A clearer future for children; Fixing homes of the poor; World leaders come to Israel; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Fixing the root cause of diabetes
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Motti Chevion has developed Zygosid-50, the first treatment to restore near-normal cellular sensitivity to insulin, without side effects. Israel’s Concenter BioPharma is preparing to trial Zygosid-50 and give new hope to Type 2 diabetics.
The doctor can see you now
Israel’s RSIP Vision has developed an Artificial Intelligence-based image analysis solution for tissue diagnosis. It assists doctors in multiple medical imaging fields: e.g. cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, radiology, robotic surgery, microscopy and more.
A clearer future for children
Israel’s NovaSight has developed two products: EyeSwift uses eye-tracking technology to detect multiple vision problems in children (e.g. lazy-eye and squints). CureSight treats lazy-eye using 3D image algorithms and variable focusing, while the child watches entertaining videos.
Discovery prevents preemie lung collapse
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute built a 3D model of the lungs of a premature baby. They discovered that in standard respirators for babies an air jet could cause damage to the infant. They have now recommended reconfiguring the air flow, potentially saving many young lives.
Micro robot is revealed
Israel’s Microbot Medical previously demonstrated a prototype of its self-cleaning shunt for cleaning blockages in the brain (see here). At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Microbot demonstrated LIBERTY – the world’s first fully disposable robotic system for endovascular procedures.
AI-powered cancer diagnostics
Israel’s Ibex Medical (see here) has deployed its Second Read cancer diagnostic system at Israel’s Maccabi Health company. It is the first Artificial Intelligence-powered lab for diagnosis of breast cancer biopsies.
At the cutting-edge of X-ray vision
This article focuses on the two Israelis (one a South African immigrant) who invented the xvision augmented reality device for surgeons to see inside the patient. Their company Augmedics (see here) received US FDA approval for the product a few weeks ago.
CT scans to save Israelis from lung cancer
Israel’s Health Ministry has approved a 3-year pilot program for early detection of lung cancer. Those at high-risk of lung cancer (age 55 – 75, heavy smokers and ex-smokers) will receive low-intensity CT scans. It could save many of Israel’s 1,800 lung cancer deaths each year.
New hospital in Samaria
Israel is building a new medical center in Sha’ar Binyamin, Samaria, about 15 minutes from Jerusalem. It will serve the 150,000 residents of Binyamin, Israel’s largest region, where a new medical school opened in Ariel recently. The hospital will save many lives, as the video explains.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
The wearable wristband from Israel’s CardiaCare treats atrial fibrillation (rapid and irregular heartbeats). It combines advanced sensors, AI algorithms and neuromodulation stimulus to restore heart rate and rhythm. CardiaCare won 2019 Innovation in Cardiovascular Interventions Technology.
We heard you’re not well
Several Israeli companies (see here) have AI technology to detect health issues by monitoring the voice of the patient. Now, two of them (Beyond Verbal and Healthymize) have merged to form Vocalis Health. Its initial focus is on cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Magical – at risk and special needs kids together
Israeli charity My Piece of the Puzzle operates on the 60-acre Jordan River Village in northern Israel, which runs programs for children with disabilities or serious diseases. At-risk kids mix with special needs kids, to the benefit of both groups.
And a special party
Israeli charities Ezer Mizion and Keilim Meyuchadim made sure that special needs children didn’t miss out on the recent Chanukah celebrations.
Fixing homes of the poor
As reported previously (see here) volunteers from Israeli charity Livnot U’Lehabanot repair thousands of houses for the less fortunate of Israeli society. Here is another – Quality of Life, whose team of eight full time handymen has renovated over 10,000 homes since 2016.
After school programs for minorities
Israel’s Innovation Authority and Ministry of Education have selected Israeli non-profit Unistream (see here) to run its 5-year Young Entrepreneurs after-school programs for Druze, Bedouin, and Haredi students. It aims to give entrepreneurship and leadership skills to underprivileged teens.
The first Ethiopian-Israeli female Lt-Col
The IDF’s 91st HaGalil Division now has a new manpower officer, Masala Tagnia. She is the first Ethiopian-Israeli woman to be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF. She is the sister of Israel’s TV Channel 12 reporter Brahano Tagnia.
Jews rescue Arabs and vice versa
Israel’s heavy rains are good and bad news. The Kinneret is filling up, but Nahariya’s streets were transformed into rivers. Arab tractor operators rushed to help trapped residents and open blocked roads. At the city hospital (managed by an Arab), Jewish doctors treated Arabs and vice versa.
Thousands of pilgrims at baptismal site
Over 20,000 Christians (including Eritreans, Syriacs and Ethiopians) attended baptism ceremonies at Qasr al-Yahud, on the Israeli side of the Jordan River. The procession was led by Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox patriarch Theophilos III and protected by the IDF and Israeli police.
A Jordanian sang in Israel
Aziz Maraka, a singer-songwriter from Jordan, performed to 5,000 Arab-Israelis during the annual Christmas Market festival in Kafr Yasif, Northern Israel. He learned from first-hand that Arabs in Israel enjoy more rights than in many Arab and Muslim countries.
Smart help for Australian fire victims
Israeli charity iAID has been combatting global humanitarian crises such as in Mexico, Texas, Peru, Mozambique, Indonesia and Iraq since 2017 (see here). Now renamed SmartAID, its volunteers are on Kangaroo Island in Australia, using innovation and technology to rebuild lives.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Environmental innovation lab
Israel’s Ministry of Environment Protection is setting up a $4 million cleantech innovation lab in Haifa, focused on environmental protection and sustainability. Its aim is to transform Israel into an environmental tech powerhouse. It will be run by ESIL Technologies.
Israelis get more e-friendly and smarter
Some 12 percent of Israelis now use bikes, electric bicycles, and electric scooters on a regular basis. Israelis became more connected in 2019 as 72% are now Internet-enabled, 90% use WhatsApp and 82% shopped online last year.
I hear what you say.
he Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) technology from Israel’s Nemesysco was reported here nearly 8 years ago. The system is used by call centers, credit risk assessors, insurance fraud and criminal investigators and recruitment agents. Tokyo’s CENTRIC call center service is the latest customer.
Newsweek’s Best Backup software
The Office 365 Backup software from Israel’s Cloudally was named as one of the top five backup solutions in Newsweek’s Best Business Tools 2019. The ranking was based on a survey of more than 10,000 professional users of software and software service providers.
The Internet knows it’s you
Israel’s Emza Visual Sense, in partnership with Taiwan’s Chicony Electronics, has designed the world’s first battery-powered human sensing solution for the Internet of Things (IoT). It gives Internet-enabled devices the ability to detect and recognize different people.
Turning plastic waste into baby oil
Israel’s Ran Sharon founded cleantech startup Clariter in 2004. For the last 16 years he has been developing technology to turn a variety of plastic waste items into non-toxic, odor-free industrial oil, wax, and solvents. These can then be raw materials for paints, candles and even baby oil.
Recycling waste for Mercedes
Mercedes parent company Daimler AG is testing whether an ecological thermoplastic manufactured by Israel’s UBQ could be used in its vehicles. UBQ (see here), has developed a process to recycle residual municipal solid waste into a plastic-like raw material.
Fighting fires from above
Israel’s Elbit has successfully tested its HyDrop automated water pellet system. Israel’s Fire and Rescue Authority used two aircraft to extinguish a burning field from 152 meters up – over 4 times the standard height for aerial firefighting and twice as effective. (See this article about plane crash)
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel’s economic surge
Ambassador Ettinger highlights Israeli growth since 2000 includes GDP (+206%); exports (+149%) and foreign reserves (+396%). 60% of women are now in the workforce (+25%); university students (+351%); and tourists (+108%). But debt per GDP was down 24.7% and US aid per GDP down 57%.
A thriving 1st-world economy in a 3rd-world sea
Israel possesses assets and innovations that can solve many of the problems that plague its Arab neighbors. If peace can possibly be achieved between Israel and the Arab world, the potential for mutually beneficial, practical and economic relationships is huge.
Tech exits increase by 72%
The total value in 2019 of the 138 Israeli tech firms exits (take-overs, mergers and IPOs) was $21.74 billion – 72% higher than in 2018.
Israir’s new direct flights
Israeli carrier Israir Airlines is to launch a new weekly route from Tel Aviv to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. It also plans to launch seasonal routes from Tel Aviv to Palma de Mallorca in Spain and the Latvian capital Riga.
Three joint homeland security projects
The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation is granting $2.3 million to 3 US-Israeli security projects. Israeli startups involved are Blue White Robotics (drone control), S.H. Goren (indoor GPS for first responders) and Cawamo (video security).
The BIRD Foundation granted $8 million to another 9 joint US-Israeli projects in Jan. They include Advanced MemTech (oil-water separation), Agroscout (drones to detect crop diseases) and MDI Health Technologies (personalized medication). Also to DosentRX, GaitBetter, Raicol Crystals and three more.
Air defense radar for Czech Republic
ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, has been awarded a $125 million contract to supply an “Iron Dome” radar defense system to the Czech Republic. The deal strengthens Israeli-Czech relations and those with other NATO countries.
How Teva benefits the world’s economy
This article describes the contribution that Israel’s Teva makes to GDP and employment in 19 of the 60 countries that it operates in. It is in addition to the medical benefits and the world’s largest generic medicine manufacturer’s role in keeping personal and national treatment costs down.
Just what I want
Israel’s WeBuy is beta-testing the first on-line, on-demand platform for local shopping. It connects customers to local businesses selling only those products and services they are looking for. Shoppers receive offers for those items and communicate with the seller. Plus, they earn reward tokens.
Appsflyer becomes a Unicorn
Israel’s Appsflyer (see here) provides marketing analytics and more to help companies with mobile app products. Appsflyer has just raised $210 million in funds, giving the company a value of $1.6 billion and the status of a Unicorn – a company with a market value over $1 billion.
So does Snyk
Investment in Israeli startups continues in 2020. Israeli cybersecurity startup Snyk (see here) has completed a $150 million funding round, at a company valuation of more than $1 billion – another Unicorn.
Osem-Nestle to promote Israeli food-tech startups
Nestlé SA is setting up a food-tech innovation arm under its Israel-based subsidiary, Osem Investments. Nestlé, with an annual turnover of $100 billion, sees Israel’s huge potential and expects to help at least two Israeli startups enter the global market by the end of 2020.
An all-Israeli takeover
Israeli ad-tech company Perion Network Ltd has taken over Israel-founded data analytics firm Content IQ for $73 million. Perion will integrate Content IQ’s 51 New York and Tel Aviv employees into its local offices. The acquisition will also help Perion comply with new “cookie” laws.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
A Lebanese female Master Chef in Israel
When Farah Raslan fled from Lebanon to Israel, she did not speak a word of Hebrew. She now has a Masters’ degree in biotechnology. She has also reached the finals of Israel’s Master Chef by preparing authentic Lebanese cuisine. (Make sure you turn Captions on for the subtitles)
Food for lawmakers
Jerusalem has opened the Mitbahon, a new culinary complex, in Wohl Rose Park, opposite the Knesset and adjacent to the Supreme Court. It will include three mobile food trucks from leading Jerusalem restaurants that will be rotated monthly.
Israel’s first luxury hotel to be restored
Israeli hotel chain Fattal Hotels Ltd has acquired the building that once housed the Palatin Hotel, Tel Aviv’s first luxury hotel, built in 1926. It is investing NIS 150 million to restore Tel Aviv’s first luxury hotel to its former glory and aims to launch an ultra-luxury hotel by end 2022.
The world’s oldest working journalist
96-year-old Walter Bingham is in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest living radio talk-show host. Last year, the star of “The Walter Bingham Show” on Israel News Talk Radio became the oldest Israeli skydiver. Ex-Kindertransport, he took part in WWII’s Normandy landings.
Israel is my playground
Don’t try this at home. 24-year-old Austrian biker and urban free-rider Fabio Wibner came to Israel and filmed a six-minute video of his amazing bike-riding skills. He wheelies around Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada and the Ramon crater. His video has had over 1.7 million views.
THE JEWISH STATE
World leaders come to Israel
46+ heads of state and their entourages attended the fifth World Holocaust Forum, “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. It commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at the end of World War II.
After the rain
A 13-year-old Israeli boy went out with his family in Caesarea after recent downpours. He saw a stone slab uncovered by heavy rainfall and (from his school archaeology studies) recognized Greek letters. Israel’s Antiquity Authority identified it as a Byzantine burial inscription for the grave of “Anastasius”.
Israel’s kosher food industry
Over 80% of Israel’s $20 billion food industry is kosher. Most of Israel’s 1,800 food processing facilities produce kosher food. Multi-nationals like Nestlé, Unilever, Danone and Pepsi Co. partner with Israeli food companies such as Osem and Strauss. Most exports go to the EU.
My wedding can wait
Mordechai, a volunteer MDA first responder, was traveling to his own wedding with his ambulance driver friend, when they noticed two vehicles had crashed. Despite being in wedding suits, they immediately administered first aid until an ambulance arrived to take the injured to hospital.
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