Good News Israel Archive from the week of December 11, 2016: Israel Technion researchers make progress in fighting cancer; November set a record month for tourism; Israel’s new Ambassador has arrived in Turkey; three Israelis won medals at the Ju-Jitsu World Championships in Poland, and much more.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Key enzyme discovery in fight against cancer
Israel Technion researchers have found that the ubiquitin enzyme RNF4 binds to oncogenic proteins to give cancer cells longer lives. Increased levels of RNF4 have been found in colon and breast cancer patients. Removing or inhibiting RNF4 leads to the death of cancer cells.
Success in sickle-cell disease trial
Israeli biotech Gamida Cell published positive results in its Phase I/II trial of NiCord, for the treatment of Sickle-Cell Disease (SCD). All the patients that completed the trial were free of SCD symptoms.
Full remission in Leukemia treatment trial
Israel’s BioSight has reported that in treating patients with its Astarabine leukemia treatment, three patients with late-stage leukemia achieved full remission to date. Good results were also reported for older patients over 80.
Sleep disorder treatment for autistic kids
Israeli biotech Neurim (featured Nov 20) has signed marketing agreements for its new Rx PedPRM treatment for sleep disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders and neurogenetic diseases. Kuhnil will market Rx PedPRM in Korea; Aspen in Australia and New Zealand.
Portable blood test for malaria
Israel’s Sight Diagnostics (SightDx) (see here) in collaboration with the US Army Medical Research Directorate Kenya (USAMRD-K) is developing a portable malaria and complete blood count (CBC) reader. It will be calibrated and tested in clinical trials at the USAMRD-K Field Station in Kisumu, Kenya.
14 more hearts mended in Tanzania
Israeli surgeons from Save a Child’s Heart were back (again) in Tanzania, fixing another fourteen young, faulty hearts. The Israelis worked with a German team from Berlin’s Deutsches Herzzentrum during the five-day medical mission.
Device to keep track of insulin doses
Israel’s Insulog is a device to help diabetes patients keep track of their insulin doses and prevent accidental overdoses. It snaps onto most types of disposable insulin pen, monitors and logs the dose and sends data to a smartphone app. It displays details of the last dose to the user. Insulog is funding on Indiegogo.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
10% of public servants are new immigrants
10% of public servants in Israel and 12% of police officers are immigrants who arrived in Israel less than ten years ago. 7,496 out of some 75,000 workers in Israel’s public health system have made Aliyah in the last decade (10%), and 4,191 in the last five years.
Wheelchairs of Hope are rolling out
I reported on the child-friendly Wheelchairs of Hope previously (Jun 2014). The first shipment of 250 plastic wheelchairs for children in institutions in Israel and the Palestinian Authority is to be sent this month, with a batch for residents of the refugee camps in Syria soon to follow.
Bringing light to Tanzanian village
I have reported previously (here) on Israel’s humanitarian organization Engineers without Borders (EwB). Now the Tel Aviv University chapter of EwB has installed a solar electricity generator and storage batteries for the Nkaiti village medical center in Minjingu, Tanzania.
Israel participates in NATO field exercise
Israel has participated in its first NATO field exercise for six years during the wide-scale drill held in Montenegro to evaluate the readiness and capabilities of NATO to face natural disasters. The Israelis included IDF, Fire and rescue and Zaka rescue teams.
Closer ties with India
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed their countries’ increasing security cooperation and called to deepen their economic relationship. President Rivlin spent a week visiting India, to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and New Delhi.
Israel, Greece, Cyprus agree on pipeline and rescue force
Ministers of Israel, Greece and Cyprus met in Jerusalem and agreed to push for a pipeline to Europe, which wants to reduce dependence on Russian gas. They also agreed to establish a new regional rescue and emergency services force.
Israelis and Chabad save Japanese tourist in Nepal
A rockslide on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal buried Japanese solo trekker Akiho Sugiyama. Luckily a group of ex-army Israeli backpackers, including a medic, heard her cries, treated her and used their Chabad-supplied satellite phone to organize her rescue via Chabad in Katmandu.
Japan honors two Israelis
The Japanese government has awarded the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun decoration to two Israelis. Professor Meron Medzini of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and architect Arie Kutz from Tel Aviv University. Both awards were for fostering good relations with Japan.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Cutting edge electric scooter
Israel’s Inokim, based in Moshav Avichail, has launched a new electric scooter – the Quick 3, which can be folded in 3 seconds and taken on a bus or a train. The scooter can travel 30 km on a full charge, at a speed of 25 km per hour. It can be activated and secured by smartphone app.
A lie-detector for machines
The cyber solutions from Israel’s Aperio alert and take action when hackers try to damage critical infrastructures, such as electricity grids or water supply networks. They detect anomalies, such as a wrong noise or temperature, in an apparently otherwise perfectly working device.
The world’s first vehicle to vehicle network
Israel’s Nexar has come a long way since I’ve been reporting it. (See here.) In addition to its “bad driver” reporting function, it now says it has created the world’s first vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) network that aims to detect dangers on the road and prevent collisions.
Medal-winning technology to biodegrade plastic waste
A research team from Ben Gurion University of the Negev has won a gold medal at the worldwide synthetic biology competition iGEM, held at MIT. The students’ genetic engineering technology (PlastiCure_BGU) breaks down plastic waste and releases energy.
Technion to tackle pollution in China
A recent workshop at Israel’s Technion presented the latest research cooperation between the Technion and Shantou University to help solve China’s severe ecological challenges. It will increase dramatically when the Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (TGIT) is completed.
30 million Euros for nanotech
Israel and Germany have set up a three-year, 30 million Euro plan to promote joint nanotechnology initiatives. The program will support joint projects and aims to boost cooperation between companies and research centers in the nanotechnology sector in Israel and Germany.
Cyclist smart glasses ready for testing
I reported previously (Dec 2015) on the Raptor smart glasses for cyclists, developed by Elbit unit Everysight. A test program is being launched for the Augmented Reality (AR) aimed to boost training and enhance performance, fitness and health.
UK bank uses BioCatch to catch criminals
Since January, NatWest, one of the largest banks in the UK, has deployed technology from Israeli cybersecurity firm BioCatch within its private banking arm Coutts and for some of its business customers, successfully preventing online fraud and helping to protect its 14 million customers.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
New record for tourism
November set a record for the month with the number of tourists visiting Israel reaching 287,900 – 38% more than in November 2015. 2,651,400 tourists visited Israel in January-November 2016, 2% more than in the corresponding period last year. Marketing has targeted Indian and Chinese tourists.
Asian fashion stars advertise Israel
Bollywood star and Indian fashion icon Sonam Kapoor appeared on the cover of the June-July issue of Harper’s Bazaar Bride, India with the Old City of Jerusalem in the background. It was one of many initiatives of Israel’s Tourism Ministry to woo Asian visitors to Israel.
The world’s largest equity crowdfunding event
OurCrowd, the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platform, will host the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem on 16 Feb. 5,000 delegates from 60 countries are expected, promising to make it the world’s largest equity crowdfunding event and the biggest investor event in the Startup Nation.
Another huge Canadian trade delegation
The Mayors of Montreal and Toronto brought an economic delegation of 120 entrepreneurs, business people and representatives of institutional and community organizations, to visit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva, as well as Ramallah and Bethlehem. (see May 22)
New trade route between Haifa and Jordan
Cargo trains have begun operating on Israel Railways’ new Jezreel Valley railway line between Haifa and a terminal temporarily sited at Beit Shean. From the terminal, cargo will be taken to the nearby Jordanian border.
Airline accelerator chooses its first startups. Israel’s Cambiu (currency exchange) and Voyjer (travel planning) have been selected for the Navigator accelerator program set-up by Cockpit Innovation, the venture arm of EL AL and JetBlue Technology Ventures. Two US startups and one UK startup have also been selected.
Become an English teacher in Israel
The Ministry of Aliyah is offering a free course that grants an English-teaching certificate to new immigrants and returning residents. Those from an English-speaking country are eligible with any degree. Others need a degree in English.
A social network engine to increase business
Israeli startup Feelter has developed an algorithm capable of analyzing text from numerous social network conversations in real time. It then brings to a company’s site all the relevant product information to help customers decide whether to make a purchase.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Latest Israeli stamps
Israel has issued some beautiful, culturally enhancing postage stamps depicting mosaics, King Solomon’s ships, tourism in Jerusalem and ex-President Yitzhak Navon.
December events in Israel
December activities in Israel include Hamshushalayim in Jerusalem (first 4 weekends); Jerusalem Jazz festival (14-16); US singer Ryley Walker (15th); plus Hanukkah, Xmas and Sylvester.
Justin Bieber concert date
The Justin Bieber concert is now officially scheduled for May 3 at Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Park. Bieber has sold some 100 million records, making him one of the world’s biggest selling artists. The excitement can be too much for some, as this video of his 14/4/11 Tel Aviv entrance demonstrates.
3 Ju-Jitsu medals
Three Israelis won medals at the Ju-Jitsu World Championships in Poland. Ron Cohen won silver in the men’s under-62 kg event; Nadav Mandil won bronze in the same event; Evyatar Paperni won bronze in the under-69kg category.
Israel hosts MMA world title fight
Tel Aviv was the venue for a Bellator Mixed Martial Arts World Welterweight clash – the first time that an MMA world title has been fought in the Middle East. Douglas Lima from Brazil beat Russia’s Andrey Koreshkov. The fight was broadcast to 140 countries. Great PR video!
THE JEWISH STATE
Over a million participate in global Shabbat. The global Shabbat Project connected over 1 million Jews in 1160 cities spread over 94 countries. In Israel alone, 163 cities and towns took part in special events. These included pre-Shabbat challah baking activities, as well as post-Shabbat Havdalah and musical ceremonies.
Donut burgers for Hanukkah
All Burger King chains in Israel will be serving donut burgers specially for the holiday of Hanukkah. The burger will be called “SufganiKing,” a play on the Hebrew word for donut, “sufganiyah.” Warning – You might look a right “Jewish State” after eating one!
First child after 30-year wait
For the past 27 years, Rabbi Yitzhak and Sima Peretz prepared food for patients and their families who had to stay in Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital over the Sabbath. The whole hospital then celebrated when Sima Peretz gave birth to a daughter after 30 years of childlessness.
IDF orphans celebrate bat/bar mitzvot
There are 3000 IDF orphans – children of a parent killed whilst serving in the IDF or Israeli police. The non-profit organization IDF Widows and Orphans is present at important junctions in their lives.
They make sure they have a great celebration of their bat/bar mitzva.
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