Good News Israel Archive from the week of January 24, 2016: Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered that a cancer treatment can fight Alzheimer’s; Israeli startup Utilis uses readily-available satellite images to pinpoint underground water leaks, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Cancer treatment can fight Alzheimer’s
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered that PD-1 blockers used as cancer treatments are also able to destroy the plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s disease. The blockers keep the immune system working to fight disease and repair damage in the body.
Partnering to treat pancreatic cancer
Israel’s BiolineRX is to perform a Phase II clinical test combining BiolineRX’s BL-8040 with Merck’s KEYTRUDA anti-PD-1 therapy in the treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Come to Israel to fix your child’s spine
Australian, Canadian and US kids are traveling to Europe and Israel for the ApiFix non-fusion treatment of their Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (twisted spine). Israel’s ApiFix is approved in Europe and Israel and ApiFix helps parents to identify suitable spine surgeons.
Eight organs transplanted in 48 hours
Surgeons at Israel’s Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva set an Israeli record when in 48 hours they transplanted 4 lungs and 4 livers into 7 patients. One of the liver transplants included surgery to shorten the stomach – only the eighth such operation in the world.
Nearly 200 cartilage regenerations
Israel’s CartiHeal has now implanted its Agili-C cartilage regenerator into nearly 200 damaged knees since the biotech was founded in 2009. CartiHeal has just raised $15 million to expand trials prior to a planned European launch in 2017.
Free dental care for more kids
Israel has allocated NIS 80 million to extend free basic dental care to children up to age 14. Previously children received free dental care up to age 12.
Computer training to treat depression and anxiety
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University have devised simple computer-aided brain exercises that help individuals ignore negative stimulation. Functional MRI scans showed reduced activation in the brain region involved in negative emotions, including sadness and anxiety.
Foods that trigger autoimmune diseases
Scientists at Israel’s Technion and in Germany have discovered evidence that certain processed foods damage the intestine and weaken its resistance to bacteria, toxins and other hostile elements. This “leaky gut” syndrome increases the likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases.
Another successful Brainstorm trial
A four-year study at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital of the stem cell treatment from Israel’s Brainstorm has been shown to inhibit the progression of the fatal neurological disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) in 87 percent of 26 patients.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Aging with dignity
In Israel, although there is yet no cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia, the charity Ezer Mizion provides caregiver services, a counseling center, an empowerment center, walking groups, a variety of workshops, visits by volunteers and a unique “Bonding with Motion” program.
The Israeli-Arab rescue team
The existence of a 60-member search-and-rescue team wearing IDF uniforms in the Israeli-Arab town of Abu Gosh may surprise you. The team’s leader, Muslim Arab Imad Jaber, said “We rescue people. It doesn’t matter gender, race or religion. Our goal is to save human lives.”
Christian Arabs in the IDF
Father Gabriel Nadaf of Nazareth celebrated Christmas with Christian soldiers at an IDF base in Northern Israel. He works with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews to encourage Christian Arabs to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. Only 40 enlisted in the whole of 2012 before Father Nadaf began his project, but in March 2015 alone, 102 Christian Arabs volunteered to serve in the IDF.
The Swede who turned
Sweden’s Daniel Borg was working for the anti-Israel ISM organization in Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Hebron. Then contact with some Zionists and Israeli Arabs changed his whole mindset.
Israeli doctors save Syrian girl
Christian organization Shevet Achim brought two-year-old Niyaz from a Syrian refugee camp to Israel where surgeons from Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) repaired a large hole in her heart. She already suffered lung damage, but the surgery was successful and Niyaz will now lead a normal life.
Teaching desert farming to Nigerians
For five years, Israel’s Galilee International Management Institute is to train 100 farmers each year from Kano state Nigeria, which is on the edge of the desert. Israelis will also go to Kano to train the farmers in advanced water management, desert agriculture and drip irrigation.
Connecting power grids
Israel, Greece and Cyprus are connecting their power grids to continental Europe. The 1,518 km subsea power cable, known as the EuroAsia InterConnector will allow Israel and Cyprus to sell their excess electricity generated from natural gas to anywhere in mainland Europe.
World Bank enlists Israeli help for India
The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation has launched TechEmerge in Israel – a project matching top Israeli health technology innovators with interested healthcare providers in India. India needs Israeli tech to address the rise in non-communicable chronic diseases in India.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
An app for the really serious shopper
Israeli startup Shopicks has launched a platform to help you discover, collect, organize, and manage all of your online shopping. It also sends you sale alerts for your items, tells you where the items are sold locally and can share shopping ideas with friends to get feedback.
Upgrading Real Madrid’s app
Israel’s Interacting Technology, via its Spanish subsidiary Sportech Interactech, is to upgrade Real Madrid’s official mobile app. The Spanish soccer club seeks to add online games and develop communication and interaction between fans, which would contribute to its monetization.
Really smart streetlights
Israel’s Ga’ash Lighting is installing its Apollo smart LED streetlights in the South Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam. The lights not only save energy, but they include Wi-Fi repeaters, security cameras, temperature and air quality sensors, and systems to measure traffic congestion.
Center for 3D and functional printing
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched Israel’s first center for research into 3D and functional printing – for example adding light emission or movement to a 3D-printed object. It will help develop the printing of sophisticated 3D products such as robots, solar equipment, radiation detectors, smart windows and medical devices. http://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/28249
A back-end for your app
Israel’s RapidAPI saves 70% of app development time as it provides the operations common to most apps, such as entering user name and password, purchases, and data keeping. Developers can borrow and insert RapidAPI’s routines into their apps without having to write a single line of original code.
A recipe to better health
The Israeli app MakeMyPlate has some well-known users, including Jennifer Lopez. MakeMyPlate makes dieting more accessible and easier as it motivates users by literally getting to see what their plate should look like.
Save space on your smartphone
Israel’s Invoke Mobile has developed Camra – an app that lets you quickly upload photos and videos directly to the cloud, bypassing your phone’s storage.
Spotting water leaks from outer space
Israeli startup Utilis uses readily-available satellite images to pinpoint underground water leaks. Spectral microwave imaging, plus Utilis’ patented set of algorithms, tracks the “signature” of drinking water as it leaks from distribution pipes.
Your smartphone fixed in under 1 hour
Israeli startup CellSavers can fix your smartphone within the hour at your preferred location, such as home, office, café or gym. CellSavers has just raised $3 million to enhance its technology-driven logistics and expand into other major U.S. cities.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
More potential natural gas
An estimated 8.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been located by seismic surveys in the Mediterranean at Israel’s new Daniel natural gas field. The discovery is of similar size to the massive Tamar deposit currently being extracted.
Increase in Israeli cyber security exports
Exports of Israeli cybersecurity software and services grew by 10% in 2015 from their previous $3 billion value in 2014. There are 300 Israeli cybersecurity companies, led by Checkpoint which has a $14.2 billion valuation.
Israelis pay less tax
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israelis pay less tax than residents of 22 of the OECD’s 34 member countries. Israelis pay an average of 31.4% in total taxes, compared with the OECD average of 34.4%.
Israel’s other $ billion companies
There are several Israel “Unicorn” companies – those valued as more than $1 billion. But Israel’s strength is that it has thousands of million-dollar startups – which add up to several more “unicorns”.
Israeli startups in Moldovia
Interesting article of how two Israeli entrepreneurs have built up an Israeli start-up hub in the Eastern European state of Moldovia.
The first green industrial complex
Intel Israel has received Israel’s first Green Building Standard for an industrial complex. The new Intel complex in Kiryat Gat meets the requirements of SI 5281, the sustainable buildings standards.
New fund for Israeli startups
The former chief product officer at Intel, David Perlmutter, has set up an fund aiming to invest $300 million in Israeli tech companies, with the goal of eventually listing them on Nasdaq.
3M expands Israel operations
Multinational hi-tech 3M has launched a customer innovation center in Herzliya. It signals 3M’s interest in Israel as a market as well as a source of technology. 3M’s Israeli acquisitions and investments include Attenti, VocalZoom and Takadu as well as establishing an R&D arm in Israel.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Earth Color Project
A good friend and newsletter reader has sent me details of the new album that her Israeli granddaughter Michal Hoter has produced. Please support her project and be amongst the first to receive her CD. Any money for pre-bought CDs will only be taken if Michal reaches her crowdfunding goal.
Songs for Schubert
In honor of the composer Schubert’s birthday on 31 Jan, the annual Schubertiade takes place in Israel. There are concerts at the Israel Music Conservatory in Tel Aviv, Hechal Hatarbut in Rishon Lezion, the Mishkan Performing Arts Center in Ra’anana, and the Mormon University in Jerusalem.
A magical night at the opera in Jerusalem
Right under the walls of Jerusalem’s old city, opera lovers had a chance to experience an evening of musical joy at the premiere of ‘The Elixir of Love’ opera.
Israeli band is a hit with the Arabs
Sisters Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim are collectively known as A-Wa, or “yes” in Arabic slang. They are descendants of Yemeni Jews who immigrated to Israel decades ago. The YouTube video has had over 2 million views and is extremely popular in Yemen and other Arab states.
Just for the birds
The Hula Valley Bird Festival is an initiative of the Israel Ornithological Center and has been running since 2000. The festival aims to highlight the fantastic birding opportunities Northern Israel and the Hula Valley in particular can offer. 500 species of birds in a fabulous local area – unheard of in Europe.
THE JEWISH STATE
Feeding the poor – one bag at a time
For the 1.6 million Israelis living under the poverty line, hunger is a reality. 8000 Pantry Packers volunteers distribute monthly food boxes to more than 40,000 families in 24 Israeli cities. The Colel Chabad run Jerusalem volunteer center celebrates its third anniversary on Jan 31.
2700-year-old farmhouse unearthed
A 2,700-year-old farmhouse has been discovered during recent excavations ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood near the town of Rosh Ha’ayin, just east of Tel Aviv. Archaeologists uncovered the ruins of a Byzantine monastery built on the site 1200 years later.
Help find the guitar man
15 years ago, Israeli Arnold (Arik) Nesis received the gift of a 1983 Ibanez X Explorer Destroyer X guitar from a US donor. The guitar helped Arnold launch his musical career and now he is asking social media users to help him find the person who changed his life forever.
The daring mission to save the Jews of Ethiopia
A rare thrilling BBC documentary about Operations Moses (1984) and Solomon (1991), that brought the lost Jews of Ethiopia to Israel.
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