Preventing errors in the ICU; Pizza-making robots; Tax relief for hi-tech returnees; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Covid is not what it seems
Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have found that coronavirus patients have damaged mitochondria in the blood, but not in the lungs. They now urge a medical re-think, in that it is the immune system that needs treating and that antioxidants may be more effective than respiratory medications.
Amorphous calcium to treat Covid-19
18 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with moderate or severe symptoms were treated with Amor-18 from Israel’s Amorphical (see here previously). All recovered and were discharged in a few days.
Parkinson’s treatment success
Israel’s Pharma Two B (see here in 2015) has successfully completed the Phase 3 human trial of its P2B001 treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. The trial met its primary and key secondary endpoints, and the company can now prepare for US FDA approval.
$5 million grant to test Alzheimer’s treatment
Israel’s ImmunoBrain Checkpoint (see here previously) has been awarded a grant of $5 million over 3 years to support human clinical trials of IBC-Ab002, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Development was based on Weizmann Institute immune system studies.
Monitoring babies’ hearts at home
The partnership between Israel’s Datos Health and Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has progressed to at-home monitoring of babies born with complex heart malformations. Babies monitored include in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza, Iraq, Kurdistan, and Cyprus.
Link between sleep and the gut
Scientists at Haifa University and the Technion Institute have found a link between bacteria in the gut and sleep patterns. Those that eat fatty foods tend to be night owls, whereas those that have a high fiber diet tend to be early risers.
3D digital X-ray imaging
Israel’s Nanox (see here previously) has delivered the first of its next-generation X-ray machines to Israel’s Shamir Medical Center in Tzifrin. The Nanox.ARC uses low-radiation X-rays to produce high-resolution 3-D digital images, previously only available from expensive CT scans.
Preventing errors in the ICU
The virtual reality simulator from Israel’s DecideVR identifies decision-making errors by doctors in medical treatment in intensive care units (ICU). The platform, developed by Professor Alex Mintz, formerly of Herzliya’s Reichman University, currently focuses on life-saving cardiovascular decisions.
Helping to tackle infertility in the UK
Israel’s AiVF (see here previously) has received regulatory approval to sell its IVF analysis platform product in the United Kingdom – one of the largest IVF markets in Europe. It can predict, without the need for a biopsy, whether a given embryo is genetically suitable for transfer.
The selfie that could save your life
Israel’s Binah.ai (see here previously) has come a long way in the last 18 months. Some 50 million customers of the world’s top insurance companies now use Binah’s remote health and wellness monitoring platform to measure vital signs, from the changes in the reflection of light on facial skin.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Second “special” brother joins IDF
Ittai graduated from Lotem Special Education School in Rehovot last year and, thanks to “Special in Uniform”, has just been inducted into the Israel Defense Forces. His brother Roi, who has cerebral palsy, joined the IDF five years ago and managed the medical clinic in one of the IDF bases.
Helping Ethiopian Israelis access higher education
Since it began in 1994, Israeli foundation Hanan Aynor has given scholarships and funding for higher education fees to 4,500 Israelis of Ethiopian origin. It also gives priority to older people, for whom it might soon be too late to enroll, as well as to single mothers.
The first female Military Secretary
Intelligence officer Col. N. is the first woman to be appointed Military Secretary to the Israeli President and will be promoted to Brigadier-General. She has served 22 years in the IDF Intelligence Corps. The previous Military Secretary was an Israeli Druze (see here).
Five new female foreign Ambassadors
Israeli President Isaac Herzog has received the credentials of the new ambassadors from five countries, including close friends of Israel – El Salvador, Malta, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Nauru. All five are women.
84% of Christians happy in Israel
Some 182,000 Christians live in Israel – 1.4% more than in 2020. They comprise about 1.9% of the State of Israel’s population. And contrary to some recent negative stories in the Mainstream Media, 84% of Christians said they were satisfied with their life.
The Jerusalem Municipality has again distributed free Christmas trees to Jerusalem residents celebrating Christmas. And KKL-JNF (Jewish National Fund) supplied 108 trees to 27 embassies, consulates, and foreign missions in Israel. The trees came from environmentally managed groves in the Galilee.
Arab and Haredi women create a startup
Arab Moslem Amira Jabar Qassem and Haredi Jew Hani Sabag co-founded Israel’s Job 360, to train Arabs and Haredim in interview techniques for hi-tech jobs. Their website allows job seekers to simulate interviews. This article describes both their professional and private relationship.
Israel leads international cyber training event
Israel led a 10-day simulation of a sophisticated cyberattack on the world’s financial system to learn how to minimize the potential damage to banks and financial markets. Participants included the US, UK, UAE, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the IMF, and the World Bank.
British army receives Israeli night vision systems
Israel’s Elbit Systems has delivered the first tranche of its lightweight micro binocular XACT Night Vision Goggles to the British Army. They were manufactured at Elbit Systems’ UK subsidiary.
UN passes another Israeli-proposed resolution
Israel is the recognized global leader in technology to conquer world hunger. 135 countries chose to partner with Israel in its United Nations proposal to promote access and use of advanced agricultural technologies to developing countries and drought-stricken areas.
Aid to the Philippines
The Embassy of Israel in the Philippines has sent food packs, hygiene kits, and NUF water purifiers to the victims of Typhoon Odette in Bohol and Cebu. It also sent solar energy systems to provide electrical power to some 2,000 typhoon-hit families. The storm has displaced some 600,000 people
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
NIS 20 million for energy projects
Israel’s Energy Ministry is giving grants worth NIS 20 million for 16 projects to develop energy storage prototypes. They include 11 lithium battery projects and two hydrogen initiatives. One project is a combined solar panel and storage system for Bedouin farmers.
Modi’in – Israel’s next tech city
Built in the 1990s and branded as “the city of the future,” Modi’in is ranked 10th in Israel on StartupBlink’s Start-up Ecosystem list, and 627 worldwide, for tech ecosystem size, quality, and ease of doing business. Advantages include location, transport links and young English-speaking residents.
The future materialized
Israel’s Nemo Nanomaterials is producing game-changing nanomaterials that can transform products in industries such as automotive, electronics, textile, construction, telecom, energy, and aerospace. The startup is already working with 10 large companies, including multi-billion-dollar corporations.
Another Israeli-led vertical farm
Infarm, led by Israelis Osnat Michaeli, Erez and Guy Galonska, distributed their 25sqm “vertical crop farm on a platform” to hundreds of supermarkets across Europe. Each can grow over 65 kinds of herbs and vegetables and said to be more than 400 times more efficient than land-based agriculture.
The Pizza Hut chain (see here previously) has many branches in Israel. One branch is soon going to be run entirely by robots. Udi Shamai, owner of Pizza Hut Israel and CEO of Hyper Food Robotics, explains how the technology works and why robot-made fast food is the future.
Israel’s B.T. Sweet has unveiled Cambya™, a plant-based sugar replacer for multiple food applications. The proprietary formula is based on soluble fibers, monk fruit, and select botanicals.
Spearheading sustainable packaging
More news about the sustainable packaging from Israel’s Melodea (see here previously). Its wood pulp-based, compostable, recyclable, and completely non-toxic products include MelOx™ and VBcoat™ that protect packaged goods while eliminating the need for aluminum and plastic.
Reasons to be cheerful at end of 2021
Israel21c’s summary of Israeli achievements in 2021 includes some facts new to this newsletter. It’s healthy to interact with plants; Israel’s TurboGen’s micro-turbines to power buildings; and WaveBL & DockTech improving the supply chain.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Unemployment down again
The rate of unemployment in Israel in the second half of November 2021 fell to 4.3% from 4.7% in the first half of November. Many of the 143,000+ job vacancies are for software developers and computer engineers.
Tax relief for hi-tech returnees
Israel is upgrading its tax-benefit program to attract Israeli high-tech workers currently living abroad, to help resolve Israel’s workforce shortage. They will pay no taxes for two years on passive income and capital gains earned outside Israel. They can also deduct expenses incurred in returning.
$100 million to advance hydrogen tech
Israel plans to spend NIS 100 million over five years on a national institute for hydrogen production and storage. It has also established a pilot hydrogen filling station in northern Israel and will open the first commercial hydrogen filling station for trucks next year in the Haifa Bay area.
Business forum in UAE’s Tel Aviv embassy
The United Arab Emirates hosted a first-of-its-kind business conference on Israeli technology and innovation, in the UAE’s Israel embassy. Some 200 people attended the summit, including a UAE delegation led by two UAE ministers.
University to fund dozens more startups
Tel Aviv University’s Venture Capital arm has raised another $50m (see first fund here in 2018) to invest in early-stage Israeli startups. It plans to invest up to $1 million in 15-25 companies founded by Israeli entrepreneurs. All the investors from 2018 have reinvested in the new fund.
It’s all happening in the kitchen
The Kitchen (see here previously), established in 2015, is Israel’s first FoodTech incubator. It now has 22 portfolio companies cooking up innovations to feed the world more efficiently, sustainably, and securely. Israel’s agri-tech knowhow is making breakthroughs on a global scale.
A VAST new development center
Israel’s VAST Data (see here previously) has opened a new center in the city of Haifa, an addition to its main development center in Tel Aviv. It seeks to recruit graduates from the North of Israel, so the new facility is located close to Haifa University.
Helping entrepreneurs in Judea & Samaria
Israeli non-profit Bikurim develops and delivers technology tools that family-run small businesses in Judea and Samaria need to grow. It subsidizes the cost of web design, helps fund marketing materials, and promotes businesses through an online directory.
Israeli mergers and acquisitions:
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Positive things to share from Jerusalem’s streets include – daily prayers outside the Mamilla Mall; the Knesset Museum project; the Prime Minister’s street is open; seasonal decorations and market; children; Temech conference for businesswomen; winter festivals and Teddy Park’s musical fountains.
Jerusalem’s Sacher Park is upgraded
One of the highlights in The Jerusalem Streets is the improved Sacher Park. The municipality has upgraded the infrastructure, improved accessibility, and is even adding Wi-Fi. New features include a unique playground, running trails, sports fields, security cameras and a dog garden.
Israel’s first truly green hotel
The Six Senses hotel in Shaharut, near Ovda airport in the Negev, is the first hotel in Israel to receive the American Green Building Council approval for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It also complies with the Israeli standard for green construction.
New Israeli stamps
Jacob has updated his website of Israeli stamps to include Waterfalls (Banyas, David, and En Avdat); Foot and mouth painting; Israel-Czech Republic Joint Issue; and “With Thanks to All Those Fighting COVID-19”.
Israel’s first ever World swimming golds
Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko (see here previously) won Israel’s first two World Swimming Championships gold medals in Abu Dhabi. The 18-year-old won the women’s 50m breaststroke final and the women’s 100-meter medley final. Hear Hatikvah in the UAE.
THE JEWISH STATE
Look what they found in the garbage
A marble sarcophagus lid dating back some 1,900 years has been rescued from a garbage dump site in Ashkelon. The Roman-era artifact, which weighs some two tons, is believed to have been unearthed at a construction site and discarded on an illegal trash heap.
Marine archaeologists have uncovered ancient artifacts off the coast of Caesarea, many dating back to the third century CE. They include a gemstone engraved with a lyre (like King David’s harp). Also, a gold ring engraved with a shepherd boy, plus a hoard of gold coins from the Mamluk period.
Remains of a building and a cemetery containing Jewish relics from the time of the Sanhedrin have been uncovered in Yavne. They date from the 1st century CE when the Jewish legislative assembly relocated after the Romans destroyed the capital Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple in 70 CE.
Ukraine to recognize Jerusalem as capital
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk stated that his country recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s “one and only capital” and that a branch of its embassy would be opened there in the next year. Security issues are being finalized.
Awards for positively representing Israel
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a “Light Ceremony” to present awards to personalities who excel in their professional arena while promoting Israel’s image in the media and on social networks. They include Idan Raichel, Lior Suchard, Netta Barzilai and Sivan Yaari.
Helping communities navigate the pandemic
The Jewish Agency for Israel is marking the first anniversary of JReady, a unique platform for emergency preparedness, response, and rehabilitation created to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. JReady now reaches 39 countries with its crisis management training.
Hebrew language day
Israel marks Hebrew Language Day on 21 of Tevet – the birthday of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the father of modern spoken Hebrew. This year, the date corresponds to Dec 25, 2021. Jacob Richman here publicizes the Hebrew quizzes that Israeli dairy company Tnuva prints on milk cartons.