UK government funds new Israeli wheel; Advancing the peace of the Abraham Accords; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Learning from Israel’s Covid boosters
The Chair of UK’s Health and Social Care Select Committee, MP Jeremy Hunt, stated in Parliament that Israel shows that a booster program reduces Covid hospitalizations in just two weeks. Israeli research also shows that the booster gives 10 times more antibodies than the second jab.
Israeli vaccine gives longer protection
The Brilife vaccine, developed by the Israel Institute for Biological Research, appears to give long-term defense against the coronavirus. The 230 trial volunteers who received the highest dosage of the vaccine were still fully protected six months after vaccination.
A “super cork” for Covid
Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have developed a small molecule that stops the coronavirus spike protein from attaching to the lungs’ ACE2 receptor. But it doesn’t damage ACE2’s normal function. (See also here for similarities with opaganib from Israel’s Redhill).
Unlocking cancer immunotherapy
More details on the breakthrough technology of Israel’s Nectin (see here previously). Monoclonal antibodies, with toxins attached, are sent directly to the cancer cell to break its ability to immobilize the body’s immune system. Clinical trials are expected to start in early 2022.
Using white blood cells to fight cancer
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that a type of white blood cell (eosinophils) can be utilized to fight cancer. They have a double effect, producing destructive proteins, while at the same time summoning the immune system’s cancer-fighting T-cells.
Remove succinate to treat IBD
Recent studies show that the metabolite succinate, secreted by gut bacteria, can cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University and in South Korea have developed therapeutic peptides to remove succinates from the body. Patents have been filed.
Treatment for cystic fibrosis sufferers
Israel’s SpliSense uses mRNA to fix the root cause of cystic fibrosis – genetic mutations that create a non-functioning protein (CFTR). It not only treats patients with no current treatment but is also much cheaper than existing treatments.
HBOT and Alzheimer’s
Tel Aviv University scientists have discovered more on the effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT – see here). It significantly improved vascular function and blood flow to the brain, plus reduced and removed the build-up of amyloid plaque on the brain – a common symptom of Alzheimer’s.
Voice analysis to aid mental health
Israel’s Eleos Health has developed an AI-powered voice analysis system to help behavioral health clinicians and care teams provide better personalized, care to mental health patients and reduce staff burnout. It is deployed at Solvista Health, Achieve, Yeshiva University and ReachLink.
Unbelievable joy as twins separated
Very Good news. Surgeons at Israel’s Soroka hospital used Israeli technology to separate the heads and major blood vessels of two conjoined Israeli baby girls, assisted by a UK Muslim specialist. The babies were visibly delighted to be able to see each other for the first time.
New York Life works with Empathy
The U.S.’s largest life insurer company New York Life has partnered with Israel’s Empathy. The Israeli app will help guide NYL customers to navigate the complexities experienced with loss by offering logistics and emotional support.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
IDF female Muslim major
IDF Captain Ella Waweya has now been promoted to Major. She is the highest-ranking female Muslim IDF officer. (See here for highest-ranking male Muslim officer.)
Advancing the peace of the Abraham Accords
Former US ambassador David Friedman has established The Friedman Center for Peace through Strength. It aims to expand and scale up the Abraham Accords he helped broker in 2020 among Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo and Morocco.
Upsurge in UK students studying in Israel
94 British students have chosen to study in Israel with the Turing Scheme, compared to the average of 18 who took advantage of the EU’s previous Erasmus+ program. Half the participants of the scheme come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Successful US test of Iron Dome
The US Army has successfully completed its first live test, on US soil, of the Iron Dome defense system supplied by Israel.
Project TEN launches in Mexico City
The Jewish Agency for Israel has launched a new volunteer center for the Project TEN service-learning program in Chimalhuacán, Mexico City. Project TEN volunteers use Jewish values to promote social resilience for the disadvantaged in Israel, Africa, Greece, Cambodia & Mexico.
Changing lives in quake-torn Haiti
Ben Katzir is IsraAID’s emergency coordinator in Haiti. He’d also been on IsraAID’s team in Haiti after the major 2010 earthquake. He speaks fluent Creole. IsraAID is distributing shelters, water treatment kits, hygiene kits, solar lights and training community leaders.
Six new foreign Ambassadors to Israel
Israeli President Isaac Herzog received the credentials of the new ambassadors of Mexico, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Vatican City, and for the first time Bahrain, upon the assumption of their ambassadorial duties to Israel. The IDF Orchestra played all their national anthems.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
UK government funds new Israeli wheel
Israel’s REE Automotive was awarded £14 million from the UK Government, via its Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). It will help REE mass-produce its breakthrough wheel-centered REEcorner technology and electric vehicle platforms.
Extending the EV range
Israel’s Silib is developing technology to increase the battery capacity of electric vehicles by 40%. It adds pure silicon to existing Li-ion batteries, while avoiding the common industry problem that causes them to swell and lose capacity.
The return of the houbara
The UAE and Israel have been partnering to save the endangered Houbara species (see here previously). The good news is that national park rangers in Southern Israel this summer have sighted hundreds of the beautiful iconic desert birds – a key indicator of the well-being of Israel’s flora and fauna.
Send an experiment on Israel’s moon mission
SpaceIL is requesting proposals for researchers worldwide to offer experiments to be used in the Israeli non-profit’s upcoming Beresheet 2 mission to the moon. Proposals must be submitted by Nov 15, 2021, with the mission scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2024.
Transform your text into video
Israel’s Hour One enables users to create a video without having any background in video production. The AI-based video production platform creates content from text, using computer-generated synthetic characters based on real people, for professional and commercial use.
How to get a hi-tech job in Israel
Three new Olim (immigrants to Israel) describe how they obtained employment in Israel’s hi-tech industry. Read about Keren Starobinski, 24, from Newton, Massachusetts; Lilly Liebman, 22, from San Diego; and Gavin Coulson, 27, from Colorado.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Record currency reserves; deficit down again
During August, Israel’s foreign currency reserves rose by over $4 billion to almost $206 billion. Israel’s cumulative fiscal deficit fell from 9.2% at the end of July, to 8% at the end of August.
Startup job vacancies skyrocket
Job vacancies at the 240 portfolio companies of Israel’s OurCrowd soared by 300% in Q2 2021. Nearly two-thirds of the startups planned to recruit more staff in the remainder of 2021. 80% had implemented hybrid working models (home and office).
Gulf Port of Haifa opens
Israel has officially inaugurated the new port terminal in Haifa Bay (see here previously). It aims to fuel competition, decrease import costs, and remove handling delays that have been costing some NIS 700 million every month. It will hopefully be a major boon for the Israeli economy.
Trade with Arab states tripled
In the first seven months of 2021, trade between Israel and Arab states grew by 234 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Trade with the United Arab Emirates surged from $50.8 million between January and July 2020 to $613.9 million in the same period in 2021.
Direct flights from Bahrain and Cairo
Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national airline, is launching twice-weekly flights to Tel Aviv beginning 30 Sep. And EgyptAir the national airline of Egypt, is reportedly going to operate direct flights between Cairo and Tel Aviv from early Oct.
DHL orders 12 Israeli electric planes
DHL has ordered 12 fully electric “Alice” eCargo planes from Israel’s Seatle-based Eviation. Delivery to DHL Express is planned for 2024.
Israeli startup Voyage81 has been acquired by US-based cosmetics company Il Makiage. Voyage81’s AI-based hyperspectral imaging technology for smartphones will be used by Il Makiage to enhance its own PowerMatch algorithm for matching a consumer’s skin tone to the company’s foundation.
General Motors expands in Israel
The General Motors Technical Center in Israel is expanding its activities in the electric and autonomous vehicle market. To house its 600 staff, it is paying NIS 300 million to rent office space in Herzliya for the next 10 years. GM expects to recruit 400 additional staff and rent even more space.
Snyk is worth billions
Israeli cybersecurity Snyk has just raised $300 million of funds to give it a market value of $8.5 billion. The new funds will be used for product development and to improve its technology.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Cellebrite raised $370 million (IPO); Snyk raised $300 million; Melio raised $250 million ($110 million was in Jan); Papaya raised $250 million; Versatile Natures raised $80 million; Quantum Machines raised $50 million; Hunters cybersecurity raised $30 million; Rezilion raised $30 million; Yotpo raised $30 million; Sproutt raised $26 million; Satori raised $20 million; Neosec raised $15 million; DiA Imaging raised $14 million; EverAfter raised $13 million; Five Sigma raised $12 million; Veego raised $13 million; Elios Health raised $6 million; Toya raised $4 million; Silib raised $3 million; Eloops raised $2 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
New Year at the Israel Museum
New exhibitions at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum include “Hear, O Israel” (The Magic of the Shema); “How Long Is Now?” (New in Contemporary Art); “Satirist Supreme: Honoré Daumier and 19th-Century Paris”; a special display about 9/11; plus, many current exhibits.
I am Israel – the soundtrack
Hear the rich and inspiring sounds of the rebirth of Israel with the “I am Israel” original motion picture soundtrack. Featuring a powerful orchestral score, along with excerpts of dialog from narrator John Rhys-Davies and the Israeli cast. Music by award-winning composer Bob Farnsworth.
Major contract for piano virtuoso
17-year-old Israeli pianist Yoav Levanon has just signed an exclusive contract with Warner Classics. Yoav was featured here in 2013 when aged 8 he opened the International Summer Jewish Festival in Budapest. Prior to that, he won Israel’s National Piano Competition at age five.
New Israeli stamps
The latest issue of beautiful Israeli stamps include three Ecclesiastes verses, three Israeli astronomical observatories, Rabbi Yitzhak Nissin, SY Agnon, IDF Home Front Command Search & Rescue Brigade, and Israel Police Volunteer Rescue Team.
Israel’s Next Star
Tamir Greenberg won Israel’s “The Next Star” talent contest. The Jerusalem Post wrote he won NIS 1 million following his rendition of “Crazy in Love”. But according to his America-Israel Cultural Foundation sponsor, he performed his original song “Tell me where the light goes” (see video). Anyway, enjoy!
New Israeli drama series
“The Collective” is a new Israeli drama series from “Fauda” producer Maria Feldman and writer/director Dror Shaul. It centers on an American who moves to a kibbutz and becomes its leader in defending Israel’s borders. Shaul was born and raised in Kibbutz Kissufim, near the Gaza Strip.
165,888 ways to shape a Star of David
Israel’s Aron Lazarus is the inventor of The Genius Star – named “Best Puzzle/ Brainteaser Game” by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association in 2020. Players roll dice to collect the 48 triangular pieces required to cover their personal six-pointed star-shaped board.
THE JEWISH STATE
From Gaza Muslim to Israeli Jew
Ayman Abu Suboh has been on a long journey. Aged seven, he decided he wanted to leave his life of hatred in Gaza and convert to Judaism. Beaten severely, he ran away from schools and eventually fled to Israel and was adopted by a religious Jew. At 28, he converted and is now Dor Shachar.
Michael, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT, received a surprise invitation – to the wedding of Dikla, who he had saved after she had been stabbed by a terrorist six years previously. Michael had used his own fingers as a makeshift tourniquet until help arrived, otherwise Dikla would have had only minutes to live.
Give it a rest
The year 5782 on the Jewish calendar, starting Sep 6, is a sabbatical year for the Land of Israel. This article describes how religious Israeli farmers follow the Biblical commandment not to farm their fields in the seventh year. There is even an Israeli Ministry of Agriculture Unit for Agriculture According to the Torah.
Digging up a Jewish settlement
Tel Rechov in Northern Israel is mentioned in Egyptian manuscripts. Archaeologists have unearthed artifacts related to honey production and beeswax that was used by the Egyptians. Byzantine-period inscriptions show that Jews lived there during the 3rd to 6th centuries CE.
More historic Jewish discoveries
Archaeologists have discovered a vast 2,000-year-old quarry near Jerusalem that includes large stones like those King Herod used to extend the Jerusalem Temple. Meanwhile, a Temple-like structure is being unearthed just outside of Jerusalem.
Group travel to Israel restarts
Israel will admit organized groups of 5 to 30 vaccinated and tested tourists from “green, yellow and orange” countries, including the US and UK, starting on Sep 19. Birthright is to resume its tours and Masa’s Israel Journey already has. Masa is also bringing 165 English teachers to Israel.
18,000 National Service volunteers
Reuben Pinsky is director-general of Israel’s National Service. Some 18,000 Jews, Arabs, religious, secular, and Haredi citizens volunteer for one-year programs in medicine, education, government offices, and more. The video includes an example of the vital work they do.
JNF’s World Zionist Village
The winners have been announced for the competition to design the new JNF-USA World Zionist Village. (see here previously). The Israel Education and Technology Campus will be sited in the Be’er Sheva River Park. It comprises a technology center, tourist education center and an Israeli school.
A fruitful New Year
Midwives at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and its Bikur Cholim campus delivered 133 babies over the two-day Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) festival.