Israel's Good News Newsletter to 21st Oct 18


·         An Israeli startup provides cancer patients with details of treatment trials.
·         Israelis are helping survivors of Indonesian earthquake and Florida hurricane.
·         Israeli scientists have developed a new process to tackle industrial pollution.
·         Two more Israeli companies have been sold for billions of dollars.
·         The new conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra is an Israeli.
·         Hebron’s Jewish origins are now on display to the public.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Palestinian Arab baby given Jewish heart. Surgeons at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center tried to save the life a very sick 6-month old Palestinian Arab baby with a transplant of the heart donated by an Israeli Jewish child. The baby unfortunately didn’t survive.

Israeli heart surgery for Iraqi-Kurdish newborn. (TY Nevet) An Iraqi baby born with a congenital heart defect is being flown to Israel for life-saving surgery after an emergency appeal to Israel’s Interior Ministry. Baby Ahlam, from Iraqi Kurdistan, suffers from the reversal of the main arteries carrying blood from the heart.

US approval for brain scan software. I reported previously (Nov 2016) on Israel’s Aidoc whose AI image software helps radiologists in fast detection of acute brain bleeds in CT scans. Aidoc’s system has now received US FDA approval and is currently in use at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

US approves Teva’s cancer treatment. (TY Arlene) The US FDA’s oncology committee has approved CT-P10 – Teva’s monoclonal antibody biosimilar to Rituxan (rituximab) for the treatment of various forms of cancer. The development of biosimilars has the potential to increase accessibility to therapies for patients.

“Moses” blasts bladder stones. Conventional treatment of bladder stones uses a laser that causes the stone to be repelled, extending the time taken to destroy it. Israeli biotech Lumenis’ laser technology (named “Moses”) keeps the stone in place, saving time, anesthesia and money.  Nice simple video demonstrates this.

A replacement for the “forgotten valve”. Israeli startup Trisol Medical is developing a minimally invasive device that can replace a faulty tricuspid heart valve. The tricuspid valve is known as the “forgotten valve” as other bio-techs have focused efforts developing replacements for the aortic and mitral valves.

Hope in sight for vision impaired. (TY WIN) Israeli startup ICI Vision has developed Orama - digital glasses to help the visually impaired to see more clearly. Orama uses artificial intelligence (AI), eye-tracking software, a built-in 3D camera and more, to map and project images onto an individual’s remaining healthy retina cells.

Contact lenses for the nose.  Israel’s Beck Medical has developed NozNoz – a silicon nasal insert that curbs the appetite by blocking the senses of smell and taste. The effect is to prevent stimulating the body’s olfactory bulb that controls hunger and food preferences. NozNoz is comparable to contact lenses for the nose.

Israel ranks 6th for healthcare efficiency. (TY Nevet) Israel has moved up from 7th to 6th in the world ranking for its achievement of having an average life-expectancy of 82.5 whilst spending only 7.9% of its GDP on Health.  In comparison, the USA has an average life-expectancy of 79 but spends 16.8% of GDP on Health.

Where to find cancer treatment trials. Israeli-US startup TrialJectory helps match (initially) melanoma patients with clinical trials appropriate to their condition.  The patient provides details of themselves and their cancer to TrialJectory. An algorithm and AI (Artificial Intelligence) then select trials likely to be effective.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

See Jerusalem’s diversity on the light railway. The Jerusalem Light Rail is where you can meet people of all backgrounds. It’s a microcosm of the diverse and inclusive society of Jerusalem. The train line runs through Israeli and Arab neighborhoods and serves all of Jerusalem’s residents.

Israel sends aid to Indonesia. Israel has provided emergency aid to tsunami hit Indonesia, despite having no formal diplomatic ties. It includes teams from IsraAID and water purification systems from Israel’s NU Filtration. https://israelunwired.com/israel-sends-help-to-tsunami-victims-of-muslim-country/

And to Florida. Israeli NGO IsraAID has dispatched natural disaster assistance teams to help communities in Florida that were hard-hit by Hurricane Michael.  IsraAID’s emergency response team will work to return affected people to their homes.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/israel-sends-aid-to-florida-north-carolina-philippines-indonesia/2018/10/14/

Pro-Israeli Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad, co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, was welcomed previously at Israel’s Knesset and the University of Tel Aviv. Nadia enlisted the help for her fellow Syrian Yazidis, of Israeli NGO IsraAID, saying they were "more effective than many governments".

Pediatric clinic for refugees in Nigeria. Israel’s embassy in Nigeria has opened a pediatric clinic in Durumi near Abuja, the capital Nigeria. Israeli and local medics are treating children in need of primary care who have been displaced by decades of violence within Nigeria.

Ivory Coast orphanage renovated. Israelis have just finished renovating the girls’ orphanage at Grand Bassam, in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Africa. The project was concluded with a special ceremony attended by Israeli Knesset members and Israel-Côte d’Ivoire embassy staff.

Jerusalem hosts tourism security summit. The first-ever International Tourism Security Summit has been held in Jerusalem. Experts and academics from around the world met to discuss security at the world’s leading tourist destinations. Israel is seen as a model of how to handle security threats at tourism and travel sites.

First US Navy ship in Ashdod in decades.  USS Ross docked at the Ashdod port – the first US Navy ship to do so in 20 years. Commander Kyle Raines of the U.S. Sixth Fleet said that the port visit “reinforces the strong and enduring partnership between our two nations”. US Navy ships to Israel usually dock at the port of Haifa.

200 Israelis join European disaster drill. (TY TIP) A 200-strong Israeli team, including over 90 medics, took part in the Seism 2018 (Earthquake 2018) exercise in Bucharest, Romania, in cooperation with the European Union. They simulated the scenario of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake with thousands of casualties.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New process to tackle pollution. Israeli university scientists have developed Phased Transaction Extraction (PTE) to help get rid of organic and metal pollutants. Solvents extract organic compounds while special bonding agents separate toxic metals. All materials and polluting chemicals can be recycled afterwards.

Hi-tech IDF. 60,000 lucky Israeli citizens snapped up all available tickets for a special exhibit called “Our IDF” produced by the Israeli army. They saw the IDF’s Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities and had a glimpse of a other cutting-edge technologies that are either currently being used or are in the works.

New AI research center.  Intel Corporation and Israel’s Technion Institute have inaugurated a new research center in Haifa, dedicated to AI (artificial intelligence) technologies. Intel’s top leaders attended the event. The research will include natural language processing, deep learning, and hardware optimization for algorithms.

3 Israeli startups in TIME’s “Genius” list. TIME Magazine included 3 Israeli companies in its 2018 list of 50 “genius companies”. They are Lishtot (see here), WeWork (see here) and Aidoc (see here). TIME’s editors and correspondents selected companies based on their originality, influence, success, and ambition.

Video to prove whose fault it is. I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Nexar which has developed a car dashboard camera.  Now another Israeli startup Comroads has developed a smartphone app that connects to the dash cam and allows a community of users to exchange video footage in the event of an incident or accident.

The complete picture. Israel’s Vayavision Sensing has developed a system designed to provide precise 3D imaging of a vehicle’s environment. The system comprises a variety of autonomous sensor systems, cameras, radars, and LiDAR. Vayavision has just raised $8 million of funding.

Eradicating mosquitos in Brazil. Two Israeli companies are partnering to eliminate deadly mosquitos in Brazil. I’ve already featured Senecio (see here) and its system to release sterile male mosquitos from planes. Now Israel’s Forrest Innovations has developed a new process to silence the mosquito’s fertility gene.

Climate innovation prize winner. Israel’s Paulee CleanTec affiliate company Epic CleanTec has won the grand prize in the Climate Innovation Showcase at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Epic converts solid waste from high-rise buildings into dry, odorless, sterile, organic fertilizer for landscaping.

Israel’s moonshot – latest news.  Israel’s SpaceIL lunar module is now targeted to land on the moon in 2019. Thanks to a $2 million boost from the Israeli government.  SpaceIL will also benefit from tools provided by NASA in exchange for magnetic field data.  NASA will also try to capture images of the actual landing.

3D on your smartphone.  I reported briefly previously (see here) on Israel’s Mantis Vision and its 3D technology. Here are more details, including a video to highlight its exciting potential.

Robots to clean skyscraper windows. Israel’s Skyline Robotics has developed software that enables existing machinery like cranes and elevators to be upgraded into window-cleaning robots. The company also has a social responsibility program that re-trains human window cleaners who have made redundant by the robots.

50% more protein. I reported previously (Jun 2016) on Israel’s Equinom which is developing superior vegetables for a hungry world. Equinom’s non-GMO legumes have 50% more protein than varieties currently on the market. Equinom has just received a $4 million investment from vegetable protein pioneer Roquette.

World Space Week. 50 countries participated in the 19th annual United Nations World Space Week initiative, with multiple activities in each country. Israel’s free events, hosted by Israel Space Agency, included lectures, workshops, escape rooms, virtual reality, and films about space and the impact it has on our lives.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Optimistic state of Israel’s economy. In his latest summary, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger highlights good financial ratings, median age of 30, 3.3% 2018 growth estimate, recent billion dollar exits and multinational investments. He also recommends this video publicizing Avi Jorisch’s great book “Thou Shalt Innovate”.

$1.64 billion exit for Mazor Robotics.  Israeli robotic surgery company Mazor Robotics has been acquired by medical equipment giant Medtronic for $1.64 billion. Hadassah surgeons in Jerusalem used Mazor’s Renaissance Guidance System last year to perform the world’s first dual robotic surgery (see here) (and here).

$2.1 billion exit for Imperva.  Israeli-founded cybersecurity company Imperva is being acquired by US investment firm Thoma Bravo in a deal valued at approximately $2.1 billion. Imperva has 6,200 customers and 500 partners in more than 100 countries plus development centers in Tel Aviv and Rehovot.

$250 million cybersecurity exit. Singapore's governmental holding company Temasek has acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup Sygnia for an estimated $250 million. Originating from Israel’s Team8 foundry (see here) Sygnia offers cyber security consulting and incident response services to businesses and organizations.

Walmart’s $250 million Israeli venture. (TY Arlene) The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has announced a strategic entertainment deal with Israeli interactive video technology developer Eko (formerly Interlude see here). Reported to be worth $250 million, the joint venture will help Walmart compete with Amazon.

$100 million finance deals not rare.  (TY Arlene) Until a few years ago, Israeli startups looked to be bought up for a few million dollars. These days, Israeli entrepreneurs are looking to grow their businesses rather than exit. Six Israeli companies have held financing rounds of $100 million or more in the past 12 months.

An Israeli medical incubator in Atlanta. Haifa’s Rambam Hospital is partnering with Georgia Institute of Technology to establish a new MedTech incubator for Israeli-based companies in Atlanta, Georgia. The joint biomedical and digital health innovation center will speed up bringing medical products to the US market.

Funding nanotech research. Yissum, the technology transfer company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has launched a $9 million fund dedicated to the university’s nanotech research. The fund will focus on innovations in the fields of smart materials, 3D printing, quantum science, and renewable energy.

The best hotel in the Middle East. Conde Naste Traveler Magazine has named Tel Aviv’s Hotel Norman as the best hotel in the Middle East and Africa.  Four Jerusalem hotels were included in the magazine’s 2018 Top Hotels in the Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-hotel-named-best-hotel-in-africa-middle-east-by-conde-naste-traveler-magazine/2018/10/14/


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Becoming Israeli. A new book brings the Aliya experience home. “Becoming Israeli: The Hysterical, Inspiring and Challenging Sides of Making Aliyah.” edited by Akiva Gersh, describes the experiences of 51 new immigrant bloggers who describe life (warts and all) in modern-day Israel.

Chief conductor of BBC Philharmonic is Israeli. The British Broadcasting Corporation has appointed Israel’s Omer Meir Wellber as the new chief conductor to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, from Sept 2019 for an initial four years. Wellber is also a Good Will Ambassador for Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart.

Netflix buys another Israeli TV series.  Israeli television drama “When Heroes Fly” has been sold to Netflix, joining several other Hebrew-language series already featured on the popular streaming platform. The show’s 10 episodes will be available to millions of viewers starting in early 2019, along with English subtitles.

Operation Wedding – new dates. The exciting documentary “Operation Wedding” (see here) about Jews trying to escape the Soviet Union, has new Israel screening dates.  Oct 28 in Tel Aviv; Nov 10 in Beit Shemesh.

Jethro Tull’s 50th Anniversary Tour.  Legendary folk/rock band Jethro Tull, led by Ian Anderson, is scheduled to perform in Israel on 27 October. The concert begins after Shabbat at the Culture Palace Tel Aviv and is part of the band’s world tour to mark its 50th anniversary.

Music of the Jewish Streets. (TY Janglo) The best of Klezmer with Jazz interpretations will be celebrated on Oct 24 at Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem. Award-winning master pianist Orit Wolf hosts the Di Gasn Trio and other musicians. https://www.bac.org.il/music/event/music-of-the-jewish-streets

Israel is top of the league. The Israeli soccer team beat Scotland and Albania in its last two matches to go top of its Nation League soccer group. Israel now has six points – three ahead of both Scotland and Albania.


THE JEWISH STATE


Christians celebrate Tabernacles in Jerusalem. The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) hosted thousands of Christian supporters of Israel celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. They then marched through the streets of Jerusalem, dressed in their national garb, displaying flags from around the world.

50,000 at Kotel for Priestly blessing. (TY UWI) An estimated 50,000 people took part in the traditional priestly blessing ceremony at the Western Wall on the first day of Chol Hamoed (intermediate days) Sukkot (Tabernacles). U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also attended the service.

$32 million raised for IDF. 1,200 leading business people and philanthropists attended the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National Gala Dinner in New York. Together they raised more than $32 million to support well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers.

40 years of peace with Egypt. It’s 40 years since Israel’s PM Menachem Begin and Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords. It ended 30 years of war between Egypt and the Jewish State.

Ancient Jerusalem inscription discovered. The earliest stone inscription bearing the full Hebrew spelling of Jerusalem has been excavated in an ancient artisan village just 2.5km outside of modern Jerusalem. “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem” (Yerushalayim) was inscribed on a column made in 100 BCE.

Biblical Jewish Hebron site opened. Tel Hebron, in the city of the Patriarchs, is now open to the public. Archaeological finds at the birthplace of Jewish history include 1st Temple-era pottery vessels, jewelry and coins, as well as olive presses, kilns and giant vats used to produce oil and wine in accordance with Jewish law.