IDF soldiers donate hair for cancer charity; Three Israeli universities in global top 100; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Coronavirus booster progress
Some 1.2 million Israelis have now had a third coronavirus vaccination and wider rollout is imminent. Maccabi Healthcare Services reported 37 (all non-serious) infections in Israelis over 60 who have been triple-vaccinated, compared to 1,064 (many serious) for those who have had only two doses.
Covid treatment is too cheap?
Professor Eli Schwartz of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center was unable to publish the results of his successful double-blind trial of ivermectin on 89 coronavirus patients. Interesting reading.
Trial approved for Alzheimer’s treatment
Israel’s SciSparc to commence a Phase 2a clinical trial of its SCI-110 (formerly THX-110) treatment for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and agitation. The study will be conducted at the Israeli Medical Center for Alzheimer’s.
New therapies for mental illness
Israel’s Nextage Therapeutics is developing technology to deliver to the brain tiny quantities of controversial chemicals, to treat depression and other neurological disorders.
How the brain maps 3D space
Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unveiled how 3-dimensional space is represented in the brain’s “GPS” system. They mapped out how “grid cells” work in bats and the findings have turned the previous theory “on its head”.
First 3D printed active tumor
After Researchers at Tel Aviv University have printed an entire active and viable glioblastoma (brain cancer) tumor using a 3D printer. It includes simulated brain tissue and blood vessel-like tubes through which blood cells can flow and treatments can be (and have been) tested.
Rejuvenating the immune system
The reason the elderly are vulnerable to Covid, is their immune systems fail to recognize a new virus. Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute, Sourasky (“Ichilov) and Rambam hospitals have demonstrated that removing most of the memory B lymphocytes rejuvenates these immune cells.
Take your blood pressure with your smartphone
Israel’s Binah.ai is in the final stage of validating its iPhone blood pressure functionality at Israel’s Sheba medical center. The technology records video at up to 120 frames per second, to analyze skin color changes for monitoring vital signs.
Google health subsidiary sets up Israeli R&D center
Verily Life Sciences, an independent subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is establishing a Research and Development center in Israel. The company focuses on digital health, applying AI to medical problems. In Israel, it will target colorectal (colon) cancer.
Israel’s Circles has developed a platform designed to help users overcome life’s challenges. It matches groups of 6-8 people who are facing similar difficulties such as divorce, grief, or medical diagnoses, and connects them together for one-hour video meetings. People don’t have to face their struggles alone.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Not even the sky is the limit
Major N. is the first Israeli woman to have been promoted to the position of Deputy Commander of a combat squadron. She currently serves as head of the Air Force Commander’s Office and will take up her new position as Deputy Commander of the 119 Squadron (The ‘Bat Squadron’) next year.
Wildflowers will go out from Jerusalem
The Nechama Rivlin Save the Wildflower Initiative (named after ex-President Rivlin’s late wife) is a community-based project at Jerusalem’s Botanical Gardens. It aims to save rare flowers and return 35 indigenous wildflowers to the region. Israelis can buy seeds from the online shop.
https://www.jbgculture.com/homepage (Links to seeds shop – seeds packed by Israelis with special needs)
Charity car seats to save lives of Arab children
Half of the children killed or injured in road accidents in Israel are Arab. Israeli charity Yad Sarah has therefore loaned 200+ car seats to Arab and Bedouin citizens of Israel. Their volunteers also showed how to install the seats and keep children safe when riding in a vehicle.
Arab social media stars come to Israel
Two dozen social media influencers from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, visited Israel, thanks to non-profit Israel-is.
The first Israeli baby born in the UAE
Ilan Sztulman, head of the Israeli mission in Dubai, and his wife Jacqueline celebrated the birth of their fifth child – Mia on 14th Aug at Dubai’s Mediclinic. Mia is the first Israeli citizen to be born in the UAE, just one year after the signing of the Abraham Accords.
Three Israeli universities in global top 100
The 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked three Israeli institutions in the top 100 (2,000 surveyed), for the first time since 2013. They are Hebrew University of Jerusalem (90), Weizmann Institute (92) and Technion Institute (94).
Protecting Spanish troops
Israel’s Netline Communications Technologies is to deliver 87 C-Guard RJ vehicle-mounted improvised explosive device (IED) jamming systems to Spain’s Defense Ministry in November. They are part of a 5-year contract for 334 IED jammers. 51 were delivered in 2020.
Israel goes back to Haiti
Israeli NGO IsraAID was at the forefront of international rescue efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and for eight years afterward. IsraAID has now returned after the recent quake and tropical storm. IsraAID’s CEO describes on ILTV how his team is working for Haiti’s long-term recovery.
Help offered to Turkey
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz contacted Turkey’s defense attaché to Israel and the Turkish Defense Ministry and offered to send a search and rescue delegation to help Turkey cope with the aftermath of devastating floods. He also offered to send an IDF Home Front medical team and supplies.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Innovation center in Israeli-Arab city
Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has inaugurated an innovation center in the Israel-Arab city of Kfar Qasem. It is an extension of Sheba’s own ARC (Accelerate, Redesign, Collaborate) Innovation Center, which develops lifesaving and life-improving medical solutions.
IDC gets university status
Israel’s Council for Higher Education has granted the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya recognition as an unbudgeted private university. The IDC has nearly 9,000 Israeli and international students in a variety of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs.
Global cyber training
Israel Aerospace Industries and Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service are teaming up to provide governments, academies and global enterprises with cyber security training. IAI’s Elta Systems has set up cyber academies in many countries, using IAI’s cyber-simulator training platform Tame Range.
AI training for citizens in Northern Israel
Israeli companies Rafael and RAD Bynet have launched an educational employment project in Israel’s northern region. The one-year project will train young adults, that have recently completed IDF service, in AI and big data technologies.
A smart 5G stadium
Petah Tikva’s soccer stadium aims to be Israel’s first smart 5G stadium. The NIS 3.5 million project partners Aluma Infrastructures and Cellcom Israel. It will allow unique sports features such as home viewing in 3D, plus player body cameras for seeing the action through the players’ eyes.
A sports car in the sky
Israeli startup Air is developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. While other companies are building air taxis, Air’s self-driving “drive the sky” personal alternative offers a sporty but sustainable way to get to any destination. More details in the fall (autumn).
Mind that bike
Israel’s V2X (Vehicle to anything) developer Autotalks has successfully tested, with Ben-Gurion University, a “smart” signpost for preventing accidents between cars and electric bicycles/scooters. The signpost, installed at intersections, lights up if a bicycle or scooter with a V2X device is present.
Smart water management
Israel’s national water company Mekorot is piloting the AI water management system from Israel’s Evolution Water (part of Evolution Networks see here previously). It could save Mekorot some $24 million per year – 15% of Mekorot’s annual electricity costs.
More efficient refineries
Because the world still needs fossil fuels, Israel’s Imubit has developed Closed Loop Neural Network AI technology to optimize hydrocarbon processing plants. Imubit is so certain it can unlock substantial value for its clients that if there is no measurable value from its system, then there is no fee.
Another no-cow milk company
This new Israel21c article mentions all three Israeli no-cow milk startups previously reported here. It also features a fourth – the aptly named Fantastic Farms, which is engineering plants to make milk proteins. Like the other three, it aims to produce dairy substitutes without animal farming.
Smart system for perfect beer
Two Israeli engineering students have developed BeerZone – an AI-based system to serve beer at the perfect temperature and fizz level – without a bartender. Each BeerZone device can sit on the customer’s table, or next to the bartender.
A day in the life of an Israeli tech manager
Roni Aloni, a software team leader at Tel Aviv’s Citi Innovation Lab, is responsible for Citi’s “no-code” platform for Workflow Management. Read how she juggles her flexible hours, hybrid home/office locations, innovative work, family, and her favorite hobby – baking.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Economy grows by 15.4%
Israel’s economy grew by 15.4% in the second quarter of 2021 (Apr to Jun). This was more than most other OECD countries (e.g., Canada 13.8% and the United States 12.2%).
Think Israel – Buy Israeli
Israel’s government has partnered the American Communities Helping Israel (ACHI) organization to sell Israeli products in the US and Canada. Israeli businesses can join the scheme, under the slogan “Think Israel – Buy Israeli”, if they have a permit to mark products “Made in Israel”.
IAI’s best ever results
Sales at Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) during the first half of 2021 rose by 22% to a record $2.2 billion. IAI employs around 15,000 people and is responsible for the Beresheet lunar lander, the Ofek 16 satellite and the Arrow 3 defense system. It has also won four Israel Security awards.
Business class route to Paris & New York
Boutique airline La Compagnie is launching a business-class-only service to New York via Paris. All 76 seats on the plane are Business Class. The service will commence on 5th Sept – if the pandemic situation allows for it.
Kushner planning to open Israeli investment office
Jared Kushner is reported to be in the final stage of launching an investment firm, Affinity Partners, based in Miami. He is also looking to open an office in Israel to pursue regional investments connecting Israel’s economy with those of India, North Africa and the Gulf.
Global Data Center exits for NIS 1 billion
International data center solutions giant EdgeConneX has acquired Israel’s Global Data Center (GDC – see here previously) for an estimated $300 – $400 million (approximately NIS 1 million). GDC has only 20 employees and operates only in Israel. This may soon change.
Cisco buys Epsagon for half a billion dollars
Israeli cloud server monitoring startup Epsagon has been taken over by US giant Cisco for $500,000. It is Cisco’s second-largest acquisition of an Israeli company, following the purchase of NDS for $5 billion in 2012.
Investment in Israeli startups:
BrainQ raised $40 million; Browzwear raised $35 million; Imubit raised $30 million; Circles raised $8 million; retrain.ai raised $7 million; CASTOR raised $3.5 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
1,500-year-old relics have been unearthed at a huge building site in Ramat Hasharon, north of Tel Aviv. They include a winepress with mosaic floor, chains, foundations of a warehouse, millstones, and jars. Also, a rare gold coin showing a cross, but inscribed with both Greek and Arabic writing.
Hot sights on the streets of Jerusalem
Jerusalem Streets highlights last week include street decorations; street musicians; renovated Zion Square Plaza; tours for Israelis; Theater in the Rough, evening illuminations, a new massive Agam-designed mezuzah; flowers, and posters for the Jewish New Year.
Watching the heavens
Thousands of Israelis converged at the Ramon crater (Mitzpe Ramon) in the Negev Desert to watch the annual Perseid meteor shower. The spectacular phenomenon is caused as the Earth passes through the debris of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The next good display will occur in 2024.
Climbing the walls
“Towers in the Air” at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is a ropes adventure that typifies the Israeli attitude to risk. It includes a 50-meter zip line, 40 meters above the ground. Children from age 9 are fitted with harnesses, helmets, full climbing gear and under-12s must be accompanied by an adult!
Red carpet for Israeli athletes
Israel’s President and Prime Minister honored Israel’s 2020 Olympic athletes at Beit Hanasi, in Jerusalem. They hailed the records of Israel’s largest delegation (90), the most medals (4) and the playing of the Hatikvah national anthem (twice) to celebrate two Olympic gold medals.
Israelis compete in Morocco
For the first time, 12 Israelis were able to take part in Morocco’s ‘Dakhla Downwind Challenge’ – a challenging five-day kiteboarding journey from Dakhla to Lagouira in southern Morocco. The governor of Dakhla-Oued-Ed-Dahab was very happy to welcome the Israelis.
THE JEWISH STATE
IDF soldiers donate hair for cancer charity
An entire IDF unit has donated its hair to Zichron Menachem – an Israeli charity that supports children with cancer. Children with cancer often lose their hair when being treated with chemotherapy. Hair donations are used for hairpieces to help children feel beautiful.
Internship for protecting Israel
Israeli NGO Shurat Hadin of legal volunteers has had an overwhelmingly positive response to its Weissblum Internship Program to train Israel’s next generation of leaders in the public-legal arena. Last year was only for Israelis, but this year anyone can apply – and applications are flooding in.
Sabbatical year agreement with Jordan
Israel has signed an agreement to boost imports of Jordanian agricultural products during this coming year following Rosh Hashana. Every seventh year is “Shmita”, the time that Torah states that land in Israel belonging to Jews must rest and lie fallow.
Ex-Kuwaiti Muslim is now an Israeli citizen
Mark Halawi has just received his Israeli citizenship. He was born and raised in Kuwait but moved to Jerusalem (via Jordan, Syria and Canada) when he discovered that his mother was Jewish and had married a Muslim during the British Mandate.
Bar Kochba will go to the stars
When Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe flies to the International Space Station next year, he will carry a 1,900-year-old coin from the Bar Kochba Jewish rebellion against the Roman occupation of Judea. Bar Kochba is Hebrew for “son of the Star”.