Israeli progress combating Covid-19; Tel Aviv beaches are accessible; Another smart car connection; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Covid-19 antibody treatment is now available
Israel’s Kamada (reported here previously) has completed manufacturing the first batch of its plasma-derived Immunoglobulin G (IgG) product for Covid-19 patients. Initial vials of the antibody have been made available for compassionate use in Israel.
Human trials for possible Covid-19 cure
In a world first, a trial of Ivermectin – an antiparasitic treatment – has been launched at Sheba Medical Center on Covid-19 patients. Ivermectin has been available since 1981 and in the laboratory was recently found to kill the coronavirus within 48 hours.
Remote detection of Covid-19 complications
Israel’s Clew Medical (reported here previously) has just received US FDA emergency use authorization to remotely identify patients who are likely to experience common coronavirus complications, including respiratory failure and hemodynamic instability.
Adapting virus test for Covid-19
Israel’s MeMed (reported here previously) identifies whether an infection is viral or bacterial. MeMed is now working with hospitals in Israel, the Netherlands and elsewhere to identify Covid-19 patients and the potential severity of the infection.
Israeli progress combating Covid-19
Good video summarizing some of Israel’s latest projects to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
More telemedical devices
Israel’s Beecardia connects patients, doctors and remote specialists. The startup of ex-Ukrainian immigrants has developed a portable cardiograph, a wireless ECG recorder, a digital stethoscope, a portable spirometer (measuring lung capacity), a pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor and glucometer.
Donating blood saves lives
New video featuring Magen David Adom’s blood donation service and how vital it is for use in surgical operations and medical research. Also, blood plasma helps patients with compromised immune systems. Finally, construction of the world’s first underground blood bank is proceeding well.
Self-healing electronic artificial skin
Muhammad Khatib, PhD student at Israel’s Technion. has developed a polymer that is strong, water resistant, conducts electricity and is super elastic. Furthermore, when it is cut and put into water it will repair itself! Future applications include robotic skin, prosthetics and wearable devices.
Focusing protons to kill cancer
A new video from Israel’s P-Cure (reported here previously) that is using its focused proton radiation therapy device to destroy cancer tumors.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Special needs kids heal injured animals
The Israeli charity Tzohar Halev operates education institutions, rehabilitation centers and housing facilities. It has just opened a therapeutic zoo in Ashdod for special needs kids, called Ohel Dov (Dov’s Tent). The kids interact with birds, hamsters, snakes and chickens.
Urban agriculture in the heart of Tel Aviv
A new video of the farm on the roof of Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff shopping center. The hydroponics grow lettuce, cucumbers, basil and spinach. The vegetables go to local restaurants and non-profits. Leftovers make biogas. There is also a butterfly garden, beehives and a tree nursery.
Tel Aviv beaches are accessible
All 13 of Tel Aviv’s beaches are now fully accessible. In the past, only five of those beaches were accessible to people with disabilities. The city also provides paths to the shoreline, accessible parking, amphibious chairs, and an app to guide the visually impaired.
Bedouin woman, 6 children, 2 jobs and an MDA volunteer
Bedouin Arab “superwoman” Asmahan Abu-Yeheya has volunteered for Magen David Adom in Gan Yavne for 16 years. She is also a certified preschool teacher and works as a medical secretary at an orthopedic clinic. Meanwhile, she has raised 6 children!
The skies are open permanently
The EU has given its approval to Israel’s permanent membership of the European Union’s “Open Skies” agreement. A temporary agreement was signed in 2013. Now Israel will be permanently open to full competition between airlines, lowering fares and (post-corona) increasing tourism.
Greece’s PM visits Israel first
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis chose Israel for his first foreign visit post-Covid-19. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu praised their friendship and discussed re-opening mutual tourism. They also signed three Memoranda of Understandings – on cyber, agriculture and tourism.
Top Mexican-Israeli achiever
Mexican magazine Lideres named Dr. Samuel Tobias, a senior neurosurgeon at Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, among 101 Mexicans with significant influential achievements outside their native country. He was chosen for treating hundreds of Syrian civil war casualties from 2013 to 2018.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Israel raises its renewable energy target
In 2016, Israel committed to 17% renewable energy production by 2030. Plans have changed – Israel has just raised the target to 30%. It is investing massively in solar energy, reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.
10% of disruptive breakthroughs are Israeli
Five of the companies on CNBC’s eighth annual Disruptor 50 list are Israeli. They are Neteera, Lemonade, Healthy.io, Sentinel Labs and K Health. “Disruptive” companies are those whose breakthroughs are influencing business and market competition at an accelerated pace.
Israel’s international Quantum Hub
Korea’s Hyundai, Holland’s VDL and Israel’s Tadiran and Taavura-Livnat, have jointly established an innovation center called Quantum Hub in Herzliya near Tel Aviv. It will provide tools to grow and connect companies in automotive and mobility, industry 4.0, energy and logistics.
Sustainable development projects
Rural Senses is one of Israel’s “AI for Good” accelerator startups. It uses novel data collection methods plus AI-based data annotation to help analyze the impact and success of social projects. It helps design projects and interventions that are both financially and socially sustainable.
Combating desertification and drought
This video highlights the successes of Israeli scientists in growing crops in the Negev Desert with minimal waste of precious water.
Doubling cycle paths
More good news for a cleaner Israel. The Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality has approved a strategic plan to double the length of bike paths in the city from 140km to 300km by 2025. The municipality announced the plan on 3rd June – World Bicycle Day.
Hi-tech training for medical staff
Sheba Medical Center is using Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality headsets to train dozens of physicians, biomedical engineers and nurses on how to operate ventilators for Covid-19 patients. It is also helping staff remotely monitor what is happening in a patient’s room.
From hydroponics to respirators
Israel’s Growponics normally produces hydroponic greenhouses. But when coronavirus struck, it teamed up with physicians to develop a low-cost solution to help COVID-19 patients breathe. The device uses a respiratory balloon connected to an oxygen tank and a computer-controlled piston.
Microsoft’s AI-powered virtual classroom
Microsoft has launched a virtual classroom system that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide feedback on the individual performance of students. Built by Microsoft Israel’s education group, it also provides security, group collaboration and teacher supervision / inspection.
Clean water plus energy
Israel’s Agrobics (reported here previously) purifies wastewater, producing energy to power the process. Its reactor uses anaerobic bacteria Archaea to eat pollutants, clean the water and excrete biogas. It has 3 Israeli test sites and a BIRD grant to build one in California with US firm Bennett & Bennett.
Power from humidity
Scientists from Tel Aviv University simulated lightening by exposing two different metals to different levels of humidity. They found that voltage develops when humidity rises above 60%. It opens the possibility for developing renewable energy batteries that can be charged from water vapor in the air.
ADAM’s driving test
Israeli startup ADAM CogTech can identify a driver’s cognitive state. It tests the driver’s reaction to light stimulation and determines if a vehicle operator is tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The system is based on artificial intelligence, machine learning and brain science research.
Anti-radiation vest proved in space
The vest to protect astronauts against radiation from Israel’s StemRad (reported here previously) was worn by Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir on the International Space Station (ISS). Now StemRad has been awarded a grant to turn ISS plastic waste into radiation protection equipment.
Joint US-Israeli space projects
In addition to StemRad, other Israeli companies to benefit from the 7th round of funding from the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program include SolCold (manipulate solar energy), Green ICPS (corrosion protection coating), and MobiliComm (communications system).
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Record $1.8 billion raised for fintech in 2019
Israeli fintech (financial technology) companies raised a record $1.8 billion of investment funds in 2019 – more than double that in 2018. Israeli firms account for 5.1% of global investment in fintech – the fifth highest country in the world.
SAP expands its Israeli R&D
SAP SE is expanding its research and development office in Israel. It is looking to hire several dozens of software engineers, big data experts, and managers for both its SAP-Gigya development office located in Tel Aviv, as well as its Ra’anana office. SAP has some 700 employees in Israel.
Huge order for wearable medical watches
Israel’s CardiacSense (reported here previously) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement in India worth at least $32.4 million for 150,000 of its medical watches. The device remotely monitors and detects patient vital signs of fevers, heart arrhythmias and chronic diseases.
Another smart car connection
Israel’s Otonomo (reported here previously) has added another car maker to the partners for its connected vehicle data analysis systems. Its latest deal with automotive giant Fiat Chrysler is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
NetApp uses Israeli AI for customers
As reported here, US IT giant NetApp bought its fifth Israeli company recently. NetApp has now paid millions of shekels to Israel’s Iguazio (see here) to use its Artificially Intelligent technology to help data analysis and storage optimization for its customers.
Improved probation system for Latvia
Israel’s Supercom (reported here previously) has won a 5-year contract from the Latvian government to deploy its enhanced PureSecurity product suite. It will provide Latvia’s probation service with innovative advanced features to give a secure alternative to prison incarceration.
Rapid wave of innovation
Israeli-Australian VC firm Square Peg Capital expects a wave of innovation and says that the equivalent of a decade’s worth of change has occurred in just two months. Square Peg has raised $250 million for its fourth core fund, of which the Israeli market represents around 40% of its investments.
Israeli startups raising funds
Latest investments in Israeli startups include: ECOncrete raised $5 million; CardiacSense raised $6 million; ADAM CogTech raised $2 million; Salt Security raised $20 million; Pagaya raised $102 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Photographing the Holy Land
Photographers Jodi Sugar, Yosef Symonds and Moshe Schlass have captured many beautiful and inspirational images of Israel. Click on the links below to view some of their classic photos.
New TV series connects kids with nature
The new TV show Zormim (Hebrew for flowing) is an educational mini-series that promotes Israel’s many rivers and streams and their fascinating ecosystems. It helps connect Israeli youth and the environment – especially important during this time of home isolation due to Covid-19.
Apple buys Tehran
The new drama series “Tehran,” by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan has been sold to Apple in what the corporation calls “one of the largest deals in the Israeli industry”. The show is one of the first foreign productions purchased for subscribers of the Apple TV+ video streaming service.
Amazon buys On the Spectrum
Amazon Studios has bought the format to Israeli-made “On the Spectrum,” a half-hour comedy-drama series about three roommates with varying levels of autism. The Israeli show won nine Ophir Awards, Israel’s top honor for TV and movies, in March 2019. The Amazon version is yet to be named.
Universal Music opens in Israel
Universal Music Group, one of the largest music corporations in the United States, has become first major American music label to open a branch in Israel. UMG Israel will be based in Tel Aviv and is said to be engaging in the industry’s strategy of seeking to develop and sign foreign talent.
THE JEWISH STATE
Israel welcomes Peruvian Olim
37 members of the Peruvian Jewish community flew to Israel on a charter flight for new immigrants, organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Peru is suffering from high rates of COVID-19 infections, plus riots due to the scarcity of food and medical supplies.
They are coming in their thousands
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem has just brought another 57 Russian-speaking Jews to Israel, making 1,000 Olim that the ICEJ has sponsored since Feb 2020. Israel expects 90,000 new immigrants in the next 18 months. Many young US professionals are now applying.
Building cities in the Negev desert
Since 2012, the Or Movement has built 8 cities in the South of Israel. Its Equitable Cities program aims to reduce gaps between development towns and the cities in the center of Israel; to strengthen the cities in the periphery and to support the sustainability and success of the Negev and Galilee.
The Holy City
Jerusalem doesn’t stand still. It is installing defibrillators; also small fridges where residents can donate food for those in need. Streets and buildings have been deep cleaned; pathways repaired, and new traffic lights installed at busy crossings. Meanwhile, the Tower of David Museum has re-opened.
Four religious women to enter Knesset
Several Israeli ministers have just made way for four religious women to become new Members of Israel’s Parliament. Tehila Friedman, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, and Einav Kabala are all law experts. Hila Shay Vazan was a journalist.
The Israel Innovation Fund together with Wine on the Vine have launched a new Israeli on-line wine store Israwines. They have also announced the #MyLchaim Campaign to encourage Jews around the world to drink and make Kiddush with Israeli wine every Shabbat.
United with Israel is a Genesis Foundation winner
Newsletter supporter United with Israel (UWI) is among the NGO winners of a Genesis “Speak Out for Israel” grant. When applying for the grant, UWI focused on the theme: “Israel’s Global Fight Against Covid-19”, which (as newsletter readers know) Israel excels.
Celebrate Israel Parade – virtually
The Virtual Celebrate Israel Parade 2020 will be streamed on Sunday, June 21st at 1:00 pm (EDT) on-line and on Facebook and YouTube. It will also be available on-demand after the broadcast. https://celebrateisraelny.org/
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