Good News Israel Archive from the week of August 16, 2015: Israeli success for treatment of back pain; Chinese science competition prize is a trip to Israel and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Success for treatment of back pain
Israel’s Nervomatrix has reported success from independent controlled trials of its hyper-stimulation pulse device for treating lower back pain. The study on 28 patients at Belgian’s Free University of Brussels obtained significant pain relief after 4 treatments compared to a control group.
Protection against future flu strains
Israel’s BiondVax has published independent tests of trials showing that its M-001 Universal Flu vaccinations given 3 years ago have protected patients from flu strains that only came into existence well after the vaccine was administered.
Sealing up after surgery
Israel’s LifeBond has developed LifeSeal (see Aug 2011 newsletter) – a sealant to greatly reduce surgical leaks, which are associated with potential infections and other serious complications, risking the lives of hundreds of thousands every year. LifeBond has just raised $27 million of funding.
2015 WEF Technology Pioneers
Three Israeli companies were chosen by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in its 2015 list of 14 Technology Pioneers in the Life Science and Health category. ElMindA’s Brain Network Activation identifies brain damage. Consumer Physics’s SCIO is a chemical analyzer. Novocure uses electric fields to treat solid tumors.
Robotic needle steering
Israeli startup XACT Robotics developed a robotic system for needle steering, for use in biopsies and ablations, or to inject medications in specific areas of the body. The first application of XACT’s technology will be for biopsies in lung tissue. XACT has just raised $5 million to fund US trials.
Fast track for Muscular Dystrophy treatment
The US FDA has given fast track approval to Israel’s BioBlast for its Cabaletta treatment for two rare and currently untreatable conditions – oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3).
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
NIS 18,000 for every Israeli child
The Israeli government is to create a savings account for every Israeli child, regardless of religion that will be worth up to 18,000 shekels (around £3000 or $4700) on the child’s 18th birthday.
“I am a Zionist because I am an Arab”
Excellent article by Fred Maroun.
OECD praises Israel for improving Israeli-Arab job situation
An OECD report praises Israel in its efforts to deal with Israeli-Arab unemployment. Whilst recommending further improvements, it noted the important role of Israeli employment centers in advancing employment for the Arab and Beduin sectors.
The first Israeli Arab to coach an Israeli soccer team
Israeli-Arab Salah Hasarma made history when he took over as coach of Israeli soccer club Kiryat Shmona (K8) in the Europa League qualifying game against Czech team Slovan Liberec. Although K8 lost, their Israeli-Arab striker Ahmed Abed scored a vital away goal.
Israeli-Arab delivers baby of mother of terror victim
Magen David Adom paramedic Ziad Dawiyat has met Chana Braun twice. Firstly he transported her 3-month-old baby Chaya to hospital, where she died from being run-over by an Arab terrorist. The second, though, was when he came to deliver Chana’s new baby.
Israeli police save Palestinian-Arab girl
A team of Border Police in Hebron responded to the emergency call from the family of a young Palestinian-Arab girl suffering acute respiratory distress. Corporal Shai Chen administered oxygen to stabilize the girl’s breathing and bring her pulse down to a normal rate.
Israeli summer co-existence camps
Three Israeli summer camps bring together Jewish, Israeli-Arab and Palestinian Arab youth. ILAN, The Israeli Association for Disabled Children; Rosh Tzurim, a religious kibbutz in Judea, hosted disabled Arab-Israelis; Wings of Peace brings together Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.
Photos of things only seen in Israel
I hope you enjoy this compilation from Ira Jacobson.
Israeli help for Syrian Druze
Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein, head of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, is helping destitute Syrian Druze refugees sheltering in Jordan.
Sandstorm diverts Jordanian planes to Tel Aviv
A major sandstorm swept through most parts of Jordan. It prevented multiple flights from landing at the country’s main international airport in the capital of Amman, Queen Alia Airport, sending two flights to divert to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
Tel Aviv on the Seine
Visitors to Paris will be able to experience Tel Aviv beach as they wander down the River Seine. The Paris municipality is inaugurating the Tel Aviv artificial beach, despite a BDS campaign.
Chinese science competition prize is a trip to Israel
19 Chinese teenagers who won a prestigious science competition are scheduled to visit Israel as their prize. The winning group was given a choice of travel destinations and opted to attend a special 10-day workshop hosted by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.
Flood relief for Myanmar
Israel responded quickly to recent severe flooding in Myanmar. Ambassador Daniel Zonshine personally delivered a truck of food, medicines, mosquito nets and hygiene packs to the hard-hit Thayarwaddy delta area. Israel’s MASHAV is preparing more supplies, including water purification tablets.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Tamar-Ashdod-Sorek gas pipeline completed
A new 22 kilometer extension to Sorek has been laid to the pipeline connecting the Tamar natural gas field to Ashdod. It will increase the gas supply to power stations in the South of Israel. Eventually 160 km of pipelines will transport gas all over Israel.
How ants carry heavy loads
Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have analyzed the methods that ants employ to transport food to their nests. Teams of ants are organized into formation by a guiding ant.
Look, no hands
Middle school students of Israeli startup Graffiti came 3rd in this year’s Junior Achievement Europe Company of the Year competition. They designed the Sit Up – a safety harness to carry children on one’s shoulders, leaving the adult’s hands free. Sit Up is manufactured by Israeli company Netiv, which employs people with special needs.
Stand and sit up straight
Israel’s Oded Cohen has developed the UpRight wearable training device. Embedded with dual sensors, it attaches to your lower back with hypoallergenic adhesive strips and gently vibrates every time you slouch. Regular use trains your muscles and mind to sit and stand upright.
System warns of objects on the track
Israel’s Rail Safe is developing a smart system for Israel Railways to detect objects on the tracks up to a distance of 3 km. The system, the first in the world of its kind, uses a thermal sensor that detects and classifies objects in real time, warning the driver to prevent a collision.
Device allows ALS sufferers to communicate
Not everyone can afford the complex technology that ALS sufferer Stephen Hawkins uses to communicate. Israel’s EyeControl provides a much cheaper option using a laser device connected to spectacles. It achieved its $30,000 funding target on Indiegogo in under 20 days.
World Science Conference Israel
Fifteen Nobel Laureates and 400 outstanding science students from 71 countries are attending the first World Science Conference Israel (WSCI) in Jerusalem. The program includes Nobel Laureate master class sessions, a science workshop competition and excursions around the country.
Israelis dominate cyber security competition finalists
Three Israeli cyber security start-ups are among 11 chosen from around the world to compete in the finals of the Kaspersky Lab Security Startup Challenge – its search for global “cyber-stars”. They are Re-Sec Technologies, Cyber DriveWare and Security in Motion.
Radiation protection for astronauts
More details on the radiation protection suit being developed by Israel’s StemRad that I mentioned here in last week’s newsletter. StemRad is working with US defense giant Lockheed-Martin to develop a version of its gamma-ray shielding vest for use in deep-space missions.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli economy gets S&P A+ rating
Standard & Poor’s has affirmed Israel’s international credit ratings as positive, giving it an A+ score. The agency’s economic forecast for Israel was positive as well, defining the economy as “stable” and projecting it would grow by 3% between 2015 and 2018.
Israeli cyber security merger
Israeli NASDAQ cyber security company CyberArk Software has acquired Israeli cyber detection company Cybertinel for an estimated $20 million. The merger enhances CyberArk’s ability to detect early security threats. CyberArk’s $36 .4 million 2nd quarter revenue was 70% up on Q2 2014.
A map of Israeli cyber security startups
Bessemer Venture Partners have produced an excellent map showing how the main Israeli cyber security startups fit into the various technology and business areas.
15 new Dreamliners for El Al
El Al has announced the largest-ever procurement of new aircraft in the company’s history. It is buying and leasing 15 Boeing 787 (“Dreamliners”) jets costing $800-900 million. The planes will replace El Al’s 747-400 and 767 fleet on medium to long haul routes.
New flights from UK to Israel
UK’s Monarch Airlines is to commence Sunday, Monday and Thursday flights between London Luton and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion from Jan 2016. Prices start at £49 TLV-LTN and £89 LTN-TLV. Monarch will also operate Thursday flights between Luton and Ovda Eilat. Tickets on sale now.
Record number of passengers at Ben Gurion
On Aug 13 a record 80,000 passengers passed through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. The Israel Airport Authority assesses that some 2 million passengers will pass through the airport in August – the largest number of passengers to come and go in a single month.
SAP leverages the Startup Nation
Orna Kleinmann, MD of SAP Labs Israel, says that Israel’s innovation spirit derives from necessity: Israel is a small country, with no substantial natural resources, and must fight for its existence. This breeds creativity and is the foundation for the local innovation ecosystem.
62 electric locomotives for Israel Railways
Israel Railway’s electrification project has advanced with a deal to buy 62 locomotives from Canada’s Bombardier for NIS 1 billion. The NIS 13.7 billion project involves converting 420 kilometers of track over to electric operation.
Tel Aviv’s hottest startups
Wired describes 10 of Israel’s startups with most potential in its magazine featuring the 100 hottest European startups. They include Consumer Physics, Playbuzz, StoreDot, Winward, Moovit, SimilarWeb, Zebra Medical, AppsFlyer, Adallom and FeeX.
Australia resumes “VISITS”
The government of Victoria State, Australia has agreed to restart the Victoria–Israel Science Innovation and Technology Scheme (VISITS) after an 8-month closure. The $AUS 2 million innovation partnership supports jobs, innovation and bi-lateral trade.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
European debating champions
Stav Singer and Iddan Golomb from Tel Aviv University, won the gold trophy in the English as a second language category at the European Universities Debating Championship in Vienna. Six Israeli teams successfully fought through to join 700 competitors in the knockout rounds.
Jerusalem Beer Festival
Enthusiasts of the amber nectar should make their way to Independence Park in Jerusalem on Aug 26 to sample over 150 different beers at the Jerusalem Beer Festival. There will also be food and entertainment from live bands including Hadag Nahash.
Kanye West to perform in Israel
Rapper Kanye West will perform in Israel on Sept. 30 in Ramat Gan’s stadium. Three months ago, Kanye visited the Jewish state with his wife, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and their daughter North, who was baptized at an Armenian church in Jerusalem.
62 medals at Special Olympics
Israeli athletes this week won 62 medals at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated all the athletes, saying “Even those who did not win, to reach the games and compete, this says that you have something special”.
91-year-old Israeli wins senior world championship
Three months after being named European champion, 91-year-old Israeli long-distance runner Semion Simkin won the world championship for senior runners in Lyon, France. Simkin finished the 6.2 miles in 1:20:01, over 21 minutes ahead of the runner up.
THE JEWISH STATE
The Facebook wedding
The death of the bride’s father led many invited guests to believe that the wedding was canceled and only 10 relatives turned up. One of them used Facebook to request strangers to fulfill the mitzvah of making the bride and groom happy. Over 1,000 people came out to celebrate.
From England to Israel, by bicycle
Kevan Green, a member of my local Netanya synagogue, cycled the 2,900 km from Romford, Essex to Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Israel in four weeks, beginning on his 30th wedding anniversary. He raised £17,000 for the hospital and was featured on Israel’s Channel 1 News.
Archaeologists discover Goliath’s birthplace
Israeli archaeologists at Bar-Ilan University have discovered an entrance gate and other remnants of the Philistine city of Gath, which was mentioned in the bible as the home of the giant Goliath, who fought and lost against the man who later became King David.
The best place to view the Heavens
Thousands of Israelis stayed up all night to watch the skies and enjoy a magnificent, unobstructed view of the Aug 12th Perseids meteor shower. Six thousand gathered at the Mitzpe Ramon crater in the Negev where there was no interference from urban lights or pollution.
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