A new $60 million program enables researchers to target the best treatments for a patient’s disease; Israeli startup patented an ecologically friendly process to convert non-recyclable household trash from landfills into reusable plastic building material; Druze communities share their ancient traditions and way of life, and much more.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Matching treatments to patients
Israel has launched the Israel Precision Medicine Partnership – an innovative $60 million program to enable researchers to target the best treatments for a patient’s disease (e.g. cancer). Precision medicine uses genetic sequencing to predict an individual’s response to specific treatments.
Artificial cell factory kills cancer from the inside
Researchers at Israel’s Technion have successfully treated a cancerous tumor using a “nano-factory” – a synthetic cell that produces anti-cancer proteins when it comes into contact with the tumor tissue. The proteins can be varied to fit each patient.
Treatment for Adnoid Cystic Carcinoma
I wrote previously (10th Dec) about Israeli personalized cancer biotech Ayala and its partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb. One of the results of this tie-up is AL101 – a new treatment for metastatic Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC), which could also treat triple-negative breast cancer.
Israeli medical databases
Israel’s four health companies maintain databases of 5 million records that (anonymized) will benefit medical researchers in the discovery of new treatments. The Maccabi health fund (see here) is already doing this. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3735645,00.html
Anaphylactic shock alert
Scientists from Bar-Ilan University partnered with Israel’s Magen David Adom to develop “EPIMADA,” a smartphone app that issues a local proximity alert in the event of a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylactic shock. Anyone with an EpiPen (syringe containing adrenaline) can save the victim. http://nocamels.com/2018/03/israeli-researchers-emergency-app/
Predicting kidney disease in diabetics
I reported previously (see here) on the predictive artificial intelligence (AI) systems of Israeli biotech Medial EarlySign. Its AI algorithms can now predict which sufferers of diabetes will develop kidney dysfunction within a one-year time-frame. Early treatment can then improve their outcome.
Spinal surgery for Ethiopian children
Eleven medics from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center spent a week performing surgeries to fix severe spinal deformities in Ethiopia. In addition, the Israelis also provided training to medical staff at the Ayder hospital in the Northern Ethiopian city of Mekelle.
Crash led to new medical device
Another Israeli medical “miracle”. After a motorcycle accident, doctors found that Avi Yaron had a brain tumor. They couldn’t remove all the tumor, so Avi founded Visionsense that developed an imaging device to help in similar ops. Medtronic has just bought Visionsense for $75 million.
EU supports Israeli electric socks
I reported previously (see here) on Israeli startup ElastiMed and its smart socks that improve circulation to treat swelling, blood clots, chronic wounds, sports injuries etc. ElastiMed is now to receive a $1.6 million grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Chefs for Peace
A Muslim, a Jew and a Christian in Jerusalem have been cooking together for 17 years. Odeh Abu Elhawa, Johny Goric and Hemdat Goldberg make food that combines their unique backgrounds, traditions and culture into a common culinary treat.
Druze general to co-ordinate territories
IDF Brig.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, a member of Israel’s Druze community, was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed to be the IDF’s new Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/member-of-druze-community-appointed-as-new-idf-cogat/2018/03/29/
Treating Syrian children
200,000 Syrians near the border look to Israel for help. Children get top priority, and not only the wounded. “Globes” visits the Golan and travels with patients to Galilee hospitals.
US EPA wants water from the air
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Water-Gen that captures humidity to make drinking water. Now the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed an agreement with Water-Gen to improve “access to potable water during shortages or contamination events.”
Israel hosts International Water Day event at UN
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon hosted a special forum at the UN to mark International Water Day. It featured examples of Israeli water technology used in more than 100 countries around the world. Also, a new video for the occasion.
Energy and water for Africa
Innovation: Africa’s CEO Sivan Ya’ari described to the AIPAC conference how her non-profit harnesses solar power to bring electricity and clean water solutions to one million Africans. Her aim is to extend this to six million people by 2025, all using Israeli technologies and all in the name of Israel.
Full transcript: http://bit.ly/2GihiXc
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Turning garbage into reusable plastic
Israeli startup UBQ has patented an ecologically-friendly process to convert non-recyclable household trash from landfills into reusable plastic building material. UBQ operates a pilot production plant and research facility at Kibbutz Tzeelim on the edge of the Negev Desert.
A beacon for peace in the Middle East
I’ve reported previously (see here) on the SESAME synchrotron project that unites scientists from Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Turkey, the Palestinian Authority and others. Here is an article about the project in the Washington Post.
NY student uses Israeli data to win $250,000 science prize
New York high school student Benjy Firester used disease and weather data from Israeli farmers to predict and prevent the spread of the devastating potato blight fungus. His model won the $250,000 top prize at the prestigious US Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Two new desalination plants
Israel is to build two new desalination plants to add to the current five and offset the deficits of an extended five-year drought. It will also expand agricultural pipelines and rehabilitate dried-up rivers. It may also pump fresh water into the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) a vital natural source of drinking water.
Portable ‘chauffeur’ makes any car autonomous
The IVO Robot Driver, being developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University, will fold down into a briefcase. It then can be installed onto the steering wheel and pedals of a standard car, truck, and other industrial vehicle and make it autonomous within five minutes.
Robots for agriculture
Projects at the Ben Gurion University include artificial bees to pollinate flowers and robots to spray and to harvest crops. Their aim is to compensate for the shortage of bees and the lack of workers able to do hard, monotonous work in hot climates. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/drone-bees-and-agriculture-robots-could-could-solve-shortage-of-pollinators-and-laborers/
The answer to everything, but is it reliable?
I reported previously (Jan 2017) about Israel’s Rootclaim that uses crowdsourcing to check the reliability of answers to questions posed on the Internet. Now Israel’s Epistema uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to rate answers.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Direct flights from Brazil
Latin America’s largest airline, Latam, has announced that it will begin direct flights between Sao Paulo, Brazil and Tel Aviv by the end of the year. The thrice-weekly, 11-hour flight will bring Brazil’s 120,000 Jews, and pilgrims from the world’s 2nd-largest Christian population, closer to Israel.
Low cost flights to Paris
ASL Airlines France is to begin return flights in July between Paris and Tel Aviv for just $275 – about half the cost of an El Al ticket. Paris is the second most popular destination for Israelis after Istanbul and despite the large number of airlines, there is still a shortage of seats.
New easyJet routes to French cities
UK low cost carrier easyJet plc will next year begin flying twice-weekly from Tel Aviv to three French cities – Lyon, Bordeaux and Nice. Tickets are already available online.
Porsche invests in Israeli sensors
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Anagog and its software that analyzes sensor signals in smartphones. Now car maker Porsche has bought a minority stake in Anagog in a bid to expand its offering of digital technologies. Analog’s technology is used in about 100 global smartphone apps.
Kibbutz startups near Gaza
Non-profit organization SouthUp has set up a shared workspace for startup employees at Kibbutz Nir Am, barely a kilometer from Gaza. SouthUp also has an accelerator program for startups in agri-tech, water tech, kibbutz industrial development, energy, chemistry, biology, and software.
Postage stamp for 70 years
Israel’s latest 5-shekel postage stamp depicts many of Israel’s achievements during its 70 years. Spot the UBS memory stick, smartphone tech, cherry tomatoes, drip irrigation, plus successes in academia, science, sports, agriculture, music, film and business.
$100 million cybersecurity exit
I reported previously (Jan 2017) about Israel’s SECDO and its systems that can distinguish a real cybersecurity breach from a false alarm. US giant Palo Alto Networks has just bought SECDO for $100 million. https://www.globes.co.il/en/article-palo-alto-networks-buys-israeli-cybersecurity-co-secdo-for-100a-1001231142
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
70 fun facts about Israel for 70 years
Things I didn’t know include world records (per capita) for the most books published, most female entrepreneurs, most university degrees, most Microsoft employees, most museums, most orchestras, most computers, most fruit & veg consumed and most immigrants absorbed.
70 years of achievement
Israel21c has produced a stunning online exhibition of the major successes in each decade of Israel’s first 70 years. It has also produced a timeline of key events.
Druze tourism in Israel
The Druze are a proud and ancient people and one of Israel’s main minority communities. The Druze communities share with tourists from Israel and the rest of the world their ancient traditions and way of life. Watch, eat, and experience the hospitality of the Druze in Israel.
The World Jewish Museum
Canadian philanthropist Gail Asper is spearheading the building of a $400-million World Jewish Museum (WJM) in Tel Aviv. Its aim is to showcase the achievement of Jewish individuals throughout the ages and is targeted to open in time for Israel’s 75th anniversary.
10 Israeli nature reserves
Lovely 2-minute video featuring Einot Tzukim, Hula valley, Ramon crater, Eilat coral reef, Mount Hermon, Beit Shemesh stalactites cave, Ein Gedi, Yotvata Hai Bar, Gan Hashlosha and the Banias.
Tel Aviv hosts largest-ever Eurovision pre-show
30 Eurovision Song Contest participants (three-quarters of the competitors) performed in Tel Aviv on 10th April prior to the May semi-finals and finals in Lisbon Portugal. Currently the Israeli entry “Toy”, sung by Netta Barzilai, is one of the favorites.
Police rescue dog that sang to TV theme tune
Forget about hi-tech dog tags. The owner of a Siberian husky taught his pet to sing when it heard the theme tune to the Israeli TV sitcom “Shemesh”. It was found in a Bedouin town. When police played the music, the dog began to sing like Pavarotti. Case solved!
Israel’s first regulation racetrack
Israel opened its first motor racing track in Eilat in 2011 (see here). Now it is about to open Motor City, in Hatzerim near Beersheva in the Negev – a 2.1-kilometer track that meets FIA standards for Formula 3. It may later be expanded to 4.5 kilometers in order to meet Formula 1 standards.
THE JEWISH STATE
Jewish life in Samaria, 1500 years ago.
Students of the Ben-Zion Netanyahu Elementary School in Samaria’s Barkan have just found locally two 15-centuries-old decorated oil lamps made of clay with the potter’s fingerprints still embedded in them. The discoveries add to the coins and mosaic stones they found in January.
Israel stands still for Yom Ha’Shoah
At 10 a.m. on Thursday 12th April, citizens of Israels stopped what they were doing to stand for two minutes of silence for Yom Ha’Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). On the roads, the beach, the buses, the workers digging up my street for water drainage maintenance. Everywhere.
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