Bio-inspired robots; No crying as Tears for Fears returns; Alibaba buys second Israeli startup; and much more!
by Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Preventing strokes without excessive bleeding
Biotech eXithera is a portfolio company of Israel’s Clal Biotechnology. It has developed an anti-coagulant which has successfully completed Phase 1 trials. The treatment delays coagulation rather than prevents it and its effects cease quickly when the treatment stops.
European funds for depression therapy
I reported previously (see here) on the brain analysis system developed by Israel’s elminda. The EU has just awarded elminda a 2-year grant through its Horizon 2020’s phase 2 program. It will help elminda develop and trial its BNA-PREDICT product for depression.
Same microbe different effect
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have developed algorithms that can identify structural variants in the genomes of human gut microbiomes. People with a certain variant were much thinner than those who had the same microbe but not the variant. The variants can also pinpoint disease factors.
Technion printer for human tissues
Israel’s Technion Institute has set up a 3D center for the printing of cells, tissues and organs. Its purpose is to enable Technion researchers to develop tissues containing blood vessels or 3D scaffolds that quickly connect to the patient’s own blood vessels.
Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have created tiny robots that could soon become part of medical procedures.
Rare pediatric double organ transplant
13-year-old Hila Amram received a new liver and pancreas at Petah Tikva’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center. The double transplant saved her life and freed her from insulin dependence. The op was even more complex due to the donor’s internal organs being reversed – a rare anomaly.
Israeli bio-techs merge
I reported previously (see here) on Jerusalem-based immunotherapy company Enlivex Therapeutics. Enlivex has merged with Tel Aviv-headquartered Bioblast (see here), which is developing treatments for rare genetic diseases.
Snow on Mt Hermon – good news for cancer patients
During the winter, Israeli charity Ezer Mizion often takes oncology clinic kids on a trip to Mt. Hermon. And if their blood count results are anything to go by, the benefits to the children last long after they return from the “sledging, tobogganing and fun, fun, fun!”
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Free transportation so everyone can vote
All buses and trains between Israeli cities will be free of charge on Election Day (April 9th). The aim is to give everyone the opportunity to vote, even those far away from their designated voting station. The cost for this gesture is NIS 3 million.
The world’s largest accessible historical site
I reported previously (10th Mar) that Jerusalem had spent millions of shekels on improving the Old City, including access to the sites. The work has paid off, making Jerusalem the largest accessible historical site in the world. There is even a mobility app in eight languages.
Empowering Druze women
The Beyahad (“together”) program at Ono Academic College provides aspiring Druze women with the opportunity to advance their professional careers while maintaining their traditional lifestyle. Israel has female Druze researchers, engineers and doctors and the program aims to encourage more.
Representatives of the three main Abrahamic faiths joined together for the Spring Migration Birding festival, the Flight2hope flyover to welcome the swifts and the 3rd International Bird Observatory Conference. Special guests included astronaut Ricky Arnold and environmentalist Yossi Leshem (see here).
https://www.flight2hope.org/flight https://bit.ly/2VIVcQH https://bit.ly/2H4AzeN
What goes around, comes around
Four years ago, Palestinian Arabs Imad and Ayoub rescued Dr. Eitan and his son when they accidentally drove into a PA village and were attacked by a mob. Recently, Imad’s sister-in-law was severely injured in a vehicle accident. Dr Eitan transferred her to Israel’s Sheba hospital for treatment.
Breath of life in Nepal
Israeli Bedouin Ishmael Khaldi is Israel’s Ambassador to Nepal. He has teamed up with local Chabad Rabbi Hezkl Lifshitz, to provide trekkers with mini oxygen tanks to rent, for protection against altitude sickness. Khalidi said the project was “where Bedouin and Jewish values meet”.
Joint Israeli, Palestinian Arab firefighting exercise
Israeli and Palestinian Arab firefighters participated in a joint firefighting and rescue exercise in Samaria. The firefighters extinguished simulated fires in four locations, using six Israeli firefighting airplanes, six Israeli firetrucks and two Palestinian firetrucks.
Israel opens embassy in Rwanda
After years of diplomatic ties, Israel has opened its first embassy in Rwanda. Israeli Ambassador to Rwanda Ron Adam presented his credentials to Rwandan President Paul Kagame in February. Rwanda’s national airline, RwandAir, is expected to start direct flights to Israel soon.
Clean drinking water for Sierra Leone children
Israel;s Watergen has supplied one of its GEN-350 “water from the air” generators to the St. Joseph’s girls’ school in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown. Its 900 liters per day of fresh drinking water is saving the schoolchildren from the many endemic diseases in the country.
Wheelchairs for Montenegro children
I reported several times (see here) on Israel’s lightweight Wheelchairs of Hope for disabled children. Montenegro President Milo Đukanović has been in Israel meeting with the country’s leadership. His “going home” present was a gift of dozens of the wheelchairs for his country.
Rebranding Israel to the world
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Vibe Israel and here on its former name Kinetis. Its mission is to re-brand Israel to accentuate the positive. Joanna Landau, Vibe Israel’s founder and CEO, was featured in the UK Jewish News, She has organized some 40 tours for people from 30 countries.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Beresheet achieves Lunar Capture
Amazing scenes as SpaceIL broadcast live the crucial maneuver that successfully placed Israel’s Beresheet spaceship into Lunar orbit at around 17:25 Israel time on 4th April. At its closest, Beresheet is just 460km (about the length of Israel) from the Moon, preparing to land on 11th April.
Upgrading calls to emergency services
I reported previously (18th Nov) on Israel’s Carbyne and its C-Now app for contacting emergency services. Carbyne is now partnering with one of its competitors, RapidOS, to integrate its location tracking technology and other data with the Israeli company’s platform.
Breathe in before answering
Weizmann scientists have discovered that people who inhaled when presented with a visuospatial task were better at completing it than those who exhaled in the same situation. They conducted tests based upon the hypothesis that the brain prepares to process new information upon inhalation.
Augmented Reality in the classroom
Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a prototype to bring augmented reality (AR) into mathematics and science instruction. Students wearing special glasses can view objects overlaid with graphs, symbols and tables describing their movement in real time.
Test site for future city tech
Tel Aviv’s CityZone project is a mini-city-within-the-city at the 20-acre Atidim High-Tech Park. It is where advanced technological solutions for smart city ventures are vetted and tested. The project is run in partnership between Atidim, the Tel Aviv Municipality, and Tel Aviv University.
Environmentally friendly plastic
Israeli chemical engineer Sharon Barak has produced a product that looks and feels like plastic but dissolves in water within minutes, and the water is drinkable. See Nas Daily’s video.
Supermarket scanning without mistakes or theft
I reported previously (Aug 2016) on the supermarket shopping scanning system from Israel’s SuperSmart. The system uses cameras, sensors and AI algorithms and is installed at Israeli chain Osher Ad. Walmart abandoned its own system and is now looking at SuperSmart.
Post-workout vegan hot protein shake
Israel’s Matok V’Kal has launched Fit4style Protein Cup – a hot protein beverage to enjoy after exercising in cold weather. The lactose-free, soy-free vegan protein shake’s formulation prevents coagulation when heated – a problem with other protein drinks currently on the market.
Zeroing in on refined sugar
Israel’s Gat foods has launched Fruitlift, a real-fruit-based ingredient that can replace refined sugars in RTE (Ready to Eat) breakfast cereals. Fruitlift offers a wide range of fruits and can either give a fruity flavor or can be blended into a cereal brand’s signature flavor.
A better-connected tomorrow
I reported previously (see here) on the Artificially Intelligent smartphone service called “Eve” from Israel’s TechSee that resolves technical problems from a distance. Here are two new entertaining videos from TechSee that demonstrate this exciting innovative technology.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
18 of Europe’s 100 most promising startups are Israeli
Every year, the editorial team of Red Herring magazine / news service selects the 100 most promising tech and life-sciences companies for the United States, Europe and Asia. 18 Israeli companies made the Top 100 Europe list for 2019.
China is Israel’s second biggest export market
China has now bypassed the U.K. as Israel’s second largest export market. $2.6 billion worth of electronic components were shipped from Israel to China over the past year – 80% more than in 2017. Intel exports most of its Israel-manufactured components to China.
Investing in social innovation
Israel’s Innovation Authority (IIA) has issued grants of up to NIS 1 million to the winners of its “Grand Challenges Israel” program. Hargol, Senecio, OKO, Soapy Care, Jacob’s Well, Amaizz, Farmster, ZZappMalaria and Sharp Mentoring have all taken on humanitarian and health challenges.
Tech growth from South to North
Jerusalem’s Biohouse hosted a delegation of business leaders from Global New York, visiting Israeli technology advances in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheva. Meanwhile, JVP hosted the Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit, highlighting technological growth in Israel’s North.
Seen the launch, now buy the T-shirt
To commemorate the Moon mission of SpaceIL’s Beresheet spaceship, you can now buy SpaceIL merchandise. T-shirts, baseball caps, and a baby overall that says, “I love you to the Moon and back”. Meanwhile Beresheet has just photographed the far side of the Moon, not visible from Earth.
An Israeli MS competitor to Teva
I reported previously (22nd Apr) on Israel’s Mapi and its long-lasting Glatiramer Acetate treatment for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Mapi is now building a production plant in Jerusalem for the product, called GA-Depot, which will compete with Copaxone from Israel’s Teva.
Israeli IT company acquires Belgium IT company
Israel’s Priority Software has acquired Belgium-based Optimize Group as part of its European expansion. Priority develops enterprise resource planning software for 75,000 companies in 40 countries. Optimize provides IT services for the steel and beverage industries.
Tel Aviv to Budapest and Nuremberg
Ryanair will launch a 4-flights per week service from Tel Aviv to Budapest and 2-flights per week to Nuremberg – both starting in late October. Ryanair already operates 17 routes between Tel Aviv and Europe plus 15 routes from Eilat to European destinations including to Budapest.
Isrotel is building 5 new hotels in Tel Aviv
Isrotel has announced that it will increase the number of hotels it operates in Israel from 19 to 30 by 2025. Isrotel is currently building 5 hotels in Tel Aviv – a city that it says “combines business and tourism and is becoming a strong international brand.”
Alibaba buys second Israeli startup
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Infinity Augmented Reality and that Internet giant Alibaba had invested in the startup. Alibaba has now gone further, acquiring InfinityAR and merging it into its Israeli machine vision laboratory. Alibaba bought Israel’s Visualead in November.
Smart sensors for Deloitte
I reported previously (see here) on the sensor technology of Israel’s PointGrab. Now, accounting giant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has selected Israel’s PointGrab.to install its smart sensor systems to monitor activity at its U.K. and northwest Europe headquarters in London.
Helping to sell more
Israeli-founded retail analytics company CB4 uses pre-existing point of sale data to identify demand for specific products in brick and mortar stores. When a product fails to sell to predicted demand levels, CB4 sends an alert to the store manager, highlighting the issue and suggesting ways to fix it.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
An exhibit entitled “The Mount: A Photographic Journey to Temple Mount,” has opened at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. It incorporates images from the beginning of photography in 1836 all the way through to the virtual reality (VR) of today.
Watch skies and roads for the birds
There are huge numbers of pelicans migrating through Israel on the way to their nesting grounds in Romania. Meanwhile, strong winds blew Shulman the flamingo out of Ramat an safari. He then ran along Israel’s busy Route 4 before being rescued and returned to his enclosure.
Old Kibbutz Gesher
This video by Chana and Shmuel Veffer shows one of the many sites to visit, when staying at Villa Romana zimmers in Yavne’el.
No crying as Tears for Fears returns
English pop band Tears for Fears will return to Israel on 23rd July as part of their “Rule the World Tour,” playing Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena. The band’s founding members, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, were last here in 2017 (see video), when their show was a sell-out.
Hatikvah in Qatar
Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, was played in Doha, Qatar after Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov won the gold medal for the floor exercise during the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup series. The Arab nation has no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Hapoel Jerusalem reaches Euro hoops finals
Israel’s basketball champions Hapoel Jerusalem beat Spain’s CEZ Nymburk 75-73 to finish second in their Euro Basketball Champions League qualifying table. Their 12 wins are joint-best for BCL newcomers. They play 2017 champions Iberostar Tenerife in the quarter-finals.
THE JEWISH STATE
Historic visit by Brazilian President
Almost the first words that President Jair Bolsonaro spoke on arriving in the Jewish State were “I love Israel” (in Portuguese). He also made the first visit by a foreign leader to the Kotel (Western Wall) accompanied by an Israeli PM. He then opened a new Brazil-Israel trade mission in Jerusalem.
A New Zealand MP is a Zionist
New Zealand MP, the Honorable Alfred Ngaro, is a Christian, descended from Polynesian, Cook Islanders and a Jewish grandmother. He proclaims the right of Jews to their ancestral homeland and has reestablished the NZ Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group.
A sanctuary for disabled animals
Israel’s animal rescue and educational sanctuary at Moshav Olesh serves as a refuge for mostly disabled animals. It is popular with visitors, especially children with special needs. Its residents include a three-legged donkey, a sheep with leg braces, and a blind goat.
First Temple seal discovered in Jerusalem
A bulla (seal impression) and a 2,600-year-old stamp dating back to the First Temple have been found during archaeological excavations in the City of David. The bulla has the words “Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King” – the name of an official of Judean King Josiah (Kings II 23:11)
2000-year-old Jewish settlement in Beer Sheva
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a Jewish settlement from the Second Temple period at the north entrance to Beer Sheva. They found part of an oil lamp decorated with a nine-branch menorah, vessels used by Jews for ritual purity and tunnels to evade the Romans.
Israeli space mission may have had help from above
Watch from 1hr 5 mins as the SpaceIL team celebrates Lunar Capture. Then keep watching as Morris Kahn and the Arutz 7 article below suggest some extra-terrestrial reasons for the good progress of the mission.
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