Good News Israel Archive from the week of January 3, 2016: An Israeli-invented mini-ventilator has saved US soldiers in Afghanistan and is now being used to treat thousands of people in disaster zones; Israeli nonprofit Fair Planet is giving Ethiopian farmers access to cutting-edge seed technology, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
A treatment for migraine
Israel’s Teva is partnering with Japan’s Heptares to develop small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists discovered by Heptares for the treatment of migraine. Migraine affects 36 million people in the United States and 10% of people worldwide.
Brain link to diabetic foot ulcers
Researchers at Ben Gurion University have discovered that sufferers of diabetic foot ulcers frequently also have substantially impaired cognitive function. Systemic vascular changes affect the whole body including the feet, heart and brain. The researchers propose new treatment strategies.
Unique brain imaging study with UCL
Israel’s Teva has begun a unique study with University College London (UCL) to use PET scans of the brain in order to analyze the role of inflammation of the brain on dementia and other neuro-degenerative diseases.
Portable ventilator is saving lives
The Israeli-invented Pocket BVM (Bag Valve Mask) mini-ventilator has saved US soldiers in Afghanistan and is now being used to treat thousands of people at disasters, as in Nepal. It is also carried on many El Al planes. (See http://www.israelifirstaid.com/ for other Israeli medical equipment).
Transforming patient care
Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision has signed a multi-year agreement with Dell Services to deliver its screening and diagnostic decision support platform to hospitals worldwide. Zebra’s systems can identify patients at early risk of osteoporosis, cardiac disease, liver disease etc.
An app to lower your stress level
Israeli startup Eco-Fusion has developed Serenita – an app that measures and can lower your stress level. Cover your smartphone lens with a finger to measure heartrate, blood flow, and respiration. Serenita’s 5-minute personalized breathing exercise then visibly reduces your stress.
Israel’s Frutarom has launched a new line of natural food extracts compatible with new EU regulations prohibiting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other contaminants in food supplements. Frutarom’s patented EFLA HyperPure technology purifies raw materials susceptible to contamination by PAHs.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Israeli accelerator A3i is developing ‘ability’ technology to help millions with disabilities. Setup by Israel’s PresenTense, Beit Issie Shapira, the Ruderman Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, A3i focuses on ideas to improve the lives of challenged individuals.
Hands-free smartphone for free
Israel’s Sesame Enable is giving away its specially-designed smartphone to those who have limited or no use of their hands. Co-sponsors of the initiative are Israel’s organization for the disabled Beit Issie Shapiro and Google. See here and here for previous newsletter features on Sesame Enable.
Where Jews & Arabs work side-by-side
There are close to 350 businesses and factories in the Mishur Adumim Industrial Park near Maale Adumim. Some are Jewish owned and some of them are Arab owned. Most of these factories have Jews and Arabs working side by side.
More Israeli Arabs do National Service
4.500 Israeli Arabs volunteered for National Service in 2015 – an increase of 13% on 2014. Israeli Arabs are not drafted, but can volunteer for the IDF, or can serve the State by doing National Service. By doing so, they receive rights and benefits similar to those of IDF soldiers.
Israeli customs officer saves Gazan merchant
A merchant from Gaza suffered a heart attack at the Erez crossing into Israel. An Israeli customs officer, who had paramedic training previously, began resuscitation using a defibrillator. Magen David Adom paramedics transported the Gazan to hospital where he underwent catheterization and regained consciousness. http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=30053
Jerusalem Art Club – for Jews, Muslims and Christians
The Art Club, organized by the Machol Shalem Dance House and funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, brings together East and West Jerusalem teens (aged 13-15), to create art and break down barriers.
Helping farmers in Ethiopia
Israeli nonprofit Fair Planet, is giving smallholder Ethiopian farmers access to cutting-edge seed technology and showing them how to get the most from these seeds with minimal changes to their traditional practices. The farmers can increase their productivity five times and income up to eight times.
Water for peace?
In 1967, only four of the 706 Arab towns captured by Israel had running water. Today, Israel supplies clean water to 96% of Palestinians. In thirsty parts of the Islamic world there may be a chance that Israel could now trade “water for peace”. Hope springs eternal.
Beer for Germany
Israeli brewery Herzl Beer of Jerusalem has been chosen to make a joint Israeli-German beer to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s and perhaps the world’s first beer purity law. The new brew will be introduced at the Munich Jewish Museum in April 2016.
Jerusalem is 11th Best City
Jerusalem scored 84.715 out of 100 to earn 11th place in Conde Nast Traveler’s “Best Cities of the World”. The cities were selected from the 128,000 comments of Conde Nast readers.
Relief to Kenyan flood victims
The Israeli Government has donated food and humanitarian supplies to Kenya to help flood victims in Migori county. Aid included blankets, water tanks and mosquito nets. Israel was the first country to respond to requests for assistance in mitigating the effects of El Nino rains.
Liberia thanks Israel for helping to eradicate Ebola
Liberia’s senate president Armah Zolu Jallah, is making the first visit to Israel by any head of his country’s parliament. He thanked Israel for its help in wiping out the fatal disease Ebola in Liberia. Israel sent mobile clinics and medical experts who trained Liberian medics.
Israel’s high education standards
The OECD’s “Education at a Glance 2015” report shows Israel well above the OECD averages. Its high school dropout rate was just 14.6% compared to the OECD average of 24.7%. Israel is one of the few states to increase education spending during the global financial crisis.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
I reported about Silentium’s Anti-Noise Cancellation (ANC) technology previously. Here is an update in a video from the CES 2015 event in Las Vegas.
Snoring? Not a problem
Another Israeli startup Silent Partner has developed a device that uses Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) – this time to reduce the sound of someone snoring. It works irrespective to the reason for the snoring. Silent Partner has raised over $210,000 of funds on Indiegogo (its target was just $40,000).
Monkey makes a spear
For the first time, a scientific study by Itai Roffman of the University of Haifa, has observed bonobos (an analogous race to chimpanzees) making and using tools to search for food. One bonobo even fashioned a spear from the branches of a tree and used it to threaten Mr. Roffman.
Never hit a red light again
The Israeli app Green Wave tells drivers the ideal speed to drive at, in order not to have to stop at a red traffic light. Green Wave came third in Hyundai’s i-Way hackathon, winning 15,000 shekels. The app uses municipality data and a crowdsourced database.
Finding the lowest prices
The Israeli app Pricez is helping the hundreds of thousands who have downloaded it to save money by directing them to the stores where the products they need are the cheapest. It uses location data, plus the database that Israeli stores must by law update automatically direct from their cash registers.
A green and sustainable new city
The town of Harish, east of Hadera is being developed into a major city. Buildings will be built according to official Israeli Standard 5281 for green, or sustainable, construction. The Israeli government has allocated NIS 9 million to build new schools.
Technology to let robots “see”
Intel Haifa’s RealSense is using Israeli 3D tech and the Israeli-developed Skylake microchip to give robots sight. (See previous Sep 2015 newsletter). Intel bought Israel’s Omek in 2013 to help develop Intel’s 3D cameras and infrared lasers so that robots can interact with their environment.
Protecting airport runways
Israel’s Xsight has been busy since installing its Foreign Object Debris detection system at Ben Gurion airport in May 2013. RunWize / FODetect now operates at Seattle, Boston and Bangkok airports. Xsight has also installed FODspot at Paris Charles De Gaulle and launched BirdWize and SnowWize.
Keep your pets healthy
Israel’s PetPace has developed a hi-tech pet collar to track the health of your pet cat or dog. Its non-invasive sensors monitor temperature, pulse, respiration, activity level, positions and calories. If the collar detects any abnormalities, an alert is sent in real-time to owners and veterinarians.
Revolutionary mobility scooter
“Be like everyone else” is the motto of Israel’s Moving Life – developer of the Atto, the world’s first trans-folding freedom scooter. This versatile scooter folds into a trolley to wheel or put in a car or plane, transforming the lives of the disabled, elderly or those who just have problems walking.
The street can tell you where to park
I have featured many apps where crowdsourcing or municipality data helps find a parking space. But Israel’s Spaceek uniquely uses road reflector sensors to detect one. It alerts relevant drivers and the first to “select” the space has a few minutes to reach the spot before the alert resumes.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Record Balance of Payments surplus
Israel had a record balance of payments surplus of NIS 3.8 billion in the third quarter of 2015. The main reason was a fall in the cost of imported oil and coal and Israel’s growing use of its own natural gas.
Israeli Haredi entrepreneurs wow New York
Six members of Israel’s Kamatech accelerator impressed crowds of investors with their technologies at Demo and Investor Day at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square, New York. Kamatech was the first accelerator / incubator for ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs.
A database for commercial real estate
Israeli startup CredFi has developed a database on commercial property, covering 1.5 million properties. It is the first to give crucial data for making investment decisions.
Upgrading MGM’s WarGames movie classic
I featured Israeli video tech company Interlude previously here and here. Now MGM is leading an $18.2 million investment in Interlude so that it can make an interactive digital short video, inspired by MGM’s three-time Academy Award-nominated 1983 feature film “WarGames.”
Record-breaking acquisition opens Chinese market
Israel’s Frutarom’s 12th acquisition of 2015 – China’s Inventive – smashed the 21st Century record (10). Frutarom’s new R&D center in Shanghai, together with two Inventive R&D centers, will boost Frutarom’s fruit and flavors market in China and Southeast Asia. Frutarom also made its first acquisition of 2016 – Wiberg of Austria for $130 million – Frutarom’s largest ever purchase.
Israeli incubator for Australian startups
As part of its global innovation strategy, the Australian government is opening an overseas startup hub in Tel Aviv. Entitled “Landing Pad”, it will give Australian entrepreneurs and start-ups a short-term operational base in Israel’s key global innovation hotspot.
Deal shatters solar glass market
Israel’s Rioglass Solar has acquired the thermo-solar receiver business of Germany’s Schott Solar – Rioglass’s main competitor with 70% of the market. Rioglass bought the other 30% from Siemens in 2013 and is the preferred supplier for all new thermo-solar projects globally.
Bosch to open Tel Aviv development center
German electronics giant Bosch is setting up a development center in Tel Aviv. Bosch executives visited Israel in June.
The 10th most innovative Fintech company
Israel’s OurCrowd was voted the 10th most innovative Fintech company worldwide, in the annual ‘Fintech 100’ list, the leading Global Fintech innovators report published by investment firm, H2 Ventures and KPMG. http://blog.ourcrowd.com/index.php/2015fintech100/
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Music in a Jerusalem cave
A unique event took place at Zedekiah’s Cave (also known as King Solomon’s Quarry) in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Jerusalem residents and visitors were treated to Israeli pianist Gil Shohat and singer Nurit Galron as the melodies of Chopin reverberated from the stone walls.
Israel is the place for puppet theatre
The annual International Puppet Theatre Festival in Jerusalem is the biggest in the country. Here is an enchanting new video of the 2015 festival.
Acre – history meets vibrant cuisine
The northern port city of Acre / Akko once served as the last stronghold of the crusaders in the Holy Land 1,000 years ago. Today it attracts not only history buffs, but many who enjoy the old city’s culinary scene, from traditional handmade hummus to Middle Eastern fusion cuisine.
Daily Israeli TV News in English
You can now watch a daily newscast from Israel in English – a morning brief and a daily roundup. It claims to broadcast “fair, honest, real, true televised news” with “no slant, no political agenda, just the news”.
Miss Israel is full of surprises
She didn’t win Miss Universe but Avigail Alfatov (Miss Israel) has won Israel’s Youth Fencing Championship seven times and hopes to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She currently works in computer security whilst serving in the Israeli Air Force. Prior to that she was a volunteer for Akim, the charity that supports those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Record points for Israeli hoops star
Israeli basketball star Omri Casspi scored a career best of 36 points for Sacramento Kings, including a team record nine 3-pointers. But his team still lost 122-103 to NBA champions Golden State Warriors.
THE JEWISH STATE
Israel’s Jewish pedigree is “rock solid”
Excellent analysis of the major discoveries of Biblical proportions, during excavations in the Land of Israel.
Stamps for centenary of NILI
Two of the new stamps issued in December commemorate the founding of NILI – the Jewish organization that helped the British in World War 1 to defeat the Turks in pre-State Israel.
It’s never too late to laugh
I missed sending out this link to amusing Chanukah videos during the Festival of Light. But hopefully you will still be able to appreciate them, during these long (Northern hemisphere) nights.
The menorah that faced the Nazis
In 1932 Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner, leader of the Jews of Kiel, Germany, lit his menorah in the window of his house overlooking the Nazi Party’s local HQ. Rabbi Posner’s great-grandson, also named Akiva, now lights the menorah in Israel next to an amazing 1932 photo.
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