Israel's Good News Newsletter to 18th Oct 20


In the 18th Oct 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:


·         Israeli nasal spray prevents spread of Covid-19.

·         Two examples of innovative Israeli surgery.

·         Israel has banned trade in animal fur – the first nation to do so.

·         On World Food Day, Israelis cook 1000 meals for needy Londoners.

·         Israeli drones deliver emergency supplies to distant inaccessible locations.

·         Israeli space technology is to help the UN monitor for natural disasters.

·         The sky’s no limit for El Al’s new owner.

·         Enjoy Israeli culture, nature and entertainment online.

·         A 1st Temple weight measure was discovered next to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.


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Covid-19 prevention cocktail. Trials will start soon of an antibody cocktail developed by Tel Aviv University scientists to treat Covid-19 patients and to protect highly vulnerable individuals from the virus until a vaccine is available. The serum contains six different antibodies that can provide immunity for several months.


Nasal spray prevents Covid-19 spread. Israeli biotech Nasus has developed the Taffix anti-viral nasal spray. It creates a thin gel over the nasal mucosa, blocking viruses for 4-5 hours. In recent tests, Taffix reduced Covid-19 infections from 10% down to 2.4%. Taffix is marketed in Europe and available at SuperPharm in Israel.


BBC says Israeli Covid-19 tests work like magic! (TY Hazel) Ben Gurion University Professor Tomer Hertz, was interviewed on the BBC World Service’s statistics show “More or Less” about how Israel’s “mathematical magic” of testing pooled swab samples could help countries to ramp up their Covid-19 testing capacity. 


Webinar featuring Professor Haick. An opportunity to see and hear the amazing Technion Professor Hossam Haick (reported here previously), discuss with fellow Professor Naama Geva-Zatorsky, about fast Covid-19 testing. The Technion UK event is on Tues 20 Oct at 6pm (UK), 8pm (Israel) or 1pm EDT.  Register below.


Sleep apnea device wins major US award. The US National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has chosen Israel’s Itamar Medical.(reported here previously) as the winner of its 2020 SleepTech Award, which recognizes the year’s most innovative achievement in sleep technology. Itamar’s WatchPAT ONE diagnoses sleep apnea.


AI triage for Brown University. Israel’s Diagnostic Robotics (reported here previously) is bringing its Artificial Intelligence-powered patient triage and prediction platform to the Brown University-Lifespan Center for Digital Health in Providence, Rhode Island.


Train the brain for a better game. Israel’s i-BrainTech uses neuroscience to train the brains of soccer players off the field. With a unique helmet, players visualize their tactics while an avatar (image of the player) performs the actions on a screen. A 30% improvement in 2 months is claimed.  It is also used in stroke rehabilitation.,7340,L-3857331,00.html


Spine surgery under local anesthetic. (TY UWI) Surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital repaired several vertebral fractures in the spine of an Israeli who stayed awake throughout the operation. Due to the 74-year-old patient’s heart and lung issues, only local anesthesia was used - a procedure only Hadassah surgeons perform.


Surgeons save baby unable to breathe. During a C-section at Israel’s Ichilov hospital, doctors bypassed a tumor that was blocking the baby’s airways. Only then could they cut his umbilical cord to avoid oxygen starvation. The doctors practiced the complex operation using a 3D-printed model of the baby’s neck.


Bio-convergence is the next big thing. The Israel Innovation Authority is to invest up to about $30 million in bio-convergence technologies and companies, the next growth engine for the Israeli economy. Bio-convergence is the overlap of biology, physics, computer science, math, engineering, materials science and nanotechnology.





The first country to ban trade in animal fur. Israel is to set to ban the fur trade - the first nation in the world to do so (only some cities and California have banned it). Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said, "Utilizing the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral."  Even the BBC reported the news.


First Bedouin graduates of Startup Negev. Startup Negev (reported here previously) is a new tech accelerator catering to Israel’s Bedouin minority. Its first graduates included a mixed team of a Bedouin father and son plus a Jewish couple who won NIS 50,000 with their homework platform for children with learning disabilities.


App to help PA Arabs get Israeli medical treatment. Jewish paramedic Yaara and PA doctor Zafer have developed the “Care and Transfer” app to help speed up the transfer of sick Palestinian Arabs to Israeli hospitals.  The two met at Tech2Peace (see here) a 12-day peacebuilding tech event for PA Arabs and Israelis.


Bribery stops here. For the second year in a row the NGO Transparency International ranked Israel in the four best nations for cracking down on bribery of foreign public officials by companies operating abroad. The survey rated 47 top nations, including 43 signatories to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.


Historic Berlin meeting. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, met for the first time in Berlin, and together visited the Holocaust Memorial there. The event was also attended by German ministers.


Meals for 1000 needy Londoners. (TY Barry Shaw) For World Food Day, the Israel Embassy in London. partnered City Harvest London and Eran Tibi of London’s Bala Baya Israeli restaurant to cook 1,000 meals for London’s needy. They will go to women’s shelters, children’s charities, the elderly and soup kitchens.





More power to Israel. Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office has formed the Fuel Cells Consortium. Its aim is to improve fuel cell durability and power and to cut its costs. The consortium includes Israeli fuel cell companies GenCell (see here) and PO-CellTech plus 12 researchers from all of Israel’s universities.


New R&D center for breeding better seeds. Israel’s Equinom (reported here previously) has opened a hi-tech R&D center in a huge renovated warehouse at Kibbutz Givat Brenner in Central Israel. The facility will boost Equinom’s efforts to develop the next generation of its non-GMO Smarter Seeds for tackling global hunger.


Fast delivery by hybrid UAV. (TY WIN) Israel’s Gadfin (“wings” in Aramaic) has developed a long-distance aircraft with folding wings to hover like a UAV but fly like a plane. Ideal for delivering emergency supplies to inaccessible locations up to 250km away.  Italy’s Enei will use Gadfin to check electrical power lines.


Cutting security delays at airports. Israel’s SeeTrue provides a hi-tech AI solution that quickly identifies banned items in X-rays of baggage. SeeTrue was a winner in the UN World Tourism Organization Healing Solutions challenge, contested by over 1,100 companies.


Locating landmines by detecting bacteria. Israel has developed some unique innovative methods for finding deadly unexploded landmines (see here). Now, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have engineered a strain of E. coli bacteria that, a few hours after scattering over a minefield, will glow brightly if near TNT.


Charging up the road. Israel’s ElectReon does not stop. Having begun building pilot vehicle charging roads in Sweden, Germany and Tel Aviv (see here), it is now partnering European infrastructure company, Eurovia (part of Vinci S.A.), to promote and build wireless electric road systems in Germany, France and Belgium.,7340,L-3855070,00.html


New EV chassis is right on track. Israel’s REE Automotive (reported here previously) has three prototypes of its modular and flexible electric vehicle platforms. Each is sized appropriate to the dimensions and applications of the final completed target vehicle. REE has partnered Mitsubishi, Masushi, NSK, AAM, KYB and Mahindra.


Boosting streaming for Cisco & BT. Israel’s Qwilt (reported here nine years ago) is integrating its software to accelerate the pace and streaming of live and VOD video broadcasts into Cisco's computer systems. British Telecom (BT) is the first company that will integrate the new development in its infrastructure.,7340,L-3856211,00.html


Safer, cheaper construction. Israel’s Samson Logic has developed a hardware / software system for managing construction materials. It can help save lives, save crane and worker time, optimize storage area, and manage material waste. Samson Logic has been selected to join the Proptech Zone Startup Accelerator. Great video.,7340,L-3856010,00.html


Helping the UN monitor disasters from space. United Nations’ Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has signed an agreement with Israel’s Ben Gurion University to create a Regional Support Office for the UN Platform for Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER).'


Ecosystem security pioneer. Israeli cybersecurity startup Cyberpion says that it detects threats from all connected third-party online solutions, their connections, and so on. It “systematically identifies vulnerabilities and neutralizes previously undetectable threats within the vast, highly dynamic online ecosystem.”


Manage stress with personal nutrition. Israel’s has developed a series of plant-based nutrition bars to reduce different type of stress. The herbal extract blends are personalized using an algorithm and profiling of an individual’s cognitive response to stress, tracked via a smart watch.


Car from Israeli recycled material. A team of Dutch students has built a zero-waste car. The body of the “Luca” is made of bio-based thermoplastic from recycled trash, developed by Israeli startup UBQ Materials (reported here previously). The students’ aim is to show that waste can be used for a multitude of applications.


Color from yeast. A spinoff from Israel’s Weizmann Institute, startup Phytolon has developed natural food coloring by fermenting yeast. The process involves extracting the gene that determines the color of a certain plant and using it to generate a strain of baker yeast, which is then fermented.





Record quarter for hi-tech investment. The Israeli Tech Funding report by IVC and ZAG for the third quarter of 2020 showed that the total of investment in Israeli high-tech soared to a new quarterly record – $2.74 billion.


US-Israel trade forum. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the first US Free Trade agreement - with Israel. On Oct 26, the US-Israel Trade Forum celebrates the successes of this agreement and examines areas for the continued growth of these commercial ties.  Register for this virtual event at the linked site below.


Why Chevron’s takeover of Noble is good news. When Arab countries boycotted Israel, major oil companies did the same. As the Arab world makes friends with Israel, so major oil companies feel free to invest in Israel’s successful economic future. Chevron will now help extract Israel’s natural gas deposits, for mutual benefit.


On the wings of eagles. Yeshiva student Eli Rozenberg, son of Naftali, now officially controls Israel’s national airline El Al through his father’s company. Naftali is not an Israeli citizen (one of the ownership requirements for El Al) but his son is. Naftali’s company is Kanfei Nesharim - Hebrew for “The wings of eagles”.


Superb play by Joe Montana. Legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana has invested in Israeli startup Walnut which develops an application for customized sales demos. Walnut enables a seamless, effective, sales process while working remotely without reliance on professional designers or developers.,7340,L-3854831,00.html


Were you watching? Back in Feb 2016 Israel’s Tipalti was one of seven Israeli “startups to watch” (reported here). Hopefully, you read it, because the developer of automation solutions for global payments is now worth $2 billion. Its clients include Amazon Twitch, Twitter, GoDaddy, Fiverr and Vimeo.,7340,L-3854791,00.html


Billion-dollar exit, but still independent. At the peak of the coronavirus crisis, with businesses around the world paralyzed, Israeli application security company Checkmarx pulled off a massive $1.2 billion exit and maintained its independence in the process. Israeli founder and CTO, Maty Siman, explains.


Israeli secure digital transfer attracts French bank. Israel’s Curv (reported here previously) has partnered French banking giant BNP Paribas to complete a proof of concept of Curv’s process for transferring security tokens securely between market participants.,7340,L-3855195,00.html


We never close. (TY Jacques) During the recent Israeli lockdown, only certain essential businesses can stay open. To avoid closure, some businesses have used creative “chutzpa”. A flower shop sells “agricultural products” and herbs. A falafel shop delivers to the closest bench. A clothing store sells fruit and veg.


Vegan eggs available in the US. Israel’s Zero Egg, developer of a vegan substitute for eggs (reported here previously), has now launched in the US to food service operators and manufacturers. Zero Egg contains soy, potato, pea, and chickpea, is low fat, has no cholesterol, and just 15 calories compared to 65 for an actual egg.


Investment in Israeli startups: Tipalti raised $150 million; apiiro raised $35 million; Illusive Networks raised $24 million; Access Fintech raised $20 million; Dataloop raised $16 million; SiteAware raised $10 million; Cyberpion raised $8.25 million; Butterfly Medical raised $7 million; TetaVi raised $6 million; Phytolon raised $4.1 million; Walnut raised $2.5 million; Samson Logic raised $400,000.





Israeli Opera for locked down fans. (TY Hazel) The Israeli Opera has upgraded its website, to entertain fans at home. It has video on demand, opera games and puzzles, popular clips, full operas, duets, solos and stories. The sample video clip below is “Yihye Tov” (It will be good) - an appropriate title for this newsletter.


The She-brew language. An amusing and well-written tongue-in-cheek article, by newsletter fan David Herman, about the gender aspects of the official language of the State of Israel.


Gal Gadot explains Hebrew slang. Gal Gadot of “Wonder Woman” fame appeared on Vanity Fair’s latest episode of Slang School, where celebrities hilariously break down slang terms and popular expressions from their native countries or related to a subculture.  Ma Pitom – Yalla!


Watch Israeli tech on TV. True Future TV began filming last year for its docuseries Season 4 that features Israeli medical technology (reported here previously). Free online streaming begins 22 Oct. Host Joe Mullings found Israel to be “a nation on the cutting edge of medtech, healthtech, robotics and artificial intelligence.”


HBO buys another Israeli TV series. HBO has bought the global rights to the highly anticipated Israeli TV series Valley of Tears, based on the 1973 Yom Kippur War. It is said to have the biggest budget of any Israeli series to date. In Hebrew, the show is called “Sh’at Ha’neilah,” - the hour of the Yom Kippur Neilah service.


When I’m cleaning windows. Ex-Israeli pole-vaulter Noa Toledo now combines dance routines with her job washing windows of high-rise skyscrapers. She has some 65,000 followers on TikTok who enjoy her worktime sky-high hip-hop routines.


Enjoy the great outdoors, indoors. (TY Nurit) For those who love wildlife and have been deprived of it because of the pandemic lockdown, University of Haifa’s Dr. Motti Charter has set up a YouTube channel with live videos and recordings from cameras at Israel’s premier wildlife nature sites.


Israel team wins first Grand Tour stage. (TY UWI) The Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) cycling team has made history. It recorded its first-ever stage victory in a Grand Tour race when Alex Dowsett finished first on the 200km Stage 8 of the Giro d’Italia from Giovinazzo to Vieste. Teammate Matthias Brändle finished 5th.





Ancient two-Shekel weight discovered next to Western Wall. A weight, measuring 2 shekels (23 grams) dating to the First Temple period, some 2,700 years ago, was discovered during excavations adjacent to Wilson’s Arch of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It is marked with a Shin and two lines, signifying 2 shekels.


Holy ground. Jews in Einav, Samaria hired Arab builder Rami Yihya to construct an outside area for prayers as all synagogues were closed during Covid-19 lockdown. Yihya would not accept payment for his time or materials. “This is a holy place,” he said at a post-construction ceremony held in his honor. “God will pay me”.


Beautiful Sukkot. (TY Sharon) As can be seen in these photos, Sukkot (Tabernacles) in Jerusalem this year was a much more relaxed and intimate festival than in previous years. Also, Israel21c published some photos of beautiful, scenic or just interesting tabernacles that Israelis built throughout the Jewish state.


Meet Nicky Blackburn of Israel21c. Israel21c is one of the best sources of positive Israeli news.  Its editor and Israel Director is Nicky Blackburn – a media professional, originally from the UK, with a Masters’ degree from Bar-Ilan University. She describes recent Israeli achievements and the importance of publicizing them.