First shipment of anti-Covid pill; Empowering Israeli Christian Arabs; Brain surgery under local anesthetic; and much more!

by: Michael Ordman


Etta’s cancer breakthrough

Professor Etta Livneh of Israel’s Ben Gurion University has found a peptide (uPEP2) in the body’s messenger RNA that inhibits cancer cell survival, tumor progression, metastasis and more. Amazingly, uPEP2 originates from a gene classified with the Greek letter Eta (Prof Livneh’s forename).

Unraveling the genetics of ADHD

Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University and Soroka Medical Center have proved that a mutation in a single gene, CDH2, can cause ADHD. Molecular analysis of neurons in mutant mice demonstrated the precise effects of the mutation on the activity of synapses in the brain.

First Israeli to receive new Alzheimer’s treatment

Yirmiyahu Kozari, 57, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, is the first Israeli to receive Aduhelm (Aducanumab) from Biogen, at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The treatment removes beta-amyloid from the brain.


First shipment of anti-Covid pill

Israel has received its first consignment of tens of thousands of Pfizer’s COVID-fighting Paxlovid pills – the first country outside the USA to take delivery. Israel has authorized use of the treatment, which is effective if taken within five days of the onset of coronavirus symptoms.

Dormant insulin-producing cells

Israeli scientists have discovered that babies make insulin in their intestines before birth. The responsible cells are present after birth, but they no longer produce insulin. This means that adults may have a “backup” system that could be reactivated to treat diabetes.

Haifa’s digital health accelerator launched

Plans to promote tech innovation in Haifa (see here previously) have come to fruition with the launch of Startup City Haifa – Digital Health Accelerator. Led by JVP, Margalit Startup City and others, it will support startups working on advanced medical technology and cybersecurity.,7340,L-3926027,00.html

Coexistence saves Myanmar girl

8-year-old Hannah from Myanmar was brought to Israel for an urgent operation by Jewish, Muslim and Christian doctors from Israeli non-profit Save A Child’s Heart. The surgeons were led by Dr Hagi Dekel and included Dr Mervat El-Faraha from the PA and Dr Ziwa Modniso from Zambia.

Brain surgery under local anesthetic

Israel’s Rabin Medical Center recently completed the world’s first ever operation on a patient’s brain, using ketamine as a local anesthetic. They performed Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), implanting an electrode to cure the tremors of a patient with Parkinson’s disease.


The world’s smallest needles

Israel’s NanoPass (see here) is partnering Korea’s Micro2Nano to mass-produce the world’s smallest needles.  The tiny needle uses standard syringes, allowing intradermal (between the skin layers) injections, including for coronavirus. These are painless and elicit a better immune response.

Two in a million

An Israeli woman gave birth to healthy twins at the Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) hospital. The boy and girl only encountered each other after the birth, as the mother was born with a double uterus – a rare condition, known as Uterus didelphys. Less than 15 cases of similar births have ever been reported.


Especially intelligent.

4 special needs volunteers from a school in Petah Tikva have joined the Telem Unit in the IDF’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Telem is responsible for infrastructure, logistics, and for relocating Military Intelligence to its new campus in the Negev region of southern Israel.

The Moslems who serve in the IDF

There are around 5,000 Israeli Circassians, mostly Sunni Muslims, who converted from Christianity and have chosen to serve in the IDF. Israel’s soccer captain is a Circassian. Also please see Arab Israeli Yoseph Haddad’s video featuring Arab Israelis who volunteer for the IDF.



Empowering Israeli Christian Arabs

The non-profit Jerusalemite Initiative organization empowers Arabic-speaking Christian Israelis in the Jewish state. Jews and Arabs work side by side, teaching the Hebrew language to help Christian Arabs integrate in Israel. See video of co-founder Elias Zarina.

The Palestinian Arabs in Israel

An estimated 500 to 1,000 Palestinian Arabs work in Israeli hi-tech companies – many are graduates from Israeli universities.  In the video, Inas Awad describes her job at Israeli hi-tech Colabo.

A pro-Israeli Arab blogger

Good feature article about Nuseir Yassin, better known to his 40 million Facebook followers as “Nas Daily” (see here). He famously produced 1000 one-minute videos in 1000 days. Born in Arraba near Nazareth, he has since opened Nas Academy, to teach others how to become viral stars.,7340,L-3925888,00.html

UAE astronaut takes Israeli flag to ISS

Hazzaa al-Mansoori, the first Emirati astronaut in space, revealed he brought an Israeli flag to his first space flight in 2019. He then presented the same flag to delegates of the Israeli pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020. “This is my gift to all Israelis,” he said, and plans to visit Israel this year.

Clearing trash from the Red Sea

Volunteer divers in the Red Sea Port of Eilat removed 1.6 tons of discarded tires and other waste from the seabed in their annual cleanup operation. The divers belong to Israeli non-profit
The Coast Patrol, and Eilat’s Palamida diving club.

Israeli Ambassador presents to King of Bahrain

Israel’s first ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na’eh, handed his credentials to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Al-Sakhir Palace in Manama. The event included the hoisting of the Israeli flag and the playing of the Israeli anthem “Hatikva”.

More aid to the Philippines

Israeli NGO IsraAID has deployed an emergency response team in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Rai (Odette – see here). It is delivering safe water, hygiene kits and trauma aid, to many of the 2.4 million Filipinos affected, focusing on Southern Leyte and Cebu provinces.


Disinfecting with Ozone

Israel’s MyCleanBit has developed an eco-friendly disinfectant that uses ozone to get surfaces germ-free in just a few seconds. (See here for other Israeli disinfectants that use ozone.)


Rolling out from the sewers

Israel’s Kando (see here previously) has been conducting a two-year pilot study of coronavirus infections using the wastewater in the sewers of several Israeli cities. The project will now be rolled out nationally to predict and help counter future Covid-19 outbreaks.,7340,L-3926405,00.html

4th phase of Israel’s drone program

Israel’s National Drone Initiative reached its fourth phase (see here previously) with day and night flights above Gush Dan and Yeruham to integrate drones in routine activities such as transporting basic products and first aid. Drones will also be used for real-time monitoring of traffic.

Protection against Internet bad actors

Israel’s ActiveFence (see here previously) has built an artificial intelligence-powered platform to proactively uncover and flag malicious content and activity “at scale” worldwide. ActiveFence’s 240 employees help global clients protect themselves and their users.

New technologies to solve real-world problems

This article showcases several Israeli startups (previously unreported in this newsletter) that are transforming their industries.  They include CrymBo (digital assets enabler), Simpool (what if? AI Simulator), and Storycards (user engagement generator).

Creating tomorrow’s smart cities and mobility solutions

A panel of Israeli experts have selected the five most promising Israeli startups in the smart city and mobility sectors. ValerannOttopia, and Addionics featured previously in VeryGoodNewsIsrael.  Urbanleap and Click-ins are new to this newsletter.,7340,L-3925870,00.html   (see also Ravin)

Your robot-printed vegi-burger

Israel’s SavorEat has revealed its flagship product at the BBB burger restaurant chain in Herzliya. The plant-based 3D-printed burgers were ordered by members of the press via their mobile phones, printed by Robot Chef and presented alongside fries, onion rings, and fried cauliflower.,7340,L-3925953,00.html

Electricity from seaweed

Researchers from Israel’s Technion Institute have developed a method of harvesting an electrical current directly from seaweed. The Ulva algae (sea lettuce) is already being researched as a Covid treatment (see here previously) and it now appears to be able to generate currents on a par with solar panels.


Bringing books to life

Israel’s Zoog (see here previously) has advanced significantly with its virtual storybooks for children. Zoog has just partnered with Snap (previously Snapchat) and its Camera Kit to make Zoog’s Alternate Reality masks, machine learning, and animation-creation technologies even more exciting.,7340,L-3926260,00.html

Teaching sustainable fashion

The fashion industry is notoriously wasteful of resources.  Now Israel’s Browzwear (see here previously) has set-up “Digi-hub” centers in China and Bangladesh to help garment manufacturers go digital, reduce pollution, and become more sustainable.


The AI solution to recruitment

Israel’s Paradox has developed Olivia – a virtual personal assistant, who joins human recruitment teams and helps them automate all recruitment processes.  Paradox has just raised $200 million of funds to give it a market valuation of $1.5 billion and make it Israel’s first “unicorn” of 2022.



Self-repairing materials

Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have produced eco-friendly self-healing nanocrystal semiconductors. They have shown how these materials, known as double perovskites, exhibit self-healing capabilities after being injured by electron beam radiation.



An extraordinary year

The IVC Research Center and the law firm Meitar have published their 2021 Israel Tech Review. It shows Israeli companies raised an “exceptional” $25.6 billion in private investments, shattering 2020’s previous record of $10.3 billion in funding. Q4 was the strongest, with investments totaling $8 billion.

Entrepreneurial companies of the year

Independent research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has named two Israeli companies in its 2021 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year list. Windward was recognized for its AI maritime systems and Aura Air for its technology to counter coronavirus.

The $55 billion Israeli-founded company

Palo Alto Networks (see here previously), founded by Israel’s Nir Zuk, trades at a $55 billion market cap, an all-time high. The cybersecurity giant has just entered the prestigious Nasdaq-100 index, ironically replacing Israel’s Check Point, where Zuk was among the first employees.,7340,L-3925876,00.html

From little seeds

Israeli startups Nirit Seeds and TomaTech have been acquired by Israel’s AP Partners Fund and Discount Capital to merge them into Israel’s largest vegetable breeding seeds company. The 80 employees will continue operations in Israel, Spain, Mexico, and Italy, expanding into the Netherlands and North America.

10 Israelis become top Intel global executives

Intel Corporation has appointed 10 Israeli executives to senior international positions. They include Karin Eibschitz-Segal who led development in Israel and Validation Engineering globally, overseeing the work of 10,000 people.  She becomes global Corporate Vice President.,7340,L-3926050,00.html

The future of marketing. Israeli startup

Drill, has developed a technology to monitor real-time implied responses by consumers while shopping. Drill develops neuromarketing tools, aimed at improving the buying experience and communication with customers.,7340,L-3925939,00.html

The largest dairy farm in the Middle East

JNF-USA is supporting the ‘Halutza’ project (‘halutz’ is Hebrew for pioneer) to expand the Negev towns of Naveh, Bnei Netzarim, and Shlomit. They have established a hi-tech sustainable dairy farm that will grow to 1,500 cows and produce 900 million liters of milk a year.

Biodegradable plastic goes Down Under

Israel’s Tipa (see here previously) works with several global companies like Scotch & Soda, Stella McCartney, Woolworths, and UK’s Waitrose. Now Swiss packaging giant AMCOR will use Tipa to make compostable packaging in Australia and New Zealand.,7340,L-3926236,00.html

Four dozen Unicorns in 2021

Some 48 Israeli and Israeli-founded companies reached unicorn status ($1 billion market value) in 2021. In 2020, the number was only16.  41 of those companies have a CEO and key management in Israel.

Where are they now?

This article explains what happened to Israeli startups Argo (Rewalk), Better PlaceBrainswayCartiHealCupronIceCureInsightecKamadaMediWoundMoovitPauleePowermatPythagoras SolarSeambioticUrban Aeronautics and more. Even some of the failures have happy endings.

Israeli exits: Google has bought Israeli cybersecurity Siemplify for an estimated $500 million.

Investment in Israeli startups: Paradox raised $200 millionRemilk raised $120 millionTipa raised $70 millionDrill raised $1.25 million;


The rise of the ibex

One of the first new laws of the State of Israel was to ban hunting. This saved the Nubian ibex, which is native to the Middle East and mentioned in the Bible. There are now some 1,200 to 1,400 ibex and numbers are growing. The Israel Nature and Parks Authority works to ensure their continued protection.

Fauda releases trailer for season 4

The trailer for Season 4 of the hit Israeli TV series Fauda has just been released. The series is planned to air on Yes and Netflix in mid-2022. “Fauda,” means “chaos” in Arabic, and is an international hit, including among audiences in Arab countries.


Running blind

Israeli marathon runner Avi Solomon was born in Ethiopia. He suffered from glaucoma and went blind, aged only 14. Despite (or because of) many personal tragedies, he took up running and helps raise his seven children. He came 62nd of 12,000 in November’s Abu Dhabi marathon.


Club Z – Standing up for Israel

Club Z rallies young American Jews around their people and Israel. Some 200 high schoolers enjoy Club Z’s full menu of seminars, trips, guest lectures, conferences, projects, and hands-on activism. Plus, of course, parties, picnics, day trips and holiday celebrations.

Double donations

Magen David Adom (MDA) and Zichron Menachem held a “Double Donation Day” across Israel, during which many Israelis donated hair for cancer patients and blood for MDA bloodmobiles.

64% of Haredim use the Internet

Nearly two-thirds of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox are now online and half use social media, according to a poll by the Israel Democracy Institute. Email is the most popular app (88%), followed by search engines, digital banking, work, and government services. Very few do online shopping.

Where it all began

For a limited time, the City of David Foundation is offering free premium access to its virtual “Unearthed” tour of the City of David in Jerusalem.  It is fascinating.  Free registration is required.  Then watch Israel’s Ambassador to Italy give a tour in Italian (English subtitles).

BDS Fail

An anti-Israel group in Canada promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been found to be using software from Israel’s Wix to circulate its message. The response to the hypocritic organization went viral and the BDS site no longer exists.

Israel’s image

Israel’s Public Diplomacy Forum has met for the first time in several years, “to lead a unified, precise and clear message on significant issues and events”. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated that Israel’s image is “a main component of our national security and our national strength”.