Israeli influential Covid-19 studies; More funds for Arabs to work in hi-tech; Millions for sustainability research; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Cancer therapy that could change the world
Allocetra from Israel’s Enlivex (see here previously) saved many patients suffering from Covid-19 and sepsis. Clinical trials have now begun, using it to treat patients with advanced solid tumors. Allocetra reprograms immune system macrophages that cause cancer.
Unusual brain surgery
Neurosurgeons at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center operated on a two-year-old girl to correct a congenital defect where part of her brain was descending into her nasal cavity. The defect was diagnosed from a blue mark on the bridge of her nose that doctors previously thought to be a birthmark.
Revolutionizing spinal surgery
Dr. Cezar J. Mizrahi, 36, a new immigrant from Brazil, has performed the first robot-assisted anterior lumbar spine fusion in Israel. Read how Dr Mizrahi compares Brazil, Australia (where he learned how to do complex and minimally invasive spine surgeries) and intense, passionate Israel.
Eliminate pathogens forever
Israel’s Nanosono has developed an antimicrobial platform based on zinc oxide and copper oxide that permanently eliminates disease-causing pathogens from products and surfaces. Nanosono has partnered with Israel’s Gadot Group, which will build Nanosono’s production line infrastructure in Israel.
100,000 new (harmless) viruses
A study led by Tel Aviv University scientists has uncovered nearly 100,000 types of viruses that were previously unknown to science. The discovery may help in the development of antimicrobial treatments and in protecting against agriculturally harmful fungi and parasites.
Pandemic research partnership
Back in 2020, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center partnered with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH – see here previously) to research Coronavirus treatments. They have now extended their partnership to include any emerging pathogens and the rapid deployment of scientific tools to fight them.
Israeli influential Covid-19 studies
Some 15 percent of the world’s most influential studies on COVID-19 vaccines were written by Israeli scientists – 536 from Jan 2020 to Jun 2022. In the major medical journals (New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine), Israel was third and fourth respectively.
Watch this Covid-19 study
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Tel Aviv University equipped some 4,700 Israelis with smartwatches and monitored them physiologically over two years. None of the 2,000+ who received the coronavirus booster vaccine registered or reported heart-related or other serious side effects.
Printing parts for the eye
Israel’s Precise Bio is developing 3D-printed synthetic corneas and retinas to enable visually impaired people to see clearly again. Precise Bio takes donated cells, grows them in the lab, and then 3D-prints them onto a biological scaffold. Looking forward to news of future clinical trials.
USA approval for cellulite treatment
The US FDA has cleared the SUPERB™ technology of Israel’s Sofwave Medical (see here previously) for the short-term improvement in the appearance of cellulite. The approval followed a successful multi-center US efficacy and safety trial.
More efficient clinical trials
YonaLink bridges the gap between patient care and clinical research, providing the missing link in clinical trials data collection by connecting the patient’s Electronic Health Record (ERC) to the clinical trials’ data capture system, without disrupting the trial.
Arava emergency response center
The JNF-USA has established an emergency response center in Sapir in the Israel’s southern Arava / Negev region. The new state of the art command station will provide tourists and residents in this desert region with rescue, fire-fighting and other emergency services.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
8 teens with cerebral palsy join the IDF
Eight wheelchair-bound teens with cerebral palsy from Herzfeld Special Education School in Holon celebrated their long-awaited induction into the Israel Defense Forces. It concluded two years of intensive training to improve their physical, cognitive, and social skills.
Yoseph Haddad, founder of Israeli Arab changemaker group Together Vouch for Each Other, has just won the Menachem Begin Heritage Center’s 2022 Begin Prize, recognizing people or organizations making an extraordinary contribution to Israeli society.
The heads of Israel’s four major religions attended a conference on breastmilk for newborns in need. Chief Rabbi David Lau, Qadi Eiad Zahalka (head of Sharia Courts), Archbishop Dr. Yousef Matta (Greek Catholic Church), and Qadi Abu Ayash (Druze) all supported the use of donated milk for premature babies.
More funds for Arabs to work in hi-tech
Last week Israel’s Innovation Authority allocated NIS 17.6 million to train 2,500+ new immigrants and ex-pats in hi-tech (see here). Now a further NIS 21.6 million will fund 12 programs to train and place 2,200+ Israeli Arab men and women in hi-tech over the next two years.
International Herbal Conference
The Second Annual Ancient Roots Israel (ARI) International Herbal Conference (Jan. 22 – 24) at the Ana Poriya Resort near Tiberias.
The first cotton fibers
Israeli archaeologists have discovered the earliest evidence of cotton in the ancient Near East during excavations at Tel Tsaf, a 7,000-year-old town in the Jordan Valley. The site has provided a wealth of discoveries, including the earliest example of social beer drinking and ritual food storage.
Rare white wolf seen in Israel
A wolf with rare white fur was photographed roaming the Negev region. Making it still rarer is that it’s not an albino. The rare breed has been seen before in Israel, including in 2012 in Evrona, a nature reserve near Eilat, and in 2015 in Mishor Yemin, a nature park in the northern Negev.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Millions for sustainability research
Israel’s Technion Institute has received a $50 million donation for research into innovations to maintain global growth while protecting the planet for future generations. Projects include sustainable, cost-effective, and efficient ways to reduce environmental harm.
Energy ratings for new apartments
New Israeli apartments must now be marketed with an energy efficiency rating to enable prospective buyers to calculate their likely energy costs. Residential buildings account for some 30 percent of Israel’s total electricity consumption. Green building standards became mandatory in March.
Successful drought-resistant crops
Israel’s PlantArcBio (see here previously) has announced positive results of its trials in India to grow drought resistant traits and increase yields of corn. Even in drought conditions PlantArcBio’s Dead Sea derived varieties, produced increased yields up to 250%.
Bio-friendly fruit preservation
Israel’s ICL Group (see here previously) has launched FruitMag – a sustainable, fungicide free solution for post-harvest citrus fruit treatment. It uses a food-grade magnesia product to eliminate toxic materials and reduce product losses, while increasing shelf life.
Chickpea ice cream
Israel’s ChickP (see here previously) has partnered with ice cream manufacturers Vaniglia to create a prototype of plant-based ice cream based on ChickP’s protein isolate. It is non-allergenic, non-GMO, eco-friendly, and compares well with dairy equivalents in taste and creaminess.
Plant-based meat and cheese
Ronny Reinberg, CEO and Co-founder of Alfred’s FoodTech, (see here previously) joins host Natasha Kirtchuk in the I24 studio to discuss his plant-based meat and cheese alternatives that are planned to hit the shelves next year.
Reinventing the computer
Scientists including from Israel’s Technion Institute have developed a structure for computers based on that of the human brain – combining storage and processing on a single chip. They built a neural network into the hardware of a chip and, as a proof of concept, taught it to recognize handwritten letters.
Training for Moon landing
Israeli startup Sim.space has developed a hybrid laboratory that will allow Israel’s IsraelIL to simulate the 2025 Beresheet 2 mission to land on the Moon (see here previously). The advanced infrastructure will allow the team to practice operational commands and procedures in real time.
MyHeritage’s “time machine”
Israeli genealogy company MyHeritage.com has released AI functionality that (for a fee) simulates how you would look if you lived during the past or at some future time. It offers to show you in a variety of roles, such as a French royal. Simply upload several photos of yourself from various angles.
AI for handwritten manuscripts
The European Research Council has awarded 10 million Euros for the National Library of Israel to develop AI-based computational analyses for 95,000 old manuscripts and fragments. It will fund a consortium including Israel’s Tel Aviv, Bar-Ilan, and Haifa universities.
Gary the robot gets his first job
Gary (see here previously) – the robot developed by Israel’s Unlimited Robotics – is now working at Beilinson Hospital, in Petach Tikva, guiding visitors around the hospital and helping with inventory management. See him in action in both Youtube videos below.
Award-winning cyber securit
Israel’s Seraphic Security has been named a Gold Winner in the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards from American Security Today for its innovation in Cyber Security Risk Management. Seraphic protects any web browser from attacks that other security software cannot.
You may wish to register to watch these interesting webinars from Ben Gurion University.
Jan 19 – Transforming Eilat Through Sea Tech and More. Feb 9 – How Israel is Leading the Way in Water Renewal.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The 4th best performing economy
The UK Economist magazine ranked Israel the fourth best performing economy of the top 34 countries in the OECD. It was based on five macroeconomic indicators – GDP growth, annual inflation, inflation breadth, share prices, and government debt.
Increase in building new homes
Home-building in Israel jumped by 15.6% between Oct 2021 and Sep 2022, with over 70,000 housing starts recorded – the highest for four years. 50,000 apartments were completed in the same period, up 4% on the previous year.
Israeli airline resumes flights to Turkiye
Israir Airlines will start operating five flights a week from Israel to Istanbul starting this Monday, after 15 years in which Israeli airlines did not fly to Turkiye. Istanbul is one of the most attractive destinations among Israelis who enjoy the short flight, hotels, entertainment, and shops.
The Israel Innovation Authority is investing NIS 150 million in three new tech consortiums. Integrated silicon photonics (4 companies already selected), metamaterials and meta-surfaces (8 companies), and black soldier fly farming for animal feeds and breaking down organic waste.
New Jerusalem rail stations will link to Tel Aviv
Jerusalem is set to extend fast train services to and from Tel Aviv into the capital with plans to deliver two more stations in central Jerusalem. They will extend the link from Jerusalem’s Navon station firstly to King George Street and then finally on to the Khan Theater.
IAC National Summit
The Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit (Jan 19-21) in Austin Texas is celebrating “Israel. Together”. It also marks Israel’s 75th Birthday, and will host the Israel America Business Playground, bringing together Israeli and American business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators.
Israeli personal plane is now flying
Israel’s AIR has conducted the first forward horizontal test flight of its AIR ONE prototype electric flying vehicle (see here previously). It follows July’s successful hover test. The latest test carried 150kg simulating the weight of passengers in addition to the plane’s 1,100kg unladen weight.
Qatar invests in Israeli cyber company
The recent $196.5 million funding round in US-Israeli cyber startup Snyk (see here previously) was led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of a Gulf country with which Israel has no diplomatic relations.
Jack Ma surfaces in Israel
Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been recently seen several times in Israel. He has interests in over two dozen Israeli startups including Twiggle, Infinity Augmented Reality, Lumus and ThetaRay.
Investment in Israeli startups to 1/1/23:
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Israel’s Jaffa hotel, south of Tel Aviv, was included in this year’s Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List,” – a prestigious annual roll call of the luxury travel magazine’s top places to stay in the world. The hotel is a converted and renovated 19th century convent and is described as “a thrilling mix of old and new”.
Innovation on the bar
ILTV News reported on a series of events organized by Israel’s Innovation Authority. Israel’s leading innovators and entrepreneurs have been visiting bars in Tel Aviv to provide their insights into Israel’s thriving startup eco-system.
THE JEWISH STATE
2nd Temple-era tomb discovered
A 2,000-year-old Second Temple-Period burial cave, one of the most impressive burial caves discovered in Israel, is being uncovered in the Lachish Forest. It was still in use in the Byzantine and Early Islamic periods and became known in Christian tradition as the Salome Cave.
Uncovering the Pool of
The Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel National Parks Authority, and the City of David Foundation have begun excavating the 2,700-year-old Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, described in the Bible in the Book of Kings II, ch20: v20. The excavation site will soon be opened for tourist access.
The mystery of the Carmel-
The discovery of the previously unknown gemstone Carmel-Sapphire was reported here previously. This article explains how it was found – due to a famous Rabbi’s comment and an Israeli jeweler who unraveled the text in the Book of Deuteronomy, Ch 33, verse 19.
Jewish mothers leave conflict to visit Israel
Momentum, a group for Jewish mothers, brought 200 women from Ukraine, Russia, the Baltic states, and Germany for an eight-day visit to Israel. Momentum deliberately chose to bring Russian and Ukrainian women on the same trip, as an opportunity for Jewish unity.
1,000+ French-speaking Jewish students visit
1,125 students from 27 schools in France, Switzerland, and Morocco participated in the “Seniors in Blue and White” program, in which students explore options for continuing their studies in Israeli higher learning institutions in Jerusalem.
Some 70,000 people from 95 countries immigrated to Israel in 2022 – the most in 23 years. Over half came from Russia; 20% arrived from Ukraine, thanks to an unprecedented rescue operation involving dozens of Israeli organizations. Nefesh b’Nefesh helped over 3,500 North Americans make Aliyah.