Israeli women win EU research grants; Virtual events at BGU; A self-driving super-chip; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Lupus treatment is right on target
Current treatments for lupus nephritis shut down much of the immune system, with many adverse side effects. A new therapy developed by researchers, including Israel’s Professor Chaim Putterman, targets only the relevant T-cells and is therefore much safer.
How we adapt to our environment
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that our physical bodies react to electrical voltage changes within nerve cells in the brain. So, if we encounter strong smell, a voltage change tells our G-protein voltage-sensitive receptors to reduce sensitivity to the smell.
Diet can slow brain aging
A green Mediterranean diet, high in polyphenols and low in red and processed meat, seems to slow age-related brain atrophy. Ben Gurion University researchers led an 18-month international randomized control trial on 300 participants – one of the world’s longest and largest brain MRI trials.
Diagnosing autism in infants
Researchers from Bar-Ilan University have been able to diagnose symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in babies up to 15 months old. They then treated those symptoms using Bar-Ilan’s pioneer Mifne Approach to avert severe deviations in the neurodevelopment of the infants identified.
An Israeli coronavirus expert
Latest webinar featuring Dr. Asher Salmon, of Israel’s Ministry of Health. (2nd link gives his background.) Start from 19 minutes 50 seconds (main talk from 23 mins). At 1 hour 12 mins, the moderator mentions one of my local surgery’s doctors, sent by Israel to Croatia, to advise on vaccinations.
New cancer treatment center
Construction has begun on a $265 million cancer treatment center at Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center. Philanthropist Sheldon Adelson donated $40 million towards the project prior to his death. The center will contain in-patients, proton therapy, rehabilitation, research, and more.
All hands to the pump
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Avinoam revived 40-year-old Yankel, who suffered a cardiac arrest in Be’er Sheva. Passers-by helped with CPR and assisted ventilation. Avinoam’s defibrillator delivered 4 shocks and Yankel’s heart restarted. Next day, Avinoam visited a very grateful Yankel in hospital.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Global award for best kids’ space
Israel’s Sarit Shani Hay Studio has won the Dezeen reader award for outstanding projects and exhibitions that foster child-centric experiences. It includes the desert-themed playroom at the new Six Senses Shaharut hotel and a Jerusalem-themed playroom at the David Citadel.
Arab MKs become Knesset deputy speakers
Deputy Speakers of Israel’s parliament include Arabs Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz), Mansour Abbas (Ra’am – United Arab List), and Ahmad Tibi (Arab Joint List). Photo in second article shows Mansour Abbas in the Speaker’s chair conducting a main Knesset plenary session.
Millions access National Library in Arabic
In 2021 there were over 2 million online visits to the National Library of Israel in Arabic – 125% more than in 2020. Over half of those visits were from outside of Israel.
Israeli women win EU research grants
Two Hebrew University of Jerusalem female researchers have won €1.5 million European Research Council Starting Grants. Dr. Yonit Hochberg (Project: Light Dark Matter: New Directions) and Dr. Mor Nitzan (Decoding the Multi-facets of Cellular Identity from Single-Cell Data).
Israeli female doctors fly out to help Indian women
A group of female Israeli doctors spent 8 days in India helping women with health issues, as part of a special delegation organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry. They examined approximately 1,000 women, providing services such as pap smears, ultrasounds, and breast exams.
$500,000 for Afghan refugees
Israel has donated $500,000 to the United Nations for food, medical aid, and other assistance for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan. Alon Ushpiz, director general of Israel’s Foreign ministry, said the aid was part of Israel’s commitment to the international community.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
8 satellites launched into space
See the excitement of the Israeli students as they watch their eight tiny satellites launched into space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Students from schools across Israel gathered in Herzliya to see the culmination of their 3 years of work.
Going out with a bang
Professor Avishay Gal-Yam and colleagues at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have just published their findings of their 2019 discovery of a supernova that had never been observed before. A Wolf-Rayet Star exploded nearly 1 billion light years from Earth, emitting cosmic radiation and heavy elements.
Nano satellite will test cosmic radiation
The TauSat-3 nano satellite, built by Tel Aviv University scientists, has arrived at the International Space Station. It contains the “COTS-Capsule” experiment that Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe will perform in March, to analyze mechanisms to protect electronics from cosmic radiation.
Out of this world
Israel has awarded a total of NIS 18.5 million to 11 Israeli space tech startups – Eicha, Paxis, Terra Space Lab, NSLComm, GorillaLink, GreenOnyx, Helios, SCD, Space Plasmatics, NewRocket, and Ramon.Space. The program aims to help grow space tech startups and bolster the Israeli space tech market.
Turning a single lens into multifocal
Israel’s Addon Optics has developed a technology platform that integrates an off-the-shelf single-focal lens with a proprietary flexible lens to create a high-quality progressive lens. Using a low-cost machine, it can make affordable multifocal spectacles available to those that need them.
41 new wind turbines
Israel’s Energix Renewable Energies is to build 41 wind turbines in the Golan Heights. Each turbine will be 200 meters tall, creating the largest and most advanced wind farm in Israel to date. The project will enable the supply of clean energy to tens of thousands of Israeli homes.
Fighting fire with technology
TeleFire is Israel’s largest manufacturer of fire safety systems. It provides the hardware and software needed to help prevent, detect, and extinguish fires. It enables fast building evacuation with voice, horns, and firefighter support. It features fire suppression, smoke management and cybersecurity.
Virtual events at BGU
Register for up to 3 free web events hosted by Israel’s Ben Gurion University. Jan 26 – “Pursue an M.D. or MBA Degree in English”; Feb 9 – “SheSpace – Empowering Young Women in Science”; Feb 16 – “Are Robots the Future of Physical Therapy?” All start at noon US Eastern Time.
Superfood from discarded milk
Israel’s Maolac (see here previously) is the first company in the world to produce a nutrient-rich food supplement from bovine pre-milk colostrum – a by-product of the dairy industry, of which 5 billion liters are currently dumped down the drain at dairies every year.
12th-gen Intel-Israel chip launched
Intel launched the Israeli-developed Core i9 12900HK 12th generation mobile processor for laptops at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Intel also is to install the versatile synchronization product from newly acquired Israel’s Screenovate into its premium Evo PCs.
Automated circuit checking
Israel’s CADY uses AI technology to perform automatic inspections of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) in cars, computers, phones etc. It cross-checks the datasheets of chips and electrical components in the electrical schematic against connections in the design to detect errors at an early stage.
A self-driving super-chip
Intel’s Israeli-based Mobileye has unveiled a “super-computer” chip to power autonomous driving. Mobileye says the EyeQ Ultra system-on-chip (SOC) will perform 176 trillion operations per second (TOPS) and will handle all the needs and applications of ADAS Level 4 (L4) autonomous driving.
Solving rush hour traffic jams
Israel’s Intelligent Traffic Control (ITC – see here previously) aims to ease the problem of rush hour traffic jams by responding quickly to them. ITC accumulates data, analyzes & predicts traffic patterns, and implements a traffic light plan as soon as the pattern is detected.
Can a goldfish drive a car?
A goldfish has successfully navigated a robotic car in new research from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University. The goldfish in a water tank was able to steer a robotic vehicle across a room to obtain a reward. It was even able to maneuver a vehicle on a public road. Like a fish on a bicycle? Not anymore.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Japanese investment triples
According to consulting firm Harel-Hertz, Japanese firms invested some $2.9 billion across 85 deals in Israeli companies last year, almost triple that in 2020. Japan accounts for 15.8% of all foreign investment in Israeli high-tech, compared just 1.8% in 2016.
$8 million for 9 US-Israeli projects
The BIRD Foundation is granting $8 million to nine new joint US-Israeli projects. The Israeli companies are Civan Lasers, TempraMed, Cordio Medical, Mego Afek, Kav-Medida, Sixgill, Agridrones, HIL Applied Medical, and SirT6 (Ness Ziona).
Exports to Ireland increase by “insane” percentage
Israel’s exports to Ireland increased by a massive 517% in the first nine months of 2021. The surprising numbers show that all countries need Israeli technology.
Budget deficit slashed
Israel’s budget deficit for 2021 was just 4.5% of GDP, compared to 11.7% for 2020. The improvement was due to higher tax revenue and lower Covid related expenditure.
An interesting idea – global index provider MSCI is considering reassigning Israel from the Middle East, to a new region, likely Europe. It would open the door to large amounts of passive inflows for the Israeli capital markets. It would benefit Israel more than when MSCI upgraded Israel to “developed” in 2010.
More Israeli hotels
Despite low occupancy due to Covid, construction of Israeli hotels is at a five year high. Half of the 148,000 sqm being built is in Tel Aviv, with other sites in Jerusalem, the Kinneret, Haifa and the North. The Israeli tourist industry hopes for a speedy return to the record 4.55 million foreign visitors in 2019.
Virgin Atlantic resume flights
The re-opening of Israel for foreign tourists has encouraged foreign airlines to restart their Tel Aviv services. Virgin Atlantic resumes its London UK operation on Jan 20. The airline offers free unlimited date changes, one transfer to a different passenger, plus other benefits.
How the IDF helps get you a job
Video interview that explains how Israel’s army service shapes post-military careers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXxApRhoMNc
OurCrowd’s job fair. OurCrowd, Israel’s most active venture firm, will host its Virtual Job Fair on Monday, Jan 17 (5-7pm Israel time). The online event will highlight thousands of vacancies across OurCrowd’s portfolio companies. CEOs and HR experts will advise on resumes, interviews, self-marketing, and use of LinkedIn.
Israel’s latest Unicorns
Pentera (cybersecurity) raised $150 million ($1 billion valuation). Placer.ai (analytics) raised $100 million ($1 billion valuation). BigPanda (Israeli R&D AI Ops) raised $190 million ($1.2 billion valuation).
Investment in Israeli startups:
BigPanda raised $190 million; Pentera raised $150 million; Placer.ai raised $100 million; MeMed raised $93 million; WEKA.io raised $73 million; Quris raised $28 million; Nucleix raised $22 million; Shield raised $15 million; Second Nature raised $12.5 million; Addon Optics raised $12 million; Eureka raised $8 million; CADY Solutions raised $3 million; ProfiSea Labs raised $2 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Film archive of Israeli history
The digitized archive of the Jerusalem Cinematheque now contains two sections. A pay-on-demand, “Artistic View,” contains 300 Israeli feature films. The free “Historical View” has every newsreel created in Israel from 1927 through 1972, plus home movies and family collections.
Jerusalem colors and hope
Art can be seen all around sunny Jerusalem streets. Art at Municipal Square, about forbidden Shabbat work. Art all around the Jerusalem Theater. An exhibit by painter Ilan Baruch at the Mishkanot Sha’ananim gallery. Plus, beautiful skies & flowers. We hope tourists come soon to see it all.
Israel will “rock” in May
Australian rock music duo Air Supply are returning to Israel for the 5th time, to perform two shows, on May 27 in Haifa and May 28 in Rishon Lezion. Also, rock legends Deep Purple, iconic pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, visit for the 6th time for a concert in Tel Aviv on May 22.
The best guitar
Guitar Magazine has chosen an Israeli-manufactured guitar as their “Best Electric Guitar of the Year”. The Stinger is made by Macmull Custom Guitars in Ma’aleh Adumim, near Jerusalem.
Israeli to play in Moroccan basketball league
Mohamed Abu Arisha, a former player in the Israeli national basketball team, is the first Arab Israeli to play in Morocco’s national top-level league. The 24-year-old forward signed a one-year contract with Morocco’s Association Michlifen Ifrane Basketball, also known as AMI Basket.
THE JEWISH STATE
The seal of the Temple treasurer
Dozens of clay seal impressions (bullae) excavated near Temple Mount show evidence of the Jerusalem Temple treasury in the late 8th century BCE. Some have patterns of woven bags that would have contained silver coins. One has the name of treasury manager Hisilyahu son of Immer.
The copper startup of the ancient world
A new Tel Aviv University study has determined that about three thousand years ago, the Arava Valley’s copper industry became the largest and most advanced smelting center in the ancient world. This was due to advanced management methods and impressive technological creativity.
Women-only IDF unit
In March, the Israel Defense Forces plans to launch a new company for female soldiers only, to cater to religious women. It follows requests from the heads of women’s religious studies colleges, whose students want to serve in combat units but are unable, due to their religious background.
Onward Israel, and its 6 to 10-week work & study programs, is merging with Birthright Israel and its free 10-day Israel trips. Birthright has also launched ‘Birthright Israel Labs’, to bring Israel and Jewish content to alumni and potential future trip participants, in a language and format they can relate to.
The REAL history of Israel
Fast exciting (17 min) video showing all the facts that tells the story about the Jewish people and their eternal connection to the Land of Israel. The only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago.
Conversations on Zionism – Reclaiming the narrative
Jewish National Fund-USA is hosting on zoom a series of interviews, panel discussions and more – to highlight the beautiful and diverse facets of modern Zionism, and its positive impact on many aspects of our lives. View details and register at.
https://www.jnf.org/events-landing-pages/conversations-on-zionism (episodes 13 onwards)
Educational resources for Tu Bishvat
Despite it being a Shmitta year in Israel (e.g., no tree planting in the Biblical borders of Israel) there are many activities that can be conducted to celebrate Tu Bishvat – the New Year for Trees. Also, see how Israel celebrated Tu Bishvat in the past.