Good News Israel Archive from the week of February 7, 2016: Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have destroyed the HIV virus using peptides containing multiple copies of the virus’ DNA; Israel’s first ever basketball league for people with special needs has been launched in Jerusalem, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough treatment for HIV
Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have destroyed the HIV virus using peptides containing multiple copies of the virus’ DNA. Combined with existing HIV medications the peptides activate the cell’s self-destruction mechanisms. After two weeks there was no sign of the virus. Human trials will commence in a few months. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4750903,00.html
Gold lights up blocked arteries
Researchers at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University are developing gold nano-rods to help identify and treat blocked arteries. The tiny gold particles are absorbed by macrophages (bacteria-viruses) in the blood to illuminate problem areas. Combining them with good cholesterol can then clear the blockages.
A high-definition image of your eye
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have developed innovative imaging technology to capture fine, high-quality optical images of the retina of the eye (including blood vessels and neurons) non-invasively. It could transform eye research.
MDA’s “Life Guardians” go live
Magen David Adom has launched its new “Life Guardians” program. It relies on Israelis nationwide to respond to an emergency in their area until Emergency Medical Support units arrive. MDA states that anyone with first aid training can become a part of the program.
Predicting cancer & obesity using artificial light
Haifa University’s Nataliya Rybnikova has been granted NIS 500,000 ($126,000) to help her research into satellite images of artificial light at night and its link to high levels of cancer and obesity. Night shifts may endanger health, and LEDs can damage melatonin production.
How well do you sleep?
Israel’s EarlySense has “got into bed” with US-based iFit to develop the first “sleepable”- an Internet of Things connected sleep sensor that will be integrated with iFit mattresses and mattress covers. By monitoring sleep quality, users can improve sleep and overall wellness.
More donors and transplants
2015 saw a 60% increase in organ donations agreed by Israeli families of the deceased. It led to a 28% increase in the number of Israeli organ transplants – to 433 in 2015. In addition, 668 corneas were donated and 42 burns patients received donated skin. There was a 5% increase (to 850,000) in registered donor cards.
Free screening devices for Kenya
Israel’s MobileODT has donated 20 of its Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) cervical cancer screening devices to healthcare providers in Kenya. On World Cancer Day (4th Feb), nurses trained by the NGO Rotary International aim to screen over 700 Kenyan women using the devices.
Overseas paramedics recognized
The Israeli Knesset has approved an amendment to a law on health professions. Professional paramedics, who were certified in a country where their job does not require an academic degree, can convert their qualifications in Israel without having to go back to school.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Israel’s first special needs basketball league
Israel’s first ever basketball league for people with special needs has been launched in Jerusalem. There are many special needs basketball teams throughout Jerusalem and Israel, but until now there had been no official or organized framework for such teams.
Boosting job skills for Ethiopian-Israelis
The Israeli government is to spend NIS 55 million ($14 million) on programs to improve the job prospects of at least 3,600 Ethiopian immigrants. It will focus on job training, academic programs, and grants to employers for hiring Israeli workers of Ethiopian descent.
Building multi-ethnic Israeli companies
Forsan Hussein and Ami Dror are the Muslim and Jewish Israeli cofounders of Zaitoun Ventures. They build and invest in companies either cofounded by Jews and Arabs or with diverse employees, including Myndlift, Sidis Labs, Ninispeech, Comedy Break, Teramount, Galapromter and IceCure. Zaitoun is poised to invest about $100 million in 2016.
Helping Israeli-Arab employment
In 2015, over 8,000 new participants visited the 20 employment centers set up for the Arab, Druze, and Circassian populations throughout Israel. 13,600 people found jobs through the centers and 24,000 have received assistance. 68% of visitors found work – far more than the government’s 56% target.
Israeli doctors save life of 17-year-old Arab girl
Doctors at Rambam Medical Center, Haifa saved the life of Jummana, a 17-year-old girl from Nablus suffering from a serious and rare endocrine problem. With help from the US National Institutes of Health, the doctors traced the source to a tiny tumor, which they removed.
An Israeli mall in Israeli-Arab town
Supermarket magnate Rami Levy is building a $50 million shopping mall in the Israeli-Arab town of Al-Ram near the Palestinian Arab city of Ramallah. Levy anticipates that Jews and Arabs will be attracted to shop at the mall and will travel from both Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The island of tears
New video of some of the thousands of refugees from Syria arriving daily by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos, hoping to find a new start in Europe. Waiting for them on the shore is a rescue team of doctors and nurses, both Arab and Jewish, from the Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAid.
Israel to host Forbes 600 under 30
Forbes is to hold its Under 30 Summit EMEA in Israel. 600 young entrepreneurs and game changers from across the world will take part in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv events 2-7 April 16. The game changers include 200 from Europe, 200 from the US and 200 from Israel.
High return on US investment in Israel
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger describes the USA’s “win-win” relationship with Israel.
Strengthening relations with India
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj came to Israel, seeking new areas where the two countries can cooperate. Speaking from Jerusalem, she stressed the importance of Israeli-Indian ties and said the “potential of our relations are much much more.” Meanwhile the number of visitors to Israel from India during 2015 increased by 13.5% compared to 2014 – to around 40,000.
Health agreement with Cyprus
Cyprus and Israel signed a healthcare sector cooperation agreement covering issues such as improving health systems, epidemiology, prevention of infectious diseases, food safety and environmental hygiene. It also includes sending patients abroad for treatments and transplant procedures.
Israel is on it
The latest Untold News ad publicizing Israeli innovation in the New York Times.
How to combat terror
15 Massachusetts law enforcement officials are on an organized 10-day trip to Israel to learn about fighting terrorism. The trip was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League. http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/01/massachusetts_law_enforcement.html
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Smart Video On Demand
Israeli streaming company Vonetize’s may be the first 2016 launch on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The company’s service is called Smart VOD (Video On Demand) and is a similar service to Netflix.
EdTech startups get a boost
Israeli entrepreneurs Yair Brosh and Shachar Vilner have set up a new platform using Edvantage – a combination of venture capital fund and accelerator – to encourage start-ups in informal education. Edvantage, from Israel’s Time to Know, helps build technological solutions and assists start-ups to enter international markets. http://www.timesofisrael.com/edtech-start-ups-get-a-boost-from-new-funding/
Israel is a nano-superpower
NanoIsrael 2016 in Tel Aviv on Feb 22 will show the world just how far Israel’s nanotechnology industry has come. There are 1,995 nanotechnology PhD graduates plus 2,908 with masters’ degrees from Israeli universities. Israeli nanotechnology researchers have filed 1,590 patents.
Producing oxygen in outer space
13-year-old Israeli Roni Oron won a “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency for her design of a system to produce oxygen in outer space. Her “BioSat” uses algae, carbon dioxide, water, sunlight, mirrors and photosynthesis. She will develop the satellite at a NASA summer camp in Florida.
Making water out of thin-air
The technology of Israel’s Water-Gen (featured here previously) can extract clean water from the ambient air humidity. The technology is now used by the Israeli, British, French and US armies. GENNY, the civilian version, is now used in India, Africa, Central America and China.
Everything you want to know about birds
Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University have developed a new bird tracking device called Atlas. The tag transmits radio signals that tells more about wildlife than ever before – and for a fraction of the cost of previous devices.
The most popular VPN in the world
Israel’s Hola is the most popular free VPN service in the world, used by tens of millions of people daily, mainly to watch TV shows in countries outside the country of origin. Hola is so busy, it is now offering $7,000 to anyone who refers new hi-tech employees to the company.
Exposing a security flaw at Ebay
Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point has discovered a serious flaw in online e-commerce giant eBay’s security, allowing hackers and cyber criminals to use malicious code to target users and steal their online information.
Power from the open road
Israel’s Electroad has developed Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) that will charge electric buses from the road they are being driven on. No need for a battery or charging spots. ElectRoad has won a grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) biannual report on Israel is chock full of mostly good news. Increasing GDP, well-stimulated economy, high employment, low unemployment, rising wages, stable banks, high quality of life and long life expectancy.
Israel is “beyond expectations”
Credit ratings agency Moody’s has reported that Israel’s fiscal performance was improving “beyond expectations.” It also said that Israel is the only high-rated country (A3 or more) to have seen a consistent decline in its debt burden. Also S&P has maintained Israel’s A+ rating.
Encouraging the move to natural gas
Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources is offering grants of NIS 1 million ($250,000) for the building of each one of a network of 30 to 40 compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations. It is a key stage of Israel’s transition to cleaner energy.
EU puts $170 million in Israeli startups
Israel has signed no fewer than 240 agreements with the EU as part of the Horizon 2020 research and development program, with grants to Israeli start-ups and research groups worth up to €155 million euros ($170 million).
Invest in top Israeli companies
International finance giant BlackRock has launched an exchange-traded-fund (ETF) that allows European investors to invest directly in Israel’s top 25 listed companies. The iShares TA-25 Israel UCITS ETF (TASE) allows global investors to invest in the Israeli economy.
Israel is on it
Marcella Rosen’s non-profit organization Untold News (see newsletter) has launched a new advertising campaign promoting Israeli inventions. “Israel Is On It” aims “to raise mass-market awareness of one tiny country whose citizens are curing cancer, making the ocean drinkable, freezing cancer tumors, preventing hospital infections, stopping airport terrorism, and changing all our lives for the better.”
Amazon to publish T-shirts using Israeli tech
Israel’s Kornit is already revolutionizing the custom-printed textile market with its digital garment printing technology. Now Amazon plans to use the Kornit systems to digitally print shirts on receipt of online customer orders.
More Aegean Airways flights
Greece’s largest airline Aegean Airways has increased its schedule to Israel to 20 flights per week. They include 3 more to Athens and 4 more to Larnaca, Cyprus.
Digitizing content for Oxford University Press
The Oxford University Press (OUP) has signed deals with three Israeli digital book start-ups – Tiny Tap, Kidoz, and Total Boox, to help OUP digitize and distribute its content. The OUP wishes to develop products and services that improve the lives of teachers and learners globally.
A fun way to motivate employees
Israeli startup GamEffective offers firms exciting ways to get staff to achieve better results. The technique, known as Gamification, refers to the incentivizing component of game-playing – awarding points, badges and other rewards for good performance.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
110 years of art and design
The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel’s national school of art, was established on 16th Jan 1906 with just thirty European art students. Today around 2,000 students are enrolled at Bezalel. Many of Israel’s best-known artists, designers, filmmakers, and sculptors are among its graduates.
Combining rich history & gourmet food
Jerusalem’s Mahne Yehuda Market is a melting pot of cultures and culinary experiences. The sounds, smells and colors are as varied as the people. Songs and stories were written about the market that dates back to the 19th Century.
Israel Trail now on Google Street View
The 1,100 km Israel National Trail, from north to south, became the first such trail to be uploaded to Google’s Street View service, in honor of Tu Bishvat (the Jewish New Year of trees). 250 staff from Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature and Google filmed the path for three months. It is now accessible to any user of Google Maps.
Scorpions are returning
German hard rock band Scorpions will perform at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It is the band’s third time in Israel, after performing in 2010 and 2012.
Tame Impala’s first Israeli concert
Australian psychedelic/indie-rock band, Tame Impala will be heading to Tel Aviv for their first ever Israeli concert at Rishon Live Park, on 11th July. Tame Impala’s internationally successful 2015 album “Currents” includes hits “Let It Happen”, and “Cause I’m a Man”.
A different kind of battle
Tel Aviv became a battlefield for medieval knights when Israel hosted the World Medieval Fighting Championship. Representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, UK, Estonia, Denmark, Moldova, France and Israel. took part in the unique competition.
Israelis Yarden Gerbi (under 63kg) and Linda Bolder (under 70kg) won gold medals at the Judo Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba. In addition, Shira Rishony won silver in the under 48kg event.
THE JEWISH STATE
Yeshiva boy finds & returns NIS 130,000 lost property
A Belz yeshiva student found a small bag containing 130,000 shekels (over $32,600) in cash at a bus station in Haifa. He then waited until the owner of the cash turned up and handed it over to the astounded (previously anti-orthodox) man, refusing any reward.
Engagement ring found in the garbage
A wedding nightmare had a happy ending after a lost engagement ring was found in a garbage pile and returned to the frantic bride-to-be. Volunteers sifted through trash at the Municipal warehouses in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem after the bride’s family put out an appeal on facebook.
From Iranian army, to Jewish State
Dr. Shahab Davidfor, an Iranian Jew, served as a doctor in the Iranian army, treating patients at an Iranian air force base. He made Aliyah 2 years ago and is now working in a Terem (emergency) clinic in Romema, Jerusalem.
Keep Olim in Israel
Liami Lawrence (featured here in Jan 15) made Aliya from California in 2014. Now he has formed a group “Keep Olim in Israel” for the thousands of new immigrants to Israel, providing a positive channel to helping them settle in Israel.
Aliya at age 97
Melba Landa, 97 was the oldest woman to make Aliyah in 2015. She was born in Odessa and now lives with her son and daughter-in-law in Haifa. By profession she is a geologist but she dedicated the bulk of her time to fighting for human rights and for Soviet Jewry.
Rare minerals discovered near Haifa
Corundum stones found in the Kishon River, near Haifa contain a variety of rare minerals, including Moissanite and tistarite. Until now, tistarite has been found on a single meteorite that came from outer space; this is the first find in a natural source deep inside the Earth.
Israelis don’t pick flowers
In the 1960s, Uzi Paz realized Israel’s wildflowers would simply disappear at the rate people kept picking them. Uzi helped found Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature, convinced the government to make picking illegal and campaigned successfully for protecting the wildflowers.
112-year-old Israeli is world’s oldest man
Yisrael Kristal Kristal was born in 1903 to a religiously observant Jewish family in what is now part of Poland. His first wife and two children were murdered in the Holocaust. He survived Auschwitz and other death camps, remarried, made Aliyah, and had more children.
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