First Bahraini ambassador to Israel arrives; Israeli vaccine Phase 2 trials commence; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Some 2.3 million Israelis have now had a coronavirus booster. It is 95% effective against infection and available to all Israelis vaccinated over 5 months ago. Serious case numbers have declined and are nearly negligible in those who have been triple-vaccinated. Some 2.5 million children have returned to school.
Israeli vaccine Phase 2 trials commence
Israel’s Institute for Biological Research IIBR has stated that it has delivered 1,000 doses of its BriLife coronavirus vaccine to Georgia for starting Phase 2 trials. IIBR’s partner, NRx, will lead the trials, expand patient numbers and prepare for Phase 3.
Protection against Delta variant
A pre-clinical trial of opaganib from Israel’s Redhill shows that its strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities can inhibit any variant of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Opaganib targets SK2 – a key enzyme used by the virus to replicate, irrespective of spike protein mutations.
Covid trial of cholesterol treatment
Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem successfully trialed TriCor (fenofibrate see here previously) on 15 severely ill Covid patients. 14 were weaned off their ventilators within a week. TriCor targets inflammation-producing lipids produced by the coronavirus.
Better cancer detection
In a study of over 9,000 patients, Tel Aviv University researchers used previously ignored “silent mutations” analysis techniques to increase the chances of detecting cancer early. They proved that the huge volume of genomic and gene expression data available can help extend survival times and save lives.
Gastric cancer diagnostics in Israel
Israel’s Ibex Medical has launched its new Galen Gastric system, to detect gastrointestinal cancer, at Israel’s Maccabi HMO (Health Management organization). Maccabi is the world’s only health system to use AI for multi-tissue detection (breast, prostate and gastric).
Algae to treat IBD
Israel’s Yemoja and Israel’s MIGAL Galilee Research Institute are leading a 4-year research initiative to find algae-sourced compounds to help Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) sufferers. The 21-member Algae4IBD consortium has received a €7.5 million EU Horizon 2020 award.
Saving women’s lives in the Gulf
Israel’s illumigyn has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dubai-based company DHI 2048 to deploy 2,500 units of its Gynescope cloud platform service. It will boost the availability of imaging and examination to improve women’s healthcare in the region.
Brain rehab helps wounded IDF soldier
In 2018, 24-year-old Netanel was shot in the head by a terrorist. Minimally conscious for several months, he is now making slow but steady recovery progress, against all odds, at Sheba Medical Center’s Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit.
An affordable US virtual health company
Israel’s Antidote Health is bringing a virtual Kupat Holim (health fund) to the US for the benefit of uninsured and under-insured Americans. Using a digital service and AI, Antidote Health says it can cut the costs of the service to about a tenth of what Americans pay now.
The best birthday gift
United Hatzalah EMT Gal was just in time when he used his own son’s EpiPen to save the life of a 5-year-old boy who suffered an anaphylactic reaction in Netanya. It was the birthday of the boy’s mother and she said that the life of her son was the best birthday present she had ever received.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Startup for those on the spectrum
Israel’s Point.AI hires only high-functioning individuals on the autism spectrum to perform critical data annotation for the fast-growing Israeli AI industry. They are ideally suited to the tasks, with heightened senses, determination and the ability to see patterns and details.
Global Company of the Year
The prestigious research & consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has awarded Israel’s Percepto (see here previously) with the 2021 Global Company of the Year Award for dominating and advancing the market with its industry-best, remote autonomous drone-in-a-box for industrial sites.
Summer camp for rocket attack victims
The Jewish Agency for Israel has provided a fun-filled summer camp experience for 100 children living near to the Gaza border. All had suffered trauma or physical harm from rockets and arson balloons launched by Gaza-based terror groups. They enjoyed animal therapy and swimming.
Israeli women are more than equal
To mark International Women’s Equality Day, please watch this video featuring the Women’s Unit of Israel’s emergency NGO United Hatzalah.
First Bahraini ambassador to Israel arrives
Bahrain’s first ambassador to Israel, Khaled Yousif al-Jalahma, arrived in Israel to take up his post. A statement carried by the state-run Bahrain News Agency touted al-Jalahma’s arrival as “an important step in developing relations between the two countries and their people.”
Israelis aiding the evacuation from Kabul
Israelis from the NGO Shai Foundation are working to extricate persecuted minorities, women activists, and others, from war-torn Afghanistan.
Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa has just reached the major milestone of bringing light and water to 500 villages. It has transformed the lives of nearly 3 million people across 7 African countries. Please help them to reach more.
On 20th anniversary of 9/11, Israel honors victims
The Consul General of Israel in New York and members of the Consulate gathered at the Ground Zero memorial site to mark the Jewish calendar’s 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and its victims. They laid a wreath at the survivor tree and blew the shofar.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Intel’s new Israeli chips
Intel has previewed its 12th-generation Intel Core processors, based on a hybrid architecture for PC users, code-named Alder Lake, and designed chiefly in Israel. With Intel’s Thread Director technology, they enable the upcoming Windows 11 operating system to better manage PC tasks and workloads.
Israeli startup alerts Microsoft to critical flaw
Israel’s Wiz, led by former Microsoft employees, discovered an “unprecedented critical vulnerability” in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. It notified Microsoft, who paid Wiz a bounty for the discovery and said it immediately fixed the problem.
Free tech training for new immigrants
Jewish Agency-founded nonprofit academy Israel Tech Challenge (ITC.tech) is partnering the Aliya Ministry to offer fully subsidized Front-end Web Development and Data Analytics training that will grant eligible Olim (new immigrants) entry into Israel’s lucrative high-tech industry.
Carob – a super crop from the Bible
Israel’s CarobWay is cultivating and marketing the carob fruit – mentioned in the Bible and Talmud. The super-nutritious, highly sustainable food crop is in high demand and short supply. It grows on non-arable land, in desert climates and requires little irrigation or human labor.
Aquatic drone helps to save lives
The Tiberias division of Israeli emergency organization United Hatzalah has taken delivery of its new aquatic drone. It will be used to drop life preservers into Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to help save victims who are drowning. It is water-resistant and includes a thermal imaging camera.
One million Israelis use Rumble to stay fit
Nearly a million Israelis have downloaded the Rumble app from Israelis UVTAL Health (see here previously). Rumble converts your steps into virtual tokens that can buy fruit, shoes or even personal training sessions. Next is the US where 61% gained weight during lockdowns.
Put yourself in the movie
Computer vision technology from Israel’s D-ID has been used to promote the new movie “Reminiscence”. Anyone can upload still photos of themselves, which are then animated and inserted into the movie trailer, for sharing with others.
Israel’s first medicine & science museum
Technoda in Hadera is the first of its kind medicine and science museum in Israel and one of the biggest in the world. Its theme “Diving into the Human Body” includes 120 exhibits on anatomy, physiology, diagnosis and pathology, treatment and advanced technologies.
Foodtech center opens in the Galilee
The Margalit Startup City Galil has now opened in Kiryat Shmona. It will address the burning problems of the world, including hunger, drought, and a shortage of healthy food. It aims to create 30,000 tech jobs, plus 70,000 ancillary positions.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Startups raised $1 billion in August
Israeli startups raised $1.05 billion in August, bringing the total to $15.3 billion in the first eight months of 2021 – more than the record $10 million raised in the whole of 2020.
Human capital fund for hi-tech training
The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) is to launch a Human Capital Fund program. It anticipates providing NIS 30 million to support companies with up to 70% of their models to help train and place reskilled Israeli employees (especially immigrants and the underprivileged) in hi-tech jobs.
Cyber security for the Gulf
Israel’s XM Cyber, co-founded by former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, is to deploy its cybersecurity products to protect Gulf region gas, oil and financial infrastructures.
An Israeli cyber takeover
Israeli-founded cyber security giant Check Point is acquiring Israel’s Avanan, a provider of cloud email security for some $300 million. Avanan’s technology will integrate with Check Point’s threat prevention software capabilities “to deliver the world’s most secure email security offering”.
3D printed vegan burgers for US colleges
Israel’s SavorEat has partnered US-French food company Sodexo, to launch its kosher, vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free 3D-printed burger patties in the US. A pilot will commence at US universities where Sodexo already operates.
DSPG exits for $600 million
US electronics giant Synaptics announced it is acquiring Israel’s DSPG (see here previously) for about $600 million. DSPG is one of Israel’s oldest high-tech companies. Its voice recognition technology is embedded in Amazon’s Alexa interfaces, Google earphones, smart TVs and more.
CartiHeal exits for half a billion
US giant Bioventus is acquiring Israel’s CartiHeal (see here previously) for $500 million. The decision came after a pivotal clinical trial of CartiHeal’s Agili-C knee cartilage implant.
Melio becomes a Unicorn
Israel’s Melio has just raised $110 million at a valuation of $1.3 billion, giving it the financial status of a Unicorn. The company is still raising funds and it expects to triple in value soon.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Melio raised $110 million; Upstream Security raised $62 million; Fortellix raised $32 million; Balance (GetBalance.com) raised $30 million; Fieldin raised $30 million; Jifiti raised $22.5 million; PayEm raised $20 million; Sayata Labs raised $17 million; Walnut raised $15 million; Antidote Health raised $12 million; Anima raised $10 million; CorNeat Vision raised $4 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Jerusalem goes to the movies
After many postponements, the 38th annual international Jerusalem Film Festival took place from Aug 24th to Sep 4th. Over 200 films were shown, starting with “Where is Anne Frank” and included a free film every night showing in various Jerusalem open-air locations.
Butterfly of peace
The western pigmy blue butterfly (a native of the USA) has been discovered thriving in Israel’s Dead Sea resort. One theory is that its larvae were in a pot plant brought to the UAE by a US State Department official at the time of the Abraham Accords in 2019. Tourists then brought it to Israel.
End of August events in Jerusalem
Those lucky to be able to walk the streets of Jerusalem would enjoy Docu.text, the annual documentary film festival, at the National Library; also, the International Puppet Festival, concerts at Kikar Safra, the Jerusalem Night Run, weddings, flowers & pomegranates.
Israeli success at the Paralympics
Israeli swimmers won 6 golds at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Mark Malyar broke 2 world records, winning 2 golds and a bronze. Ami Dadaon won 2 golds and a silver. Iyad Shalabi is the first Arab Israeli medal winner (2 golds). And Moran Samuel won silver at rowing.
THE JEWISH STATE
“And sons shall return to their borders”
Services have restarted at the ancient Yemenite synagogue in the Yemenite Village (Kfar HaShiloachin) in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood. Members of Israel’s Yemenite community blew Yemenite shofars, as they did from the 1880s until the Jordanians expelled them in 1948.
Record-breaking month for Aliya
Nefesh b’Nefesh (NbN) brought 1,000 North American Olim (immigrants) to Israel during August – surpassing any other month in the organization’s history. NbN has brought more than 3,000 olim to the country this summer – well on the way to its target of 4,500-5,000 Olim by the end of 2021.
An Israeli synagogue in Washington
The Israeli delegation (PM, journalists, security staff etc.) visiting the US President, had to spend Shabbat at a hotel near the White House. Due to Covid regulations, they could not attend a synagogue in the city, so they created a “pop-up” Israeli synagogue in one of the hotel rooms.
“Miraculous” rocket survivor goes home
Doctors gave Yulia just hours to live in May after she was hit by shrapnel from a Hamas rocket. Despite a 2-month coma, losing masses of blood, having one leg amputated, and 13 complex operations, she has now been discharged to the delight of her daughter.
Letters to the Almighty tripled
Israel’s postal service reports a 3-fold increase in the number of letters it has received in 2021 addressed to the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem compared with last year. Rabbi of the Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch, placed hundreds of notes between the stones ahead of the Jewish New Year holiday.
Massive crop from Temple-era data palm
Hannah, one of the Judean date palms at Kibbutz Ketura that was grown from a 2,000-year-old seed (see here previously), has produced a huge crop of dates this year. It dwarfs the 111 dates produced last year and visitors to the kibbutz’s research center might even be able to buy some.
(video shows last year’s crop being harvested)
(video explaining the history of the project)
Israel appreciates its Covid workers
Israel is distributing grants to every medical and health-system employee involved in treating COVID-19 patients. Each will receive a multi-use debit card containing NIS 1,000, distributed via hospitals and Israel’s four Health Management Organizations.
International diplomats hosted for Rosh Hashanah
President Isaac Herzog hosted their first annual New Year reception for some 100 foreign diplomats stationed in Israel. President Herzog thanked the foreign diplomats for their work strengthening the ties of peace and friendship between Israel and their nations.
Elderly receive food packages for Rosh Hashanah
Some 6,200 elderly Israelis at Amigour sheltered housing sites across the country will receive care packages for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). Worth around 120 NIS, they include wine, honey, honey cake, jam and other goods like pasta, rice, tuna, couscous and oil.