Good News Israel Archive from the week of December 27, 2015: A team of students from Israel’s Technion has developed a treatment for hair loss, without side-effects; Israelis win most European research grants and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
New molecule kills cancer cells
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a molecule known as NT157 which targets metastatic human melanoma and colon cancer. The molecule has been licensed to Israeli startup TyrNovo for medical trials.
Software to stop that stutter
Israel’s Novotalk is the only app that includes a therapy aspect for stuttering intervention. Novotalk’s fluency shaping therapy has a 90% success rate. Approximately 1% of the world’s adult population stutters – approximately 70 million people.
Don’t let your blood sugar levels spike
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have published a study showing the danger to health from eating foods that cause the blood sugar level to rise quickly. These foods vary for each individual and Weizmann wants more Israelis to join its Personalized Nutrition Project.
Treatment for diabetics in China
Israel’s Oramed has signed a deal worth $50 million that gives China’s Hefei Life Science & Technology (HLST) the rights to Oramed’s oral insulin capsule ORMD-0801 in China, Hong Kong and Macau. ORMD-0801 will help treat the large and growing numbers of diabetics in China.
Sleep is key to success of bone marrow transplants
A clinical study by Professor Asya Rolls of Israel’s Technion has shown that the donor needs to sleep well in the four hours prior to donating their stem cells. If not, the success of the transplant decreases by 50%.
Non-invasive procedure wins $10,000 prize
Three students from Israel’s Technion, won the $10,000 first prize at the BizTEC Entrepreneurship Competition held at Microsoft’s Herzliya R&D center. Their product solves the major problem of collecting urine samples from millions of babies each year.
Keep your hair
A team of students from Israel’s Technion has developed a treatment for hair loss, without side-effects. It won them “Best New Application” at the 2015 international iGEM synthetic biology competition in Massachusetts.
Tech for first responders
The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has granted $12 million over the next 3 years to Israeli-American projects that develop advanced technologies for first responders. The “NextGen” collaboration is expected to produce many lifesaving solutions.
Highest birthrate, lowest C-section rate
The childbirth rate of Israeli women is the highest among the 34 OECD countries, while its rate of cesarean sections is the lowest. The Israeli birthrate of 3.0 compares to the OECD average of 1.7. The Israeli cesarean rate is 154.3 per 1,000 births whilst the OECD figure is 258.7.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Turning old buses into hi-tech classrooms
Israeli non-profit organization Ofanim has retrofitted six old buses into mobile study labs in order to run educational enrichment programs for children in the North and South of Israel. http://nocamels.com/2015/12/ofanim-buses-high-tech-classrooms/
Enabling charities to “go mobile”
Israeli startup Communer began by developing an app that helps Jewish communities to communicate better with their members. Communer has now evolved into providing a wide and advanced solution for all nonprofits and beyond.
KKL-JNF gives trees to Israeli-Christians
KKL-JNF again distributed free Christmas trees to Israeli churches, monasteries, convents and embassies and individuals. The general public can also buy trees at a nominal cost. http://drybonesblog.blogspot.co.il/2015/12/merry-christmas.html
Israel’s first Arab college
Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairperson Naftali Bennett announced, “For the first time in the annals of the state of Israel we are establishing a general academic college in an Arab town,” said Bennett. “This is history for the Arab sector and this is history for the state of Israel.”
Israel and Jordan issue tender to save Dead Sea
Israel and Jordan have jointly published an $800 million tender to build a water-carrying canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The project will rehabilitate the shrinking Dead Sea and supply drinking water to Israeli, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Friendship with Albania
The Prime Ministers of Israel and Albania signed a joint declaration of friendship in honor of 25th years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Other documents signed included a medical research cooperation agreement between hospitals.
Bringing Israel to the masses via popular bloggers
Vibe Israel seeks out the world’s top bloggers – people with the most power online and in social media – and brings them to the Startup Nation, to learn what innovations Israel has created in their field. The current project focuses on Informal Education.
Snails empower Ghanaian women
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is sponsoring a project by two Ghanaian students who have been setting up snail farms in rural Ghana. The project provides employment for Ghanaian women as well as vital protein for local families.
An Israeli office in the UAE
Israel is to open a diplomatic-level mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi, its first openly established representative office in the United Arab Emirates. Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold visited Abu Dhabi earlier in December, the first time an Israeli government official of his diplomatic rank has publicly made the trip.
Israeli resolution gets UN approval
An Israeli resolution on utilizing agricultural technology for sustainable development passed at the United Nations with 124 countries voting in favor and 37 (Arab block) abstentions. Ambassador Danny Danon called it a “victory for Israeli innovation.”
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israelis win most European research grants
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded 24 of its 291 early-career starting grants to 24 Israeli researchers – making Israel first place for the number of research grants per capita.
Marine research station in Haifa
Texas A&M University, in collaboration with the University of Haifa, is launching a $6 million marine research center in February, to help mitigate risks associated with offshore oil exploration.
Protecting the Internet of Things
Israeli start-up Dojo Labs has developed a stylish pebble-like device, to monitor all data sent by anything connected to the Internet – smart TVs, smartphones, smart tablets, smart refrigerators, even smart water faucets – to determine if they have been hijacked by hackers.
Israel is a leader in the Internet of Things
Innovation Endeavors, the Venture Capital firm of Google chairman Eric Schmidt, has issued its 2015 Israeli Internet of Things (IoT) Landscape. It concludes that Israeli IoT is booming, especially in Israel’s strength areas of healthcare, life science, ag-tech and cyber security.
Anti-AIDS company wins Tech “Oscar”
Israel’s Circ MedTech, developers of PrePex, won the Sutter Health award (part of Applied Materials’ Tech Awards – considered “the Oscars of Silicon Valley”) honoring individuals and companies that use new or existing technology to improve health conditions around the world. The Israeli company is donating the $50,000 cash prize to help fund HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa.
Saving power for mobile phones
Israel’s Lucidlogix based in Netanya is the developer of PowerXtend – power-saving technology that extends the battery life of smartphones (see Feb 2014 newsletter). Lucidlogix has recently licensed PowerXtend to Meizu, one of the top ten smartphone brands in China.
Smartphone – heal thyself
A team of Israel Technion researchers including Professor Hossam Haick (famous for the cancer breath test) has developed a synthetic polymer that mimics human skin and can be integrated into flexible devices so that future smartphones will be able to “heal” any scratches or damage.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Free Trade Agreement with Panama
As predicted in my Apr 2015 newsletter, Israel and Panama have now signed a Free Trade Agreement to include access to markets, customs, services, investments and intellectual property. It is the first FTA that Panama has signed with a Middle Eastern country.
Tech deal with Australia’s largest bank
Israel’s Economy Ministry’s Chief Scientist Avi Hasson has signed an agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for joint R&D projects. The bank joins Israel’s Multinational Corporations program, which develops new products and technologies in Israel for global use.
Increased trade prospects with Australia
Interesting extract of a session in the Australian parliament.
Record food exports to the US
Israel’s food exports to North America are at a record level. Israel exported $135 million of processed food and beverages in the first half of 2015, a growth of 5% from 2014. Exports of fresh fruits and vegetables in the same period were $33million, a growth of 13.6% from 2014.
Israel subsidizes natural gas buses
Israel’s Transportation Ministry is offering grants of 150,000 shekels (about $39,000) to public transportation companies that purchase natural gas-powered buses for their fleets. Vehicles powered by natural gas are expected to save energy and reduce air pollution.
Israeli startup wins, then refuses $250,000 prize
Israeli startup GetGems declined the minimum $250,000 it won in the 43 North startup competition, as it required relocation to Buffalo and a 5% equity donation. GetGems, a member of Citi’s TLV Innovation Lab, has invented PayKey, enabling secure payments to be made within social networks’ chats, including Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Twitter etc.
$100 million investment in renewables energy
Two Israeli companies, Enlight and Migdal have teamed up to invest $100 million in renewable energy projects outside Israel. Enlight specializes in initiating, developing, and operating projects that generate electricity from solar and wind power in Israel and Europe.
Keeping control of your lab supplies
Technion graduate Alex Domeshek developed LabSuit to help his wife Helen manage a chemistry lab. It is now in use in 200 Israeli laboratories. LabSuit manages the lab’s inventory by connecting to other labs in a “virtual community,” exchanging excess stock to reduce waste.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Open a door to Israel
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a new, multi-sensory installation at the Tel Aviv Port. “Open a Door to Israel” comprises nine giant screens, shaped as doors, which visitors open to learn about Israel’s heritage, music scene, family life, education and innovation. See it before the exhibit moves to Rome in January, followed by Germany, France, Russia, South Korea, Japan, China and the US.
Playing it by the book
Thanks to Scott Richman of AJC Live for these two interviews. The first is with Seth M Siegel, author of “Let There Be Water – Israel’s solution for a water-starved world” and the second is with Dr. Alon Gratch, author of “The Israeli Mind – How the Israeli National Character Shapes Our World.”
Gas station restaurants
Israeli gas stations have had a facelift recently. Many have added restaurants, serving high-quality food. Kosher ones include Nero Express (Gan Hatsafon), Minato (Caesarea), Ella Patisserie (Nahal Alexander) and Just Hummus (Katzrin).
50 million downloads of Pirate Kings
The Pirate Kings mobile game from Israel’s Jelly Button Games has generated more than 50 million downloads since 2012, even though it hasn’t been aggressively marketed on a global basis yet.
Seinfeld makes Tel Aviv laugh
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld kicked off the first of four sold-out performances in Tel Aviv in front of more than 11,000 fans at a packed basketball stadium. One of his lines was that “Israelis have two answers to any question: “no problem” or “that’s impossible”.
Israeli swimmers win medals at Euro championships in Israel
Israelis won three medals at the 2015 European Short Course Swimming Championships at the Wingate Institute in Netanya. Yakov Toumarkin came second in both the 200m backstroke and 100m medley. Gal Nevo came 3rd in the 400m medley.
THE JEWISH STATE
10,000-year-old beans found in Israel
Further evidence that the Land of Israel was the birthplace of agriculture. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute and the Israel Antiquities Authority recently discovered the oldest known domesticated fava beans – about 10,200 years old – in the Galilee.
Rebuilding Jewish life in Tel Aviv
The Am Yisrael Foundation aims to bring Jewish education and Jewish faith to the center of Tel Aviv. Together with the North Central Synagogue of Tel Aviv it is dedicating a brand new Sefer Torah in honor of the 72 soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
Mayor Barkat to the rescue again
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat always seems to be at the right place at the right time. When the wife of Interior Minister Silvan Shalom fainted in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, Barkat was on the scene to revive her.
More Biblical wines are brought back to life
A previous (8 Nov 2015) newsletter featured a wine (Marawi 2014) produced from indigenous Israeli grapes. You should also look out for Dabouki 2014 and 2015. And at Ariel University, Eliyashiv Drori has made tiny batches from about 30 different grape varieties.
Israel celebrates “Accessibility Shabbat”
An “Accessibility Shabbat” was held in communities across Israel on 5 Dec 2015, to highlight the need for greater respect for the handicapped and disabled within the religious community, and in Israeli society in general. Events were led by the Tzohar Committee on Jewish Ethics.
Paralyzed groom walks down the aisle
Dudu Shevy was paralyzed in a car accident 12 years ago. Thanks to Amit Goffer, founder of Israel’s ReWalk, Dudu surprised his family by walking down the aisle wearing a ReWalk exoskeleton loaned to him for his wedding day.
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