Haredim in hi-tech; Israel Earth Prize; Energy deal with Morocco; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Nano-magnets to repair damaged brain cells
Scientists at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University have developed breakthrough technology that could repair damaged neuron (brain cell) functionality. Using iron oxide, magnetic fields, and collagen, they created cells that developed into functional, multi-layered neural networks.
Micro robots to navigate the body
Almost like the 1966 sci-fi movie Fantastic Voyage, Israel’s Bionaut Labs develops microscale robots for the treatment of brain diseases and disorders. Bionaut uses magnetic propulsion to navigate the human body and deliver medicine locally to avoid side effects and toxicity.
Stimulating the brain to treat tremors
For the first time, Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center treated a 70-year-old Israeli patient suffering for 20 years from essential tremor, using Deep Brain Stimulation devices from US company Abbott and Israel’s Alpha Omega (see here previously). It made a significant improvement.
Super ultrasound for early diagnosis
Among this summary of promising Israeli IBD breakthroughs is the work of Weizmann Institute scientists to enhance the resolution of ultrasound. They can now identify tiny tumors and lesions, enabling cancer and Crohn’s patients to begin early treatment.
Israel’s ChroniSense Medical has developed the Polso FDA-approved medical sensor smartwatch. It accurately monitors vital signs, such as blood oxygen saturation, pulse rate, and respiration rate. It comes with a mobile app for patients, and a cloud-based platform for clinicians.
UK manages caregivers with Israeli app
UK-based national homecare franchise provider Caremark is using Israel’s Connecteam (see here previously) to manage and engage more than 7,000 remote caregivers across some 115 UK franchise offices. Connecteam is used by 20,000 companies in 80 countries and many industries.
Therapy app for parents of autistic children
Israel’s SocialMind Autism has released an AI-powered app program based on Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT). Its 22 lessons helps parents increase an autistic child’s motivation to learn, initiate communication, and improve their social skills.
Airlifting Ukrainian children with cancer
Israel’s MASHAV (International development cooperation program) has been working to bring ten Ukrainian children and their families to Israel for cancer treatment. The video highlights some of the huge challenges involved.
And from South Sudan for heart repair
Israeli non-profit IsraAID is bringing four children from Juba in South Sudan to Israel for surgery from surgeons at Save a Child’s Heart (SACH). Due to Covid, the children have been waiting for nearly 3 years in internally displaced people (IDP) camps.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Bedouins in hi-tech
More details about NGO Siraj (see here previously), helping Negev Bedouins enter the Israeli high-tech workforce. Its Executive Director Fahima Atawna has degrees in chemical engineering and public health. Some 10 college graduates also work at Bedouin startup Siraj Technologies.
Haredim in hi-tech
Israeli startups Phone.do, Triple Whale and Cross River employ a high percentage of Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jews. As Triple Whale co-founder Maxx Blank says, “They are an unbelievable talent. Their quality and work ethic are the best, and they are extremely loyal.” The NGO MeGo helps with training.
Jobs for Palestinian Arabs
Israel continues to provide major economic support to Palestinian Arabs through its greatly enlarged jobs program. Today, 18.9% of Arabs from PA-controlled cities and from Gaza work inside Israel – some 182,000. In 2012 this was only 10.4%.
Israeli women and their Gulf sisters
Rare positive BBC report on the Gulf-Israel Women’s Forum. Founded in 2020 after the Abraham Accords by Jerusalem’s deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, it develops trade ties and friendships between businesswomen in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
Turning killer gas into a benefit
Trapped methane and CO2 at the bottom of Lake Kivu on the border of Rwanda and the DRC is a threat to millions of citizens of both countries. Israel’s Galil Group and the Technion are helping build a plant that will use the biogas to generate 56 MW of power in Rwanda.
Israeli President welcomed in Bahrain
President Herzog became the first Israeli head of state to make an official visit to Bahrain. His two-day trip included a stop in the United Arab Emirates. “Deeply moving to hear Hatikvah, our national anthem, in Bahrain next to His Majesty the King.” President Herzog tweeted.
US Muslim leaders explore Israel
Israeli non-profit Sharaka (see here previously) has brought a delegation of 13 American Muslim leaders to Israel to build bridges and promote the Abraham Accords. They include Talib Shareef, an imam educated under the Nation of Islam, but not the part headed by Louis Farrakhan.
Exporting peace to the world
Following the success of the Abraham Accords, Israel, UAE, Bahrain and leaders of 30 other countries held a global leadership summit in Rome to help others learn how they can use the Abraham Accords model to help make the world a more peaceful place.
Azerbaijan see Israeli Education innovation
ORT – Israel’s leading science & technology education network invited 50 educators from Azerbaijan to its Tel Aviv Innovation Center. They learned about Israeli education techniques such as interactive displays, creating wood models, and autonomous teamwork.
Israel to build WHO’s first digital health center
At the opening of the World Health Organization European Conference in Tel Aviv (see here previously) Israel’s President Herzog announced that Israel will be working with the WHO to establish and promote the first International center for digital health.
The 5th safest country for tourists
US insurance comparison website The Swiftest ranked Israel fifth safest in its list of “The 50 Most (and Least) Deadly Travel Destinations. Despite media-driven fear, Israel is very low in homicides, violence, poor hygiene, accidental poisoning, infectious disease, and traffic accidents.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Finding jobs for minorities
Israel’s Joonko (see here previously) uses AI to scan databases of job applicants from under-represented groups that just missed out on being selected. It then finds them similar vacancies to apply for at other companies. Since 2021, it has been helping some 250 Americans a month find employment.
Israel Earth Prize
Toyota and its Israeli importer, Union Motors, have opened applications for the new Israel Earth Prize. Five chosen initiatives will each receive a million shekels per year for five years. Solutions sought include carbon emission reduction, conservation, clean transportation, and sustainable nutrition.
A concrete challenge
GreenVibe is another Israeli startup (see here for others) that uses smart sensors to optimize quality and speed up the construction process. GreenVibe’s technology focuses on concrete building materials, improving its consistency, strength, availability, and reducing its carbon footprint by 15 – 20%.
5G networks at Israeli hospitals
Israel’s OneLayer (see here previously) has implemented pilot projects of its 5G cellular private network at Israel’s Poriah (Baruch Padeh) and Galilee Medical Centers. They provide fast, secure, and always-accessible connectivity to the hospitals’ digital health services.
Drones to carry passengers
Israel’s National Drone Network Initiative (see here previously) has reached its second stage – transporting heavy objects including people. For two years, companies will use advanced UAVs to conduct simultaneous flights carrying cargo and passengers.
Indoor mini drone
Israel’s Cyberbee and America’s EyeCloud.ai have received $1.75 million from the BIRD Foundation to jointly develop indoor mini drones to be used by first responders in Israel and the US. They will be used to rescue trapped people or locate terrorists and criminals in indoor locations where there is no GPS.
“Barn Owl” drone warns of forest fires
KKL-JNF’s Tinshemet-Toren fire detection system comprise a drone (Tinshemet is Hebrew for Barn Owl) and a control system (Toren is Hebrew for mast). Together they detect any irregular heat or movement and determine its exact location.
Protect crops with wax
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed SafeWax – a spray to protect crops, based on the wax found on lotus and broccoli leaves. The biodegradable formulation can prevent disease-bearing pathogens from destroying some 33% of global food crops. No pesticides needed.
Cultured plant nutrients
Israel’s Novella has developed technology to grow nutritious botanical ingredients without having to grow the plant itself. Plant tissue is selected for high concentrations of specific vitamins and minerals. The cells are then cultured and amplified to produce pesticide-free, environmentally friendly products.
Helping visually impaired cross US roads. Hellman Electric and Gilton Electrical – subsidiaries of Israel’s Electra – have won a $62 million tender to install voice accessibility at intersections in Manhattan and Staten Island. It will make hundreds of crosswalk signals accessible to pedestrians with visual impairments.
Create your own avatar in minutes
iPhone users can create their “TrueSelf” avatar using the innovative software from Israel’s CommonGround. It scans a person’s image and then sits the 3D representation into a videoconference where it mimics the action of the real person. No virtual reality headset is required.
Fashion goes green
German textile manufacturing giant Bruckner has partnered Israel’s Sonovia (see here previously) to develop a water & energy efficient finishing machine. It will use soundwaves to infuse odor-repellent, water-repellent, antibacterial, and UV-blocking into fabrics without polluting materials and adhesives.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
A healthy industry
1,000 delegates from 30 countries attended the Nov 10 MIXiii Health-Tech.IL Conference in Jerusalem. They heard Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) share their 2021 report that Israel’s 1,800 active life-sciences companies exported $5.2 billion of products in 2021 – over 20% more than in 2020.
Energy deal with Morocco
More details of the deal that allows Israel’s NewMed to search for natural gas deposits off the Atlantic coast of Morocco (see here previously). The 8-year agreement includes geological and geophysical analysis with initial exploration drilling anticipated after about 2.5 years.
10 more on bridge to Silicon Valley
Israeli NGO ICON (see here previously) has announced the 10 Israeli startups to complete its latest SV101 accelerator program for connecting and expanding to Silicon Valley. They are Amplication, ARMO, Confetti, EverSQL, Eureka, Ludeo, Nilus, Oligo Security, Redefine, and Silk.
Consortium for autonomous vehicles
Israel’s AVATAR Consortium comprises Rafael, Opsys, ThirdEye, VayaVision, Cognata, Ebit, and nearly all Israeli universities and technical institutes. They are testing autonomous vehicle decision-making to develop a framework for advanced Israeli technologies.
Fujitsu to open R&D center
Japan’s Fujitsu is to open a new Tel Aviv center for research and development in Apr 2023, focusing on innovation in the field of data and security. It follows the establishment of the “Fujitsu Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Israel” at Ben Gurion University in 2021 (see here previously).
8,000 new hotel rooms
The Israeli Tourism Ministry is to build some 8,000 new hotel rooms in the next two years. Hotel occupancy rates are nearing pre-pandemic levels as the tourism industry picks up again. Plans are to add 770 rooms in the north of the country, 2,100 rooms in the South, and 1,650 rooms around the Dead Sea.
The best new hotel in the world
The David Kempinski Tel Aviv (see here previously) was named “Best New Hotel in The World 2022” at the 14th edition of luxury travel awards ceremony, the ULTRAs, in London. The 5-star hotel is the European luxury hospitality group’s first property in Israel.
A Whopper of an opportunity
Israel’s Meat the End (MtE) is expanding production thanks to its deal to develop vegan Whoppers and no-chicken nuggets for Burger King Israel (see here previously). MtE is installing €1.5 million of artificial-intelligent extrusion machinery to produce its plant-based textured protein.
Investment in Israeli startups to 11/12/22:
Lumen raised $62 million; Bionaut Labs raised $43 million; BeeHero raised $42 million; NeuReality raised $35 million; CommonGround raised $25 million; Nectin Therapeutics raises $25 million; Shield raised $20 million; BondIT raised $14 million; GreenOnyx raised $10 million; RepAir Carbon Capture raised $10 million; Rezonate raised $8.7 million; CyVers raised $8 million; Axiom Security raised $7 million; Gankster raised $4.25 million; Conbo.ai raised $2 million; Yahoo has acquired 25% of Israel’s Taboola.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Jerusalem celebrates with India
Among the many recent sights and activities on Jerusalem’s streets, the Israel Museum opened its exhibition, “Body of Faith: Sculpture from the National Museum of India.” It marks the 75th anniversary of India’s independence – just before Israel celebrates its 75th anniversary.
The music of Judah Maccabee
If you can get to Beit Avi Chai in Jerusalem on Dec 15 you can hear the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra give a pre-Hannukah performance of movements from Judas Maccabaeus by Handel, alongside commentary in English by Prof. Isaiah Gafni.
Sony Music tunes in to Israel
Sony Music has entered the Israeli music market in partnership with Canadian-Israeli musician management company and record label ONEWA. Their venture aims to develop artists from Israel with international appeal and launch them into the global mainstream music scene.
Iron Man Israel attracts 2,800 competitors
More than 1200 Israeli and international athletes competed in the IRONMAN Israel-Middle East Championship – a 2.3-mile Sea of Galilee swim, a 111-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run. 1,860 competed in a shorter event. Philanthropist Sylvan Adams brought IRONMAN to Israel.
Tel Aviv Heat, Israel’s first professional rugby union team, defeated UK’s Saracens 29-26 in a friendly match at the Saracens’ home stadium. Saracens are former European champions.
THE JEWISH STATE
Gap year in Israel for people with disabilities
Israeli organization Darkaynu, part of the Ohr Torah Stone network of programs, has developed Israel gap year programs for people with disabilities. The latest programs, in Jerusalem and Alon Shvut, comprise 28 students from the US, Canada, England, and Australia.
UN exhibit of Jewish exodus from Arab countries
Israel commemorated the “Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from Arab Countries and Iran” with an exhibition at the United Nations. It documents the history of the Jews in Arab countries and Iran, and the post-1947 emigration of hundreds of thousands to Israel.
Free “shuk” for the needy
Israeli food security charity Meir Panim (see here previously) has launched a free shuk (Arabic and Hebrew for “market”) in Jerusalem and Tzfat, providing fresh produce for those in need. Free shuks already operate in Or Akiva and Tiberias. There are also free restaurants in all four cities, plus Dimona.
Saved by his Book of Psalms
A man injured in the recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem was saved from death when a piece of shrapnel was stopped by the Book of Psalms (Tehillim) in his top pocket. The shrapnel came to rest at Verse 7 of Psalm 124 – “Our soul has escaped like a bird evading the grasp of its captors.”