Global solutions; Best sports-tech startup; See the desert bloom; Find your Israeli relatives; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Medical suit for heart patients
The new Israeli-developed Microclimate Suit is successfully eliminating congestion in heart failure patients at Israel’s Rambam hospital. It evaporates body fluids, alleviating symptoms of heart failure by reducing the level of the stress hormone BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide) by up to 50%.
Boosting oxygen levels
Latest on the ART device of Israel’s Inspira Technologies (see here previously) to boost patients’ oxygen levels instantly, reducing the need to induce comas and place them on ventilators. The machine removes low oxygen blood from the body, adds oxygen, removes CO2, and returns it to the patient.
1,000 knee implants
Since its first trial in 2019, Israel’s Active Implants (see here previously) has performed nearly 1,000 implants of its NUsurface synthetic meniscus in Israel and Europe. It expects FDA approval to allow launch in the US in 2024.
The wheel of fortune
Three years ago, one of a group of Israeli cyclists died when he had a heart attack, miles from the nearest hospital. Since then, the group carries a portable defibrillator on all trips. It recently saved the life of another member of the group, who suffered cardiac arrest in the Negev desert.
Tooth extracted – from her lung
When a nine-year-old Israeli girl lost a tooth, she accidentally sucked it into her lung, blocking her airway – a medical and life-threatening emergency. Doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Pediatric Emergency Trauma Unit became “tooth fairies” and used a guided camera to pull the tooth from her lung.
Proven benefits of medical clowns
IsraelActive.com (see here) contains over a dozen articles describing how Israeli medical clowns help hospital patients. Now Tel Aviv University researchers have documented 40 different skills that the clowns deploy to enable patients to overcome crises and move towards healing.
Eye treatment in Nigeria
Israeli doctors regularly treat eye diseases in Africa (see here and here previously). Sheba Medical Center has now launched a humanitarian mission to Ilorin, Nigeria to treat eye-cancer in children and improve long-term quality optical care, by establishing an intra-arterial chemotherapy center.
Growing health startups
Nine Israeli startups have been selected for Google for Startups’ first Growth Academy program for startups in the fields of medicine and quality of life. They are Olive Diagnostics, Kai, Emble, Droxi, BoBo Balance, Agado Live, AIVF, X-Trodes, and Ritual Health Technologies.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Encouraging women in STEM
In Dec, Israel’s Technion Institute hosted 700 female high school students from all over Israel at its 8th annual TechWomen event. It featured guest speakers, campus tours and other activities to inspire more young women to pursue academic degrees in science and engineering.
Connecting the unconnected
The non-profit Appleseeds helps 80,000+ Israelis each year develop essential digital literacy skills. It also sponsors Israel’s Net@ movement which gives technical training to disadvantaged Jewish, Christian, Druze, and Muslim youths. Meanwhile Israel’s 44 Ventures funds “forgotten” entrepreneurs.
The Kasser Joint Institute is a partnership of Jewish National Fund-USA, the University of Arizona, and the Arava valley in Israel. It aims to solve global food, water and energy issues through research and student training programs, while highlighting Israeli innovation and supporting development in the Arava.
UAE Sheikh praises Israeli medical treatment
Sheikh Khalid Qasmi of the United Arab Emirates is the first Arab royal known to have been treated in Israel. He said it was the best medical treatment he had received since his accident and was amazed by the quality of staff, the advanced capabilities, hospitality, and sympathy.
Turkiye’s new ambassador
Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, Turkey’s new ambassador to Israel, presented his credentials to President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem, filling a role that has been empty for more than four years.
Torunlar previously served as Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem.
Relations with India
Middle East expert Jonathan Spyer has written an in-depth article explaining the key factors behind the improvement in Israel-India relations in recent years.
Negev Forum success
Israel, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, and the US held the inaugural meeting of the Negev Forum in Abu Dhabi (see here previously). Six working groups focused on food security and water technology; clean energy; tourism; health; education and coexistence; and regional security.
More electricity generators for Ukraine
Volunteers from Israeli emergency NGO United Hatzalah have distributed some 100 powerful electric generators to schools, orphanages, and medical clinics in Kyiv, Uman, Lviv, and Odesa. Hundreds more are to be supplied in the coming weeks. (Also, see here previously).
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Another National Center
Israel’s Technion is again partnering Israel’s Bar-Ilan University (see here previously), this time to build a National Energy Storage research center. Its aim is to develop novel technologies for storing energy in large quantities. Its budget will be some NIS 130 million over 5 years.
New technology at CES 2023
Of 23 Israeli startups at this year’s CES Las Vegas, these 5 are new. Cardiokol detects heart problems from speech; Eye-Minders tracks eye movements on VR devices; Polyn makes chips for listening devices; Radix manages Android TV sets; SparX Augmented Reality for new homes.
Israel steals the show at CES 2023
The Israeli Export Institute’s pavilion was in the middle of the show floor within CES’s startup pavilion, Eureka Park, and it was buzzing! It contained a dozen startups representing a cross-section of Israeli innovations and was probably the busiest of all the booths. The video features Mobileye.
Another Israeli satellite launched
Israel’s BeetleSat (formerly NSLComm – see here previously) launched its latest small satellite, on the same rocket as another Israeli satellite (see here). BeetleSat said that the satellite will provide important communication services to one of its public sector clients.
Another award-winning cybersecurity startup
Israel’s SeeMetrics won a silver 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Award from American Security Today for the Best Security Workforce Management Platform. It follows the gold award won by Israel’s Seraphic (see here previously).
Technion scientists have discovered another way to obtain energy from plants (see here for a previous method). They created a biological solar cell that generated “green” electricity through photosynthesis, collecting electrons that are naturally transported within plant cells, without affecting the plant’s growth.
Vegan canned tuna
Israel’s Vgarden (see here previously) has now launched vegan tinned tuna, made using pea protein. The product has the same appearance, texture, and flavor as the canned kitchen staple. More fish alternatives are expected to be announced by the end of this year.
European grant for wax-based crop spray
The European Innovation Council (EIC) has awarded a $1.5 million Pathfinder grant to two scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute. It will help fund the development of their SafeWax anti-pathogen crop treatment, inspired by the wax leaves of broccoli and lotus flowers.
Assessing fruit quality from a photo
Israel’s Clarifruit uses AI to grade harvested fruit and then match it to a buyers’ requirements. It reduces waste and maximizes a grower’s profit. Clarifruit now has 25 of the biggest global brands as its clients, including Dole, Canada’s Mucci Farms, Zespri (kiwi fruit), and Pink Lady (apples).
Over-the-air recharging goes commercial
Israel’s Wi-Charge (see here previously) is apparently the first wireless charging company to receive revenues. It is being used commercially to power smart door locks and electronic advert displays in the US, Canada, Brazil, and Israel and won two innovation awards at CES 2023.
Best sports-tech startup
Israel’s Griiip (see here previously) hit a significant milestone at the OTT SportsPro ceremony in November, winning the prestigious award for ‘Best Start-Up Tech Company’. Griiip’s RAMP Racing Media Platform provides real-time data to motorsport fans, the media, gaming industry, and OEMs.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
NIS 10 billion budget surplus
For the first time in 35 years, Israel achieved a budget surplus in 2022 – of $2.85 billion, mostly financed by a 14% increase in tax revenues. Hopefully, this will help plans to lower Israel’s cost of living. GDP growth in 2022 was 6.3%, one of the highest in the OECD.
Israel has sold $2 billion of 10-year green bonds, to support its goal of a zero-emissions economy by 2050. Israel is the 24th country around the world to sell green bonds, which are geared to fund key environmental objectives. The sale was so popular that it was oversubscribed by six times the amount on offer.
Brief but interesting analysis of the importance of Israel in the strategy of Intel Corporation. Intel now has 34 Israeli Vice Presidents. 10% of the employees at Intel’s headquarters are Israeli.
Learning to do business in the US
The Merage Institute is again training the leaders of Israeli companies to help them improve their marketing in the United States.
Let’s start at the very beginning
Rabbi Nosson Rodin of the Braude College of Engineering in the Galilee organized an event to advise budding entrepreneurs in Israel’s north how to establish a startup. Rabbi Rodin is founder of Project UP-START for young adults who lack a business-oriented background.
Israel’s most promising startup
Israel’s proteanTecs (see here previously) is Globes’ Most Promising Israeli Startup 2022, chosen by leading local and foreign investment firms. proteanTecs’ founders also co-founded Mellanox which topped the Globes’ ranking in 2005, eventually being acquired by NVIDIA for $6.9 billion.
Partners to secure autonomous vehicles
French automotive supplier Valeo is partnering Israel’s C2A Security (see here previously) to enhance Valeo’s cybersecurity offerings on their products in development and in operation. The automotive industry continues to realize the importance of cyber security.
Testing self-driving Daimler trucks
Torc Robotics, a subsidiary of Daimler Truck AG, announced a multi-year strategic collaboration with Israel’s Foretellix (see here previously). Foretellix’s platform will test Torc’s systems to ensure the safe deployment of autonomous Daimler trucks.
7-Eleven opens its first Israeli store
US convenience store mega-chain 7-Eleven (see here previously) opened its first store in Israel with a long line of customers lining up outside the Tel Aviv shop to make their first-ever purchases. Eight more stores are planned to open in 2023, plus 30 more in 2024.
Exits, mergers & acquisitions to 15/1/23:
Israel’s TipRanks has acquired US-based The Fly for $15 million;
Investment in Israeli startups to 15/1/23:
Opsys Tech raised $51.5 million; Ottopia raised $14.5 million; Hotelmize raised $12 million; 40Seas raised $11 million; Coho AI raised $8.5 million; Nanosono raised $2 million.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
A Virtual Tour of Tel Aviv Graffiti
Eviatar Gover of BE Tel Aviv Tours will give a Zoom tour of the graffiti in the alleyways of Florentine, Tel Aviv. On Weds 25 Jan (7:30pm Israel, 5:30pm UK or 12.30pm Eastern). Register for this ESRA presentation here.
“An Ethiopian queen in Tel Aviv”
Last week I met Israeli writer Albert Russo who was visiting Netanya. Albert has written several books including this novel featuring Ziva, a young Ethiopian Israeli who runs a shelter in Tel Aviv for at-risk teenagers. Based on a true story. See also relevant articles in the 2nd link.
See the desert bloom
We may think of the desert as barren, but from the fall to early spring the Negev turns into an unexpected haven for winter daffodils, irises, squill, cyclamens, anemones and more.
Comedy for Koby
The comedians that perform Comedy for Koby raise money for the Koby Mandell Foundation which helps bereaved mothers, fathers, widows, orphans and siblings to rebuild their lives. Their winter tour from Jan 17 to 23 visits Beit Shemesh, Raanana, Jerusalem, Gush Etzion, Modiin and Tel Aviv.
A reminder about the IAC (Israeli American Council)’s 8th Annual Summit in Austin Texas from Jan 19-21.
THE JEWISH STATE
Digging up Jewish history
Video of the on-going excavations inside caves in the Judean desert where Jewish rebels fighting the Romans hid during the Bar Kochba revolt 2,000 years ago.
Trade evidence of Biblical proportions
Israeli archaeologists have discovered the earliest evidence of silver being used as currency in the Levant, dating back more than 3,600 years. The silver hoard was found in Israel’s Megiddo, Gezer, and Shiloh. (The Torah records Abraham weighing out 400 shekels to buy a burial plot.)
Hard boiled eggs in the sand
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of eight ostrich eggs 4,000+ years old, during an archaeological dig at Nitsana sands, in the southern Negev near the Egyptian border. They were found close to the remains of a fire, indicating they were deliberately collected.
It all started here
Professor Reuven Yeshurun of the University of Haifa is giving a Zoom (and live) lecture on Mon 23 Jan (7:30pm Israel, 5:30pm UK or 12.30pm Eastern). The title is “The first settled society in human history” which he describes happened in the Land of Israel 15,000 years ago. Details & registration here.
Please get me to the shul on time
Due to the funeral procession of Rabbi Shimon Baadani (z”l), a bride was unable to get to her wedding. So, the head of United Hatzalah in Bnei Brak sent an ambulance, which had just finished its shift safeguarding the funeral, to pick up the bride and take her to the wedding hall.
NGO’s 10,000th Christian visitor to Israel
US Christian Zionist NGO Passages (see here previously) has brought its 10,000th college student to visit the Holy Land. This winter, 450 students participated in Passages’ winter program.
40 US students went on a 10-day tour of Israel and the United Arab Emirates – the inaugural trip of the Israel on Campus Coalition’s (ICC) Geller International Fellowship. The students were from all backgrounds and attended state colleges, historically black colleges, and Ivy League institutions.
Find your Israeli relatives
Israeli genealogy company MyHeritage has posted 1.7 million Israeli immigration records online, using scanned ship and plane passenger lists stored at the Israel State Archives. The records are from 1919 to around 1979. The data is free for everyone to search (see 3rd link below).