Good News Israel Archive from the week of April 5, 2015: A Palestinian Arab is Israel’s deputy chief scientist, Israel’s gift to Asia: water and cyber security and much more…
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Vaccines from your own cells
Israeli biotech SynVaccine is developing safe synthetic vaccines from the recipient’s own tissue cells, which the body’s immune system can easily recognize and build protection. In addition, SynVaccine’s computer-engineered vaccines cannot release the original virus.
Treatment to stop pain
Israel’s Teva has begun a Phase 2b trial of TV-45070 in patients with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). TV-45070 inhibits the sodium channels expressed in the pain-sensing peripheral nervous system and can treat patients with various pain indications, including neuropathic and osteo-arthritis pain.
Cause of ovarian failure discovered
Tel Aviv University and Schneider Medical Center researchers have discovered a genetic mutation responsible for Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) that affects one percent of all women worldwide. The study began after DNA testing two affected Israeli-Arab girls.
US journalists see Israeli medical innovations
For the past 10 years, the Murray Fromson American Associates, Ben-Gurion University Media Mission has brought US reporters and editors to see cutting-edge Israeli research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. This year’s themes included neuroscience, stem cells and medical robotics.
Saving lives of the wounded
A higher percentage of Israelis were seriously or critically injured in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge than in the 2006 Lebanon War. Yet recovery times were faster and treatment much more effective this time, thanks to faster evacuation to hospital and technology to stop bleeding.
Prize for life
Israel’s Prize4Life is funding $1million prizes for research and treatment for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). At Tel Aviv’s BrainTech 2015 conference, every delegate stood up to applaud Prize4Life’s CEO and ALS sufferer Shay Rishoni, who demonstrated a device that translates eye movements into computerized voice.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Free car seats for babies
Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center delivered 22,030 babies in 2014 – probably the largest number in the world. Together with Yad Sarah and a nearby taxi company have for the first time arranged for the free lending of infant car seats to parents to get the babies home safely.
Palestinian Arab is Israel’s deputy chief scientist
Tarek Abu-Hamed, of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem, was named as deputy chief scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. He will be responsible for overseeing national scientific infrastructure, state intellectual property and taxation of academic institutions.
Israeli doctors save Maryam
In my 1st Mar 2015 newsletter I reported that 18-month old Iraqi Christian Maryam Mansour had arrived at Israel’s Hadassah hospital for heart surgery, but her survival chances were slim. Well the good news is that the 8-hour operation was successful and Maryam should make a full recovery.
Medical students ‘adopt’ wounded Syrian boy
A Syrian boy, who lost a leg in an explosion while tending sheep, was sent to Israel for treatment. As the boy has no family in Israel, six Israeli medical students entertain him and with their own money bought him a digital tablet with headphones, games and movies in Arabic.
Jordanians float to Israel
A 10-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl from the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea floated to Israel after their inner tubes were swept westward by the current. A Jordanian soldier, who had tried to stop the children, was carried away as well. The children (ex-Iraqi refugees) now want to remain in Israel.
Miami learns from Israel
A delegation of leaders in the Miami tech-startup community has just spent a week in Israel with Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee, to learn from Israel’s thriving tech and innovation sector, while sharing best practices and making connections.
Israel & Canada innovate for humanity
The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research will showcase Israel’s and Canada’s contributions to the world at its 27th annual international conference in Montreal on 29th April.
Helping Taiwan combat drought
Following its seminar in November, Simona Halperin, head of the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, has been advising Taiwan’s government on how to deal with its worst drought in over a decade. Public campaigns, recycling and better infrastructure are a priority.
Israel’s gift to Asia: water and cyber security
A delegation of Israeli information security companies is in South Korea showing how Israeli technology can better secure the Asian state. And a Chinese delegation from Shouguang visiting Israeli water technology companies as part of Israel and China’s joint “water city” project.
More on Israeli ties with Rwanda
A delegation from Rwanda’s ICT Chamber has just visited Israel as guests of Israeli venture capital firm Kaenaat & YPO, which has been working with them for the last two years. Israel is helping Rwanda to jump-start its technology ecosystem using education, skills exchange and investment.
Advancing Kenyan agriculture.
Israel’s Embassy to Kenya is hosting the Israel Kenya Agri Challenge in which 10 Kenyan agricultural entrepreneurs will compete for a fully paid trip to Israel to experience up-close the exciting Israeli start-up ecosystem. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv University’s Pears Challenge for Innovation and International Development encourages Israeli agricultural entrepreneurs to develop tech solutions for Kenyan farmers.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israel’s US water partner
Akron Ohio has reached an agreement with five Israeli water technology companies to make Akron the exclusive partner for Israeli water research in North America.
Israel wastewater treatment company Emefcy won the prestigious award for Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Development at CleanEquity Monaco 2015. Emefcy’s CEO and founder Eytan Levy received the award from Monaco’s Prince Albert II.
TaKaDu sponsors UK water conference
Amir Peleg of Israel’s smart water monitoring company TaKaDu is Chairman of the Swan (Smart WAter Networks) Forum and is one of the sponsors of Swan Forum’s Conference entitled “Smart Water: The time is now”, taking place in London on 29-30 April.
An interesting article on Israeli agricultural technology, plus 4 Israeli “AgTech” companies developing creative solutions for sustainable agriculture. BioFishency, Morflora, Roots and Amitec will feature at Israel’s 19th annual Agritech International Agricultural Exhibition & Conference on April 27.
Knesset’s solar roof is complete
Israel’s Knesset building now has the largest solar field for any parliament in the world. 1,500 solar panels were installed on the Knesset’s roof, and on those of surrounding buildings, producing 450kw of energy. Phase 1 of Israel’s Green Knesset project also cut paper and water consumption.
Safer, cheaper driving
Israel’s Green Road Technologies sells systems for monitoring real-time driving data, using a smartphone or its own hardware installed in vehicles. The systems raise awareness of safety, save fuel, reduce insurance premiums, motoring costs and accidents. Green Road has just raised $26 million of finance.
How safe is your smartphone?
Israel’s Skycure offers two main products, a free app that secures mobile devices for consumers and software that keeps companies safe from external mobile devices. Skycure has just raised $8 million of funding.
Basic yet smart
Israeli start-up E2C (Easy to Connect) has developed an interface for smartphones that make them easier for seniors to use. A large display menu, longer response times, vibrating keys, voice activation, simple navigation and a one-click response all make life much easier for the technically-challenged.
Wireless battery charging
I featured Israel’s Wi-Charge in Sept 2013, and it was recently demonstrated in San Francisco. The infra-red laser transmitters are due to launch in 2016 and cost $50 – $100.
Weizmann wins most Euro research grants
The Weizmann Institute of Science has the distinction of having the top percentage of grants awarded to it by the European Research Council’s 7th Framework Program. Between 2007 and 2013, it had 35 percent of its grants proposals accepted, totaling nearly 150 million Euros.
Lockheed Martin promotes Israeli education
Lockheed Martin and Israel’s Ministry of Education are to build a program in the Israeli education system to increase the number of Israeli teachers in computer science and cyber security. Lockheed Martin will also sponsor a nationwide high-school cyber security competition.
Skiing gets even more exciting
I featured the Augmented Reality (AR) ski goggles from Israel’s RideOn in February, but this article includes a video that shows you what you see when you wear them.
A magic touch
MUV Interactive (featured in this newsletter in Sept 2014) was one of Israel’s innovative technology companies starring at the recent AIPAC Conference in Washington. MUV’s $200 “Bird” sits on your finger to control and design interactive presentations, just by pointing. Shipping starts in a few months.
Matching stories to users
Israeli startup Keewee uses natural language processing, machine learning and social graphs to provide you with relevant stories. Over 60 brands and publishers use its service, including the New York Times. It has just raised $9.1 million of funds, including from the NYT and Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt.
Huge increase in Israeli patents
According to Israel’s business information group, BDICoface, Israeli companies and entities registered 3,555 patents in the United States in 2014 – an increase of around 21 percent over the previous year. Israel comes 3rd in the world for patents, after Japan and Taiwan.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Analyzing social media for businesses
Israel’s Tracx is a social intelligence platform that provides sales, marketing and support teams with social media data to help make their products better suited to potential customers. Tracx’s story of entrepreneurs and innovative hi-tech mirrors that of the Startup Nation.
UJA-NY invests in Israeli social impact projects
The UJA-Federation of New York has invested $1 million in two Israeli social impact funds, which fund profitable Israeli businesses that give good investment returns but also help people at risk, special needs individuals, the elderly, and the unemployed.
Israel and China get down to business
The Prime Minister’s Office’s Israel-China task force was launched at the China-Israel Cooperation Conference in Tel Aviv. For the first time dialogue on China combined the business sector, academia and government in order to expand bilateral commercial ties.
Santander backs Israeli startup
Spanish bank Santander, via its Innoventures Fund, has invested in MyCheck – the largest mobile payment company in Israel. The product also has the potential to be marketed to Sandander’s 107 million-plus retail and commercial customers across Europe and the Americas.
SolarEdge, Israel’s latest company to float on the NASDAQ, raised $126 million and then rose in price from $18 to $22 in the first week. SolarEdge’s innovative products effectively allow solar panels to act independently of each other and thereby increase overall power production.
Teva buys Auspex for $3.2 billion
Israel’s Teva has bought US biotech Auspex for $3.2 billion and acquires Auspex’s portfolio of innovative medicines for people who live with movement disorders. Auspex also has pipeline treatments for Huntingdon’s disease, Parkinson’s, dyskensia and Tourette’s syndrome.
Moovit arrives in Australia
Israel’s Moovit has launched its transportation app in Australia. It already has 200,000 users after beta trials in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth. Moovit uses crowdsourcing to get you to your destination in the quickest way possible.
Legally share TV clips
Israeli-developed Whipclip has launched its TV-sharing app with Comedy Central, ABC, CBS, Fox and other TV networks. Whipclip’s free mobile app lets users create and share 30-second video clips of TV shows and music videos – legally.
Look who’s investing in Israel
Horizons Ventures is owned by Asia’s richest man – Li Ka-shing. Horizons is Israel’s largest foreign startup investor, and was very successful when it invested in Waze.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
International children’s theater festival
The 25th annual Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival begins on Apr 5. The al fresco entertainment lineup constitutes 19 shows from nine countries, such as Holland, Spain, Switzerland and Austria, as well as a co-production between Italy and Israel.
Israel’s first international Yiddish music festival
TLV/1 radio has this interview with Eli Grunfeld, the artistic director of the first international Yiddish festival in Tel Aviv.
Richard Gere arrives; Dionne and Art are coming
Richard Gere is in Israel as a guest of the Peres Peace Center and for the filming of Oppenheimer Strategies. Legendary soul and R&B singer Dionne Warwick will perform at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena on May 19, where she may just “say a little prayer”. And Art Garfunkel is “Homeward Bound” and will perform at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium on June 10.
The biggest climbing wall in the Middle East
The largest Israeli extreme park has just opened, after an investment of NIS 22 million. Park Extreme in Acre (Akko) includes the biggest climbing wall in the Middle East, the highest bungee jump in Israel; air surfing, hanging bridges; and many more facilities that defy gravity.
THE JEWISH STATE
More Ukrainian Jews make Exodus to Israel
Dozens of Ukrainian Jews live at The Jewish Agency’s refugee center in Dnepropetrovsk in preparation for Aliya on the eve of the festival of Passover. 1,400 Ukrainian Jews arrived in Israel during the first quarter of 2015, compared to approximately 400 in 2014.
Muslim scientist’s exodus from Egypt
Noha Hashad’s story is just coming to light. After 11 years in an Egyptian jail, for pro-Jewish Quran research, she escaped and fled to Israel in 2011. “Israel is like a jewel, a diamond, I am very fortunate to be here,” she said. Noha has founded a center for peace in the Middle East.
The Tourism Ministry is expecting about 130,000 visitors in Israel over the period of Passover and the Christian Holy Week. Hotel occupancy levels in most of the popular tourism areas will reach 80-90% during the holidays, with some areas completely full.
Feeding 100,000 over Passover
Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, an organization dedicated to eliminating poverty in Israel, will be distributing upward of 15,000 food baskets this Passover to feed 100,000 people in Israel. Also Colel Chabad is implementing Israel’s Food Security Project, while Leket Israel gathers produce from farmers.
Click here for the latest Good News from Israel.