One of the best places for female entrepreneurs; Israeli property prices stabilize; Ethiopian-Israeli MK lights candle in London’s Trafalgar Square; and much more!
by Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough in the fight to cure Lupus
Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and the US NIH have identified a trigger for the autoimmune disease Lupus. They have also developed what the media is calling a “miracle” molecule, that blocks the trigger in Lupus and other diseases, e.g. Alzheimer’s and IBD.
Reversing the aging of the brain
Researchers from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and the University of California have discovered that a small molecule called IPW is able to heal a damaged Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). It can also alleviate the inflammation that leads to Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.
Stopping cancer in its tracks
Israel’s Metabomed is developing treatments using small molecules that target and inhibit metabolic enzymes vital for cancer cells’ survival. It currently has four pipeline programs. Metabomed has just raised a further $12.5 million of funds to help it prepare for clinical trials.
Developing AI for spinal surgery
Israeli intelligent scan analysis startup Zebra Medical (see here) is partnering with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary DePuy Synthes to jointly develop artificial intelligence technologies for spine and other orthopedic surgeries.
Israel’s first live multi-organ donor
Rabbi Elad Gadot recently donated one of his kidneys to a total stranger for whom he was a rare match. Years ago, Rabbi Gadot donated a liver lobe to his son Eliyahu (now in the IDF) who needed a liver transplant. Coincidentally, the kidney recipient’s name was also Eliyahu.
Prescription checking software can save the US a fortune
As reported previously (see here), Israel’s MedAware prevents prescription errors and saves lives. Now a 5-year Harvard study shows it would have cut $800 million a year from US Health costs. 70% of the errors detected would not have been found otherwise.
Melting the fat
As reported (here) previously, the synthetic injectable molecule from Israeli startup Raziel Therapeutics melts fat cells. RZL-12 converts white adipose tissue (WAT) into brown adipose tissue (BAT) after a single injection into subcutaneous fat. Raziel has just raised another $22 million of funds.
Predicting the response to cancer treatment
Israel’s Oncohost is developing cutting-edge technology to characterize, analyze and predict patient response to cancer therapy. This enables personalized treatment strategies with improved outcomes & reduced side effects. http://oncohost.com/
Pain monitoring for dementia patients
The NOL pain monitoring technology from Israel’s Medasense (see here) helps clinicians treat non-communicating patients. The Israel Innovation Authority has just given Medasense a grant to test NOL at the Dorot Rehabilitation and Geriatric Medical Center in Netanya.
Walmart.com launches Israeli digital diabetes program
Walmart consumers can now purchase online the MyDario complete digital solution from Israel’s DarioHealth. It is designed for diabetics to manage their diabetes, hypertension, nutrition and exercise.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
One of the best places for female entrepreneurs
In a recent Mastercard report, Israel was ranked the 4th best country for women entrepreneurs. Israel was narrowly behind the USA, New Zealand and Canada.
Israel’s Southern district is often under fire from Gaza terrorists, but is also flourishing, developing and refusing to abandon its natural coexistence and hope for peace. Thousands of Gazans work there daily. Read this article to see how Bedouin-Arab-Israeli citizens also live and study there.
Eleven US Secretaries of State visit Israel
A bipartisan delegation of 11 Secretaries of State from across the U.S. has been visiting Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Inter¬change. The program features cybersecurity policies and practices they relate to business, elections and data management.
New ambassadors to Israel
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors to the State of Israel from Austria, Cambodia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Angola.
Prince Charles to visit Israel
Charles Prince of Wales will attend the World Holocaust Forum on 23 Jan 2020. He will participate in the Yad Vashem ceremony commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It will be the first time that he has undertaken a program of engagements in Israel.
60 years of International development
MASHAV – Israel’s International Development Agency – has helped train 300,000 participants from 140 countries since 1958. It has set up 50 training centers around the globe and has 35 ongoing partnerships with international organizations.
Jewish and Israel Studies Institute in China
Shandong University and Tel Aviv University have inaugurated a Joint Institute for Jewish and Israeli Studies in Jinan, the capital of China’s Shandong province. The institute will facilitate student exchange, joint scientific research, conferences, and cultural and artistic activities.
Israeli orchestra performs in Morocco
The Israeli Andalusian Orchestra of Ashdod delivered a stunning performance at the Andalussyat Festival of traditional Moroccan music in Casablanca. The orchestra was also warmly welcomed in the Moroccan city and praised for its performance.
Albania’s PM thanks Israel
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama hailed the work of Israeli engineers who are helping reconstruct and inspect buildings in the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake. “They are from Israel and they are No. 1,” Rama said to a resident who was told it was safe to enter his apartment building.
How Israel foiled ISIS terror attack in Australia
The IDF’s Military Intelligence Unit 8200 helped thwart an attempt by ISIS to blow up an Etihad Airways plane flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. Their information helped the Australian authorities arrest the terrorists who have just been given long jail sentences.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Breakthrough of the year
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem won Science Magazine’s People’s Choice for 2019 Breakthrough of the Year. HUJ researchers captivated the science world with their reconstruction from bone DNA of a Denisovan, a mysterious human-like species that disappeared 100,000 years ago.
Seven new joint US-Israel cleantech projects
The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial R&D (BIRD) Foundation will invest $6.4 million in seven clean energy R&D projects. The Israeli companies involved are Chakratec (energy storage), Exency (energy from waste), Elbit Systems, EcoPlant, Eta-Bar, Netafim and Ramot.
Sixth desalination plant approved
Israel’s National Infrastructure Committee green-lighted construction of a desalination plant in the Western Galilee – Israel’s sixth. It will provide 200 million cubic meters of water annually and save the cost of building infrastructure to move water from the South over the Carmel Ridge.
UK-Israel university partners for AI and cybersecurity
Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and the UK’s University of Bristol have signed an agreement to collaborate on cyber security and Artificial Intelligence research. It formalizes their many ongoing ad-hoc research projects and exchange opportunities.
Removing dust from solar panels
Ben Gurion University researchers have greatly reduced the amount of dust on solar panels, significantly increasing their efficiency. Inspired by the lotus leaf, which remains dust free due to its nanotextured surface, they etched nanowires onto the panels and applied a hydrophobic coating.
Elbit launches nanosatellite
Israel’s Elbit Systems’ NANOVA nanosatellite was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Southern India. NANOVA was developed as part of the BIRD foundation initiative and is planned to be a part of a nanosatellite constellation for commercial purposes.
Augmented Reality for on-line courses
Israel’s Actiview.io develops augmented reality (AR) software for human resources – mostly games and assignments to assess potential employees. Now Actiview’s AR software has been integrated into the training courses and classrooms of French graduate business school INSEAD.
Vegan meat wins award in London
Three Israeli food-tech initiatives were among 15 startups to pitch groundbreaking, sustainable solutions for the food and agriculture industry at FoodBytes by Rabobank in London. Redefine Meat won the People’s Choice Award, one of the three top prizes.
Israeli wheat exhibit wins award in Tokyo
An Israeli installation titled “Goren” won the “Big Emotions” award – as part of the Jerusalem Design Week delegation at Design Art Tokyo 2019. A cloud of wheat rises into the shape of a chandelier, symbolizing extinct varieties of wheat that Israel is restoring.
Musical subtitle system reaches London
As reported previously (Aug 2018) the GalaPro app from Israel’s GalaPrompter delivers multilingual real-time subtitles (and more) of Broadway shows to your smartphone in the theatre. This accessibility service is now available at the School of Rock musical in Drury Lane, London.
Electric road for Germany
As reported (here) previously, Israel’s ElectReon develops a real-time wireless electrification system for roads, to reduce dependence on fuel and charging stations. It has now partnered with German energy company EnBW which will implement the technology initially on two roads in Germany.
9000-year-old sea wall to prevent rising sea level
An international team of underwater archaeologists has uncovered the oldest known manmade seawall off the coast of Haifa. They have concluded that it was built at Tel Hreiz to keep out rising water from melting glaciers. Eventually, Tel Hreiz was submerged and abandoned.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli property prices stabilize
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israeli property prices rose between January and August 2019 by an average of only 2% and new properties fell by 4.8%. Prices also fell in 2018, following an 80% rise over the previous decade. 2019 construction starts (52,000) was on target.
New Russian airline lands in Tel Aviv
Russian airline Azimuth only began operations in 2017. Already it has begun a direct service to Tel Aviv from the West Russian city of Rostov. It also intends to inaugurate two new routes between Ben Gurion Airport and southwestern Russian cities Krasnodar and Mineralnye Vody in 2020.
Five more startups for Caesarea incubator
Israeli investment fund Nielsen Innovate launched its incubator in 2012 and by 2015 has 10 startups in Caesarea (see here). It now has 33 Israeli companies in its portfolio and is investing $5 million to bring another five into the incubator.
Swiss investment on the way
Tel-Aviv based Crescendo Venture Partners is setting up a new VC fund of $80 to $100 million to invest in early-stage hi-tech Israeli startups that can transform traditional areas (education, agriculture, construction, healthcare etc.). Swiss-based Crescendo Group manages over $3 billion globally.
US cybersecurity firm to open in Israel
As reported (here) previously, Israel’s Indegy protects the systems of vital infrastructure companies. Nasdaq-listed cybersecurity giant Tenable Holdings has just acquired Indegy for $78 million in cash and will set up a development center in Israel following the deal.
Half a billion users
Israeli-founded urban mobility company Moovit (see here) now has over half a billion users of its popular public transportation application in 3,000 cities, 94 countries and 45 languages. It helps transits and commutes thanks to partnerships with major multinationals including Uber, Microsoft, and Waze.
Turning stale bread into beer
Elchanan Bread Bakery in Kibbutz Mishmarot turns leftover baked goods into bread pudding and granola. It also donates stale bread to nearby kibbutzim for animal feed. In its latest process it mixes excess sourdough bread with malt and hot water to make a red ale with an alcohol content of 5%.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Tel Aviv is one of the best cities to visit
Forbes magazine lists Tel Aviv among its 20 best cities in the world to visit in 2020. It highlights White City Center museum, opened for the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus architecture movement. Tel Aviv is home to more than 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings – the most in the world.
International TV Series of the Decade
The NY Times has named Israeli TV series “Prisoners of War” the Top International TV series of the Decade. The Keshet network series was remade in the US as Homeland in 2011. Screenwriter, director and producer Gideon Raft also produced The Spy and Red Sea Diving Resort.
IDF amputee is World marathon champion
Eitan Hermon, 45, lost his leg while a reservist in the Second Lebanon War. He was determined to not only walk again, but also to run marathons. After over 35 marathons, Hermon set a world record at the Vienna Marathon and was top in his category at the New York marathon.
Israel to host E-Sports World Championships
The International Electronic-Sports Federation (IESF) has announced that Israel will, for the first time, host the E-Sports World Championships in Nov 2020 in Eilat. It is the world’s largest and most prestigious gaming event, with over 500 players from 60 countries.
THE JEWISH STATE
Ethiopian-Israeli MK lights candle in London’s Trafalgar Square
Member of Knesset Pnina Tamano-Shata lit a candle at a Chanukah ceremony in London’s Trafalgar Square. She said, “Hanukkah symbolizes …. the ability to change our world for the better together.
French immigrants bake the best donuts
The recent wave of new Israeli citizens from France has made a huge difference to the quality of Israel’s Chanukah donuts (sufganiyot).
Haredi IDF unit celebrates 20 years
Hundreds of ultra-religious IDF soldiers have just participated in the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Haredi combat units. They include “Netzach Yehuda” (Kfir brigade) “Tomer” platoon (Givati ) “Chetz” platoon (Paratroopers) plus “Defenders of the Negev” platoon (Air Force).
Connecting young Diaspora Jews to Israel
As reported previously (see here) Israeli non-profit Ayalim builds student villages to increase the Jewish presence in the Negev and Galilee, plus help those living in the social periphery. It is now using “social impact investing”, to enlarge some of its 22 villages and build new ones.
Inspiring Israelis of the decade
The reason for Israel’s incredible transformation over the last 10 years is its people – too many to mention here. 14 individuals, though, are highlighted in this article as being particularly inspiring. They include my own favorites, Navonel Glick (IsraAID) and Sivan Ya’ari (Innovation: Africa).
Taxi driver finds and returns $60,000
An Israeli taxi driver was surprised to find a bag containing $60,000 in the back seat of his cab. He located the owner – an elderly woman he took to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, who needed the money for medical treatments. “I am a man of faith,” the taxi driver said. “The money isn’t mine”.
Israelis are forever young
Yosef Eshed, a 102-year-old Israeli who fought alongside Orde Wingate, can now register for kindergarten. Eshed was one of 20 Israelis over a century old to receive a kindergarten enrollment letter recently. Apparently, a computer glitch dropped the first digit of their age.
Never give up hope
Some real-life “miraculous” stories of cancer patients whose lives were saved by stem cell transplants, thanks to the bone marrow database, managed by Israel’s Ezer Mizion.
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