Home visits for your pet; Aid to Tonga; 450,000 trees to keep Israelis cool; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
ALS treatment trial success
The cellular therapy from Israel’s Kadimastem (see here previously) was able to slow down the progression of ALS in its first human clinical trial on ten patients. Kadimastem’s Vice President of R&D Michal Izrael describes the treatment and the next trial.
To mark World Cancer Day on 4th Feb, these articles describe some of the latest developments of Israeli scientists at the Technion Institute, Ben Gurion University, and Tel Aviv University.
Anti-viral treatment has promise
Israel’s Todos (see here previously) completed a Phase 2 study of its Tollovir treatment on 31 hospitalized Covid-19 patients. Their clinical improvement was 2.7 days faster than the placebo group. Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital is now allowing Tollovir for compassionate use.
Repairing livers for transplant
Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center performed, for the first time in Israel, a donor liver machine perfusion (MP) to improve a dilapidated liver and successfully transplant it into a patient. By repairing aged and damaged livers, it will reduce the shortage of livers from deceased donors.
Protecting preemies’ first breath
A previous newsletter (see here) featured a monitor to detect if premature babies were damaged by their ventilator. Now scientists at Israel’s Technion have discovered the underlying reason for the damage and successfully tested a treatment that could save thousands of young lives.
More IVF patients to self-monitor
IVF patients of Israel’s Clalit Heathcare have performed nearly 15,000 UV scans using Israel’s Pulsenmore (see here previously) to monitor their pregnancies. Clalit are purchasing thousands more Pulsenmore remote hand-held devices – especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sweet Victory over sugar cravings
Israel’s Sweet Victory (see here previously) has completed a successful pilot study of its innovative chewing gum at the Obesity Research Center of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. In just two minutes it blocks the sugar receptors on the tongue. Available in Israel, France and soon the USA.
A window into the body
Researchers from Israel’s Weizmann Institute have shown how to monitor genes deep inside the body. They used a genetic dye and engineered cells to light up when those genes are expressed. One day it will help monitor the success of cell therapy for cancer or the success of transplanted organs.
Home visits for your pet
Israel’s The Vets has established a startup for owners of pets in over 10 cities across the USA. It offers a full range of home treatments for pets, including wellness exams, home lab tests, vaccinations, travel certificates, microchipping, and more. The Vets’ product and R&D centers are in Tel Aviv.
First among equals
Having just donated an ambulance to United Hatzalah, EMT volunteer Kenneth was proudly driving it on its first shift in Beitar Illit. Suddenly he received an emergency call and seconds later was using equipment from the ambulance to successfully help resuscitate a patient without any vital signs.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Record number of female deans at the Technion
Israel’s Technion Institute is a leader in promoting women’s empowerment. Seven out of 13 deans are women, as well as 44% of new students who enrolled since the beginning of the academic year. Women are also the majority on many of the Technion’s top committees.
First female Muslim District Court Judge
Osaila Abu Assad has been appointed Israel’s first female Muslim district court judge, sitting at Nazareth Magistrates’ Court. She graduated in law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1996 and was previously a court registrar at the Northern Magistrate’s Court.
Druze innovation center
The Technological Innovation Center of the Druze Community has just been inaugurated at Israel’s Technion Institute. The new center is training young Druze men and women in Quality Assurance (QA) – one of the most popular fields in hi-tech.
Diplomatic spouses love Israel
Israel’s First Lady Michal Herzog welcomed some 30 members of the Diplomatic Spouses and Partners Club in Israel to the President’s residence in Jerusalem. Very moving speech from the Moroccan rep and Michal Herzog responded to the Brazilian rep in fluent Portuguese!
The first Israeli UAE journalist
Israel’s Michal Divon (a woman) is the first Israeli to work for an Emirati newspaper. She is a senior editor and producer for Khaleej Times, the UAE’s longest-running English language daily newspaper. She has already become an active member of the Jewish community in Dubai.
Abraham Accords Peace Institute
The new Israel office of the Abraham Accords Peace Institute (AAPI) has just been opened in Israel. The AAPI has a small team in place in Washington, with plans to open offices in each member country. It is working on commercial and academic projects.
Hatikvah played for Israeli President in Abu Dhabi
More history is being made in the UAE.
Israel’s innovations in UAE
Israeli President Isaac Herzog officially opened the Israeli pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. “Israel is a country in which obstacles become opportunities, and where the impossible is a tantalizing challenge,” he said. 600,000+ have already visited the pavilion and heard Israel’s national anthem played there.
FEMA & World Bank use Israeli maps
Israel’s GeoX (see here previously) has a database of 3D maps covering 340 million global properties. The US Federal Management Emergency Agency (FEMA) uses them to evaluate damage after disasters. The World Bank uses them to identify flood-prone housing in Ghana.
Aid to Tonga
The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has donated a substantial amount of food aid to the children of Tonga, impacted by the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami on 15th Jan.
Supplying vaccination syringes to Nepal
Israel donated 563,000 syringes to support Nepal’s immunization drive, which had been put on hold due to a shortage of syringes. Israel has previously sent supplies to support Nepal in its fight against Covid-19 on several occasions.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Other fishy alternatives
Following last week’s article on Israel’s Plantish (see here), at least four more Israeli startups were founded in the food alternatives fish market over the past year. Sea2cell (cultured blue tuna), Wanda Fish (cell-based fish fillets), Forsea (cultured eels for Japan), E-Fishient (cultured tilapia).
360-degree 3D on-line shopping
Israeli-founded Hexa uses AI plus tools from Microsoft and Snap Inc. to help retailers and brands convert their images and product information into immersive content, including 3D, AR, and VR. The LA Lakers basketball team uses Hexa’s platform to sell branded jerseys and sports apparel.
Know your customers
Israel’s Onebeat uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help retailers understand their customers in real-time. The system’s algorithm predicts the types and quantities of products sold in each store. Sales increase while reducing stock levels in stores. Used by American Eagle, Toys R Us, TATA and more.
A robot cleaner
Robotize is an independent division of Mittwoch – Israel’s sole distributor of smart robots developed by Gaussian Robotics to act as cleaners in office buildings, hospitals, and public spaces. The fully autonomous robots can scrub, sweep, replenish their water, recharge, and operate 24 hours a day.
AI to analyze medical records
Israel’s DigitalOwl (see here previously) uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to read, summarize, and analyze medical records for insurance and legal companies. It saves time and resources, reducing costs and errors. Thousands of pages can be transformed into a focused summary.
MDA ambulances get air purifiers
Magen David Adom ambulances in Israel are being fitted with IN-EX filtration units donated by AVVIR, a division Israel’s A.L. Group. IN-EX initiates a chemical reaction with ultrasonic energy. It was developed at Bar-Ilan University by the inventors of Sonovia facemasks.
450,000 trees to keep Israelis cool
Israel’s government has approved a plan to plant 450,000 trees along some 30,000 kilometers of road in urban areas to provide shade and help cool temperatures. The plan achieves a double objective – protecting the environment and improving the urban space.
Removing “forever chemicals”
Researchers from Israel’s Technion Institute have managed to remove dangerous pollutants called PFAS or “forever chemicals” from drinking water. They used clay-iron-polymer composites to accelerate the oxidation process that turns the pollutants into non-toxic substances.
Better use of plastics
Israel’s Tosaf develops additives and solutions to give plastic color, plus properties such as anti-static, anti-fog, and flame retardant. In addition, they make plastic reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable.
Sustainability in space
At the Ramon Space Conference during Israeli Space Week, private and public groups focused on technology to ensure food security, help protect the environment, and predict the weather, while allowing the commercial sector to flourish. Speakers included Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe from Axiom Space.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3928116,00.html (Video in Arabic for Israeli Arabs!)
Data from space
Israel’s Asterra (formerly Utilis) specializes in microwave-sensing resiliency technology for utilities such as water, highways, or mining. It has been used on satellites and planes to identify over 10,000 confirmed water leaks in the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, Chile, China, South Africa, and more.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Unemployment keeps falling
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel’s rate of unemployment fell to 4.1% in December from 4.6% in November, as the economy continued to recover from the Covid crisis. There was a continuing rise in the number of job vacancies, with salaries also on the rise.
Billions more investments
Israeli startups raised a total of $2.1 billion in Jan 2020. And the UAE has just confirmed it is to invest $10 billion in Israeli companies. It includes the ADG (Abu Dhabi Growth) Fund which plans to invest $200 million in Israeli companies each year for 10 years.
Increased tax incentives for new immigrants
New immigrants (Olim) are currently eligible for income-tax deductions for up to three and a half years. A new bill going through the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) will add NIS 223 per month to the amount that Olim can earn before tax and extend its validity to four and a half years.
Israeli cybersecurity firms raised a record $8.8b in 2021, eclipsing the $2.9 billion raised in 2020. Meanwhile, Israeli Export Institute estimated Israeli cybersecurity exports at $11 billion in 2021. Israel’s cyber directorate stated that a third of all cybersecurity unicorns in the world was now Israeli.
Israel’s Trigo Vision (see here previously) has launched a pilot of its checkout-free shopping technology with Wakefern Food Corp, the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Shoppers will be able to fill their carts with groceries and then just walk out of the New Jersey store.
Spiral Tower gets green light
Tel Aviv has given approval for the construction of the Spiral Tower (see here and here previously). The 91-floor 350-meter-high skyscraper will be Israel’s 2nd tallest. Its 150,000 sq meters of space is equal to the combined total of the three existing towers on the site of Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Mall.
Israeli cybersecurity consolidates
Israeli cybersecurity giant Check Point Software has bought Israel’s Spectral for $60 million. Check Point will use Spectral’s security tools to extend its cloud solution, Check Point CloudGuard. Meanwhile Israeli-founded Forescout is acquiring Israel’s CyberMDX for $80 million.
Neat takeover in Rapyd time
Two puns for the price of one, as Israel’s Rapyd (see here previously) has completed the acquisition of Hong Kong-based NEAT, a cross-border trade-enabling platform for SMBs (Small/Medium Businesses) and startups. It will help expand Rapyd’s Fintech-as-a-Service business.
Cybersecurity chairman is out of this world
Lane Bess is the new chairperson of Israeli cybersecurity Sepio (see here previously). Together with his son Cameron, they are the only parent/child duo to go to space, having taken an 11-minute flight aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin ship in December.
Record revenues and unlimited holidays
Israel’s Amdocs reported record revenue totaling $1.1 billion in the last quarter of 2021, 11% higher than Q4 2020. It has also given its 29,000 employees a flexible vacation model that means they can take an unlimited number of vacation days.
Investment in Israeli startups to 6/2/21:
Pecan.ai raised $66 million; Torii raised $50 million; The Vets raised $40 million; Talon Cyber Security raised $17 million; Bizi raised $7.5 million; Onebeat raised $5 million; Blyp raised $4 million; Cynomi raised $3.5 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Tea-time in Jerusalem
Afternoon tea can be taken at several locations in Jerusalem, from high-end versions at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria and King David hotels to a cozier option at Kumkum in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood. They include scones, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes, all elegantly served on porcelain china.
“Blossom of snow”
Jerusalem was recently transformed from Spring to Winter and then back to Spring. Two weeks ago, its almond trees (the symbol of Tu Bishvat – the Jewish New Year for Trees) were in full bloom. Then for less than a day, they were covered in deep snow. “Bless my homeland forever”.
Watch Israeli Unicorns at the Super Bowl
Israeli billion-dollar companies Gong.io and monday.com will advertise during the NFL Super Bowl LV1 2022 on Sun Feb 13. Each ad costs an estimated $5 million to create and broadcast. Let’s hope they get seen – the event will broadcast some 80-90 commercials during the breaks.
THE JEWISH STATE
Holocaust Remembrance Day at Kosovo Embassy
The Kosovo Embassy in Jerusalem hosted a commemorative event for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Kosovo’s Ambassador to Israel, Ines Demiri, is Jewish. Kosovo is 95% Muslim, and Muslim Albanian-Kosovars rescued many Jews from the Shoah.
Reason for pain – a bullet in the back
Doctors finally traced the cause of Adi’s back pain that began 3 months after she attended her friend’s wedding in Psagot, Samaria. A CT scan revealed that she had been hit by a 5.56mm bullet that narrowly missed vital organs. Doctors surgically removed the bullet.
Historic scroll discovered at Ben Gurion House
A JNF-KKL scroll presented to David Ben-Gurion in 1949 has been found at the Ben-Gurion House in Tel Aviv. It describes key events in the history of Zionism but was never seen before, having been closed in its wrapping for years. It will now be put on display for the public.
A new force on social media
The new US-based nonprofit TalkIsrael Foundation aims to help Israel improve its image in the world. It will engage young pro-Israel activists to promote accurate, truthful, and positive coverage and news about Israel on social media and positively influence the hearts and minds of young people.
Saving life on Shabbat
Hadera police awarded certificates to volunteers from the Israel Dog Unit (IDU), for helping save the life of 84-year-old Pavel who went missing in nearby Or Akiva. The orthodox Jewish team, with Tess the dog, located Pavel on Shabbat morning and summoned the emergency services to save him.