Countering the side-effects of cancer treatment; Warm coats for poor children; Now we’re really pumping; and much more!
by Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
TB vaccine can prevent Alzheimer’s
Israeli scientists have studied 1,371 bladder cancer patients receiving treatment at Hebrew University’s Hadassah Medical Center. They found that those who had received the BCG vaccination against tuberculosis were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who hadn’t.
Countering the side-effects of cancer treatment
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) has given $72 million for Israeli cancer research. Much of this is used by scientists to develop treatments that alleviate the damage from chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. Several examples are given in this link.
Half a billion shekels extra for subsidized medicines
Israel’s Ministries of Health and Finance have increased the budget for the health basket by NIS 500 million. There is now NIS 54.2 billion available in 2020 for subsidized medicines and medical devices required by Israeli citizens and permanent residents.
Theranica is a 2020 game-changer
The Nerivio migraine-zapping wearable device from Israel’s Theranica has already been reported (see here) as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions for 2019. Now it has been selected by US research company CB Insights as one of 36 game-changing companies in 2020.
Funding for “ghost” cell cancer therapy
Israel’s aMoon fund, has invested $5 million in the new NanoGhost anti-cancer therapy of Technion Professor Marcelle Machluf. (reported here previously). In lab tests NanoGhost reduced small lung carcinoma, prostate, and pancreatic cancer tumors, by as much as 85%.
US approval for AR surgical headset
As reported previously (see here) Israel-based Augmedics has developed xvision – an augmented reality X-ray-like headset for surgeons to use in spinal and pelvic operations. Xvision has just received US FDA clearance.
US approval for robotic orthopedic brace
As reported previously (Sep 2018) Israel’s Orthospin is a smart, robotic, self-adjusting, external fixation system for helping heal bones after complex orthopedic operations. Orthospin has now received US FDA approval.
How retina implants integrate
Researchers from Israel’s Bar-Ilan and US Stanford Universities report the discovery that the brain can integrate artificial vision from retina implants together with natural vision from healthy retina. It implies that AMD patients with advanced prosthetic devices can restore their sight.
A better diet for diabetics
Israeli research published in Diabetes Care suggests that the current recommended diet for diabetics, of small frequent meals, worsens their condition. They should eat a big breakfast of bread, fruit and sweets in the early hours of the morning, a substantial lunch and a small dinner.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Warm coats for poor children
Israeli charity Yad Ezra V’Shulamit is distributing free winter coats, boots and blankets to thousands of Israel’s poorest children. The distribution includes only brand-new items, in line with the organization’s philosophy to bring not only warmth, but also self-esteem and dignity to recipients
Empowering the disabled
Israeli non-profit Kelev Tov (Hebrew for “good dog”) gives jobs caring for dogs to people struggling with physical and mental disabilities.
Dementia sufferers are not alone
Israeli non-profit Melabev works with people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. Its centers are divided up by language (English, French, Russian and Hebrew) and by cognitive level. Malabev’s ethos is that the person has not changed, but the way to connect and interact with them has.
Empowering Arab women
Israeli NGO Seeds (Zarayim) operates a bilingual and multi-cultural (Arab-Jewish) seminar. Its inclusive environment allows Arab and Jewish women to learn together, exchange ideas, build friendships and bridge the cultures. As a result, many of the Arab women become pre-school teachers.
An Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape
Ed Husain, writing in the UK Spectator magazine, claims that new maps of the Muslim mind are being drawn and old hatreds are on the run. He cites recent events in Oman, Abu Dhabi, the UAE, Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to suggest that this may yet be the decade of peace.
Israelis name new planet
The International Astronomical Union invited the public to name an “exoplanet” discovered 1,500 light years from Earth. They selected the suggestion of an Israeli – “Aleph” – the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet. They also selected the name for its mother star – “Tevel”, meaning Universe.
Partnerships with Portugal
Whilst Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Portugal to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he also met with Portugal’s PM António Costa and Foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva. They agreed new joint ventures in defense, cyberterrorism, entrepreneurship, and agri-tech.
Israel helped find crashed Chilean plane
IDF Intelligence, Israel’s ImageSat International and an Israeli satellite helped locate the crash site of Chile’s C-130 Hercules plane that vanished in Antarctica with 38 on board. The Israelis significantly reduced the search area. Unfortunately, there were no survivors of the crash.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Electronics to improve energy production
Professor Lior Kornblum, working in the Grand Energy Program (GTEP) at Israel’s Technion, is pioneering new ways to generate and store energy to meet rapidly expanding demand. He is developing smart electronic devices to improve energy efficiency.
Study archaeology in Israel
For anyone wanting to study archaeology in English, Israel is probably the most significant region in the world to do it. Nowhere offers such a concentration of archaeological sites – from Neolithic to Crusader periods, underground and underwater. Summer courses are offered at Israeli universities.
Getting rid of disposable plastic
Israel’s 2017 plastic bag law saves 7,091 tons of non-recyclable plastic from landfills every year. Now, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are removing disposable plastics from schools. Herzliya has launched its “City without Plastics” project. IKEA, Sodastream and many Israeli companies are following suit.
“The Start-up Nation for Medical Innovation”
Dr Rob Norman’s new book explores the world of Israeli medical and scientific innovations. It highlights the achievements of some of the 1,000+ Israeli companies in healthcare or life-science products and provides compelling reasons why Israel is a world leader in innovation.
Clean, renewable energy
Israel’s Ellomay is a developer of renewable energy and power projects in Europe and Israel. It has just sold 12 of its power plants in Italy to JP Morgan’s Sonnedix Group for 38.7 million Euros. Ellomay has another four photovoltaic plants in Spain.
System to counter Gaza fire balloons
There is a new solution to stop the thousands of incendiary balloons, kites and drones that Gaza terrorists have launched to burn large areas of Israeli farmland. Light Blade’s laser system has a 2km range and tests were conducted during the past week.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
A grand end to the decade
Ambassador Ettinger’s final report of 2019 highlights 2019 hi-tech exits totaling $9.9 billion (double that in 2018). The past decade featured 587 exits, totaling $71 billion. If follow-on deals are included, the total surges to $108 billion. The report also includes some excellent economic indicators.
Now we’re really pumping
Israel is commencing production from Leviathan’s 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas field, formally turning the Jewish state into an energy powerhouse. The milestone for the country will pave its way to “energy independence” and, via exports, to stronger ties with its neighbors.
Another multi-million fund for Israeli startups
Israel’s Aleph Venture Capital has raised a $200 million fund, for investing in Israeli startups. It previously raised a $180 million fund in 2016 and $150 million in 2013. It aims to support ambitious Israeli entrepreneurs who want to build global brands from Israel.
Third intake for TAU and Shin Bet accelerator
Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Shin Bet Security Agency have announced the 3rd cohort (intake) of its accelerator program Xcelerator. Its six new startups work in fields including speech recognition, real-time video analysis, and cybersecurity.
New IAI accelerator
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has opened an innovation center in Tel Aviv, in partnership with US-based accelerator Starburst Ventures. The Israeli teams chosen for the first class of the accelerator develop radar, robotics, and autonomous driving technologies.
Via to open second Israeli R&D center
Israeli-founded ride-sharing company Via (reported here previously) already has one Research & Development center in Tel Aviv, with 250 employees. It has just announced it will be opening a second R&D center in Jerusalem, employing another 50 staff.
Defense gear for Dutch army
Israel’s Elbit has just won a $65 million order to supply the Armed Forces of the Netherlands with protection equipment for soldiers, radio gear and wearable computer units, as well as vehicle and command and control systems.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Studio of Her Own
The new women’s art center “Studio of Her Own” at the former Jerusalem home of the artist Pinchas Litvinovsky, was the venue for an exhibition on the 3rd night of Chanukah. Initially featuring works of professional Jewish women, it plans to encompass those of Israeli women of all religions.
Caesarea is the top Middle East tourist spot for 2020
Caesarea Port and National Park ranked 12th among 50 most recommended tourism sites in the world for 2020 by Travel + Leisure magazine. It ranked highest and most recommended of all Middle East tourist destinations. Its new visitor center opened in June (see here)
Eilat is the warm winter venue for several music festivals. Isrotel Classi-Cameri (Jan 1 – 4); Electronic Music festival (Jan 9 – 11); the Eilat Chamber Music Festival (Jan 22 – 25); Red Sea Guitar Festival (Feb 13 – 15); and Red Sea Winter Jazz Festival (Feb 20 – 22). Eilat hosts 35 festivals from Jan to May 2020.
Jamie Oliver praises great Israeli breakfast
Famed UK chef Jamie Oliver visited Israel this summer, and one of his breakfasts, eaten at Jerusalem’s café Kalo, recently hit prime time on Israel’s Food Channel. “This blows most breakfasts around the world out of the water,” Jamie said.
Jesse Underhill performs in Israel
Jewish-American teen sensation Jesse Underhill is one of the biggest performers on the Tik Tok application with six million people following his uploads. On Dec 29th he made his first stage performances in Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
Eurovision Israel was the best of the decade
In an official post, the European Broadcasting Union announced that the 2019 Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv has been voted as the best song contest of the decade. Via social media, viewers were asked to judge the stage, songs, voting sequence and overall production value.
THE JEWISH STATE
A real Zionist
Geula Cohen, who passed away recently aged 93, joined the Jewish underground at 17 years old as a radio announcer during the Mandate period. She escaped twice from the British – including from prison. After Israeli Independence, Geula became a Member of Knesset and won Israel’s highest civilian honors.
President and Netta sing for Bar/Bat mitzva kids
Eurovision song contest winner Netta Barzilai and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sang to Bar and Bat Mitzvah boys & girls who had been bereaved or injured in terror acts. A separate ceremony was held earlier for the children at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem.
Holydays in Jerusalem
Here are some of Sharon’s photos of this year’s biggest and best Chanukah happenings this year in Jerusalem. And her photos show that Jerusalem is for all religions.
The largest Aliya in a decade
34,000 people immigrated to Israel during 2019 – the largest annual figure in the past 10 years. Over the decade Israel received 250,000 immigrants from 150 countries. More than three million people have immigrated to Israel since 1948, with around 44% of them arriving after 1990.
US Ambassador packs food for the needy
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman joined volunteers at Israeli charity Colel Chabad’s Pantry Packers center in Jerusalem to prepare packages for Israel’s needy. They also re-packed rescued food for 200 elderly Israelis and gifts for 150 orphans.
Experiential learning in the Land
At Israel’s JNF Alexander Muss High School, students learn 4,000+ years of Jewish and Israeli history in a matter of months. The school uses experiential learning, teaching history chronologically at an advanced level, utilizing the Land of Israel as an immersive classroom
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