Arab Muslim female head of surgery; Cardiac ultrasound study in space; The Jerusalem marathon; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Less than 6,400 Israelis now have the coronavirus, with just 178 serious cases. Also, an Israeli study shows Vitamin D deficient Covid-19 patients are 14 times more likely to be seriously or critically ill. Finally, Oramed’s oral vaccine has been cleared to begin Phase 1 clinical trials in South Africa.
Cancer treatment approved
The US FDA has approved Doxorubicin-HCI Liposomal Injection from Israel’s Ayana for the treatment of ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and Kaposi’s Sarcoma. The novel chemotherapy was developed by Hebrew University professor Yechezkel Barenholz (see here and here).
The digestive effects of sugar substitutes
Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have found saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose disrupt the mechanism that gut bacteria use to keep us well. Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), advantame, and neotame did not have this effect. The results have relevance for obesity and diabetes.
Everything through your eyes
Israel’s Beyeonics (see here previously) has raised $36 million to enhance the development of its products. Beyeonics Surgical is focused on Neurosurgery and Orthopedics products. Beyeonics Vision’s One is a visual reality surgical microscope for cataract and retina surgeries.
Mapping the nerves in the brain
Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists used the 140-year-old Nissi staining technique to reveal fiber pathways in the brain’s white matter. They found that previously ignored glial (glue) cells are arranged in short rows that align with the nerve cells. It will help the study of brain diseases.
Electrotherapy for pain and inflammation
Israeli startup Healables is developing wearable devices for the “electroceutical” treatment of pain and inflammation in the arms and legs. ElectroGear is for athletes, to be sold via sports professionals, and a medical model will be available by prescription, pending regulatory approval.
Brain stimulation for the elderly
Israeli and US researchers have discovered that gentle stimulation of part of the brain improves the ability of seniors to perform multiple tasks. The study of 57 subjects aged over 70 improved simultaneous walking and talking, thus reducing their risk of having a fall.
Monitoring patients across the US
Israel’s DarioHealth (see here previously) is to provide remote patient monitoring services to one of the largest providers in Hawaii. It also has won a contract with a primary care system in Atlanta Georgia with multiple locations. All these patients live with diabetes and/or hypertension.
Arab mother and baby saved
In August, the Galilee Medical Center delivered a baby at 35 weeks when his unvaccinated Arab mother, Mira, suffered respiratory failure and pneumonia from Covid-19. After months of treatment and rehabilitation, Mira has just been discharged, thanking staff for two gifts – her life and her baby.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Guarding our beautiful Land
Young Nigerian-Israeli Sharona Shnayder is founder and CEO of Tuesdays for Trash, which encourages people to convene on a weekly basis to clean public spaces of discarded trash. It now operates in 23 countries. In 2020, Sharona interned at Israeli recycling company UBQ during a Masa program.
Helping single mothers re-enter the jobs market
Israeli NGO ‘itworks’ has partnered the Jerusalem-based Yedidut Toronto Foundation to help find jobs for the estimated 20,000 single mothers who were placed on unpaid leave by their employers when the first wave of COVID hit Israel.
Nearly half of Israeli medics are Arab
Israel’s Health Ministry reports that Arabs and Druze constituted 20% of Israel’s population but 46% of all Israel’s medical licenses. They also comprise 50% of new nurses, 53% of dentists and 57% of pharmacists. Arab doctor numbers have increased fourfold from 2000.
Arab Muslim female head of surgery
Dr. Marian Khatib has been appointed the director of the Breast Surgery Center at Tel Aviv Sourasky (Ichilov) Medical Center. She is the first Arab breast surgeon in the country. Khatib said being an Arab woman from a conservative Muslim society has never been a barrier.
More than 600 Bedouin Israelis enlisted in the IDF in the past year. The details were announced during “Alliance of Brothers” – a ceremony to honor Bedouin contributions to the security forces.
Blind Arabs employed in Jerusalem
The Arab Blind Association is the first collective of its kind in the Middle East. Dozens of blind Arabs have obtained valued work making high-quality brooms. The concept has been spread across the Arab world, to Iraq, the UAE, and Egypt.
First EgyptAir arrival
History was made with the arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport of the first official direct flight from Cairo by Egypt’s national airline EgyptAir. The airline had previously operated a service, but by its subsidiary Air Sinai, in unmarked planes.
Israeli EMT on holiday in Vienna saves a life
Chani, a volunteer paramedic with Israel’s United Hatzalah, was on vacation in Vienna when a woman fell off her electric scooter right in front of her. She didn’t have a helmet and suffered a serious head injury. Chani treated her, both before and after Austrian medics arrived.
Israeli wheelchair stations at UK hospitals
The UK National Health Service is installing wheelchair docking stations from Israel’s Wheelshare (see here previously) at its Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and North Tyneside General Hospital. The docking stations operate at all hours of the day and are free.
Rescuing female cyclists from Afghanistan
More on IsraAID’s operation to take 57 Afghan women cyclists out of danger from the Taliban in Afghanistan (see last week’s article here and as UWI saw reported on CNN).
Maize irrigation for Kenyan women farmers
Israel’s SupPlant (see here previously) is bringing its smart irrigation systems to the aid of 500,000 Kenyan smallholder maize farmers – mostly women in Bungoma and Busia. SupPlant aims to help 2 million+ smallholder farmers across Africa and India by 2022.
Israel at COP26
At Glasgow’s UN climate conference Israel’s Prime Minister highlighted that Israel’s innovations can help solve the world’s environmental problems. And Israel’s state comptroller led the meeting of his international counterparts who are tasked with monitoring the actions of their respective governments.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Homeland security projects
The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation is funding two homeland security projects involving Israeli startups. A collision avoidance system for aerial first responders (Israel’s Ciconia) and multimedia emergency call communications (Israel’s Carbyne).
Tel Aviv is on the (electric) road to clean air
Israel’s ElectReon (see here previously) has struck a $9.4 million deal to launch its wireless road-charging infrastructure for powering 200 Dan electric buses in Tel Aviv and in the south of Israel. ElectReon is already piloting its smart road tech in Germany, France, and Belgium.
Accommodation for 1,000 more students
Israel’s Ben Gurion University has opened a 1,000-bed student village in time for the new academic year. The complex includes studio apartments, housing for married students, religious and those with disabilities. They include smart TV, full kitchen, solar water heater and more.
Keeping a “beady” eye on the bees
Israel’s BeeHero (see here previously) has developed low-cost, Internet of Things (IoT) AI sensors, and inserts them into beehives to monitor in-hive changes. In the US, BeeHero implemented the world’s largest network of simultaneously monitored hives over tens of thousands of acres.
We are not cute!
Israel’s Unlimited Robotics is developing a service robot for homes, restaurants, gyms, airports, elderly facilities, and practically anywhere that needs assistance. CEO Guy Altagar stated, “Amazon is developing something very cute… We are not in the cute industry. We are the functional, practical industry,”
Cardiac ultrasound study in space
More details about the cardiac study to be conducted by Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe in the Rakia mission on the International Space Station. It will test GE Healthcare’s pocket-sized Vscan Air wireless ultrasound with the AI guidance software from Israel’s UltraSight (see here previously).
Developing sustainable solutions
Israel’s NRS Agro Innovation is helping Israel’s Volcani Institute prevent the culling of male chicks (see here previously). It is also working to eradicate salmonella in eggs. An NRS subsidiary, RumenEra, is working to reduce methane emissions from cows and improve land and water usage.
Foldable emergency vehicles
Israel’s City Transformer (see here previously) is to provide 1,000 of its electric folding vehicles to emergency NGO United Hatzalah over the next 5 years. It will allow the network of volunteer EMTs to locate a vehicle and use it to respond to medical emergencies.
Timing traffic lights to save fuel
Several Israeli companies are developing smart traffic light systems (see here previously). Now early reports of Google Israel’s four pilots of its AI system pilots in Haifa, Beersheba and the Israel National Roads Company, show a 10-20% reduction in fuel use and delay time at intersections.
Checking your digital identity
Two Israeli companies have been funded by the Israel Innovation Authority to develop solutions to protect systems from unauthorized users. FinCom.Co searches for a person’s name in 38 different languages. Scanovate’s facial identity technology extracts text from a picture.
Happy landings for drones
Israel’s Wonder Robotics is developing a system that supplies autonomous drones with an understanding of their surroundings. It will prevent collisions, negotiate obstacles and avoid unsafe landings.
Israel’s IT Central Station provides a review site for enterprise B2B (Business to Business) technology products, including cybersecurity, DevOps, and IT management. Its 500,000+ registered members include 97 of the Fortune 100 companies and last year the site was accessed by 3.5 million users.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Despite the many holidays, Israeli startups raised over $2.2 billion in September. Israeli tech companies have now raised $17.5 billion in the first nine months of 2021, already far above the record $10 billion raised in all of 2020.
$320 million to invest in Israeli startups
Israeli Venture Capital TLV Partners firm has launched its fourth fund to back new Israeli ventures. This latest fund is its largest yet – $220 million, plus an additional $100 million to support some of its 45 existing portfolio hi-tech companies and founders.
Israel showcased in Dubai
Arabs and Israelis mixed happily together at Expo 2020 in Dubai. Israel’s open tent expo pavilion showcased diversity. Also in Dubai, Israeli companies showcased their satellite, camera and space technology at the International Astronautical Congress.
Climate tech startups
1,200 Israeli companies are working in “PLANETech” – which covers ag-tech, food-tech, water-tech, and clean-tech – including over half since the year 2000. Israeli focus is on clean energy, smart agriculture, and sustainable mobility. The rapid growth areas are alternative proteins and green construction.
Amazon boost for Israeli shoppers
Online retail giant Amazon has re-introduced free delivery to Israel on many items at the low threshold of $49. They also allow Israelis to split up multiple purchases into separate packages, to avoid paying the VAT that the Israeli tax authority imposes on orders over $75.
Investment in Israeli startups: Neuroblade raises $83 million; Aquant raised $70 million; Beyeonics raised $36 million; Adaptive Shield raised $30 million; Duality Technologies raised $30 million; IT Central Station raised $30 million; WeMatch raised $19.5 million; BeeHero raised $15 million; Voom raised $15 million; Moodify raised $8 million; echo3D raised $4 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Jerusalem park protects the climate
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has selected Jerusalem’s Gazelle Valley Park (see here previously) in its top 8 examples for climate protection. The criteria included social needs, biodiversity, adaptable and analytical management, and long-term sustainability.
TAU virtual gala
American Friends of Tel Aviv University held a virtual gala to support the University’s mission to advance the world through innovation, education, and impact. The gala raised over $2 million for initiatives including student scholarships, medical research, and the Center for Combatting Pandemics.
The Jerusalem marathon
The Jerusalem marathon attracted 20,000 runners to six different events. Jerusalem’s Yamar Gethon won the men’s full marathon in a record time of 2:24:07. Orthodox athlete and mother of five children Beatie Deutsch (see here) won the half-marathon.
European gold for Israeli swimmer
Israel’s Anastasia Gorbenko won the gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2021 European Short Course Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia. Gorbenko made history earlier this year when she became the first female Israeli swimmer to advance to an Olympic final.
THE JEWISH STATE
Ancient ring found
Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient gold and amethyst ring during an excavation conducted in Yavne, the city that became the center of Rabbinic study after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. The ring was found in a site dating to the 7th century CE, but it could have originated from a much earlier time.
A throne fit for a king
(Apologies for the pun) A 2700-year-old toilet cubical from the First Temple period has been discovered in the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem. A royal mansion excavated from the era of the Kings of Judea (7th century BCE) features a private toilet and an ancient septic tank.
Laying down the Law
Thousands of Jews worldwide who study a page of Talmud (Oral Law) each day (Daf Yomi) recently finished the tractate Beizah, which means “egg”. To mark this milestone, a chicken farm in Kedumim, Israel, printed the words recited at the end of completing a tractate, directly onto their eggs.