a Giant Shadow.” His donations to Israel included the Kirk Douglas Theater near the Western Wall and many Jerusalem playgrounds.

World’s smartest child wants to study in Israel. 9-year-old Belgian Laurent Simons has a degree in electrical engineering and an IQ of 147. Although not Jewish, he and his family have just asked Emmanual Nahshon, Israeli Ambassador in Brussels, for help so he can study biotechnology, medicine, and bioengineering in Israel.

Hana reclaims her roots after 500 years. Portuguese Ana discovered her Jewish roots after meeting Israelis in Nepal and then visiting Israel. She then understood the reason for her family’s strange traditions as a descendant of Anusim – Jews forced to convert to Catholicism. Now as Hannah Eyal, she shares her story all over Israel.

Survivor returns to Kotel plaza he helped clear in 1967. From 1948 - 67 the Jordanians blocked access to the Kotel (Western Wall) and banned Jews. After the Six-Day War, Shoah survivor Eliyahu helped turn the Kotel plaza into an open space for all. 52 years later, Israeli NGO Ezer Mizion fulfilled Eliyahu’s wish to see it again.

Ukrainian Olim land on International Holocaust Day. (TY Algemeiner) 184 new immigrants (Olim) made Aliyah from Ukraine on Jan. 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. They landed in Israel on six separate flights financed by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Four hundred more Ethiopian Israelis. (TY UWI) The Israeli cabinet has approved the next wave of 400 Ethiopian Aliyah – immigration to Israel. These Falash Mura (forced converts to Christianity) maintained their connection to Judaism in Ethiopia and their hopes of coming to Israel. Many have relatives in the Jewish State.

US Ambassador plants tree at US embassy. On the Jewish festival of Tu BiShvat (New Year for Trees), US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman planted an olive tree (a symbol of peace) at the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  And (TY Sharon) for photos and descriptions of how Tu Bishvat was celebrated in Jerusalem.


200209
In the 9th Feb 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         A new treatment may be a future cure for Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
·         Microsoft Israel is developing an app to help patients find clinical trials.
·         WIZO celebrates a century of support for Israel.
·         Major upgrade in Israel’s relations with Uganda, Sudan and Bolivia.
·         Boeing adopts innovative Israeli vertical-takeoff technology.
·         Successful bond issue is a vote of confidence in Israeli economy.
·         Site of ancient Jewish worship discovered near Jerusalem.

·         Click here to see the 2nd February newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours and United With Israel with extra feature on Economy & Business with 1,200 shares.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also, Hebrew translation of articles in 2nd Feb newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of nearly 16,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Inhibiting an enzyme may cure Alzheimer’s. Israel’s ProteKt Therapeutics is developing a treatment for early stage Alzheimer’s disease. It inhibits the PKR enzyme that is over-expressed in Alzheimer’s patients and may slow or even reverse the progress of the disease. It also has potential for ALS, Huntington and Parkinson’s.

Orphan status for pancreatic cancer treatment. (TY Atid-EDI) The European Commission has just granted Orphan drug status to the BL-8040 (Motixafortide) pancreatic cancer treatment from Israel’s BioLineRX (see here). BioLineRX can now receive benefits including EU funding, less regulation, and market exclusivity.

HealthTECH World Cancer Day. Tel Aviv University represented Israel on World Cancer day as one of five European cities simultaneously broadcasting news of the latest technological developments in cancer diagnosis and treatment. The event was sponsored by the NOBEL Project, which is revolutionizing healthcare in Europe.

Sheba’s partners Berlin AI for cancer R&D. (TY Atid-EDI) Berlin’s caresyntax, has launched an R&D partnership with the ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) complex at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. They will use Artificial Intelligence to develop algorithms for predicting outcomes for cancer treatment procedures.

US approves complete AI stroke detection package. (TY Atid-EDI) The US FDA previously approved the brain scan software from Israel’s Aidoc (Oct 2018),. It has now approved all four of Aidoc’s AI products, so its comprehensive package can quickly identify and triage both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke in CT scans.

Accelerating regenerative medicine. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s CollPlant is partnering with US-based 3D Systems to spur breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. It brings together top 3D-printing technology with Collprint’s bioink technology for 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs.

Space medical research with Italy. (TY WIN) Israel and Italy are to launch a satellite in March, on which medical research will be conducted in zero gravity. The mission involves Israel’s SpacePharma (see here), Israel’s Technion, Sheba hospital, the Hebrew University and the Israeli and Italian space agencies.

Body on a chip. (TY David F) A team of over 50 researchers at Harvard University and Tel Aviv University (TAU) have successfully built human “organs-on-chips” that aim to speed up trials of new treatments. They have linked 10 chips together to form a “functional human Body-on-Chips platform”.

Microsoft Israel gives patients hope. As reported previously (Feb 2019) Microsoft’s Israeli R&D team developed the Microsoft Healthcare AI virtual medical assistant. Team leader Hadas Bitran describes the project. They are now working on the New Hope project to match patients with clinical trials around the globe.

The first Hasid to graduate from Israeli med school. Dr. Yehuda Sabiner is the first Israeli-born Haredi to graduate from medical school. A member of the Gerrer Hasidic sect, Yehuda enrolled at Israel’s Technion, graduated and will intern at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. 35 Haredim are now following in his footsteps.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

House of Wheels – equal among equal. The six centers of Israeli charity House of Wheels are home to a socially inclusive environment where 500 children, youth and young adults with disabilities (Jews, Arabs, Bedouins, Christians, Muslims, and Druze) can reach their full potential. A very moving video.

Youth of Light. The Patrizio Paoletti Association in Israel has established “Youth of Light” projects for youth at risk from all sectors of Israeli society. They make candles from recycled wax at three sites. Some 120 teens are employed per year, helping them develop into well-adjusted adults. Israel Venture Network is a key partner.

100 years of caring for Israel. The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) has just celebrated a century of caring for the disadvantaged in Israel. More than 1,000 women representing Jewish communities from 40 countries attended its conference, held festive events and visited many of WIZO’s projects in Israel.

Israel picks Ethiopian-Israeli for 2020 Eurovision. Jerusalem’s Eden Alene is first Ethiopian-Israeli to represent Israel at the Eurovision song contest. She won Israel’s Hakohav Haba (The Next Star). Her diverse background includes religious and secular schools plus singing in a Jewish and Arab choir.

Texas Governor scouts for Israeli tech. Texas Governor Greg Abbott headed an economic development mission to Israel to develop new and existing partnerships with Israeli entrepreneurs in the cybersecurity, energy, and health sectors. They visited Startup Nation Central and Sheba Medical Center.

Upgrading ties with Uganda and Sudan. (TY UWI) Israeli PM Netanyahu made a one-day trip to Uganda where he and President Yoweri Museveni discussed opening an embassy in Jerusalem. During the visit he also met with the transitional leader of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who was keen to improve ties with Israel.

Relations restored with Bolivia. (TY UWI & TPS) For the first time in 14 years, an Israeli Foreign Ministry delegation met with senior Bolivian government officials in La Paz for talks following the resumption of relations between the countries two months ago. Both sides agreed on various areas for cooperation.

Protective kits for Chabad in China. Israeli medical organization Magen David Adom is sending items of equipment to China's 14 Chabad Houses to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus. They include 2,000 masks and 200 full protection kits each containing special suits, masks, glasses, shoes and hats covers.

Matching volunteers to causes. Israeli startup GivingWay matches volunteers with non-profits desperately needing the help. GivingWay now has 4,000 vetted nonprofits in 123 countries on its platform, connecting with thousands of volunteers worldwide. 50% of volunteers work from home, e.g. building websites for the charity.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Two new gas power plants. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel is to build two power units at Hadera by 2022, to be operated solely with natural gas. The units will supply 1,200 megawatts of power, replacing four coal-fired production units as part of Israel’s plan to eliminate coal usage by 2025 and improve air quality.

Boeing partnership for vertical takeoff tech. US giant Boeing has signed an agreement with Israel’s Tactical Robotics to explore, develop, produce and market Fancraft-based VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) products. Tactical Robotics has been developing the Cormarant unmanned airborne vehicle (see here).

OrCam’s new products. As reported previously (12th Jan), Israel’s OrCam wowed delegates at CES 2020 with OrCam Hear and a new MyEye2. It also showcased OrCam Read - that vocalizes printed or digital texts in real time. And OrCam MyMe – a wearable that uses facial recognition to identify someone to a blind person.

Security risks from suspect cars. (TY UWI & I24 News) Israeli-founded Quest Solution Inc has developed AI-based vehicle recognition and fast proactive database retrieval and analysis to identify security risks. It provides alerts to prevent terrorist incidents - protecting critical infrastructure, schools and more.

What is real?  Some readers may be concerned that the latest Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and smart image editing could result in a world of fake videos.  Fortunately, Israel’s Cyabra has developed technology that detects expertly doctored videos as well as bots (cyber robots) powering fake social-media profiles.

Control your IoT devices globally. Israel’s London-based FloLive offers a cloud-based IoT connectivity service that enables companies in the IoT industry to deploy, manage, and operate their IoT devices from anywhere in the world. It has just raised $21.5 million to help it expand in Europe, Asia and North America.

Making streetlights smart. Israeli startup ACiiST converts streetlights into a connected, data-gathering network. ACiiST’s black boxes, roughly the size of two iPhones, attach to existing lampposts. They contain hardware and software that can be used to connect with cameras, closed-circuit television, sensors, and wifi.

Electric car charging for US & Canada. One of the joint US-Israel BIRD Foundation-funded energy projects reported recently (see here) is the one partnering Israel’s Chakratec with Blink Charging.  Chakratec’s unique “kinetic storage” technology will improve the performance of Blink’s charging stations in rural areas.

Turning novice support staff into experts. Israeli-founded Aquant Technologies develops an AI-driven Service Intelligence Platform that provides all customer service employees with access to a company’s knowledgebase (information library). It generates a neural network that maps problems to the right solutions.

Training students to protect crops. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli-founded ADAMA and Tel Aviv University have launched a unique research and teaching program. It is anticipated to help combat crop disease, enhance yields and food supply, while requiring less chemicals, thus protecting the environment and the food chain.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Huge demand for Israeli bonds. Israel has raised a record $3 billion in foreign debt at the lowest-ever rate for an Israeli offering. Demand reached an all-time high, from over 40 countries including the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Hong Kong. It reflected confidence among the world's largest investors in Israel's economy.

Powering NYC’s International fintech center. Israeli startups underpin New York City’s fintech ecosystem. Now, Jerusalem’s JVP and NYC’s Economic Development Corporation have launched the $100 million International NYC Cyber Center. (At the launch actress Gwyneth Paltrow said, “Next Year in Jerusalem”!)

New Sun d’Or summer destinations. El Al subsidiary Sun d’Or is launching three new seasonal routes from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. The new routes are to Romanian city of Cluj, starting May 2020; to Paphos, Cyprus, starting in June; and to Verona, Italy from July. The routes will then operate until the end of October.

Building UAVs with India. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is partnering with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and Dynamatic Technologies (DTL). IAI will share drone technologies and promote the production of Indian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Tel Aviv – London innovation partnership. Tel Aviv-headquartered startup network SOSA has partnered with London innovation center Plexal. SOSA combines an investor network with a corporate innovation hub operating from centers in Tel Aviv and New York City.  It already has 250 partners in 10 countries.

SodaStream targets China’s market. SodaStream’s new CEO, Eyal Shohat, is planning to launch in China in 2021. SodaStream is Israeli’s largest civil employer of Bedouin women, prisoners, Ethiopian-Israelis and Palestinian Arabs. It is currently preventing millions of bottles of plastic waste every year.

SAP identifies with Israeli startup. German multinational software firm SAP has invested in Israeli startup PlainID, a maker of software that enables single authorizations. PlainID’s products protect the digital assets of users of SAP’s Customer Data Cloud platform by securing cloud, mobile, and other applications.

Hyundai backs Israeli speech-tech startup. The Hyundai Motor Company has led a seed-funding round into Israeli startup Kardome Technology. Kardome develops a multi-user speech to text algorithm that focuses in on a person’s individual voice, filtering out background noise in acoustically challenging environments.

Cisco backs Israeli testing startup. Computer giant Cisco has led an $8.6 million funding round in Israel’s SeaLights Technologies. SeaLights offers a cloud-based software testing automation service designed to identify and prevent untested code changes. The company lists Dell as one of its customers.

Tnuva links up to IoT startup.  Israeli-based Tnuva (owned by China’s Bright Foods) has partnered with Israel’s Seebo (see here) to help it adopt AI and IoT (Internet of Things) technology. Seebo turns existing machinery into smart, connected systems, which Tnuva believes can revolutionize the dairy industry.

Intel Israel has a great year. Israel’s largest multinational, Intel, exported $6.6 billion of Israeli products in 2019 – a huge 70% increase on its $3.9 billion in 2018. Much was due to its new Kiryat Gat factory reaching full production. Intel now has some 13,700 employees in Israel, including 900 who work for Mobileye.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`

Free books for children. Food giant McDonalds in Israel is giving away free reading books to children when they or their parents buy Happy Meals. “The Everforest Twins: Adventures in the Wild World”, are written by the children's author Cressida Cowell and have been translated into Hebrew and Arabic.

Read about Israeli chutzpah. Israeli entrepreneur Inbal Arieli is also the author of “Chutzpah: Why Israel Is a Hub of Innovation and Entrepreneurship”. She explains how Israel’s unique culture generates “disruptors” who want to change the world. Factors include parenting and uncertainty that encourage pushing the boundaries.

Israel’s desert is alive. 150 wildlife photographers submitted some 500 photos to judges at the Planet Arava 2 festival and competition in Eilat. The aim of the festival was “to promote the Arava’s landscape and animals through photography by people who feel an affinity for the region and its beauty”.

Jerusalem’s new tropical paradise. Jerusalem Botanical Gardens’ Tropical Conservatory has reopened to the public after an 18-month, $2 million transformation. Its rainforest and desert regions contain some 300 kinds of plants, including endangered species, exotic banana trees, coffee plants, orchids and cacti.

The best restaurant in Paris is Israeli. Shabour, the new restaurant by Israeli chef Assaf Granit, which launched just three months ago in Paris, was named as the French capital’s “Best restaurant of the Year” by Le Figaroscope, the Parisian cultural and gastronomical guide published by the French daily Le Figaro.

Red Hot Chili Peppers return. The rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers are returning to Tel Aviv for the first time since 2012 (see here). They will be the top group at the Funkyard Tel Aviv Festival at Hayarkon Park on June 10. https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Red-Hot-Chili-Pepper-returning-to-Israel-616307

Israeli skater wins European medal. (TY UWI & Janglo) 30-year-old Israeli speed skater Vladislav Bykanov won a bronze medal in the 1,500 meters race at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championship in Hungary. He is now looking to qualify for Tokyo, which would be his third Olympic Games.

THE JEWISH STATE

Pop star Noa joins the IDF. Israel’s up-and-coming music sensation, Noa Kirel, has just begun a two-year term in the IDF. She said, “I want to serve as an example for boys and girls to enlist.” A Rabbi told her parents to change her name from Noya to Noa as a baby, due to illness. He said it would enable her to move (“lanua”).

Ancient Jewish site uncovered. (TY TPS) Israeli archaeologists have exposed a late 10th-early 9th century BCE Iron Age temple complex at Tel Motza, west of Jerusalem. It has similarities to King Solomon’s Temple and may be one of the sites that were abandoned when sacrificial services were centralized in Jerusalem.

Christian students see Israel’s diversity. The non-profit Passages organizes 9-day trips to Israel for 3,000 Christian college students each year. It teaches them about the roots of their faith and exposes them to modern Israel. Participants give post-trip talks to churches and write articles for local newspapers.


200202
In the 2nd Feb 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Vital Israeli developments to prevent the spread of deadly viruses.
·         An Israeli innovation could reverse chronic kidney disease.
·         Israelis are developing solutions to combat Australia’s environmental disaster.
·         Must-see Tel Aviv exhibition of 45 top Israeli innovations.
·         Two Israeli examples of the amazing possibilities with Virtual Reality.
·         The UK leaves the EU and strengthens links with Israel.
·         Two more gold medals for Israeli judokas.
·         Holocaust survivor proudly watches IDF pilot grandson fly over her Israeli home.

·         Click here to see the 26th January newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours and United With Israel.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also, Hebrew translation of articles in 26th Jan newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of nearly 16,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Prioritizing flu vaccinations. Israeli health company Maccabi has partnered with Israel’s Medial EarlySign (see here).  Maccabi will integrate EarlySign’s flu algorithm, which flags people at high risk of developing flu-related complications, to target them with its vaccination campaign.

New masks to help prevent spread of coronavirus. (TY UWI) Israel startups Sonovia (see here) and Argaman (see here)  are racing to produce production versions of their bio-inhibitive and anti-viral textiles and masks. They could be vital prevention tools in epidemics like the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.

Another good trial of colon capsule scan. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Check-Cap has announced positive results from its latest US pilot study of its C-Scan colon capsule system. The dual-center study achieved both primary (safety) and secondary (patient satisfaction and performance) endpoints. C-Scan is already CE approved.

Success at Phase 3 for acne cream. (TY Atid-EDI) Following on from good Phase 2 trials (see here) Israel’s Sol-Gel reported excellent results from pivotal Phase 3 clinical trials of its Twyneo treatment of patients with acne vulgaris. The trial significantly reduced moderate-to-severe acne in 858 patients aged nine and older.

Treating genetic diseases.  Israeli-founded Emendo Biotherapeutics, based in New York, utilizes protein engineering for precision gene editing, to treat certain genetic disorders and diseases. It has seven treatments in early stages of development. Emendo has just raised $61 million of funding.

Optical discovery from shrimps. (TY WIN) Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and Weizmann Institute have discovered how shrimp can see in the murky depths of the sea. The biocrystal coating of their retina light detectors may inspire the development of new optical coatings and specialized paints.

More about low-cost X-rays. As reported previously (see here), Israel’s Nanox has developed technology to lower the cost of X-ray imaging and make it more accessible to the developing world. Nanox has just received $26 million funding for its Nanox.Arc digital X-ray device and accompanying Nanox.Cloud software.

A future end to dialysis. (TY UWI) Researchers at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center found that damaged kidneys can be rejuvenated by extracting healthy kidney stem cells from diseased cells, multiplying the healthy cells in a laboratory and reintroducing them into the kidney. Israel’s KidneyCure (see here) has begun human trials.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Women powering increase in Haredi incomes. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Democracy Institute (IDI) has reported that ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) women are increasingly pursuing higher education and integrating into Israel’s workforce. It resulted in a 10% rise in the income of Haredi families in 2017 compared to 5% for non-Haredim.

Plugging the funding gap. To help charities, the not-for-profit organization Ogen is to provide $70 million in bridging loans for non-profit organizations that are awaiting promised state funds from delayed 2020 budget.

US professors visit Israeli universities. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has brought 28 professors from universities and colleges across the US to Israel. The JNF Faculty Fellowship Program links US scholars with their respective Israeli faculty to promote joint research, establish exchange programs and to see the country.

Israeli system protects French President’s plane. (TY WIN) French President Emmanuel Macron’s attended the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau. As his plane arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, Elbit’s J-Music defense system was visible on the underside of his Airbus A330.

Prince Charles says Israel maintains UK’s Health Service.  When in Israel, UK Royal Prince Charles said, “it seems to me like Israeli genius is maintaining the entire structure of the NHS along with a great deal of other technology”. He received presentations of Israeli innovations WaterGen, HomeBiogas and Sniff Phone.

Hackathon for Australian bushfire solutions. Israeli tech entrepreneurs, programmers, zoologists, water and environmental experts are taking part in a 15-hour hackathon (product design workshop event) in Tel Aviv to devise ways to help Australia tackle the consequences of the environmental calamity from its bushfires.

MDA offers help for Turkish earthquake victims. Eli Bin, Director-General of Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), has offered assistance to the Turkish Red Crescent following the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Alazig province in Turkey. The powerful quake has resulted in over 1,000 casualties.  


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Showcasing Israeli innovation. 75,000 visitors have already visited the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv since it opened in Feb. Each year it selects 45 of Israel’s most exciting startups to exhibit.

Innovative water companies. Two exciting Israeli water management startups at the Peres Innovation Center include Bermad and Kando – neither previously featured in this newsletter.  Bermad’s control systems are installed in 86 countries. Kando’s wastewater sensors pinpoint the sources of pollution (great video).

Water water everywhere. This newsletter reported previously (Nov 2014) about Israel’s Waterways and its projects to bring water solutions to Africa. Another Israeli company, Water Ways Technologies, delivers irrigation solutions globally, and CEO Ohad Haber gave a presentation recently to investors in Winnipeg.

Detecting faulty bridges and tunnels. (TY Herb) Collapsed bridges have killed people in Florida, China, Chile, Italy, Myanmar and Taiwan. An estimated 47,000 of US bridges are deficient. Israeli startup Dynamic Infrastructure provides a real-time 3D “medical report” on the health of bridges, tunnels and elevated highways.

Tracking water pollution in real time. Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, have developed an optical nitrate sensor, based on absorption spectroscopy. It gives farmers real-time, continuous measurement of soil nitrate levels thereby optimizing crop fertilization and reducing the risk of groundwater poisoning.

Hundreds of new wind turbines for the Golan. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Defense Ministry and Infrastructure Ministry are to provide NIS 250 million funding to help build wind farms in the Golan Heights. It includes technology to avoid disrupting IDF and IAF activity and will help achieve Israel’s 2030 renewables target.

Vegan 3D-printed cellulose burgers. Israeli hamburger restaurant group Burgus Burger Bar (BBB) has partnered with Israeli 3D cellulose hamburger printing startup SavorEat (formerly Chef-It see here). Once SavorEat’s vegan burgers are ready to market, BBB will exclusively pilot the burger – planned for mid-2021.

Walk through the movie. Israel’s TetaVi has developed “volumetric” Virtual Reality technology that produces true-to-life holograms into which the viewers can immerse themselves. 4-8 portable depth cameras capture very high-resolution videos to make a VR movie that viewers can stand up and walk inside.

Be where you want to be.  Israel’s Spectalix has developed technology that can transfer moving images of people or objects from a mobile phone-recorded video onto a new video background. E.g. you play the piano in your own home and appear as if performing at Carnegie Hall.  It has many commercial applications.

Powering Vimeo. Vimeo has debuted a new platform designed to help creatives produce shareable, short-form videos in minutes. Vimeo Create is powered by AI technology from Israeli-founded Magisto (see here) which it acquired in Apr 2019 for around $200 million.

Comprehensive home monitoring. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Vayyar (see here) has developed some amazing technology. Vayyar’s Home system checks the vulnerable for risk of falling (any incidents alerted), alerts for intruders, analyzes sleep quality, turns on lights, air-con etc. All just with sensors (no cameras or wearables).

Helping to make driving safer. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Jungo won “Connected Car Innovation of the Year” in the 2020 IoT Breakthrough awards for its CoDriver in-cabin driver monitoring solution that helps make vehicles safer. US giant Qualcomm is to install CoDriver on its Snapdragon automotive cockpit platforms.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

UK & Israel’s new strategic partnership. BICOM’s new report Britain and Israel: The new strategic partnership shows that British trade with Israel is booming and bilateral relations are expanding in defense, science, tech, business and cybersecurity. It highlights a new strategic partnership between the two countries.

Chinese incubator for Israeli autonomous car startups. A new accelerator has been launched to promote Israeli autotech startups in China. It will include 10 participants, focused on autonomous vehicles, driver experience, and 3-D printing. The accelerator aims to shorten the companies’ time to market in the country.

From Silicon Wadi to Silicon Valley. Israeli NGO ICON (Israel Collaboration Network – see here) has setup Silicon Valley 101 (SV101) an immersion program for Israeli entrepreneurs examining potential expansion to Silicon Valley. SV101’s latest group of 10 new startups is now being selected.

Microsoft to launch Israeli data center. Microsoft Corp. has announced plans to set up a data center in Israel - the first such data center to be established here by one of the five big tech giants. The Microsoft data center will provide cloud services for Israeli customers. Oracle also said it would be setting up a data center in Israel.

Crowdfunding in Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem. Jon Medved of Israel’s OurCrowd was one of the first Israeli Venture Capitalists to speak openly in an investor conference in the Gulf (see here),.  Here is a video interview of him at the event. Plus, details of OurCrowd’s Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem on 13th Feb 2020.

Many more fans. Israeli-founded, London-based Minute Media (previously named 90min) has just acquired FanSided Ltd., a network of fandom-focused sports, entertainment, and lifestyle sites. It is Minute Media’s fourth takeover in two years. A third of Minute Media’s 230 employees work at its Tel Aviv R&D center.

Bundesliga buys into Israeli tech company. DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga GmbH, responsible for the German national soccer league (Bundesliga), has bought shares in Israel’s MOVEZ AI. MOVEZ’s soon to launch app uses computer vision and AI to evaluate a player’s skills in ball sports, including basketball and soccer.

Israeli payments for Canada. Israel’s Tipalti (Hebrew for “I handled it”) has offices in Israel, California and now Vancouver, Canada. Tipalti’s cloud-based payables automation service processes over $8 billion in transactions annually (see here). Its clients include Amazon, Vimeo, Foursquare, and Twitter.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`

Rapture, Blister, Burn. Center Stage - Israel’s permanent English language theatre in Ra’anana - is holding performances of the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Rapture, Blister, Burn”, written by Gina Gionfriddo.

New nature reserves in Judea & Samaria. Israel has approved seven new nature reserves in Judea & Samaria - the first since the 1990s. In addition, 12 existing reserves will be expanded. The new sites are at the Ariel Cave, Wadi Og, Wadi Malha, the Southern Jordan River, Bitronot Creek, Nahal Tirza, and Rotem-Maskiot.

Taste of the Valleys. (TY Janglo) At the 16th annual Taste of the Valleys (Te’amim Ba’amakim) Festival, (Feb 2 – 22)) families can enjoy breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, quality restaurants and great concerts. It
connects local restaurants, wineries and farms and brings guests to KKL-JNF nature trails and Kishon River.

Top Israel restaurants. (TY Jacques) The latest release of La Liste - “the world’s best restaurant selection” - includes 13 Israel venues. The top Israeli restaurant is Meir Adoni’s Lumina, who “blends casual fine dining with a kosher Mediterranean spin”. His Blue Sky restaurant at Tel Aviv’s Carlton Hotel also made the list.

Ex-world boxing champion Rabbi teaches self-defense. Israel’s Yuri Forman held the World Boxing Association’s super welterweight title from 2009 to 2010. In 2014 he ordained as an orthodox Rabbi. He is currently giving self-defense classes in Brooklyn for members of vulnerable Jewish communities.

Israeli cycling team uses Israeli hi-tech. Israel Cycling Academy (now re-named Israel Start-Up Nation) will use computer vision and AI technologies from Israel’s Physimax to create personalized training programs for the 2020 Tour de France. The cyclists will also wear the vital signs monitoring device from Israel’s Biobeat.

Israeli judokas win gold at Tel Aviv grand prix. (TY UWI) Israeli judokas Ori Sasson and Peter Paltchik took home two gold medals at the Tel Aviv Grand Prix, winning the over-100kg and under-100kg categories, respectively.  They spoke afterwards about how their success inspires Israeli children.


THE JEWISH STATE

Reaching out to discharged lone soldiers.  Israeli charity Boomerang supports 500 of the 3,000 lone soldiers discharged from the IDF each year with job searching, training, health issues, equipment etc. It recently launched its “Misheli” project to support 1,000 more ex-soldiers and to set up a Call Center helpline service.

Oral histories of Sephardi Jews. The National Library of Israel has begun publishing oral histories from the Sephardi Voices initiative, the first digital collection that documents and preserves the life stories of Jews who lived in Arab and Islamic countries. It includes video and audio clips of interviews, plus archive photographs.

Holocaust survivor sees grandson fly as IDF pilot. 89-year-old Lila not only survived the Holocaust, she made it to Israel, where she raised a family and is now the proud grandmother of an Israeli Air Force pilot. In this touching video she watches as her grandson flies over her Israeli home.

Startup repays grant to help a new startup. Since its 2016 launch, Israel’s Elementor website builder for WordPress has had over 3 million installs in 180 countries. Orthodox Jewish co-founder Yoni Luksenberg has now returned the 20,000-shekel grant he received from incubator KamaTech so it can benefit new startups.


200126
In the 26th Jan 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         A new Israeli treatment could be a cure for Type 2 diabetes.
·         An Israeli wristband device treats irregular heartbeats.
·         A government leadership program for children of Israeli minorities.
·         Israeli volunteers bring smart aid to Australian fire victims.
·         An Israeli solution to the risks to low-flying fire-fighting aircraft.
·         Grants given to 12 new joint US-Israeli hi-tech projects.
·         An Israeli journalist is in the Guinness book of world records.
·         World leaders visit Israel to mark 75th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz.

·         Click here to see the 19th January newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also Hebrew translation of articles in 19th Jan newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of nearly 16,000 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Fixing the root cause of diabetes. (TY WIN) Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Motti Chevion has developed Zygosid-50, the first treatment to restore near-normal cellular sensitivity to insulin, without side effects. Israel’s Concenter BioPharma is preparing to trial Zygosid-50 and give new hope to Type 2 diabetics.

The doctor can see you now. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s RSIP Vision has developed an Artificial Intelligence-based image analysis solution for tissue diagnosis.  It assists doctors in multiple medical imaging fields: e.g. cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, radiology, robotic surgery, microscopy and more.

A clearer future for children. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s NovaSight has developed two products: EyeSwift uses eye-tracking technology to detect multiple vision problems in children (e.g. lazy-eye and squints). CureSight treats lazy-eye using 3D image algorithms and variable focusing, while the child watches entertaining videos.

Discovery prevents preemie lung collapse. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute built a 3D model of the lungs of a premature baby. They discovered that in standard respirators for babies an air jet could cause damage to the infant. They have now recommended reconfiguring the air flow, potentially saving many young lives.

Micro robot is revealed. Israel’s Microbot Medical previously demonstrated a prototype of its self-cleaning shunt for cleaning blockages in the brain (see here). At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Microbot demonstrated LIBERTY - the world’s first fully disposable robotic system for endovascular procedures.

AI-powered cancer diagnostics. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Ibex Medical (see here) has deployed its Second Read cancer diagnostic system at Israel’s Maccabi  Health company. It is the first Artificial Intelligence-powered lab for diagnosis of breast cancer biopsies.

At the cutting-edge of X-ray vision. (TY Charles) This article focuses on the two Israelis (one a South African immigrant) who invented the xvision augmented reality device for surgeons to see inside the patient. Their company Augmedics (see here) received US FDA approval for the product a few weeks ago.

CT scans to save Israelis from lung cancer. Israel’s Health Ministry has approved a 3-year pilot program for early detection of lung cancer. Those at high-risk of lung cancer (age 55 – 75, heavy smokers and ex-smokers) will receive low-intensity CT scans. It could save many of Israel’s 1,800 lung cancer deaths each year.

New hospital in Samaria. Israel is building a new medical center in Sha’ar Binyamin, Samaria, about 15 minutes from Jerusalem. It will serve the 150,000 residents of Binyamin, Israel’s largest region, where a new medical school opened in Ariel recently. The hospital will save many lives, as the video explains.

Wear your heart on your sleeve. The wearable wristband from Israel’s CardiaCare treats atrial fibrillation (rapid and irregular heartbeats). It combines advanced sensors, AI algorithms and neuromodulation stimulus to restore heart rate and rhythm. CardiaCare won 2019 Innovation in Cardiovascular Interventions Technology.

We heard you’re not well. (TY Atid-EDI) Several Israeli companies (see here) have AI technology to detect health issues by monitoring the voice of the patient. Now, two of them (Beyond Verbal and Healthymize) have merged to form Vocalis Health. Its initial focus is on cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Magical - at risk and special needs kids together. (TY WIN) Israeli charity My Piece of the Puzzle operates on the 60-acre Jordan River Village in northern Israel, which runs programs for children with disabilities or serious diseases. At-risk kids mix with special needs kids, to the benefit of both groups.

And a special party. Israeli charities Ezer Mizion and Keilim Meyuchadim made sure that special needs children didn’t miss out on the recent Chanukah celebrations.

Fixing homes of the poor. (TY Janglo) As reported previously (see here) volunteers from Israeli charity Livnot U’Lehabanot repair thousands of houses for the less fortunate of Israeli society. Here is another - Quality of Life, whose team of eight full time handymen has renovated over 10,000 homes since 2016.

After school programs for minorities. Israel’s Innovation Authority and Ministry of Education have selected Israeli non-profit Unistream (see here) to run its 5-year Young Entrepreneurs after-school programs for Druze, Bedouin, and Haredi students. It aims to give entrepreneurship and leadership skills to underprivileged teens.

The first Ethiopian-Israeli female Lt-Col. (TY Hazel) The IDF’s 91st HaGalil Division now has a new manpower officer, Masala Tagnia. She is the first Ethiopian-Israeli woman to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF. She is the sister of Israel’s TV Channel 12 reporter Brahano Tagnia.

Jews rescue Arabs and vice versa. Israel’s heavy rains are good and bad news. The Kinneret is filling up, but Nahariya’s streets were transformed into rivers. Arab tractor operators rushed to help trapped residents and open blocked roads. At the city hospital (managed by an Arab), Jewish doctors treated Arabs and vice versa.

Thousands of pilgrims at baptismal site. Over 20,000 Christians (including Eritreans, Syriacs and Ethiopians) attended baptism ceremonies at Qasr al-Yahud, on the Israeli side of the Jordan River. The procession was led by Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III and protected by the IDF and Israeli police.

A Jordanian sang in Israel. (TY Hazel) Aziz Maraka, a singer-songwriter from Jordan, performed to 5,000 Arab-Israelis during the annual Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, Northern Israel. He learned from first-hand that Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights than in many Arab and Muslim countries.

Smart help for Australian fire victims. Israeli charity iAID has been combatting global humanitarian crises such as in Mexico, Texas, Peru, Mozambique, Indonesia and Iraq since 2017 (see here). Now renamed SmartAID, its volunteers are on Kangaroo Island in Australia, using innovation and technology to rebuild lives.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Environmental innovation lab. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Ministry of Environment Protection is setting up a $4 million cleantech innovation lab in Haifa, focused on environmental protection and sustainability. Its aim is to transform Israel into an environmental tech powerhouse. It will be run by ESIL Technologies.

Israelis get more e-friendly and smarter. (TY Janglo) Some 12 percent of Israelis now use bikes, electric bicycles, and electric scooters on a regular basis. Israelis became more connected in 2019 as 72% are now Internet-enabled, 90% use WhatsApp and 82% shopped online last year.

I hear what you say. (TY Atid-EDI) The Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) technology from Israel’s Nemesysco was reported here nearly 8 years ago. The system is used by call centers, credit risk assessors, insurance fraud and criminal investigators and recruitment agents. Tokyo’s CENTRIC call center service is the latest customer.

Newsweek’s Best Backup software. (TY Atid-EDI) The Office 365 Backup software from Israel’s Cloudally was named as one of the top five backup solutions in Newsweek’s Best Business Tools 2019. The ranking was based on a survey of more than 10,000 professional users of software and software service providers.

The Internet knows it’s you. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Emza Visual Sense, in partnership with Taiwan’s Chicony Electronics, has designed the world’s first battery-powered human sensing solution for the Internet of Things (IoT). It gives Internet-enabled devices the ability to detect and recognize different people.

Turning plastic waste into baby oil. Israel’s Ran Sharon founded cleantech startup Clariter in 2004. For the last 16 years he has been developing technology to turn a variety of plastic waste items into non-toxic, odor-free industrial oil, wax, and solvents. These can then be raw materials for paints, candles and even baby oil.

Recycling waste for Mercedes. Mercedes parent company Daimler AG is testing whether an ecological thermoplastic manufactured by Israel’s UBQ could be used in its vehicles. UBQ (see here), has developed a process to recycle residual municipal solid waste into a plastic-like raw material.

Fighting fires from above. Israel’s Elbit has successfully tested its HyDrop automated water pellet system. Israel’s Fire and Rescue Authority used two aircraft to extinguish a burning field from 152 meters up – over 4 times the standard height for aerial firefighting and twice as effective. (See this article about plane crash)


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israel’s economic surge. Ambassador Ettinger highlights Israeli growth since 2000 includes GDP (+206%); exports (+149%) and foreign reserves (+396%). 60% of women are now in the workforce (+25%); university students (+351%); and tourists (+108%). But debt per GDP was down 24.7% and US aid per GDP down 57%.

A thriving 1st-world economy in a 3rd-world sea. Israel possesses assets and innovations that can solve many of the problems that plague its Arab neighbors. If peace can possibly be achieved between Israel and the Arab world, the potential for mutually beneficial, practical and economic relationships is huge.

Tech exits increase by 72%. The total value in 2019 of the 138 Israeli tech firms exits (take-overs, mergers and IPOs) was $21.74 billion – 72% higher than in 2018.

Israir’s new direct flights. Israeli carrier Israir Airlines is to launch a new weekly route from Tel Aviv to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. It also plans to launch seasonal routes from Tel Aviv to Palma de Mallorca in Spain and the Latvian capital Riga.  https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3780211,00.html

Three joint homeland security projects. The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation is granting $2.3 million to 3 US-Israeli security projects. Israeli startups involved are Blue White Robotics (drone control), S.H. Goren (indoor GPS for first responders) and Cawamo (video security).

Nine more. The BIRD Foundation granted $8 million to another 9 joint US-Israeli projects in Jan. They include Advanced MemTech (oil-water separation), Agroscout (drones to detect crop diseases) and MDI Health Technologies (personalized medication). Also to DosentRX, GaitBetter, Raicol Crystals and three more.

Air defense radar for Czech Republic. (TY Atid-EDI) ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, has been awarded a $125 million contract to supply an “Iron Dome” radar defense system to the Czech Republic. The deal strengthens Israeli-Czech relations and those with other NATO countries.

How Teva benefits the world’s economy. This article describes the contribution that Israel’s Teva makes to GDP and employment in 19 of the 60 countries that it operates in. It is in addition to the medical benefits and the world’s largest generic medicine manufacturer’s role in keeping personal and national treatment costs down.

Just what I want. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s WeBuy is beta-testing the first on-line, on-demand platform for local shopping. It connects customers to local businesses selling only those products and services they are looking for.  Shoppers receive offers for those items and communicate with the seller.  Plus, they earn reward tokens.

Appsflyer becomes a Unicorn. Israel’s Appsflyer (see here) provides marketing analytics and more to help companies with mobile app products. Appsflyer has just raised $210 million in funds, giving the company a value of $1.6 billion and the status of a Unicorn – a company with a market value over $1 billion.

So does Snyk. Investment in Israeli startups continues in 2020. Israeli cybersecurity startup Snyk (see here) has completed a $150 million funding round, at a company valuation of more than $1 billion – another Unicorn.                                                                                            

Osem-Nestle to promote Israeli food-tech startups. Nestlé SA is setting up a food-tech innovation arm under its Israel-based subsidiary, Osem Investments. Nestlé, with an annual turnover of $100 billion, sees Israel’s huge potential and expects to help at least two Israeli startups enter the global market by the end of 2020.

An all-Israeli takeover. Israeli ad-tech company Perion Network Ltd has taken over Israel-founded data analytics firm Content IQ for $73 million. Perion will integrate Content IQ’s 51 New York and Tel Aviv employees into its local offices. The acquisition will also help Perion comply with new “cookie” laws.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

A Lebanese female Master Chef in Israel. When Farah Raslan fled from Lebanon to Israel, she did not speak a word of Hebrew. She now has a Masters’ degree in biotechnology. She has also reached the finals of Israel's Master Chef by preparing authentic Lebanese cuisine.  (Make sure you turn Captions on for the subtitles)

Food for lawmakers. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem has opened the Mitbahon, a new culinary complex, in Wohl Rose Park, opposite the Knesset and adjacent to the Supreme Court. It will include three mobile food trucks from leading Jerusalem restaurants that will be rotated monthly.  https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Jlm-Heritage-Ministry-inaugurate-restaurant-complex-in-Wohl-Rose-Park-614054

Israel’s first luxury hotel to be restored. Israeli hotel chain Fattal Hotels Ltd has acquired the building that once housed the Palatin Hotel, Tel Aviv’s first luxury hotel, built in 1926. It is investing NIS 150 million to restore Tel Aviv’s first luxury hotel to its former glory and aims to launch an ultra-luxury hotel by end 2022.

The world’s oldest working journalist.  96-year-old Walter Bingham is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living radio talk-show host. Last year, the star of “The Walter Bingham Show” on Israel News Talk Radio became the oldest Israeli skydiver. Ex-Kindertransport, he took part in WWII’s Normandy landings.

Israel is my playground. Don’t try this at home.  24-year-old Austrian biker and urban free-rider Fabio Wibner came to Israel and filmed a six-minute video of his amazing bike-riding skills. He wheelies around Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada and the Ramon crater. His video has had over 1.7 million views.


THE JEWISH STATE

World leaders come to Israel. 46+ heads of state and their entourages attended the fifth World Holocaust Forum, “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. It commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at the end of World War II.

After the rain.  A 13-year-old Israeli boy went out with his family ​​in Caesarea after recent downpours. He saw a stone slab uncovered by heavy rainfall and (from his school archaeology studies) recognized Greek letters. Israel’s Antiquity Authority identified it as a Byzantine burial inscription for the grave of “Anastasius”.

Israel’s kosher food industry. (TY Atid-EDI) Over 80% of Israel’s $20 billion food industry is kosher. Most of Israel’s 1,800 food processing facilities produce kosher food. Multi-nationals like Nestlé, Unilever, Danone and Pepsi Co. partner with Israeli food companies such as Osem and Strauss. Most exports go to the EU.

My wedding can wait. (TY UWI) Mordechai, a volunteer MDA first responder, was traveling to his own wedding with his ambulance driver friend, when they noticed two vehicles had crashed. Despite being in wedding suits, they immediately administered first aid until an ambulance arrived to take the injured to hospital.


200119

·         An Israeli medication has been selected for a major US multiple ALS treatment trial.
·         Historic joint Israeli-Egypt statement as Israeli exports natural gas to Egypt.
·         An Israeli video analysis system is helping to combat fires in Australia.
·         An Israeli electromagnetic breakthrough can reveal hidden objects.
·         A major Russian airline is starting direct flights to Israel from Siberia.
·         The first Israeli Formula One racing team test driver.
·         Vast numbers of Israelis celebrated completing the 7.5-year cycle of daily Talmud study.

·         Click here to see the 12th January newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional article on Inclusive and Global with 1,600 shares.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also Hebrew translation of articles in 12th Jan newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 15,700 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

US approves freezing of tumors. The US FDA has granted approval for Israel’s IceCure Medical to use its tumor-freezing technology to destroy cancerous and benign tumors of the kidney, liver, ear, nose, and throat. It already has FDA approval for benign breast tumors and European approval to treat malignant breast tumors.

UK hospital introduces Israeli remote diagnostic device. (TY OurCrowd) As reported previously (see here), Israel’s TytoCare device allows for doctors to examine patients from remote locations. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is to be the first provider in the UK to partner with TytoCare.

Israeli treatment in Mass trials. (TY Atid-EDI) Pridopidine, from Israeli biotech Prilenia, has been chosen by the Healey Center at Massachusetts General hospital for the first-ever platform (multiple treatments) trial for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prilenia is trialing Pridopidine for several neurodegenerative disorders.

Two potential IBD therapies. (TY Atid-EDI) As reported previously (see here) Israel’s Biomica is using the human microbiome (stomach bacteria) to fight cancer, IBD, acne etc. Bionica is starting pre-clinical studies for BMC321 & BMC322, two developed microbial consortia aimed to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Spotting problems that doctors may have missed. Israel-based medical device startup IMedis AI develops technology that analyzes medical images and documents to reveal discrepancies and unreported findings. The technology can assist in the early detection of cancer, heart diseases, and vascular diseases.

Women at risk of diabetes during pregnancy. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have developed an algorithm that can predict which women have a high risk of gestational diabetes. Records of 600,000 Israeli pregnancies were examined. Those found to be at risk could avoid diabetes with exercise and diet.  

An all-in-one genetic test. Israel’s Variantyx has developed the first comprehensive, all-in-one diagnosis test for rare inherited disorders. It eliminates the need to order multiple tests, saving time, money and (potentially) lives. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases, affecting 30 million in the US and over 350 million globally.

Helping patients breathe. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Biovo Technologies manufactures the Airway Medix line of disposable respiratory devices, used for mechanically ventilated (usually unconscious) intubated ICU patients.

Don’t over-vaccinate your pet. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Biogal-Galed Labs (reported here previously) has launched CombCam, an automated reading device that helps veterinarians interpret antibody and vaccine tests on animals. Biogal’s various veterinary diagnostic products are now available in over 35 countries.

From cancer to shrimps. This article focuses on Dr Avi Schroeder of Israel’s Technion Institute. His company PEEP Therapeutics is developing a cancer treatment based on Elephant protein gene P53 (see here).  He is also working on personalized chemotherapy and a cure for a deadly shrimp virus. He is a manager in four startups.

Israeli medical startups in San Francisco. 16 of OurCrowd’s Israeli medical portfolio companies attended the 38th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco (Jan 13-15). Their innovative solutions include cancer treatments, blood testing, wound care, care for older adults, diabetes management and more.

Israeli startups to help UK healthcare. Ten Israeli heath tech startups have been invited by UK Government’s Israel Tech Hub to help UK healthcare organizations build more modern and effective healthcare services. They will meet AstraZeneca, NHSX, Care UK, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Amazon Web Services in London.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Hi-tech Haredim conference. (TY Sharon) As reported previously, (see here) Bizmax is a business center for ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem residents. It has just sponsored a hi-tech employment conference in Jerusalem, in association with the Kemach Foundation, which has already helped over 20,000 Haredim find jobs.

Israel begins exports of natural gas to Egypt. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla, jointly confirmed that Israeli natural gas is now flowing to Egypt. It was hailed as the most significant economic cooperation since the signing of the peace treaty between the two countries.

Free hi-res weather forecasts for India. As reported previously, (see here) Israel’s ClimaCell develops a highly accurate weather forecasting system. It has now partnered with Google Cloud to launch a free high-resolution model in India that predicts the weather for a 2km area in 15-min timesteps for the next 48 hours.

Going back to the Moon. As reported (1st Dec) Israel’s SpaceIL plans to make another attempt to land an Israeli spacecraft on the Moon. These plans have just received a boost with a $1 million donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation. It will also support putting Israel’s first nanosatellite into lunar orbit.

Giving a voice to those unable to speak. As reported previously (see here) Israeli startup Click2speak and Israeli charity Ezer Mizion are developing a keyboard for stroke victims and others to operate with just their eyes. Ezer Mizion also operates the Middle East’s only loan center for speech generating devices.

Extinguishing fires in Australia. One of the Israeli startups exhibiting at CES 2020 Las Vegas was drone video analyst Edgybees (reported here previously). Having helped combat the fires in California last year, they responded to an urgent request from Australia and donated it to help put out fires in New South Wales.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Israel’s national communications satellite. Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) will develop and build Israel’s national communication satellite, “Dror 1”. The deal with the Israeli Government is worth $190 million and is intended to fulfill the country’s satellite communication needs for the next 15 years.

Record number of Israeli startups at CES 2020. This newsletter reported last week (see here) that three dozen Israeli startups exhibited at CES 2020 Las Vegas.  It has now been reported that there were far more. 70 Israeli startups presented their technologies, just in the area of transportation, smart cities, and logistics.

A revealing scientific breakthrough. Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a new way to produce and control terahertz waves, which can pass through opaque materials to detect hidden objects and reveal their composition. The scientists shone infra-red light at nano-structured materials, to generate the terahertz waves.

App helps visually impaired avoid obstacles. Students at Israel’s Technion Institute have been awarded the IEEE International Student Projects Award for an app to increase the safety of visually impaired individuals. The “Bionic Eye” app sends vibrations to the belt of the user to help negotiate stairways and other obstacles.

Autonomous taxis in South Korea. Israel-based Mobileye will test and deploy robot taxis powered by its autonomous vehicle technology in Daegu, South Korea. Rollout is planned by 2022.  Mobileye has already announced its plans to have hundreds of autonomous taxis operating in Tel Aviv’s streets, also by 2022.

Top Nine is number one.  Top Nine is the most popular Instagram app in the US and UK. It gives Instagram users a three-by-three grid collage of their most popular posts. It was developed by Kevin Natanzon, founder of Beta Labs, who attributes his Aliya, and the Israeli startup ecosystem, as the reason Top Nine went viral.

Milk chocolate, same taste, nearly half the sugar.  The SureChoc project is a partnership between leading industrial bodies and the UK’s University of Reading. Its milk chocolate bar uses special sugar developed by Israel’s DouxMatok (see here). It has the same taste as regular chocolate, but 44% less sugar and more fiber.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Multinationals benefit Israeli economy. The 362 multinational companies operating in Israel paid nearly $9 billion in direct taxation in 2019 – approximately 18% of all tax income received by the Israeli Government. They employ some 62,000 staff – the largest being Intel (11,000) followed by HP (3,000) and IBM (2,000).

Startup Jerusalem. Good video highlighting the innovation and startup ecosystem of Israel’s capital.

Direct flights from Siberia. Russia's second-largest airline S7 Airlines is to begin direct flights between Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport and Novosibirsk, Siberia. Apparently, half of Russian visitors to Israel come from near Siberia and previously had to fly through Moscow. S7 begins the new service on 2nd Apr.

Even more Japanese investment. 2018’s 28 investments and acquisitions worth $710 million by Japanese companies in Israeli startups (reported here) was eclipsed in 2019 by 53 deals worth $815 million. Japanese interest in Israel surged after PM Netanyahu’s 2014 Japan visit and PM Shinzo Abe’s to Israel in 2015.

Tel Aviv fintech innovation hub launched. A new fintech and insurtech (finance & insurance technology) innovation hub - “Axell” - has been launched in Tel Aviv. It aims to generate partnerships between local and international corporations (e.g. Generali, AIG and Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services), and Israeli startups.

Second Israeli cybersecurity acquisition for Mimecast. US cybersecurity company Mimecast has acquired Israeli cybersecurity phishing protection startup Segasec Labs for around $40 million. In 2018, Mimecast acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup Solebit Labs for $88 million in cash.

Sapiens intelligent acquisitions. Israel’s Sapiens (see here) has previously taken over US and Spanish companies to build up its insurance software empire. Now it has bought German digitalization software developer Sum.cumo GmbH for 28.4 million euros to help expansion into Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Another connected car connection. (TY Hazel) As reported previously (see here) Israeli connected car data company Otonomo has partnered Daimler/Mercedes, Skoda, Jaguar/Land Rover and Avis. Now, it is to provide Mitsubishi Motors with parking apps, smart electric vehicle charging, mapping etc. from over 100 companies.

See Israeli companies in Beverley Hills. 18 Israeli companies will be presenting at “Merage-Homeland / Cybersecurity" in Beverley Hills on 22nd Jan. The event has been arranged by the Southern California-Israel Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Elite Entrepreneur Organization.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

The Jews of Yemen. (TY Sharon) A new exhibition “From Sheba to Jerusalem" at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, displays the history and culture of the (now non-existent) Jews of Yemen and South Arabia. They traded with the land of Israel and in the 4th century CE became subjects of the “Jewish Kingdom of Himyar”.

Israel Space Week. The events being held for Israel Space Week at the end of Jan include the Bloomfield Science museum Jerusalem marking 50 years of the first Moon landing. Visitors to Netanya Planetanya can pretend to be astronauts and the Israeli Space Agency hosts the 15th Ilan Ramon International conference

CNN and UK Times recommend yet-to-open hotel. The Six Senses Shaharut hotel in Israel’s Negev desert has been recommended by CNN as well as the UK’s Times as one of the top new lodges to stay at in 2020. “The perfect destination for the intrepid luxury traveler” only opens later this year.

Israeli MasterChef judge to feed Microsoft employees. Microsoft has hired celebrity TV chef Haim Cohen to oversee six dining areas available to employees in its new campus in the central Israeli town of Herzliya. Cohen owns two Tel Aviv restaurants and is currently a judge on the Israeli TV version of MasterChef.

Israel’s first Olympic skiing medals. 17-year-old Israeli Noa Szollos made history by winning two skiing medals at the Winter Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland. She won silver in the Alpine Combined and bronze in the Super G, to gain Israel’s first ever winter games medals for either youth or adult Olympics.

Israeli becomes Formula One test driver. British Formula One motor racing team and constructor ROKiT Williams Racing has signed 25-year-old Israeli Roy Nissany to their 2020 driver lineup. He will test drive in Formula One and race in Formula Two until he gains enough points to compete in Formula One.


THE JEWISH STATE

Bags of room on Israeli bus. A 19-year-old US tourist discovered that Israeli bus drivers are sometimes too keen to keep to the timetable. He was trapped inside the luggage compartment whilst extracting his suitcase. As the bus drove off, he phoned the police who tracked him by GPS and rescued him unharmed after 20 minutes.

Safed gets its first traffic light. Israel’s Northern city of Safed (Tzfat) and its cobbled alleyways have been the center of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah since the 16th century. Modern technology, however, has finally caught up with it, as its popularity with tourists has resulted in an upgrade to its roads and its first traffic light.

Learn Hebrew from milk cartons.  (TY Jacob Richman) The birthday of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, father of modern spoken Hebrew, is also Hebrew Language Day in Israel.  This year, on 16th Jan, the Academy of the Hebrew Language, together with Tnuva, have printed groups of Hebrew words on the side of milk cartons.

New club house for lone soldiers. The charity Lone Soldier Center caters for the physical and social needs of around 7,000 IDF soldiers who came to Israel without their parents. It had been operating a Jerusalem club in the basement in Yafo Street. It now moves to much larger premises, able to host many more for Shabbat meals.

Completing the daily Talmud study program. (TY Sharon) Israeli cities have been celebrating the world-wide completion of Daf Yomi (a page a day) study of the Talmud. The program takes 7.5 years. Thousands attended the Siyum HaShas (end of Talmud) ceremony at Jerusalem’s International Conference Center.


200112
In the 12th Jan 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Israeli scientists make a molecule to prevent viruses spreading from rodents to humans.
·         Israel sends aid and volunteers to combat disasters in Australia and Puerto Rico.
·         Israeli innovations win awards and praise at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
·         An Israeli startup is developing a waste-to-energy system.
·         A record number of tourists visited Israel in 2019.
·         A million Israelis watch the start of the 3rd season of Israeli TV series Fauda.
·         Archaeologists find 2nd Temple period coins and stone measuring table.

·         Click here to see the 5th January newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel plus extra feature on Inclusive & Global (with 2,200 shares).  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Also Hebrew translation of articles in 29th Dec newsletter by students of Reali school in Haifa. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Please also read my feature blog “An Excellent Year and an Incredible Decade” – also (TY Sandra) in German and on Ruthfully Yours, . Also (TY Esty) please visit and “like” / “follow” the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 15,700 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Decoy molecule neutralizes dangerous viruses. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute and at Tel Aviv University have engineered a molecule called Arenacept to fool and destroy viruses that migrate from rodents to humans. Arenacept binds strongly to the virus, acting as a decoy. It also triggers the immune system’s defenses.

US Government buys Israeli wound treatment. As per its 2015 contract with Israel’s MediWound (see here), the U.S. Department of Health (HSS), is stockpiling $16.5 million worth of MediWound’s NexoBrid burns treatment. HSS has options on another $50 million of NexoBrid. 

Lowering the cost of X-rays. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Nanox is an Israeli/Japanese cooperation that has created the world’s first commercial-grade digital X-ray source for medical imaging applications. Nanox’s novel technology can significantly reduce the costs of medical imaging systems.

Program benefits patients and doctors. Since 2015 Bar-Ilan University’s ETGAR program requires its med students to visit patients at home after discharge from hospital. A study shows patients benefit significantly, especially those who are poor, isolated, understand little Hebrew, or lack education. Future doctors also benefit.

Lessons learned tackling measles in Samoa. The Israeli team of nine doctors and nurses from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer has returned from helping Samoa combat its measles epidemic. The team emphasized how vital a vaccination program was in preventing similar outbreaks.

Attorney leaves $15 million to Israeli hospital. Although retired attorney Daniel Jacobson led a modest life, he bequeathed 50 million shekels (approximately $15 million) to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital.  It will cover 10 new operating rooms and other major upgrades to the hospital.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Government funding for all citizens. This article highlights Israel Innovation Authority funding for women, ultra-Orthodox and Israeli-Arab entrepreneurs. The startups featured include a medical device to protect the eyes of diabetics; the world’s first property management computer and a platform for smart beauty tips.

Coexistence in Israeli mixed cities. In every Israeli mixed Jewish-Arab city there is close cooperation between Jews and Arabs at every level of municipal administration and activity. 81% of Jewish residents said relations with Arab residents were good and 89% of the Arab residents said relations with Jewish residents were good.

Training PA and Gaza nurses. 16 nurses (11 from the Palestinian Authority and 5 from Gaza) took part in a four-day medical simulation course at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan.  The program also featured sessions on managerial skills, focusing on how to deal with tense situations.

Israelis win debating championships again. For the 3rd time, an Israeli team has won the World Universities Debate Championship. It was the first Israeli women’s team to win, defeating 750 international contestants in the English Second Language (ESL) category, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Israel sends aid for fire-injured Australian animals. Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo has raised money to donate veterinary medical supplies to treat animals suffering from the fires raging in Australia. The items include burn creams, milk replacers, wound sprays and hydration concentrates to be used in Victoria's East Gippsland region.

Aid to Puerto Rico. Volunteers from Israeli NGO IsraAID were still helping Puerto Rico recover from 2017’s Hurricane Maria (see here), when the island was struck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. Over one million people have no electricity and water, and an estimated 300 are homeless. IsraAID is conducting a needs assessment.

Surprise for Israeli in Sweden. Israeli Noam Shalev was worried when a Syrian refugee waitress in Sweden asked where Noam was from. He said “Israel” and rushed to the exit. But the waitress and her sister stopped him and thanked him for Israel’s medical treatment that saved their mother during the Syrian civil war.

Video of the decade.  Some of Israel’s major achievements in the last 10 years, summarized in 2 mins 18 secs.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Israeli innovations at world’s largest technology fair.  Three dozen Israeli startups exhibited at CES 2020 in Las Vegas (Jan 7 – 10) It is the world’s biggest technology fair with 175,000 attendees. There were 22 startups in the Israeli pavilion. El Al even added an extra flight to arrive on the morning of the first day. It was sold out.

A PA for the blind and deaf. At CES 2020, Israel’s OrCam launched an upgraded MyEye 2 with AI and voice commands. It has become a wearable Personal Assistant for the visually disabled. OrCam also won the show’s “Best Innovation” award for OrCam Hear, for the hard-of-hearing to follow a conversation in a noisy room.

Watergen wins major award at CES. Israel’s Watergen, the company that turns air into drinking water, was named Energy Efficiency Product of the Year at the 2020 Smart Home Mark of Excellence Awards at CES Las Vegas. Each year, the Consumer Technology Association’s awards recognize the top smart home innovations.

Enjoy the ride. At CES 2020 Israel’s Mobileye released this video of a ride through Jerusalem’s busy streets in an autonomous car controlled by Mobileye’s 12-camera sensor suite. It negotiates road works, unprotected left turns, busy roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and some very heavy traffic.  And it doesn’t put a foot wrong.

A decade of Israeli innovation. One of many articles highlighting the major technologies and inventions of the past 10 years. Waze, Moovit, Watergen, MarginProbe, Iron Dome, ReWalk, OrCam, 3D-printed heart, NanoGhost, DayTwo and SpaceIL’s Beresheet.  All featured previously in this newsletter (see here).

How microbes decompose biomass. Ben Gurion University Professor Itzhak Mizrahi has already received two European Research Council grants for his research into how microbes degrade plant waste. Now he has received a third one – this time from German research funder Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Breakthrough in laser defense systems. Following a “technological breakthrough,” Israel’s Defense Ministry has re-started development of a laser beam system (see here) capable of destroying incoming rockets and small drones, to complement Iron Dome. The new system is expensive but will have negligible operational costs.

Digitizing Israel’s TV archives. The archives of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) are being converted from film to digital format. The 5-year project will process hundreds of thousands of Betamax tapes, cassettes, reel-to-reel tapes and film recorded between 1948 and May 2017.

Cybertech is back. Cybertech 2020, the largest annual cybersecurity event in the world outside the US, takes place in Tel Aviv Jan 28 - 30.  Hundreds of Israeli startups are exhibiting and some 18,000 attendees from over 80 countries are expected to attend. Startups will also compete in Cybertech’s Startup Innovation Challenge.

Turning garbage into energy. One of the recipients of the latest joint US-Israel BIRD foundation grant (see here) is Israel’s Exency. Together with US Brayton Energy they are developing “a low-cost and high-efficiency solid biomass and solid waste fueled electricity generation system” in the Israeli town of Sderot.

Sustainable packaging keeps pomegranates fresh. (TY Liat) Israel-based Stepac (now part of Johnson Matthey) has launched its latest range of sustainable packaging solutions for preserving the freshness and extending the shelf life of pomegranates and extracted pomegranate seeds and arils.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Israeli growth tops all Western countries. Israel’s economy, measured by its GDP, grew by 3.3% in 2019. This was the highest rate among Western countries and almost double the OECD average of 1.7%.  Israel’s GDP has risen 44% in the past decade. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3776899,00.html

Israeli foreign reserves rise by $3.64 billion. Israel’s foreign currency reserves soared in December by a record $3.64 billion to end the year at a new all-time high of just over $126 billion. In 2019, the Israeli Shekel appreciated against all major Western currencies and became the world’s strongest currency.

Record year for digital health. The 580 Israeli digital health startups raised $662 million in 2019 - a 32% increase on 2018. Israel is unique, as all citizens are members of a health company, each with some three decades of (anonymized) digitized data, available for startups to develop breakthrough systems and devices.

A booming decade. Just one of many articles summarizing Israel’s economic achievements of the last 10 years. It highlights that there are more than 6,400 startups and 362 multinational companies operating in Israel today.

Record 4.6 million tourists. (TY WIN) A record 4.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2019 - 12% more than in 2018. Most were from the US, followed by France, Russia, Germany and Britain. Tourism contributed some NIS 22.5 billion ($6.6 billion) to the economy in 2019. Tel Aviv is one of Google’s top trending destinations.

Direct flights from Moldova. Every airline seems to want to fly to Israel.  The latest is Moldovan low-cost airline FlyOne, which in April launches a twice-weekly route between Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and Moldova’s capital Chisinau. Air Moldova, Israel’s Arkia and Israir already fly the route during peak season.

Israeli Unicorns doubled in 2019. (TY Janglo) Israel has 20 Unicorns, privately-held companies worth more than $1 billion. Only the US, China and the UK have more. The new ones are Riskified, InMode, Monday.com, Vayyar, Fabric, Lemonade, Next Insurance, Lightricks, Hippo, Trax and SentinelOne. (See here).

Tesla starts up in Israel. (TY Hazel & Jacques) US electric carmaker Tesla has opened a store in the Ramat Aviv mall for shoppers to register for a new Tesla car. Tesla Motors Israel has been registered as a fully owned subsidiary company in Israel and a 2000 sq. meter Tel Aviv showroom already has several Tesla Model 3 cars.

The first Israeli accelerator for Italian startups. The Italian Embassy in Israel and Italian Bank Intesa Sanpaolo has selected 7 startups to join its first accelerator program for Italian startups in Israel, based in Eilat. The Italian Ambassador praised “the Startup Nation’s extraordinary and dynamic ecosystem”.

The largest cybersecurity exit. Israel’s Armis (see here), maker of Internet of Things (IoT) security software, is being acquired by US-based Insight Partners, a venture capital and private equity firm, in a cash deal that values the Israeli firm at $1.1 billion. The deal is the largest ever for a private Israeli cybersecurity company.

Roman Abramovich buys $58 million Tel Aviv offices. Israeli-Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has bought a beach-front office building in Tel Aviv for NIS 200 million. The property could be converted into a hotel or a residential building. Abramovich (see here) is also building a $27 million mansion in Neve Tzedek.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Van Gogh comes to Israel. “Van Gogh Alive,” which bills itself as “the world’s most visited multimedia exhibition experience,” is coming to Herzliya arena from Jan 16 to Apr 18. Artificial Intelligence and multi-sensory projection technology will take visitors on a journey through Vincent van Gogh’s life and work.

Tel Aviv street festival embraces cultural diversity. The sixth Nightlight Festival comes to South Tel Aviv’s Neve Sha’anan on Jan 16 and 18. The free event brings dance performances, music and food to parks, streets, urban spaces and stores of the neighborhood, where Israelis, African migrants and foreign workers live.

Mindboggling. The charity MyIsrael is hosting an evening with mentalist Lior Suchard on Mon 10 Feb at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. Myisrael connects donors with 18 inspirational causes in Israel. You can choose which to support and 100% of your money goes directly to helping people in need.

Another smash hit season of Fauda. The first episode of the third season of the Israeli hit drama “Fauda” was viewed by about 1 million Israelis. The TV series, about an IDF commando unit, is in Hebrew and Arabic. Netflix aired its first two seasons with English subtitles. The third season will be shown on Netflix during 2020.

Things to do in Israel in January. This month’s events include The Batsheva Dance Company performing Ohad Nahrin’s “Venezuela” in Tel Aviv; the Eilat Chamber Music festival and the Israman Triathlon.


THE JEWISH STATE

The top finds of 2019. Another “best of” 2019 article this time focusing on the most important archaeological discoveries in Israel over the past year. They include the ‘Ikkar Ben Matanyahu’ and Adoniyahu seals. Goliath’s city, the Pilgrim’s Path, 5th century synagogue mosaics, a 7000-year-old sea wall and Biblical beer.

Second Temple table found in Jerusalem. (TY IsraPundit) A rare 2000-year-old stone measuring table was recently discovered on the Pilgrims’ Path in Jerusalem’s City of David. Archaeologists have dated it from the Second Temple period, located in Jerusalem’s ancient square, inside the city’s central market.

Archaeologists find Chanukah gelt. During the festival of Chanukah, many Jewish children receive chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. Israeli archaeologists discovered a 1,200-year-old hoard of real gold coins during excavations in Yavneh, plus twenty 2,000-year-old coins at the site of the Biblical tabernacle in Shiloh.  

Growing Biblical plants in Israel. Between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, 20,000 plants are cultivated on the 2-acre Balm of Gilead Farm. They include species mentioned in the Bible, such as frankincense trees and myrrh bushes. Many of these plants were lost to the Holy Land for centuries and are now beginning to flourish again.

Israel’s James Bond. Fascinating history of Mordechai Ben-Porat, whose leadership of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah resulted in the rescue of 130,000 Iraqi Jews and their journey to Israel. He later became a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; and he founded the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center.

Georgia to open cultural center in Jerusalem. Georgia has announced plans to open a cultural center in Jerusalem, joining the embassies of the US and Guatemala and trade offices of Honduras, Hungary, Australia, Brazil and the Czech Republic. Slovakia and Ukraine are also expected to open such offices.

Rescuing stranded motorists. Another article (see previous) about Israeli non-profit Yedidim (Hebrew for “good friends”) whose 20,000 volunteers help any motorists who have problems with their cars. Last year they attended hundreds of thousands of incidents, including rescuing 1,500 infants from locked cars.

Jewish Agency photo exhibit at Ben Gurion Airport. (TY Algemeiner) A new photo exhibit entitled “One to Ninety” at Ben-Gurion airport depicts the story of the Jewish Agency for Israel as it celebrates its 90th anniversary. These photos will welcome those flying to and from the Jewish State until 30th March.

200105
In the 5th Jan 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli study shows that the vaccine against TB also protects against Alzheimer’s.
·         An Israeli, non-profit cares for dementia patients individually, according to their needs.
·         An Israeli, Hebrew name has been given to a new planet.
·         Disposable plastics are being removed from Israeli schools and key cities.
·         Israel’s largest natural gas field has begun production.
·         Eilat is a major center for music and cultural festivals.
·         Aliya (immigration to Israel) numbers are the highest in a decade.

·         Click here to see the 29th December newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel.  Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Zachy) in Hebrew. Please pass on the following links to German and Hebrew-reading contacts.  Also (TY Esty) please visit and “like” / “follow” the www.facebook.com/VerygoodnewsIL Facebook page.

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

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 15,500 previous news articles.

·         If someone wishes to be added to the free email subscription list, they should either click here or send a request (with their name) to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

TB vaccine can prevent Alzheimer’s. Israeli scientists have studied 1,371 bladder cancer patients receiving treatment at Hebrew University’s Hadassah Medical Center. They found that those who had received the BCG vaccination against tuberculosis were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who hadn’t.

Countering the side-effects of cancer treatment. The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) has given $72 million for Israeli cancer research. Much of this is used by scientists to develop treatments that alleviate the damage from chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.  Several examples are given in this link.

Half a billion shekels extra for subsidized medicines. Israel’s Ministries of Health and Finance have increased the budget for the health basket by NIS 500 million. There is now NIS 54.2 billion available in 2020 for subsidized medicines and medical devices required by Israeli citizens and permanent residents.

Theranica is a 2020 game-changer. The Nerivio migraine-zapping wearable device from Israel’s Theranica has already been reported (see here) as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions for 2019. Now it has been selected by US research company CB Insights as one of 36 game-changing companies in 2020.

Funding for “ghost” cell cancer therapy. Israel’s aMoon fund, has invested $5 million in the new NanoGhost anti-cancer therapy of Technion Professor Marcelle Machluf. (reported here previously). In lab tests NanoGhost reduced small lung carcinoma, prostate, and pancreatic cancer tumors, by as much as 85%.

US approval for AR surgical headset. As reported previously (see here) Israel-based Augmedics has developed xvision - an augmented reality X-ray-like headset for surgeons to use in spinal and pelvic operations. Xvision has just received US FDA clearance.

US approval for robotic orthopedic brace. (TY Jacques) As reported previously (Sep 2018) Israel’s Orthospin is a smart, robotic, self-adjusting, external fixation system for helping heal bones after complex orthopedic operations. Orthospin has now received US FDA approval.

How retina implants integrate. Researchers from Israel’s Bar-Ilan and US Stanford Universities report the discovery that the brain can integrate artificial vision from retina implants together with natural vision from healthy retina. It implies that AMD patients with advanced prosthetic devices can restore their sight.

A better diet for diabetics. Israeli research published in Diabetes Care suggests that the current recommended diet for diabetics, of small frequent meals, worsens their condition. They should eat a big breakfast of bread, fruit and sweets in the early hours of the morning, a substantial lunch and a small dinner.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Warm coats for poor children. Israeli charity Yad Ezra V’Shulamit is distributing free winter coats, boots and blankets to thousands of Israel’s poorest children. The distribution includes only brand-new items, in line with the organization’s philosophy to bring not only warmth, but also self-esteem and dignity to recipients

Empowering the disabled. Israeli non-profit Kelev Tov (Hebrew for “good dog”) gives jobs caring for dogs to people struggling with physical and mental disabilities.

Dementia sufferers are not alone. Israeli non-profit Melabev works with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. Its centers are divided up by language (English, French, Russian and Hebrew) and by cognitive level. Malabev’s ethos is that the person has not changed, but the way to connect and interact with them has.

Empowering Arab women. Israeli NGO Seeds (Zarayim) operates a bilingual and multi-cultural (Arab-Jewish) seminar. Its inclusive environment allows Arab and Jewish women to learn together, exchange ideas, build friendships and bridge the cultures. As a result, many of the Arab women become pre-school teachers.

An Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape. Ed Husain, writing in the UK Spectator magazine, claims that new maps of the Muslim mind are being drawn and old hatreds are on the run. He cites recent events in Oman, Abu Dhabi, the UAE, Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to suggest that this may yet be the decade of peace.

Israelis name new planet. (TY Jacques) The International Astronomical Union invited the public to name an “exoplanet” discovered 1,500 light years from Earth. They selected the suggestion of an Israeli - “Aleph” - the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet. They also selected the name for its mother star - “Tevel”, meaning Universe.

Partnerships with Portugal. Whilst Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Portugal to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he also met with Portugal’s PM António Costa and Foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva. They agreed new joint ventures in defense, cyberterrorism, entrepreneurship, and agri-tech.

Israel helped find crashed Chilean plane. IDF Intelligence, Israel’s ImageSat International and an Israeli satellite helped locate the crash site of Chile’s C-130 Hercules plane that vanished in Antarctica with 38 on board. The Israelis significantly reduced the search area. Unfortunately, there were no survivors of the crash.


SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Electronics to improve energy production. Professor Lior Kornblum, working in the Grand Energy Program (GTEP) at Israel’s Technion, is pioneering new ways to generate and store energy to meet rapidly expanding demand. He is developing smart electronic devices to improve energy efficiency.

Study archaeology in Israel. For anyone wanting to study archaeology in English, Israel is probably the most significant region in the world to do it. Nowhere offers such a concentration of archaeological sites - from Neolithic to Crusader periods, underground and underwater. Summer courses are offered at Israeli universities.

Getting rid of disposable plastic. Israel’s 2017 plastic bag law saves 7,091 tons of non-recyclable plastic from landfills every year. Now, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are removing disposable plastics from schools.  Herzliya has launched its “City without Plastics” project. IKEA, Sodastream and many Israeli companies are following suit.

“The Start-up Nation for Medical Innovation”. Dr Rob Norman’s new book explores the world of Israeli medical and scientific innovations. It highlights the achievements of some of the 1,000+ Israeli companies in healthcare or life-science products and provides compelling reasons why Israel is a world leader in innovation.

Clean, renewable energy. Israel’s Ellomay is a developer of renewable energy and power projects in Europe and Israel. It has just sold 12 of its power plants in Italy to JP Morgan’s Sonnedix Group for 38.7 million Euros. Ellomay has another four photovoltaic plants in Spain.

System to counter Gaza fire balloons. (TY Hazel) There is a new solution to stop the thousands of incendiary balloons, kites and drones that Gaza terrorists have launched to burn large areas of Israeli farmland. Light Blade’s laser system has a 2km range and tests were conducted during the past week.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

A grand end to the decade. Ambassador Ettinger’s final report of 2019 highlights 2019 hi-tech exits totaling $9.9 billion (double that in 2018). The past decade featured 587 exits, totaling $71 billion. If follow-on deals are included, the total surges to $108 billion. The report also includes some excellent economic indicators.

Now we’re really pumping. Israel is commencing production from Leviathan’s 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas field, formally turning the Jewish state into an energy powerhouse. The milestone for the country will pave its way to “energy independence” and, via exports, to stronger ties with its neighbors.

Another multi-million fund for Israeli startups. Israel’s Aleph Venture Capital has raised a $200 million fund, for investing in Israeli startups. It previously raised a $180 million fund in 2016 and $150 million in 2013. It aims to support ambitious Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build global brands from Israel.

Third intake for TAU and Shin Bet accelerator. Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency have announced the 3rd cohort (intake) of its accelerator program Xcelerator. Its six new startups work in fields including speech recognition, real-time video analysis, and cybersecurity.

New IAI accelerator. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has opened an innovation center in Tel Aviv, in partnership with US-based accelerator Starburst Ventures. The Israeli teams chosen for the first class of the accelerator develop radar, robotics, and autonomous driving technologies.

Via to open second Israeli R&D center. Israeli-founded ride-sharing company Via (reported here previously) already has one Research & Development center in Tel Aviv, with 250 employees.  It has just announced it will be opening a second R&D center in Jerusalem, employing another 50 staff.

Defense gear for Dutch army. Israel’s Elbit has just won a $65 million order to supply the Armed Forces of the Netherlands with protection equipment for soldiers, radio gear and wearable computer units, as well as vehicle and command and control systems.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Studio of Her Own. (TY Sharon) The new women’s art center “Studio of Her Own” at the former Jerusalem home of the artist Pinchas Litvinovsky, was the venue for an exhibition on the 3rd night of Chanukah. Initially featuring works of professional Jewish women, it plans to encompass those of Israeli women of all religions.

Caesarea is the top Middle East tourist spot for 2020. Caesarea Port and National Park ranked 12th among 50 most recommended tourism sites in the world for 2020 by Travel + Leisure magazine. It ranked highest and most recommended of all Middle East tourist destinations. Its new visitor center opened in June (see here)

Eilat festivals. Eilat is the warm winter venue for several music festivals. Isrotel Classi-Cameri (Jan 1 – 4); Electronic Music festival (Jan 9 – 11); the Eilat Chamber Music Festival (Jan 22 – 25); Red Sea Guitar Festival (Feb 13 – 15); and Red Sea Winter Jazz Festival (Feb 20 – 22).  Eilat hosts 35 festivals from Jan to May 2020.

Jamie Oliver praises great Israeli breakfast. Famed UK chef Jamie Oliver visited Israel this summer, and one of his breakfasts, eaten at Jerusalem’s café Kalo, recently hit prime time on Israel’s Food Channel.  “This blows most breakfasts around the world out of the water,” Jamie said.

Jesse Underhill performs in Israel. Jewish-American teen sensation Jesse Underhill is one of the biggest performers on the Tik Tok application with six million people following his uploads. On Dec 29th he made his first stage performances in Tel Aviv and Beersheba.

Eurovision Israel was the best of the decade. In an official post, the European Broadcasting Union announced that the 2019 Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv has been voted as the best song contest of the decade.  Via social media, viewers were asked to judge the stage, songs, voting sequence and overall production value.



THE JEWISH STATE

A real Zionist. Geula Cohen, who passed away recently aged 93, joined the Jewish underground at 17 years old as a radio announcer during the Mandate period. She escaped twice from the British – including from prison.  After Israeli Independence, Geula became a Member of Knesset and won Israel’s highest civilian honors.

President and Netta sing for Bar/Bat mitzva kids. Eurovision song contest winner Netta Barzilai and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sang to Bar and Bat Mitzvah boys & girls who had been bereaved or injured in terror acts. A separate ceremony was held earlier for the children at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem.

Holydays in Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) Here are some of Sharon’s photos of this year’s biggest and best Chanukah happenings this year in Jerusalem.  And her photos show that Jerusalem is for all religions.

The largest Aliya in a decade. 34,000 people immigrated to Israel during 2019 – the largest annual figure in the past 10 years. Over the decade Israel received 250,000 immigrants from 150 countries. More than three million people have immigrated to Israel since 1948, with around 44% of them arriving after 1990.

US Ambassador packs food for the needy. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman joined volunteers at Israeli charity Colel Chabad's Pantry Packers center in Jerusalem to prepare packages for Israel's needy. They also re-packed rescued food for 200 elderly Israelis and gifts for 150 orphans.

Experiential learning in the Land. At Israel’s JNF Alexander Muss High School, students learn 4,000+ years of Jewish and Israeli history in a matter of months. The school uses experiential learning, teaching history chronologically at an advanced level, utilizing the Land of Israel as an immersive classroom