At the International Physics Olympiad, held in Israel for the first time, Israelis won five medals; the renowned international Lego Art Exhibition, “The Art of the Brick,” returns to Holon Israel; a very strange passenger entered Terminal 3 at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, to the delight of surprised passengers and staff; and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
How to stop melanoma turning lethal
Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that fat cells close to melanoma cells cause them to become aggressive and form secondary cancers. Removing the fat cells, calms down the melanoma cells and they stop migrating to the organs. The study also suggests new cancer treatments.
The microbiome impact on ALS
A study by researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute shows intestinal microbes can have a direct effect on the course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS / Lou Gehrig’s disease). Certain strains of gut microbes (or their secretions) slowed ALS-like diseases in the lab.
Early warning of TB danger
Some 2 million people die of Tuberculosis (TB) every year. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have developed an algorithm that can predict those whose immune system response to TB infection would put them at risk. These people can then be treated while the level of TB bacteria is low.
AI to detect sleep apnea
An international research team led by the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology has developed innovative, Artificial Intelligence-based software to detect obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which people stop breathing during their sleep. The software can be implanted on a smart watch or bracelet.
VR for the elderly
Many elderly Israelis wear Virtual Reality (VR) goggles, not only to have fun, but also to maintain health. Israeli startup VRHealth’s VR therapy platform provides real-time data analytics and warn of neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia. It can also jog memory, reduce stress and counter loneliness.
Medtronic partners Israeli stroke detection startup
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Viz.ai and its AI brain scan analysis technology. Viz.ai’s new partner is medical device giant Medtronic, who will distribute Viz.ai’s technology in the U.S.
Improving treatment result
Israel’s Well-Beat has developed an Artificial Intelligent system that improves the effectiveness of chronic treatment. It provides healthcare professionals with the tools to change their patients’ lifestyles plus communication and motivation techniques to help patients comply with the treatment.
Therapeutic farm for teens
The Nachliel farm in Samaria has rehabilitated hundreds of at-risk boys for over 20 years. They cultivate the land, ride horses, swim and catch fish. They learn to navigate, take care of themselves in difficult conditions and most importantly how to look after one another.
The first seven minutes
Israeli emergency organization Magen David Adom has used its “First 7 Minutes” program to train over 3,000 people in 15 countries to respond to mass casualty events. These include Canada, Australia, South America, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Greece and now in the United States.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Cybersecurity training for autistic students
Israel’s National Cyber Directorate and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry have opened a cybersecurity training course for students with disabilities. The first to benefit are 16 students on the autism spectrum. The two-month course includes mentoring and will lead to internships.
Investing in Torah and technology
I reported previously (Nov 2016) on Israel’s RavTech which employs yeshiva students who combine computer programming with Torah studies. RavTech provides QA automation services to Check Point and Elbit. It earned NIS 8 million in 2018 and has now raised an additional $4 million.
Arab-Israeli journalist promotes Israeli innovation
Last week I included a video featuring Lucy Aharish praising Israeli efforts to support the UN’s sustainable development goals. I failed to mention, however, that Lucy is a Muslim Arab-Israeli reporter and Israeli TV host. She is currently the news anchor on Reshet 13.
Akko’s co-existence kosher restaurant
A Jew, a Christian and a Muslim have opened the first kosher restaurant in the diverse, northern Israeli port city of Acre (Akko). Called “Roots,” it combines dishes from all three traditions, “bringing peace to this place.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbcXeuDZyV0
Arab media delegation visits Israel
A group of Arab journalists and bloggers have come to Israel – including from UAE, Egypt and (the first time) Saudi Arabia and Iraq. They are expected to tour Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Water from the air to Michigan
A state of emergency was declared for Flint, Michigan since 2016, when toxic lead leaked into its water supply. A water-from-air system from Israel’s WaterGen has now been donated to Greater Flint Holy Temple church, which has been providing free bottled water to thirsty residents.
US-Israel energy cooperation agreement
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry signed an energy cooperation agreement between the US and Israel covering cybersecurity in energy, gas projects and the US-Israel Energy Center. He also toured energy facilities in Ashdod with Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz.
The first symposium on Hispanic culture
For the first time in Israel, scholars, journalists and lovers of the Spanish language from 40 countries gathered at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for a five-day academic conference hosted by the International Association of Hispanists.
Israel is 10th most innovative nation
Israel ranked number 10 of the 129 countries listed on the annual Global Innovation Index compiled by World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD. Israel has moved up every year since 2015, when it was ranked 22nd.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Friendly packaging to transport vegetables
I reported previously (2nd Sep)on Israel-based StePac and its innovative food packaging. StePac has now launched low-cost, low-carbon, recyclable Modified Atmosphere / Modified Humidity packaging to transport vegetables without packing them in wax cartons filled with ice.
The first Israel-hosted Physics Olympiad
At the International Physics Olympiad, held in Israel for the first time, Israelis won five medals – two gold, two silver, and a bronze. The event attracted 360 students from 78 countries, including Indonesia. Israel’s Eyal Walach won a gold for the 2nd year in a row.
Six medals in Math Olympiad
A team of Israeli high school students won six medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad held in the city of Bath, England. Ido Karshon won gold and other team members won 3 silver medals and two bronze.
New hi-tech hub in Binyamin
A new hi-tech center, the first of its kind in Judea and Samaria, has been inaugurated. “BinyaminTech,” will host entrepreneurs and a variety of hi-tech startups. At the event the first 10 graduates of the ‘BinyaminTech Accelerator 1’ program presented their projects.
What’s it like on the beach?
The Tel Aviv municipality has launched a new app Tel Aviv-Jaffa Beaches. It provides details on all 13 Tel Aviv blue flag beaches, including wave height, water and air temperature. You can also use the app to rent sun beds, chairs, beach umbrellas and other items at 66% less than the cash price.
Wave energy farm
I reported previously (Apr 2015) on Israel-founded Eco Wave Power (EWP). EWP has just listed on Nasdaq First North (Stockholm). The proceeds will be used to build its first commercial wave energy farm. EWP also plans to expand its existing wave plants in Jaffa Port and Gibraltar.
This has got to be the most environmentally friendly disposable tableware. When you finish your salad, you eat the bowl! Israel’s Incredibowl offers three main products – savory salad bowls, sweet cereal / desert bowls and edible shot glasses. All are vegan, kosher, and free from lactose, eggs, and gluten.
Building homes with empty bottles
Here is a novel solution to the problem of non-degradable plastic bottles. Israel’s Clicko-Brick makes interlocking, modular plastic containers. Initially used for liquids, when empty they can be recycled to build anything from children’s toys to earthquake-proof houses.
Security for smart homes and cities
Following reports of a data breach of a smart home device platform in that exposed more than two billion records, Israel’s IXDen has launched “IXDen Smart Homes”. It is designed to protect billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices against cyberattacks, tampering, and data manipulation.
Connect with your mentors
Israel’s Haredi startup Emerj develops a machine learning-based search engine that helps international corporations connect their employees with various mentors that already work for the company. Emerj has just raised $800,000 to expand its team and operations in the U.S.
3D design to save coral reefs
Biologists and designers from Israel’s Technion and Ben Gurion University have 3D-printed bioplastic and ceramic reefs that Red Sea fish have used to make their homes. Although Israeli corals are healthy, the new man-made reefs could support the collapsing ecosystems of reefs elsewhere.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
A picture of the nation
Positive highlights in the latest Taub Center report include rising standard of living, falling prices, more participation in labor force, low tax rates, high birth rate, improved education results, growth in hi-tech education, low cost of healthcare, reduction in poverty and more daycare provision.
Israel’s economic surge
Ambassador Ettinger’s latest report compares Israel today to its economic position 30 years ago. It has certainly come forward a long way. Note the massive increase in GDP, Exports, currency reserves, energy resources, desalinated water, employment of women and number of students.
Amazon to launch in September
Amazon anticipate a September launch in Israel, as by then at least 100 Israeli retailers will have opened an Amazon store. A sales campaign is to begin in August. Delivery to local customers will be provided through an Orian / Gett partnership.
Volvo invests in two Israeli startups
Volvo Cars Tech Fund has made investments in two promising Israeli technology start-ups – UVeye and MDGo – Volvo’s first investments outside of the USA and Europe. Both startups have benefited from Israel’s “Drive” accelerator program, which Volvo has supported.
Israel-based fintech startup Personetics Technologies provides AI tools to the customers of 30 global banks – around 60 million customers. It is opening a research and development center in northern Israeli town Nazareth to support its recent growth in the US, Europe and Asia.
Hippo becomes a Unicorn
I reported previously (2nd Dec) on the smart home insurance technology of Israeli-founded Hippo. It has just raised another $100 million of funds, bringing it up to the finance-language status of a “Unicorn” – i.e. a company with a market value at least $1 billion.
Trax is also a Unicorn
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Trax and its image recognition and computer vision analytics tools that allows retailers to keep track of their stock and inventory. Trax has just received another $100 million investment to fund further R&D in Israel, valuing the company at $1.1 billion.
Cloud-tech startup wins $250,000
Israeli on-demand cloud technology startup env0 won Israel’s must lucrative start-up prize, taking home $250,000 at TMTI Summit’s “The Challenge” competition. Env0 uses AI to generate code continuously and help deploy and manage multiple cloud native environments.
Israeli payments service has no diplomatic barriers
Malaysia-listed GHL Systems is partnering with Splitit Payments. As part of the deal, Splitit’s Israeli-developed installment payment service will be offered by more than 2,000 online merchants in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Mind the Tech
Calcalist’s annual innovation and technology conference Mind the Tech will take place in London on September 11-13. Participants include investors, entrepreneurs, and executives active in the mobility, artificial intelligence, big data, and e-commerce sectors.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
The renowned international Lego Art Exhibition, “The Art of the Brick,” returns to Holon, Israel (Jul 25 to Aug 31). It will feature large scale, 3D Lego sculptures by US award-winning “Brickartist” Nathan Sawaya,. Simultaneously, Tel Aviv’s Lego Space park includes a life-size replica of SpaceIL’s Beresheet lunar lander.
Jerusalem festival of contemporary design
Jerusalem’s overall character was the idea behind “Overall,” a festival celebrating the culture of contemporary fashion at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum. The free, three-day event included a fashion show by graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design.
International clown festival
For the sixth consecutive year, Netanya hosts the International Clown Festival from Aug 14 – 16. Free events take place in Netanya’s streets and Independence Square. There are also plays at Netanya’s Culture Center. https://gonetanya.com/?p=42986&lang=en
Jerusalem – the second-best city in Africa
Jerusalem has been ranked second in the category of “Best Cities in Africa and the Middle East” by US-based Travel + Leisure magazine. Cape Town came top for the 18th consecutive year. Tel Aviv was sixth.
Bon Jovi rocks Tel Aviv
Rock superstars Bon Jovi rocked 45,000 fans for 3 hours at Park Hayarkon Tel Aviv. Before “We Don’t Run”, dedicated to Israel in 2015, Jon Bon Jovi said, “This one is for the incredible people of Israel – for their strength, for their love.” Jon Bon Jovi is now touring Israel with his family and the band.
Israeli startup helps Wimbledon winner
Novak Djokovic’s victory in the Wimbledon tennis men’s final may have had something to do with his investment in the AI sports analytics system from Israel’s PlaySight. It provides performance data to aid training. Djokovic has been funding and promoting the system since 2014.
Israel hosts Euro Lacrosse championships
The 2019 European Lacrosse Federation Women’s European Lacrosse Championship was held this year in Israel. It featured 300 women from 16 European countries at the Kraft Family Sports Campus’ Jerusalem stadium. Israel reached the final, narrowly losing to favorites England.
Israel’s youth baseball team won the European U18 Baseball Championship qualifiers in Stockholm and a place in next summer’s championships. Earlier in July, Israel’s men’s national team won their tier “B” pool in Bulgaria to boost their chances of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Israel’s U20 Basketball team won the FIBA Under-20 European Championship, beating Spain 92-84 in Tel Aviv to take the trophy for the second year in a row. Deni Avdija, with 23 points and seven assists, picked up the Most Valuable Player award. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/266372
THE JEWISH STATE
An unusual passenger
A very strange passenger entered Terminal 3 at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport to the delight of surprised passengers and staff. He stretched his legs in the departures area, before eventually being taken into custody. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/266422
The Canaanite city conquered by Joshua
Archaeologists working at Tel Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee, have excavated seven huge basalt stairs. They indicate the size of the city conquered by the Israelites 3500 years ago (see Joshua 11:10)
The birthplace of Goliath
Archaeologists have unearthed 3000-year-old fortifications while excavating underneath what they previously thought was the ancient city of Gath. The latest discoveries include pottery shards with the name of Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, whom David defeated in their famous battle.
To the ends of the earth
Israeli NGO Ezer Mizion found a match on their bone marrow database for a young cancer patient. They then discovered the potential donor was trekking somewhere in the Far East. They finally located her at Kasol Chabad in the Himalayas, and she happily agreed to be a donor. That was just the start!
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