Pursue an MD degree in Israel; Israelis of iron; Top pick of Israeli crop of charities; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Tel Aviv University scientists have identified pathological activity in the brain that precedes initial Alzheimer’s symptoms by many years. A systemic failure causes high activity the hippocampus even during sleep. They also found that an existing MS treatment suppresses this activity.
The future of cancer therapy
Israel’s ImmPACT Bio is developing transformative logic-gate-based CAR-T cell therapies for cancer patients who have exhausted their treatment options. The technology is designed to distinguish cancerous cells from normal cells, thereby eliminating tumors without damaging normal tissues.
Vitamin D and Covid-19
Researchers from Israel’s Bar Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center have confirmed and now published their conclusions regarding their June study (see here previously) that showed increased vitamin D levels can help COVID-19 patients reduce the risk of serious illness or death.
A strategy for tackling Covid-19
Israel’s Pangea (see here previously) has launched a comprehensive portfolio of services and products aimed at helping government authorities over the globe tackle the COVID-19 crisis in their country. Pangea set up Test2Fly at Ben Gurion airport and Green Pass entry systems for offices.
Passive detection of diseases
Israel’s Olive Diagnostics (see here previously) has completed a successful clinical trial of its KG hands-free, non-invasive, AI-based optical device for 100% passive and seamless urinalysis. In continuous testing, the device accurately detected biomarkers associated with kidney stones.
A high fat diet can repair brain damage
A Tel Aviv University study indicates that a ketogenic diet may reduce the effects of brain damage after traumatic injury. High-fat products such as meat, fish, eggs, avocado, butter etc., are eaten while restricting carbohydrates e.g., bread, sugar, grains, legumes, pastries and even fruits.
Is DNA talking to us?
Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University applied linguistics to the study of how DNA protein letter groups repeat. They then generated an algorithm that revealed their functions and now believe this approach can help plan the development of innovative new treatments.
Spinal implant could help paralyzed to walk.
A first-of-its-kind 3D-printed spinal cord tissue implant developed in Prof. Tal Dvir’s regenerative biotechnology lab at Tel Aviv University, has enabled paralyzed lab mice to walk again. Startup Matricelf (see here previously) is now working on a human version.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-lab-made-spinal-cords-get-paralyzed-mice-walking-human-trial-in-3-years/ https://english.tau.ac.il/news/artificial-spine https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/advs.202105694
Pursue an MD degree in Israel
Do you know of someone interested in pursuing their M.D. or MBA degree in Israel? This video features Lynne M. Quittell, M.D., director of the North American office of BGU’s Medical School for International Health.
How an insensitive doctor spurred on an EU award-winner
Dr. Daphne Haim-Langford was just 16 when a doctor told her not to study as she was going blind with Uveitis. It pushed her to get a PhD at Israel’s Technion Institute, found medical startup Tarsier and win the EU 2021 prize for female innovators (see here previously).
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Groundbreaking women scientists
3 Israeli women scientists have won Na’amat Prizes. Prof. Beena Kalisky of Bar-Ilan University won NIS 100,000 for her sensors to detect magnetic nanoparticles (even a single electron). Other winners were Prof. Shiri Artstein (Tel Aviv Uni) and Dr. Yonit Hochberg (Hebrew Uni).
Israel’s female Attorney General
Israel’s new Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara has officially taken up her post following the unanimous cabinet confirmation of her appointment. The former Tel Aviv district attorney for civil affairs is the first woman to assume Israel’s top justice role.
Together on the farm
Jonny Kuritsky is the husband of Newsletter supporter and Israel21C writer Diana Bletter. Jonny has been farming the fields of Shavei Zion for 46 years. His workers comprise 4 Israeli Arabs, 4 Israeli Jews, and 4 Thai workers. They speak to one another in a mixture of Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, and English.
Trade increases with Palestinian Authority
The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced exports to Israel increased 10% in Nov 2021 compared to the previous month. Imports from Israel also increased. Israel accounts for over 80% of the PA’s exports and provides over half of its imports.
Arab Health conference features Israeli innovations
The annual Arab Health conference in Dubai featured 11 Israeli startups showcasing their healthcare innovations. It is the second time Israel has participated in the largest medical exhibition in the Middle East since the signing of the Abraham Accords in August 2020.
World number 2 for cleantech startups
Tel Aviv ranked second globally as a Cleantech ecosystem on the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) at the CleanTech Forum San Francisco. Tel Aviv came a close second after Silicon Valley and before key global hubs Stockholm, London, and Los Angeles.
Music for Queens 70th jubilee
UK-born Israeli Loretta Kay-Feld was commissioned to create two pieces of music for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. She said that tears were shed in the Royal Family when they heard her compositions “70 Years a Queen” and “The Queen’s Soliloquy”. Loretta also wrote music for US presidents.
Celebrating 30 years of relations with India
Israel and India celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations with each country lighting up historic sites and their leaders making special video addresses.
Coronavirus aid to Sri Lanka
The Israeli Ambassador to Sri Lanka handed over aid including ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPEs) and pulse oximeters to Foreign Secretary Adm. Prof. Jayanath Colombage in Colombo. (See here and here for examples of previous Israeli aid to Sri Lanka.)
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
European grants for Technion scientists
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded more starting grants (see here previously) this time to 4 scientists from Israel’s Technion. Dr. Ayala Shiber, Dr. Shay Moran, Dr. Aviv Tamar, and Dr. Ron Rothblum received at least 1.5 million euros each to support their projects.
The TechBehemoths platform has given 2021 awards for excellence, hard work and positive feedback to 10 Israeli companies. Shooker, Webpals, Penguin Strategies, Booya Digital, Press on It, SRY Digital, Marketing Envy, SunHouse Marketing, Ranky, and Pixel/Point Press. A newsletter first for all.
Discovery may help combat locust swarms
Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Haifa University have found that a locust’s bacterial composition in its gut, called a microbiome, goes through drastic changes when the host insect joins a larger group. The discovery could help develop new ways to prevent plagues of locusts.
AI Week Online
The virtual conference AI Week Online (Feb 7 – 9) sponsored by the Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University, highlighted how Israeli Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is revolutionizing business strategy, government policy, operations and product development in every imaginable field.
Hear sights and feel sounds
At the Reichman University (formerly IDC) in Herzliya, Israeli scientists are creating portals between the senses and even reprogramming our senses. It’s where they invented EyeMusic (see here previously) to help the blind use sound to “see” shapes.
An eye into the cosmos
Israel’s Elbit is to build a space telescope for Israel’s Weizmann Institute. The highly sensitive wide-view instrument is part of Israel’s Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (“ULTRASAT”) program, to observe and research deep space, from an orbit 36,000km above the Earth.
Israel’s SpaceIL co-founder Yonatan Winetraub has devised an experiment to grow Israeli chickpeas in space. A miniature greenhouse containing the seeds will arrive at the International Space Station on 19th Feb. Scientists will use special LEDs to test if they can grow the superfood without sunlight or gravity.
Laser defense shield
Israel’s PM Naftali Bennett has announced that the IDF is building a laser interception system to protect Israel from missiles, rockets, UAVs, and other threats. It could also be supplied to Israel’s regional allies and globally.
An electric road in Detroit
Israel’s ElectReon (see here previously) has won a bid to build an Electric Road System (ERS) on a public road in Detroit, USA. The Motor City will test electrified roads and aims to increase the use of electric vehicles and advance environmental sustainability.
Oil and water do mix
The Israeli-developed technology of Capsoil Foodtech (part of the global Prodalim Group) has advanced the capacity for mixing oil and water by developing ultra-fine, water-soluble powders out of natural oils. It opens the door for new functional foods and supplements.
More water, less oils
Dr Ran Suckeveriene is Head of the Water Industry Engineering department of the Kinneret Academic College. He talks about his work at the college. But he is also CTO of Israel’s Obvislim, whose oral beverage limits absorption of fats and sugars in the small intestine, to combat obesity and diabetes.
Treating wastewater with bacteria
Israel’s BioCastle has developed pocket-sized capsules for treating wastewater. The treatment uses safe bacteria to biodegrade pollutants in both domestic and industrial environments.
What’s the damage
Two Israeli startups are using imaging technology to help assess damage on rental cars. Click-ins (see here previously) uses AI to compare pre- and post-rental pictures. Spinframe Technologies provides 360-degree photo tech for vehicle marketing and operations, including visual damage monitoring.
Teens develop “learn by video” app
After school, two Israelis, Yaniv (15) and Eyal (17) have developed the app LOLstudy, which could change education as we know it. They realized that today’s generation learns through videos. Any textbook is uploaded to a TikTok-like website where teenagers turn it into a fun video.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Joint R&D fund with UAE
Israel is to establish a joint hi-tech investment fund with the United Arab Emirates. The binational industrial R&D fund will support requests for joint activities between Israeli and Emirati companies. Israel and the UAE will each allocate NIS 15 million per year to the fund over ten years.
How did Israeli tech do so well in a pandemic
Interesting article – in summary, Israelis were not afraid to launch or expand technological solutions when most of the world was sheltering from a crisis.
European call center Webhelp is establishing a Tel Aviv office this year and is recruiting 500 local employees. Webhelp currently employs more than 95,000 employees in over 50 countries.
Business intelligence for non-profits
Israel’s Impala has developed an Impact Intelligence product for locating non-profits. Similar to LinkedIn, users can analyze any non-profit ecosystem anywhere in the U.S by searching for specific traits such as geographies, causes, funders etc.
Merck to test new treatments using Israeli chips
Global giant Merck has signed an agreement worth many millions of dollars with Israel’s Quris (see here previously). Merck will be able to use the Quris “human on a chip” platform to test its new medicines and identify those that are safe to use.
Takeovers and exits
Israel’s Innovid has acquired UK competitor TVSquared for $160 million. Meanwhile, Israel’s Testim was acquired by Austria’s Tricentis for $200 million.
Investment in Israeli startups to 13/2/21:
Gauzy raised $60 million; Scopio Labs raised $50 million; Rewire raised $25 million; Sidelines raised $25 million; Vicarius raised $24 million; Qwak raised $15 million; Amplication raised $6.6 million; Canonic Security raised $6 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Songs and places
Jacob has added several Hebrew songs to his valuable website. I especially enjoyed Chai – Israel’s runner-up at the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest sung by Ofra Haza. Jacob has also added whole new sections on Israel Museums, Parks and Natural Reserves, Zoos and Aquariums.
Art from plastic waste
Beverly Barkat has opened her solo Earth Poetica exhibition at the Israel Aquarium in Jerusalem. It centers around a huge colorful sphere made from plastic waste, to increase awareness of the damage it causes to the marine environment. Beverly’s husband is former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Pilates with paper
Hilla Ben Ari’s art installation at Jerusalem’s Ticho House echoes the work of 1930’s artist Moshe Reifer, who lived in Kibbutz Yagur, where Hilla grew up. In Hilla’s six nearly full-size video works, 3 dancers hold their bodies in almost impossible poses while using white paper to display shapes and shadows.
Six of the best
Thanks to the Abraham Accords, Israeli restaurants are now included in the prestigious Abu Dhabi-sponsored “50 best in the Middle East” ranking. Tel Aviv’s OCD was third on the list. George and John (9), HaBasta (14), Animar (17), Pescado Ashdod (kosher) (24) and Milgo & Milbar (40).
Russian Israeli wins tennis tournament
Aslan Karatsev, won the Sydney Classic tennis tournament, beating UK’s Andy Murray in the final with a near flawless performance. Karatsev plays for the Russian national side but grew up and trained in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew.
Israelis of iron
1,700 athletes from 12 countries participated in the annual Israman triathlon events inside and around the Israel’s Red Sea resort city of Eilat. Israelis won both the men’s and women’s triathlons – 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride, and a full marathon 42.2km run. They won prizes worth NIS 10,000 each.
THE JEWISH STATE
The moment of discovery
Israeli archaeologists thought they were unearthing a Persian era building in Jerusalem’s City of David. Then they reached the floor of the building and saw on it a crushed vessel that dated from the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
When the on-call surgeon at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital got stuck in the recent snowstorm, the Department director stepped in to save the life of a 3-year-old toddler. And volunteers from Israeli NGO United Hatzalah came in an emergency all-terrain vehicle to rescue a bride and groom stranded by the snow.
60 years of the Chagall windows
Marc Chagall’s stained-glass windows at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center were dedicated on 6th Feb 1962. Chagall said on that day, “This is my modest gift to the Jewish people who have always dreamt of biblical love, friendship and peace among all peoples.”
An answer to the loneliness epidemic
The Chabad youth movement in Israel has expanded its “Get Chesed” program. Teens and university students volunteer for weekly visits to thousands of survivors and other elderly Israelis, helping to distribute food packages, run errands, and spend time to help ease their loneliness.
Top pick of Israeli crop of charities
Israeli charity Leket’s 2021 achievements include salvaging 25 million kg of unwanted crops from 600 farmers to feed over 55,000 poor families. They and their partners also rescued over 1.3 million surplus hot meals to deliver to the needy. 18,000 volunteers helped in this life-preserving work.