Hadassah surgeons realign baby’s organs; Nintendo opens in Tel Aviv; UK minister visits Western Wall; and much more!
by Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Hadassah surgeons realign baby’s organs
In a first-of-its-kind operation, a team of doctors at Hadassah Medical Center repaired the hernia (muscle between chest and abdomen) of a new-born baby. Then using low-invasive thoracoscopic surgery, they pushed the baby’s small intestine and spleen back into the abdomen.
Positive autism treatment results
Professor Lidia Gabis of Sheba Medical Center has published two important research articles on the treatment of autistic children. One showed that combined Donepezil and Choline improved their language skills. The other highlighted the benefits of medical clowning.
The protein that weakens the immune system
Researchers from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, working in an international team, have identified that the protein known as TOX represses T-cells within the immune system. By neutralizing TOX, scientists could restore the immune system to fight cancer and chronic or viral diseases.
Device for treating ADHD
I mentioned previously (Feb 2017) about Israeli-Arab startup InnoSphere, which was developing a wearable device for treating ADHD. This article describes in detail InnoSphere’s electrode-embedded cap that stimulates neurons in the brains of ADHD sufferers to make new connections.
New way to unblock arteries
Israel’s Transseptal Solutions announced the first TSP Crosser transseptal puncture procedure in the US. Transseptal’s innovative device helps surgeons to insert diagnostic and therapeutic devices into the left atrium with control, speed and precision. It is FDA and CE approved.
Generic treatment for hypertension
Israel’s Teva has launched a generic version of Tracleer tablets in the US. The treatment allows sufferers of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) to exercise better and slows progression of the disease. PAH is high blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs.
Europe approves diabetes support system
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s GlucoMe diabetes monitors. GlucoMe’s new Decision Support System (“DSS”) has just received the CE Mark. The DSS’s algorithm-based, clinical decision support software helps doctors monitor type 2 diabetes patients.
Anyone can save a life
Ezer Mizion’s data processor found she was a DNA match on the Israeli NGO’s bone marrow registry for a woman suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). She flew halfway around the world to donate some of her stem cells. She tells both her story, and of those still needing a transplant.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Specials get their wings
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented an Israeli Druze his pilot wings (see last week), he awarded honorary wings to several special volunteers. They included Tarc Tuba with Down’s syndrome, a cousin of the Druze pilot, who comes from the same Druze village. Other new pilots included identical twins.
President’s awards for volunteering
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin presented his awards for volunteerism to volunteers and organizations working to make art and culture accessible to children, Holocaust survivors, ultra-orthodox women, IDF soldiers, Israeli-Arabs, the deaf, at-risk youth and low-income families.
First graduates from Jewish Agency school for Bedouin
Twenty-two students celebrated their graduation as part of the inaugural class of Neve Midbar – Nitzana, a Jewish Agency youth village and boarding school catering to Bedouin high schoolers from the Negev desert region. They now have skills to enter Israeli society.
The first Arab chairman of an Israeli bank
Bank Leumi, Israel’s largest bank by market capitalization, has appointed Samer Haj Yehia as its Chairman of the Board of Directors. He becomes the first Arab chairman at an Israeli lender and is also on the board of both Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital and Israel’s Strauss Group.
Israel is “there to stay”
The US-led economic workshop in Bahrain had many positive moments. The warm welcome to Israeli journalists and their “delegate” badges; Bahrain’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and that it was “there to stay”. Also, the service in the Bahrain synagogue, attended by US envoy Jason Greenblatt.
Israeli FM visits UAE
Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to speak at the United Nations Environment Conference. He presented his “Tracks to Peace initiative, outlining an economic and strategic link from Haifa to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, via Jordan.
Jerusalem returns to Paris
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion inaugurated the new Jerusalem Square in Paris, 150 years after fire destroyed Paris’s Rue de Jerusalem. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote that the naming was “in order to remember the friendship and the unity between the city of Paris and the State of Israel”.
Cyber support for developing countries
Israel has just signed an agreement with the World Bank to support developing countries improve their cyber defense capabilities. It will contribute to the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership and provide technical assistance to Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Israeli intelligence foils dozens of global attacks
Israeli PM Netanyahu revealed that Israeli intel thwarted a recent attempt to blow up a Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight. It has also used cyber-intelligence to help foil “major” terror attacks in “dozens” of countries. Israel shares info on cyberthreats with 85 countries.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Dead Sea snow
Scientists have explained how Israel’s Dead Sea deposits salt from warm upper levels to lower, colder water layers. Waves or other disturbances trigger “salt fingering”, whereby salt crystals are precipitated out of the top layer of water, as if they are “snowing” down through the water.
Revolutionary products for the food industry
Some 100 Israeli companies demonstrated their cutting-edge agriculture and food technology at AgriIsrael4.0 in Tel Aviv. Delegates from over 40 countries saw how Israeli tools such as Artificial Intelligence, robots, drones, satellites and sensors overcome today’s farming challenges.
IDF opens new BGU tech campus
Israel’s Ben-Gurion University opened the first building on the new IDF Technology Campus in Beer-Sheva. The IDF campus adjacent to BGU and the Advanced Technologies Park is the third element in the cyber-technology “ecosystem” being realized in Beer-Sheva.
Launch of expanding nano-satellite
I reported previously (9th June) on the nano-satellites from Israel’s NSLComm designed to process high-volumes of data. Its first satellite, the NSLSat-1, has just been launched as part of the payload of a Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Far Eastern Russia.
WEF Pioneers for 2019
The World Economic Forum (WEF) choose Israeli startups Airobotics, MeMed Diagnostics, QED-it and TIPA for its list of tech pioneers using innovation to address serious issues. I’ve reported previously on three of them. QED-IT allows confidential transfer of blockchain assets.
Smart glasses for BP engineers
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Fieldbit and its Augmented Reality glasses that help technicians resolve critical or complex problems on the spot. Following an oil spill, BP implemented Fieldbit’s technology across 13,000 of its oil and gas wells.
Lifesaving pedestrian detector
Israeli startup Viziblezone has now proved that its pedestrian detector technology can detect pedestrians in any weather, even hidden behind objects at distances of up to 150 meters. Mobile phones turn pedestrians into smart beacons that cars can see and then avoid.
App helps you put on makeup
Israel’s Mirrori, founded by Israeli-Arab Mira Awwad-Khreish,, is developing an artificial intelligence-based beauty assistant that provides advice via smartphone. Mirrori uses computer vision, facial recognition algorithms and your facial features to help you apply your own beauty products..
Israel perfects the dragon fruit
I reported previously (Mar 2012) on the different varieties of the Vietnamese dragon fruit (pitaya) that Israelis have developed. Seven years later and the Israeli pitaya is more available year-round, produces more fruit, requires less water, is hardier, pest-free, healthier, sweeter and delicious.
Environmentally friendlier cows
Ben Gurion University biologist Itzik Mizrahi and other international scientists have discovered that the microbiome of cows can be manipulated to reduce methane emissions and improve milk yield and quality. Giving certain microbes to calves could reduce greenhouse gas levels.
US award for contract analysis system
I reported previously (see here) on Israeli AI contract review system LawGeex that is faster and more accurate than experienced lawyers. Now LawGeex has won the very first Burton award for Technology Advancement from the American Bar Association and Library of Congress.
Chips for AI systems
Israel’s NeuroBlade develops processors for artificial intelligence applications such as autonomous vehicles, video analysis, and image recognition. They are smaller and cheaper to manufacture than the current industry standard. NeuroBlade has just raised $23 million of funds, backed by Intel.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli boost to New York economy
The New York-Israel Business Alliance has reported that the economic benefit to New York of its 500 Israeli companies is over $33 billion. They employ almost 25,000 New Yorkers. In addition, Israel’s SOSA and JVP are at the forefront of NYC’s cybersecurity initiative.
Easier trade process with Hong Kong
Israel has signed a new agreement with Hong Kong, intended to ease customs clearance regulations for export and import between the two. It is Israel’s 7th bilateral agreement under the authorized economic operators program after the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, China, and Mexico.
Despite more Israeli startups turning into mega companies, many sell for increasing large valuations. In the first half of 2019, there were 66 exits totaling $14.48 billion, the highest in 5 years. Even without the $6.9 billion Mellanox exit, it was a billion dollars more than the same period in 2018.
Israeli tourism breaks more records
Approximately 365,000 tourists visited Israel in June – over 17% higher than in June 2018. Since Jan 2019, two and a quarter million tourists entered Israel – nearly 10% more than the same period in 2018. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/265455
Israeli tech at Paris Air Show
Eviation’s electric plane (reported last week)wasn’t the only Israeli technology on display at the recent International Paris Air Show. Eight Israeli firms showcased systems, in response to a growing European willingness to spend on defense and homeland security.
Cybersecurity for Dutch police
Cyber Intelligence, a subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, is to provide the Dutch National Police with a cyber intelligence system. It is part of Elbit’s Intelligence 360 suite, scalable and fits other custom requirements of the Dutch National Police.
Moody’s teams up for cybersecurity risk
Ratings agency Moody’s and Israel cybersecurity experts Team8 are setting up a joint venture that aims to become a global standard for evaluating how vulnerable companies are to cyberattacks. It will help companies assess takeover targets and price cybersecurity insurance.
Nintendo opens in Tel Aviv
Multinational consumer electronics and software company Nintendo has chosen the Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv for its second retail store. Its first retail store opened in Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2005. Headquartered in Japan, Nintendo generated about $10 billion in net sales in 2018.
Travel service is worth $4 billion
Israeli-founded TripActions has developed a business travel management service aimed at saving companies, money on their employees’ work-related trips. It has just raised $250 million of funds, valuing the company at a massive $4 billion and putting it in the world’s top 60.
McDonald’s “Big Vegan”
McDonald’s Israel is launching a pilot of its “Big Vegan” burger at several branches in Tel Aviv – “the vegan capital of the world”. The hamburger is made of wheat and soybeans.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Legendary conductor Zubin Mehta is retiring from his post as music director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He will be honored at Tel Aviv’s “Philharmonic in the Park” concert on July 13, which he will conduct. A non-Jewish native of India, Mehta was named Honorary Citizen of Tel Aviv-Jaffa in 1986
Israeli cheesemaker wins gold
Israel’s Hanoked Dairy won gold at the 2019 Mondial du Fromage in France for its Leshem sheep milk cheese. Hanoked also won silver for its Beit Hakerem goat milk cheese and helped set a Guinness World Record for the largest cheese platter/board exhibit.
Milton Nascimento plays Tel Aviv
Brazilian music superstar Milton Nascimento performed at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv on 30th June. Nascimento is noted for his synthesis of Brazilian and international music styles, including samba, jazz, pop, and even heavy metal. https://www.secrettelaviv.com/tickets/milton-nascimento-clube-da-esquina
Dudi gets back to winning ways
Israeli tennis star Dudi Sena won the Little Rock Open in Arkansas – his first tournament win in two years after recovering from a long-term injury. It moves him from 208 up to 160 in the world tennis professional rankings.
Israeli show jumpers qualify for Olympics
Israeli equestrian show jumpers took a huge leap for the country by qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics – the first time that Israel has earned a place in the games in that sport. Four Israeli riders took first place at the Olympic Jumping Qualifier at Maxima Park in Moscow.
THE JEWISH STATE
Israel’s capital is seeing huge numbers of building projects. They include the Jerusalem Gateway business park, a new wing of Shaare Tzedek hospital, the new National Library, the Jerusalem cable car and new court buildings in Jaffa Road. Things are definitely “looking up”.
U.S. envoys Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman inaugurated the Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem’s City of David. Ambassador Friedman broke through a wall, to open the tunnel, saying “this is where the ancient prophets of Israel gave voice to revolutionary ideals of freedom, liberty and human dignity.”.
Biblical mosaics in ancient Galilee synagogue
Biblical mosaics recently uncovered at a 1,600-year-old synagogue in the Galilean town of Huqoq include the earliest known artistic rendering of the little-known Exodus story of Elim, and a partially preserved depiction of the Book of Daniel’s grotesque four beasts.
UK minister visits Western Wall
UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, a Muslim, visited the Western Wall (Kotel) during his latest visit to Israel. It comes 19 years after the last British government minister visited Jerusalem and the Western Wall. (N.B. Boris Johnson visited the Kotel in 2016 when Mayor of London.)
Reunited in hospital
Two veterans of the War of Independence Battle of Gush Etzion, were simultaneously but separately referred for heart surgery at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital 71 years later. Doctors noticed similar scar tissue from shrapnel wounds incurred during the battle. They then reunited the two comrades in arms.
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