App lowers blood pressure; From the Moon to cancer detection; The largest solar field in the US; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Targeting cancer hotspots
A team of researchers, led by Israel’s Weizmann Institute, used algorithms to find neoantigens – “hot spots” on tumors – that provide access to current immunotherapies for multiple cancer patients. The scientists then engineered T cells from healthy individuals to completely destroy the tumors.
App lowers blood pressure
A 3-year study of the digital health app from Israel’s Hello Heart (see here previously) shows that over 84% of participants with stage II hypertension achieved a reduction in their systolic blood pressure. It was the largest multi-year efficacy study of a digital therapeutic to control hypertension.
11 more projects for precision medical research
11 new projects have been granted a total of NIS 32 million in the 4th annual round of the Israel Precision Medicine Partnership (see here previously). They include AI for cancer and Crohn’s, discovery of new disease genes, and treatments for rare disorders.
New AI innovation lab for personalized treatment
Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck and Teva have opened AION Labs – a new Israeli innovation lab for startups to develop cutting-edge AI-based technologies for personalized treatments. Startups will use computational biology to discover and develop patient-centric precision medicines.
Testing new treatments for safety
Israel’s Quris has launched a “patient on a chip” – the world’s first AI platform for predicting which candidate medicines will work safely in humans. Quris’s leadership team includes Israel’s Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover and Dr. Robert S. Langer, co-founder of Moderna.
Roche partners Ibex for AI cancer detection
Roche has entered an agreement with Israel’s Ibex Medical Analytics to jointly develop an embedded image analysis workflow. It will allow pathologists to check biopsies using Roche’s NAVIFY & uPath software while seamlessly accessing Ibex’s AI algorithms, insights, and tools.
Hospital counters obesity with computer game
Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has launched a smartphone gaming-based program to help overweight children adopt a healthier lifestyle. They are using the Rumble app from Israel’s UVTAL (see here previously), and a smartwatch to monitor sleep, heart rate and physical activity.
A faster Aliyah for medical professionals
A new Israeli government program will speed and support the Aliyah process for Jewish health professionals. It will benefit some 3,000 Jews, mainly from the former Soviet Union, the US, Canada, France and Argentina and overcome the shortage evident during the Covid pandemic.
Surgeons rebuild soldier’s shattered face
Two weeks after an IDF captain was shot in the head, surgeons at Rambam Hospital used 3D technology to rebuild his face. A bullet hit the officer near his brain, eyes, and tongue, shattering his jaw. But with the exception of some scarring, it will soon be completely restored.
Magician saves choking baby
United Hatzalah’s Aharon HaKosem, “the magician” works performing magic shows in Hod Hasharon. In his unpaid work as a volunteer EMT, he was called to save a choking baby. After back blows and chest compressions, “abracadabra” – the infant spat out a small object and re-started breathing.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Global network for Israeli businesswomen
Orly Carmon, head of Canada’s Orca Global Leadership and Networking, has established a network of 31,000 Israeli business or professional women across the world. Members connect socially and professionally, while Orca also offers development training courses.
First woman to head elite Navy defense unit
Captain Ophir Huri is the first-ever female commander of the Israeli navy’s Northern Snapir unit. The unit, of which 40% are women, is responsible for securing Israeli civilian and military ports and protecting them from threats on land, sea. underwater and from the air.
Welcome to the Kotel
A delegation of nine Bahrainis, in traditional dress recently visited the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem. They recited prayers and left notes in the wall. Jews, both young and old, embraced the Bahraini visitors, with some greeting the guests in Arabic. (See some of the unique photos.)
Coronavirus aid to Romania
Israel has sent 40 oxygen concentrators to Romania, which is confronting its worst wave of Covid-19 infections since the pandemic started nearly two years ago. The devices were made possible with help from AFI Europe Romania and Israel’s Elbit Systems.
More water to Jordan
Israel is to double, to 50 million cubic meters, the amount of freshwater it provides to neighboring Jordan, one of the world’s most water-deficient countries.
The Cherokee stand with Israel
The Tribal Council of the Northeast Alabama Cherokee has recognized the “sovereign Jewish nation” of Israel, with Jerusalem as its “eternal undivided capital.” They expressed solidarity with the Jewish community and compared the Jewish experience with that of native tribes in North America.
Israel mediates in Sudan
Sudanese media have reported that an Israeli delegation that visited Sudan recently mediated between military leader Al-Burhan and ousted Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.
World class entrepreneurs
Tel Aviv University was ranked fifth in the world in the 2021 ranking of Startup Genome – a world-leading innovation policy advisory and research firm. TAU was the only non-US university in the top 10. It followed Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, and Harvard. 1,300 TAU alumni have founded startups.
From the Moon to cancer detection
Yonatan Winetraub was one of the three Israelis who initiated SpaceIL’s project to send an Israeli spacecraft to the Moon. He has just won an Early Independence Award and funds from US National Institutes of Health to detect cancer without biopsies, using optical coherence tomography (OCT).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
The best inventions of 2021
Four Israeli inventions feature in TIME magazine’s 100 Best Inventions for 2021. They are OrCam’s Read (text to audio), Percepto’s AIM (drone software), SupPlant’s plant irrigation sensors, and ElectReon smart road. All have been featured previously in this newsletter.
Intel launches Alder Lake
As previously predicted here, Intel has finally launched its Israeli-developed Alder Lake microchips, including its best gaming processor the Core 19 12900K. Intel say it is its most ambitious project in the last decade, with 1,000 Israelis working for three years on the entire processor lineup.
The largest solar field in the US
Israel’s Doral Energy (see here previously) is building what will become the largest solar field in the United States. Indiana’s Mammoth Project will ultimately produce 1.3 gigawatts of electricity – sufficient to power over one hundred and seventy thousand households.
Israel’s largest floating PV field
Israel’s Shikun & Binui Energy (see here previously) and the Hof Harcarmel Water Association have inaugurated Israel’s largest floating photovoltaic (PV) solar energy field. The 51,500 panels cover 112+ acres of the Habonim reservoir and can produce 23 megawatts of electricity.
Cooling without electricity
Israel’s SolCold (see here previously) has developed paint that uses solar energy to trigger a cooling process without air-conditioners. Its eco-friendly double-layered coating absorbs the sun’s heat and re-emits it as cold. Each coat lasts up to 15 years and can be applied almost anywhere.
Israel’s female led Criaterra creates sustainable building materials to build office and residential buildings that can be recycled and later even reused. Their production emits only 20% of CO2 and some 10% of energy, compared to standard products. Their thermal insulation is 600% better.
Emergency communications network
Israel’s Commtact has unveiled a real-time wireless communications network for first responders. CommNet is also designed for large events and command-and-control center teams. The software-defined radios operate in rugged conditions over a wide range of radio frequencies.
Israel to import tech workers
Israel is to allow foreign students studying engineering subjects in Israel to receive a visa to continue working here. Also, foreign tech experts will be granted visas, in order to meet the government’s target of 15% of Israel’s work force employed in the tech sector by 2026.
Vertical take-off air taxi is revealed
After four years of operating in secret, the Israeli startup AIR (see here previously) has unveiled its AIR ONE electric vertical takeoff and landing self-driving vehicle. The two-seater plane will have a range of 100 miles and a maximum speed of 155 mph. Production target is 2024.
Israel approves air filtration system
Israel’s Ministry of Health has confirmed that the air filtration system from Israel’s Aura Smart Air successfully neutralizes nearly 100% of Covid-19 viruses in an enclosed space. Aura will now market the system to Israeli institutions, especially in the health and education sectors.
Sushi beer & ice cream by air
The Israel National Drone Network Initiative (see here previously) entered its 3rd phase (of eight) with drones delivering sushi, beer and ice cream orders to the waiting media. The 10-day demonstration tested drone flights above urban areas in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Ramat Sharon, Herzliya and Hadera.
Non-stop checkout in central London
Israel’s Trigo (see here previously) is powering the first autonomous checkout-free grocery store. Tesco Express in High Holborn central London has ceiling cameras that customers to take items and walk out without stopping at the checkout. Payments and receipts are settled digitally.
Israel’s ProFuse Technology won FoodTech 2021 using Israel’s Weizmann Institute’s technology to accelerate the growth of cultured meat cells. ProFuse will receive up to $100,000 for commercial integration with Tnuva, or as an investment, and up to NIS 50,000 for advertising on Calcalist Digital.
A grateful Jerusalem garbage can
A garbage bin installed next to a bus stop in Jerusalem applauds those who use it. Drop a piece of trash in, and a recording of a child’s voice says, “Thank you very much!”. It’s part of an initiative by local residents to clean up the streets in the Pat neighborhood of the city. It is silent on Shabbat.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Investors keep coming
Israeli tech firms have raised a staggering $17.8b so far this year – almost double the total for the same period last year, and over 70% more than for the whole of 2020. October’s $3 billion investments were an all-time record.
Israel’s cumulative fiscal deficit for the twelve months to the end of October 2021 narrowed to NIS 47.1 billion. It represents 5.5% of GDP, which is far less than the 7.2% at the end of September.
Oracle opens huge data center
Tech giant Oracle has inaugurated its new data center in Jerusalem, which will function as a cloud provider for Israeli clients. The facility covers thousands of square meters, over four floors and over 50 meters underground. Oracle also announced plans to launch a second Israeli data center.
7-Eleven, but not on Shabbat
US mega-chain 7-Eleven is to open hundreds of Israeli stores. However, unlike other locations, they will be closed on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, from Friday evening until Saturday night. Local company Electra will invest NIS 60 million in setting up the stores over the next three years.
Israel’s Hibob (see here previously), the company behind human resources management platform ‘bob’, is raising $150 million at a $1.65 billion valuation. Meanwhile Israeli biotech startup Immunai (see here previously) has raised $215 million at a valuation of just over $1 billion.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Deel raised $425 million; TripActions raised $275 million; Wiz raised $250 million; Immunai raised $215 million; Cato Networks raised $200 million; Hibob raised $150 million; Hailo raised $136 million; Arbe Robotics raised $118 million (IPO); SeaLights raised $30 million; Karma raised $25 million; Insurights raised $22 million; Metrolink raised $22 million; At-Bay raised $20 million; Navina raised $15 million; Better Health raised $10 million; Quris raised $9 million; Valence Security raised $7 million; Futora raised $6 million; X-trodes raised $4.5 million; LetsTok raised $1.5 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Enjoying a return to life in Jerusalem
People are slowly coming back onto the Jerusalem streets, like bears emerging slowly from hibernation, lumbering up from deep in their caves. What a pleasure it is to reunite and speak to people in real life, rather than via a computer screen.
Jacob Richman has created a web page of 130 useful links about English news, Hebrew news,
Hebrew radio, Jewish resources, Hebrew resources, Internet resources, social networks, Israel business,
Israel shopping and Jerusalem.
Israeli judokas strike gold
Israeli women judokas won two gold medals and a bronze at the Paris Grand Slam, finishing 3rd of the 45 nations in the medals table. Gefen Primo won the gold medal in the under-52 kg category. Raz Hershko won gold in the +78kg category. Inbar Lanir won bronze in the -78kg category.
THE JEWISH STATE
World’s largest Byzantine winepresses
A huge complex of 1,500-year-old winepresses has been uncovered by archaeologists in the city of Yavne, south of Tel Aviv. The 4th-5th century CE facility could produce some two million liters of wine a year and is the largest known example from the period.
14th century hand-painted scroll of ancient Israel
The Israel Museum has unveiled the Florence Scroll. The 11-meter hand-painted 14th century parchment is the focus of “Painting a Pilgrimage,” an exhibit depicting the earliest known visual travelogue to the Land of Israel by a medieval Egyptian Jew from Cairo.
An ancient Crusader encampment has been uncovered in the area of the Tzipori Springs in the Galilee. Also, an Israeli scuba diver found a meter-long Crusader sword on the seabed off the Carmel Coast. The Crusaders initiated several military campaigns in the Middle East between the 11th and 13th centuries.
Israel marks Aliya Day
13th Oct was Aliyah Day and the number of new Olim (immigrants to Israel) from North America are on track to top 4,500 in 2021 – the highest in 20 years. Most new arrivals are coming from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida and California.
235 Bnei Menashe arrive
235 new immigrants from the Bnei Menashe community in Manipur, Northeast India landed in Israel on Aliyah Day. More than 4,000 Bnei Menashe already live in Israel. They claim descent from one of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel that was exiled by the Assyrian Empire more than 27 centuries ago.
Bereaved children celebrate Bar & Bat Mitzvot
Over 700 children, who had lost a parent to illness or other tragedy, celebrated their Jewish religious “coming of age” together. The event at the Superland amusement park in Rishon Lezion included Jewish arts & crafts, rides, food, and a concert by Israeli pop star Eden Hasson.
National exhibit of “secret” Jewish genius
The National Library of Israel is to display the notebooks of “Mr. Shushani,” or “Monsieur Chouchani,” who taught Elie Wiesel and the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. He had a photographic memory of the Bible and Talmud and traveled the world while keeping his real identity secret.
Nothing’s going to stop us
After delays due to Covid, Roni and Svetlana finally arranged their wedding date. But then Roni was suddenly rushed to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon on suspicion of having had a stroke. Rather than postpone their wedding again, they decided to get married in the yard of the neurology department.
56 letters penned by a fretting wife to her husband on the frontline, during the Yom Kippur War have finally been delivered, 48 years after they were mailed to him. They eventually reached Baruch “Buki” Snir, who had endured three months of war without hearing a word from his wife.