Israel's Good News Newsletter to 27th Dec 2020

 

In the 27th Dec 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

 

·         Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

·         A woman and a Druze Arab make Israeli Air Force history.

·         Historic signing of agreements between Israel and Morocco.

·         Two new Israeli fabric coatings protect against Covid-19.

·         Europeans are buying millions of Israeli flowers this month.

·         They will all come to Jerusalem.” 

 

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

 

Rolling out the vaccine. 140,000 Israelis were vaccinated in the first three days of the Pfizer vaccine rollout. (This editor received his first dose of vaccine on the sixth day). In addition, Magen David Adom are deploying unique mobile vaccination caravans, made by Israel’s Caravila.

https://unitedwithisrael.org/israel-fastest-country-in-the-world-vaccinating-its-population-against-covid-19/

https://worldisraelnews.com/israel-prepares-vehicles-for-mobile-covid-and-flu-shots/

 

Fat treatment proved to kill Covid-19. Hebrew University scientists have completed a study of 1500 Covid-19 patients receiving anti-cholesterol treatments. The study showed fast recovery and no deaths. Now a full clinical trial is to commence on the fat-busting treatment Fenofibrate (Tricor) (reported here previously).

https://campaign.huji.ac.il/news/could-fibrates-turn-effects-corona-little-more-common-cold

 

Microbiota shrinks melanoma tumors. A small Phase 1 trial of 10 terminally ill melanoma patients at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center resulted in the lives of two patients being extended and one cured completely. Doctors transplanted fecal material from the gut microbiome of previously cured melanoma patients.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/fecal-transplants-may-help-flush-tumors-from-body-israeli-doctors-find/

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/12/09/science.abb5920

 

New approach to Dry Eye Disease. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Azura Ophthalmics is tackling Dry Eye Disease (DED) by preventing its root cause – Dysfunction of the Meibomian Gland or MGD. Azura has reported good results during the Phase 2 clinical trials of its AZR-MD-001 ointment, applied to the lower eyelid.

https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-dry-eye-treatment-co-azura-ophthalmics-raises-20m-1001346802

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/azura-ophthalmics-announces-primary-endpoints-130000591.html

https://azuraophthalmics.com/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfjkv7Qxymc

 

Blood test detects early-stage lung cancer. (TY Atid-EDI) In tests, the Lung EpiCheck blood test developed by Israel’s Nucleix (reported here previously) detected 85% of early stage lung cancers among smokers and ex-smokers with a high risk for developing the disease. On low-risk individuals, the accuracy increased to 91%.

https://nucleix.com/news_and_events/nucleixs-lung-epicheck-liquid-biopsy-test-detects-85-of-early-stage-lung-cancers-in-high-risk-smokers-study-published-in-european-respiratory-journal/

 

The sight of blood. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Scopio Labs (reported here previously) has added software to its next generation of high-powered microscopes. It uses AI to scan, digitize and analyze blood for hematological diagnosis. Scopio has just received FDA clearance for its Full Field Peripheral Blood Smear Application.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/scopio-labs-receives-fda-clearance-for-its-ai-powered-full-field-peripheral-blood-smear-full-field-pbs-application-301156907.html     https://scopiolabs.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOdglVTX150

 

Senior’s cancer prize. Israel’s Nutek has won the Merage 45+ Entrepreneurs’ Competition. Founder and Exec Chairman, Dov Cohen received the $100,000 prize, which rewards Israeli entrepreneurs aged 45 and over. Cohen’s Nutek has developed probes that locate cancer cells remaining in a patient during tumor removal.

https://www.israelhayom.com/2020/12/22/startups-not-only-for-gen-z/  https://nutekmedtech.com/

 

Interfaith charity donates medical kits and more. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) recently donated 160 emergency medical kits for the volunteer medics of Israeli NGO United Hatzalah. The IFCJ also donated personal protection equipment and communication devices, for use by first responders.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/interfaith-organization-provides-medical-kits-to-israeli-volunteers-652865

 

Donation to complete blood center. The Marcus Foundation is donating $10 million to ensure completion of Israel’s new MDA shielded national blood services center at Ramla (reported here previously), that will protect Israel’s strategic blood reserves against missile, chemical, and biological attack.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/293532

 

 

ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

 

Kibbutz supports special needs adults. Israeli NGO Shai Asher has partnered Kibbutz Shluchot in Northern Israel to employ adults with special needs who work at its plant nursery and vegetable garden. They gain useful experience, independence and self-esteem, in a therapeutic environment while earning a regular salary.

https://www.israel21c.org/special-needs-adults-find-meaningful-work-on-kibbutz-farm/

http://kayitz.com/kibbutz-shluchot--our-home.html#

 

Museums accessibility forum. The Israel Council of Museums has held on-line the first National Forum on Accessibility and Inclusiveness in Museums. Its aim is to create a nationwide network for sharing best practices for those with special needs and disabilities at museums, galleries and heritage sites.

https://www.jns.org/israeli-museum-staff-hold-forum-to-boost-accessibility-during-pandemic/

 

First US-born woman to complete IAF pilot course. On Dec 24, Lt. O (name concealed), originally from Boston USA, became the first U.S.-born woman to complete the Israel Air Force’s prestigious pilot course.  She was one of just 39 participants (two of them women) who completed the course, that began with 500 entrants.

https://worldisraelnews.com/boston-native-becomes-first-us-woman-to-complete-iaf-pilot-courseboston-native-because-first-us-woman-to-complete-iaf-pilot-course/

 

Israel’s first Druze Air Force Colonel. The Israeli Air Force has promoted Druze officer Awad Suleiman to the rank of full Colonel – the first member of Israel’s Druze community to achieve that rank in the IAF. Colonel Suleiman will head one of the IAF's elite drone units. (See article for other top Druze IDF officers.)

https://www.israelhayom.com/2020/12/23/israeli-air-force-appoints-its-first-druze-colonel/

 

Haredi hackathon tackles coronavirus. Religious NGO KamaTech brought 300+ tech professionals from Israel’s orthodox Jewish communities to participate in a 24-hour event to help in the fight against coronavirus. Several solutions attracted the attention of Google, Pitango, Poalim Hi-Tech and Science Minister Izhar Shay.

https://worldisraelnews.com/haredi-hackathon-targets-solutions-to-coronavirus-crisis/

 

Allies in 50 parliaments. The Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) has achieved its goal of establishing 50 member countries by the end of 2020. The latest pro-Israel parliamentary caucuses were formed in Honduras, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon. The 50th caucus, Honduras, is moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/293259

 

Rice for Myanmar refugees. (TY Hazel) The Embassy of Israel in Yangon Myanmar has donated 320 50-kg. bags of rice to support for a month over 1,000 people in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Myanmar’s Paletwa district.

https://www.mmtimes.com/news/israel-donates-rice-idps-strife-torn-paletwa.html

 

Israeli Chief Rabbi visits UAE. Israel’s Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef flew to the United Arab Emirates and after meeting Emirati officials he invested Rabbi Levi Duchman as rabbi of the Emirati Jewish community. Rabbi Yosef then toured the Jewish nursery school, community center and KAF restaurant in the Burj Khalifa.

https://www.jns.org/on-uae-visit-israels-chief-rabbi-certifies-new-jewish-school-inspects-kosher-food/

 

Israel & Morocco sign agreements. A US-Israeli delegation flew direct from Tel Aviv to Rabat and signed normalization agreements with Morocco. Israel’s head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben Shabbat (son of Moroccan émigrés) made a special Jewish blessing when he met the King of Morocco, Muhammad VI.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/first-israel-morocco-flight-takes-off-for-rabat-to-seal-normalization-dal/

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/293623

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZg7ratpeWc  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB4pfwU_29g

 

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

 

Electronics medal of honor. Professor Jacob Ziv of Israel’s Technion Institute is the first Israeli to be awarded the Medal of Honor by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Among his achievements, he co-invented the Wyner-Ziv algorithm and the Lempel-Ziv algorithm used to compress data (ZIP, GIF etc.).

https://www.technion.ac.il/en/2020/11/ieee-medal-of-honor-to-technion-living-legend-dist-prof-ziv/

 

TechFestNW. Cutting edge Israeli solutions were showcased at Oregon’s annual TechFestNW, held on-line this year. Sonarax, Diagnostic Robotics and TytoCare promoted their Covid-19 related technologies. In addition, for the first time, 10 Israeli companies participated in the event’s PitchfestNW pitch competition.

https://www.israel21c.org/techfestnw-showcases-cutting-edge-israeli-solutions/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im7AfHtUtW0

 

Great minds. (TY Jacques) 100 students from the Jerusalem College of Technology attended virtually the 5th LevTech Great Minds Hackathon. It was won by a team of four ex-US immigrants who created software for Hebrew predicative text. The software autocorrects and adds vowels to Hebrew words.  (I need this!)

https://israelbetweenthelines.com/2020/12/24/tech-hackathon-winners-create-easier-way-to-learn-hebrew/

https://levtech.jct.ac.il/greatminds/5 (Hebrew site)

 

Surgical mask is 99.999% effective. Nothing is 100% perfect, but the “Germs Over” surgical mask made by the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR), together with Hadassah and the start-up Tera Novel, is good enough to protect against Covid-19.  The mask has just been verified and approved by Israel’s Health Ministry.

https://www.jpost.com/health-science/israel-makes-anti-coronavirus-mask-from-biological-warfare-disinfectant-652565  https://www.teranovel.com/

 

Anti-microbial fabric keeps clothes fresh. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli-based NILIT manufactures fabric made with its Sensil BodyFresh additive. Microbe Investigations AG (MIS), a microbiological testing services lab showed that the fabric demonstrated a 99.85% reduction in viral activity.  http://www.nilit.com/fibers/pr-00160.asp

 

Airships are on the rise. Israel’s Atlas LTA is developing a new innovative generation of airships. Their uses include transporting heavy cargo (especially offshore), fighting fires, construction cranes, humanitarian aid delivery and tourism. They are eco-friendly, low cost, require no runways and can fly up to 120km / hour.

https://jewishbusinessnews.com/2020/12/08/new-israeli-airship-innovations-will-change-transportation-forever/

https://atlas-lta.com/the-rise-of-airships-in-israel/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqM0h4AammU

 

Advanced drones for civilian purposes. Israel’s Xtend (reported here previously) previously made drones only for military purposes, for example, to intercept some 2500 arson kites and balloons from Gaza. Its latest use, though, was civilian – delivering coronavirus test kits to a ship at sea so it could safely dock at Haifa.

https://www.jns.org/advanced-israeli-drone-tech-thats-taken-militaries-by-storm-now-eyes-civilian-use/

 

Drone, drone on the range! (Sorry for the pun) Instead of using cowboys, whips and barking dogs, Israeli startup BeeFree Agro uses buzzing drones to herd cows. It says it produces a calmer, less stressful environment for cattle. BeeFree have had interest from the UAE who want to use the technology to herd camels.

https://unitedwithisrael.org/watch-israeli-farmers-use-drones-to-herd-cattle/  https://www.beefreeagro.com/

 

Food for thought. Israel’s Technion Institute hosted the 34th annual conference of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) - the first to be held on-line. This year’s theme was “Bridging High-tech, Food-tech and Health: Consumer-oriented Innovations” and focused on the future of world food.

https://www.technion.ac.il/en/2020/12/food-for-thought-and-thoughts-on-the-food-of-the-future/

 

Using nature to preserve fruit juice. Students at Israel’s Technion Institute won the MicroBiome-Push project of “Food Solutions” - an educational program of the European food consortium, EIT Food. They used a naturally occurring bacteriophage (safe to humans) to destroy the bacteria that spoils natural fruit juice.

https://www.jewishpress.com/news/business-economy/the-juice-keepers-technion-students-use-viruses-to-stop-juice-from-spoiling/2020/12/22/

 

Saving the vine. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Lavie-Bio (reported here previously) has reported successful vineyard trials of its two leading bio-fungicides LAV311 and LAV312 for bunch rot diseases.

https://www.evogene.com/press_release/lavie-bio-announces-positive-results-for-lav311-and-lav312-in-its-bio-fungicide-program/   https://www.lavie-bio.com/

 

Printed meat. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Meat-Tech 3D is developing a unique, proprietary 3D bioprinter for printing slaughter-free cultured meat.  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/meat-tech-announces-further-advancement-of-3d-printing-technology-for-food-products-by-bioprinting-cultured-beef-fat-structure-301181563.html  https://meatech3d.com/

 

Space camera success. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s ScoutCam (reported here previously) has announced the success of its micro ScoutCam 8.0 HD in NASA’s third Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM3) of the International Space Station. The camera was used during the mission which went into orbit on October 19th.

https://www.scoutcam.com/press-releases/scoutcam-announces-success-of-hd-micro-video-camera-in-nasas-robotic-refueling-mission-3/

 

High power wireless recharging. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Powermat (reported here previously) has unveiled its upgraded wireless charging platform. It can provide up to 50W of power charge devices wirelessly up to 20 cm through thick surfaces such as walls, glass (windows), and various other non-metallic materials.

https://news.yahoo.com/powermat-unveils-breakthrough-50w-mid-010000452.html

 

“Waze” for cranes. Israel’s UltraWis has transformed the cockpit of the construction site crane into that of an aircraft. Cranes are controlled from hi-tech cabins on the ground, with no on-board operator. The technology includes image processing, 3D-modeling and Augmented Reality. It is currently being trialed in Israel.

https://www.jns.org/the-israeli-company-bringing-cutting-edge-aerospace-technology-to-the-construction-site/

 

 

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

 

Eight joint US-Israel clean energy projects. The US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy program is granting $7.15 million to eight US-Israel clean energy projects. The Israelis are Addionics, ECOncrete, Eviation, POCellTech (Hydrolite), StoreDot, Tadiran Batteries, TurboGen and VisIC.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-israel-fund-to-invest-7-15-million-in-eight-clean-energy-projects/

 

Israeli in Dubai for diamonds and organics. For the first time, Israelis took part in the largest rough diamond tender by the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC). Meanwhile Eco Friend and Arugot were among three companies in the Israeli booth at the Middle East Organic and Natural Products Expo in Dubai.

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/israeli-firsts-in-dubai-include-diamonds-and-organic-technology-652804

https://organicandnatural.com/

 

Germany seeks Israeli startups. The non-profit Elnet is dedicated to strengthening Europe-Israel ties. Its German office is launching GINSUM - the German Israeli Network of Startups and Mittelstand (small and medium-size businesses). The German Government uniquely is giving GINSUM a grant of $850,000.

https://www.jpost.com/jpost-tech/german-government-funds-new-initiative-to-connect-with-israeli-startups-652796   https://elnetwork.eu/country/germany/ginsum/

 

Israel sent 10 million flowers to Europe. Israel's 250 flower growers sent 10 million flowers to European and Scandinavian flower markets during December in preparation for the holiday season. Israeli flowers are sought after for their high quality and long shelf life, the results of Israeli research and innovation.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-ships-10-million-flowers-to-europe-for-christmas-652789

 

Almost too fast. Good article listing some of Israel’s recent business changes. They include Credit card PIN codes, contactless payments, contactless ATMs, home delivery and … the wearing of face masks!

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/5-positive-changes-ive-observed-in-israel-this-year/

 

Doubling up on a takeaway boom. Israeli-founded 10bis (reported here previously) is now owned by Dutch company Just Eat Takeaway, but still based in Israel. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased demand for meal card and food delivery services and 10bis is recruiting to double staff numbers at its Tel Aviv R&D center.

https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3883353,00.html

 

The Japanese can breathe easier. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Aura Smart Air (see here) has signed a $30 million deal with Japanese distributor J-TEC to supply the Japanese market with its air filtration and disinfection systems. It is hoped that the air purifiers can help re-open Japan’s 100,000 karaoke bars, closed due to Covid-19.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israeli-air-purifier-could-bring-japans-karaoke-industry-back-to-life-653093

 

Investment in Israeli startups: Trigo raised $60 million; Superpedestrian raised $60 million; Toka raised $25 million; Azure Opthalmics raised $20 million; Evogene raised $12 million; BlazePod raised $8.5 million; Meat-Tech 3D raised $7 million;

 

 

CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`

 

Updating the Tower of David. Excavations at Jerusalem’s Tower of David have revealed a 13th century inscription, redating at least part of the citadel. Cutting-edge methodology is used to date each of its walls, which span from the reign of the 8th century BCE Biblical King Hezekiah to the 16th century CE Ottomans.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-tower-of-david-looks-to-future-excavations-rewrite-ancient-citadels-past/

 

Jerusalema in Jerusalem. (TY WIN) The Jerusalema dance challenge craze has reached its destination - Israel’s capital. Performers in this video include the mayor of Jerusalem, university students, holocaust survivors, municipality workers, school children and Arab and Jewish youth from across the united city.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tHdpzkenLw (ILTV news report)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBUhDDeCkiQ (Full 2-minute video)

 

Tour Jerusalem on a treadmill. Three Jerusalem-based travel professionals have developed a virtual treadmill program called Running Around Jerusalem (RAJ). The free 30-minute YouTube videos allow anyone exercising on a treadmill to simulate running through Jerusalem. Two running “buddies” explain the sites.

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/amid-covid-19-virtual-treadmill-brings-jerusalem-to-runners-worldwide-653148

 

 

THE JEWISH STATE

 

Huge increase in Masa Israel applications. There are currently 7,500 Masa Israel Journey participants from over 60 countries on programs to learn, teach, volunteer and intern in the Jewish state. In its 16th programming year, despite the pandemic, Masa has seen a 36% increase in applications for its programs.

https://www.jns.org/israel-program-sees-spike-in-applications-despite-pandemic/

 

Ari Fuld Z”L award. Herut North America presented its Ari Fuld Z”L Zionist Activist Of the Year Award to Ben Goldstein. Ben made Aliya in 1996 as a lone soldier; his Goldstein Experience website shows the beauty and history of Israel; his security expertise, videos and Unity Warriors website help protect the Jewish State.

https://lidblog.com/herut-na-honored-ben-goldstein/  https://www.goldsteinexperience.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGxW3vjgYUg

 

Kushner Garden of Peace inaugurated. The Kushner Garden of Peace at the KKl/JNF Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem Forest was inaugurated by planting 18 olive trees to symbolize life (Chai) and Peace. After the ceremony, Jared Kushner flew to Morocco for the historic normalization agreement signing.

https://unitedwithisrael.org/watch-netanyahu-kushner-plant-olive-trees-in-grove-of-nations-expressing-desire-for-peace/   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeYoLMoRxOg

 

Three religious Israeli Jews in Dubai. Israelis Michael Sussman, David Weinberg and Joseph Kohan gave positive accounts of their visits to the United Arab Emirates. They were warmly greeted everywhere in Dubai, especially as Israeli Jews. Until the latest lockdown, eight flights arrived from Tel Aviv each weekday.

https://www.jns.org/opinion/my-multicultural-shabbat-in-a-muslim-arab-country/

https://www.jns.org/opinion/what-dubai-taught-me-about-israel/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/did-ultra-orthodox-jew-became-130000687.html

 

A pandemic through an EMT’s eyes. 10 volunteer medics from diverse backgrounds working for Israeli NGO United Hatzalah explain what they have learned on the frontlines. They share how they have become better EMTs and what has kept them going, through each obstacle they have faced over the last 9 months.

https://israelrescue.org/blog/a-pandemic-through-an-emts-eyes-10-united-hatzalah-volunteers-share-what-theyve-learned-being-on-the-frontlines/