Good News Israel Archive from the week of August 9, 2015: Discovery of the melanoma trigger; Superfood for Rwanda and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Discovery of the melanoma trigger
A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, Israel’s Technion, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Sheba Medical Center have discovered what causes melanoma cells to turn into aggressive tumors. The scientists are convinced that it will soon lead to a breakthrough treatment.
Diagnosing malaria in only 3 minutes
Israel’s Sight Diagnostics (SightDx) uses computer vision technology to scan “stained” blood samples under a fluorescent microscope and detect the presence of anomalies in blood cells due to malaria. The 3 minute test contrasts with current tests that take one or two days.
Dancing can treat Parkinson’s
When Professor Rafi Eldor was told that he had Parkinson’s disease, seven years ago, he felt that the sky had fallen on him. Two years later he took up dancing and now watch him dance to the theme tune of the movie “Skyfall”.
Pluristem stem cells control the immune system
A new study on stem cells developed by Israeli biotech Pluristem shows they can be used to regulate the immune system, speeding it up or slowing it down as needed. They release a cocktail of therapeutic proteins in response to a host of inflammatory and ischemic diseases.
Voice monitoring to diagnose brain disease
IBM Israel researchers are working on a project to detect brain diseases such as dementia, much earlier. It involves monitoring the patient’s voice remotely and detecting changes, so that activities and medication could slow down the advance of the disease.
Protection against microbial infections
Professor Ervin Weiss, founder of Israel’s NanoLock, has invented a nano-polymer additive that protects against microbial infections – one of the most urgent medical problems. NanoLock has just acquired licenses and patents for the technology.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Speed mentoring for women entrepreneurs
Top women in the fields of mobile, tech and startups attended “Speed Mentoring Night with Women who Inspire and Mentor in the Startup Nation” at the Google Campus in Tel Aviv. 120 hopeful female entrepreneurs benefited from 5-minute mentoring sessions.
And Israel has the world’s 7th most women startup leaders.
Women excel in the smart nation
Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the number of Israeli graduates has increased five-fold since 1990. In the last academic year, one and a half times as many women as men were awarded an undergraduate or Masters’ degree.
Jerusalem light railway is popular with Arabs
The BBC failed to mention in its Panorama program that the Jerusalem light railway also makes it easier for Arab residents of Jerusalem to travel around the city to hospitals, shopping malls or other areas that Arabs freely access alongside their Jewish neighbors.
Druze village tops Israeli matriculation
The Druze village of Beit Jann achieved Israel’s highest rate of matriculation certificate eligibility among high school students in the 2013-14 school year, having come in at third and second places in the last two years.
Scholarships and pride for Druze students
Thanks to International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), many Druse students received University scholarships in memory of former Druse IDF officer and Majdal Shams mayor Maj. Salim Shufi. The current mayor said the event gave the students a sense of pride.
A Heart for Peace
Since it began in 2005, A Heart for Peace’s Israeli and Palestinian Arab doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital have treated 607 children with congenital heart diseases from Gaza and the PA territories. No child has been prevented from receiving care. All costs are funded by the hospital and AHFP.
Haifa doctors save two Palestinian Arabs in Jerusalem
18 year-old Muhammad Jabri nearly died in a Hebron car crash but was saved by doctors from Haifa’s Rambam hospital who were at Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem treating another Palestinian Arab when Jabri was brought in.
Israel donates helicopters to Jordan
Israel has given around 16 retired U.S.-supplied Cobra combat helicopters to Jordan to help fend off insurgent threats on Jordan’s Syrian and Iraqi borders.
Jersey City emergency volunteers learn from Israel
Jersey City is training a team of citizen volunteers that utilizes GPS mobile app-based technology to respond to emergency incidents ahead of ambulances. The program is modeled on United Hatzalah, an Israeli community-based emergency organization.
Superfood for Rwanda
Five young agronomists from Rwanda have spent a year studying Israeli agriculture. The most significant project was how to grow spirulina algae, a superfood that contains all the essential nutrients a human body requires. It could save millions of Rwandan children from malnutrition.
Training 150 Indian police
Last week I reported about the Israeli-trained Indian anti-terror SWAT team. This week, Israel’s ambassador to Israel announced that Israel will give anti-terror training to 150 Indian policemen at the new state-of-the-art national police academy in Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem.
Israel Africa hub is launched
Israeli startup Fundz has launched the online community Israel Africa Hub. It will leverage technology to support the fast growing technology ecosystems across Africa, allowing entrepreneurs and investors to interact, co-invest or expand existing enterprises.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israeli startup Argus currently has the world’s only effective system to detect and prevent the kind of electronic attack launched recently on a Jeep Cherokee in St Louis. Argus analyzes data transmitted to a vehicle’s IP address and only accepts genuine commands.
The second man to ever walk on the moon, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, 85, is scheduled to make his first touchdown in Israel when he attends the International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem in October. Aldrin’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong visited Israel several years ago.
All for one and one for all
If you need to use Israeli app Musketeer to call for help in an emergency, you should get a very fast response. The nearest Musketeers (professionals and do-gooders) will come to your aid and stay with you until the official emergency services arrive. Another caring app from the Jewish State.
An on-line makeover
Busy women entrepreneurs who haven’t time to spend trying on cosmetics can now use the app TryItOn from Israel’s EZ Face. It connects to a database of 25,000 beauty products. Take a selfie in the store and then scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) of any cosmetic to see what it would look like.
Joint space projects with Florida
The Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program has awarded second round funding to four innovative joint space-related projects. The Israeli beneficiaries are Micro-gRx, Israel Aerospace Industries, STEMRAD and Elbit Systems Land.
Security for ARM chips
Microprocessor manufacturing giant ARM has bought Israel’s Sansa Security for at least $85 million. Sansa has developed embedded security for microchips – which will be very useful for ARM as the market for Internet-connected devices increases. Sansa will become ARM’s Israeli R&D center.
Israeli drones to protect Australian sheep
Israel’s Ninox Robotics and Bluebird Aerosystems are employing Israeli drones with thermal imaging to guard farms from pests such as kangaroos and wild dogs. It saves farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of sheep, plus hours spent defending them.
Elbit new cyber security unit
Israel’s Elbit has launched a new cyber security unit called Cyberbit. It has two separate departments – one, focusing on law enforcement unit and the other being the Cybershield department, for detecting and defending against cyber attacks.
Technion produces the 8th most Nobel laureates
The Technion Israel Institute of Technology topped the list of institutions outside the US with the most Nobel prizewinners this century.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Tech investment at record high
A record $1.12 billion poured into Israel’s high-tech ecosystem in the second quarter of 2015, according to the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center. Also, the increased volume of funds from foreign private equity investors is a sign of maturity for the Israeli tech economy.
Tourism is on the up
Tourist arrivals in Israel over the past 10 years have tripled to 3.3 million.
Christians accounted for 56% of last year’s tourist arrivals, up from 33% a decade ago.
Currency reserves up again
Israel’s foreign currency reserves hit another all-time record in July of $88.424 billion, including $7.41 billion in the reserve due to the natural gas purchase program.
An app to find the best duty free prices
Israeli app Shopnfly informs travelers on where to get the lowest prices on duty free shopping. At the airport, on the plane or duty paid in the local supermarket. Shopnfly is in use in nearly 50 airports and has just partnered with El Al.
Calling all Hebrew U alumni
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched HUJiconnect.com. It provides more than 30,000 HUJ alumni with their own exclusive place to professionally and socially connect with one another in order to find training and employment opportunities. 4,000 alumni have already signed up
Yet another fruity takeover
Israel’s Frutarom has made its 9th acquisition of the year by purchasing Florida’s Scandia Citrus for $6 million. Scandia Citrus specializes in R&D, manufacture, sales and marketing of specialty products in the field of citrus.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit
Ran Korber, co-founder and CEO of Israeli startup Breezometer represented Israeli innovation at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The event was attended by about 1000 people from 120 countries, including US President Barack Obama.
A $50 million deal
Israel’s Taboola has signed a 3-year deal worth $45 – $55 million with USA Today’s parent company Gannett. Taboola’s content recommendations will be seamlessly integrated across Gannett’s vast network of digital publishing assets in more than 110 markets.
Keeping customers loyal
Israeli startup Keeprz has developed a sophisticated app that offers customers a variety of loyalty incentives. Keeprz’s customers include Burger King, Coca Cola, BMW and Cafe Joe. Keeprz has just been acquired by another Israeli company – Como – for around $50 million.
888 buys Bwin.party for $1.4 billion
Israel’s 888 Holding plc, which operates the world’s largest online casino and poker operation, is acquiring the British-Austrian Bwin.party Digital Entertainment for $1.4 billion. The merger will make 888 one of the most dominant players in the online gambling industry.
The first kibbutz startup accelerator
Kibbutz Revivim in Israel’s Ramat Hanegev is set to become Israel’s first kibbutz to launch a startup accelerator. “Hamadgera” (incubator) will uniquely offer three months free accommodation on the kibbutz for Internet and mobile startups participating in the program.
Colossal failure is now much fitter
Israeli Benny Shaviv lost $4 million of venture capital on his first startup and had to sell his house to pay his debts. But his new startup Fitness22 is making huge profits without any funding, selling Benny’s innovative fitness apps. One – 5K Runner has over 4 million downloads.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
This is Israel in 60 seconds
A fast-paced view of a fast-paced nation that also knows how to relax and have fun. Beautiful landscapes, energizing events, cutting-edge technologies and exciting people. From parties to prayers, beaches to bicycles … and great food. Visitors can look forward to an unforgettable experience.
The first Israeli in MLB draft
Israel senior national team member Dean Kremer became the first Israeli to ever be selected in the US Major League Baseball draft, being chosen by the San Diego Padres.
THE JEWISH STATE
UK Prime Minister’s speech to the Knesset
I know it was 12 Mar 2014, but I missed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech to the Israeli Parliament then. He revealed that Israeli technology was protecting British troops in Afghanistan. I just wanted to make sure that you hadn’t missed the speech too.
Putting Hebrew texts on-line
The National Library of Israel and the British Library in London are to digitize all of the 3,200 rare Hebrew manuscripts at The British Library.
50,000 Christian Zionists for a united Jerusalem
Israel365, an Israeli NGO that promotes the biblical significance of the Jewish state to Evangelical Christian Zionists, presented Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with a “Jerusalem Covenant” proclamation signed by more than 50,000 people affirming the unity of Jerusalem.
2000-year-old Jewish inscriptions in Jerusalem
Archeologists have excavated a ritual bath (mikve) dating to the time of the Second Temple (first century CE) inside an underground cave in Jerusalem. The walls were adorned with paintings and Aramaic inscriptions in cursive Hebrew script.
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