Good News Israel Archive from the week of June 7, 2015: IDF supporters in Arab countries ; Israeli technology cleans up oil spills and much more.

By: Michael Ordman


Bacteria test in minutes

Israel’s Pocared Diagnostics has developed a device that can identify the bacteria in a sample within minutes, rather than current tests that take several days. The P-1000 employs fluorescence, optical analysis and artificial intelligence. It can also test the bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics.

A cure for addiction

In clinical tests, scientists at Israel’s Bar Ilan University working with Canada’s McGill University discovered DNA methylation changes occur during an addict’s withdrawal process. These changes increased cravings and by administering a DNA methylation inhibitor, the cravings ceased.

10,000 operations for spinal surgery guidance system

Spinal surgeons have now performed over 10,000 procedures using the Renaissance Guidance System (and its earlier Spine Assist version) developed by Israel’s Mazor Robotics. The system is now also being used to perform brain surgery.

$10 million to research genetic diseases

Canada’s Azrieli Foundation has donated $10 million to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for researching genetic disorders. The new Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research will focus on Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, diabetes, and Fragile X syndrome.

And baby makes three

Israel’s Nuvo Group has developed the PregSense monitor for expectant mothers that need to keep a check on their fetus but do not require hospitalization. Sensors on an elastic harness transmit data via bluetooth to a smartphone for storage in the cloud that physicians can access.

Wristband stores medical profile

Israel’s MyMDband is a smart waterproof lifetime-guaranteed silicon band with a laser-engraved QR code on a stainless-steel buckle that displays all the data needed immediately after it’s scanned: prior medical conditions, current medications, allergies. Everything a paramedic needs to know.

Triple treatment stops lung cancer returning

Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute discovered how lung cancer cells adapt to stop the effectiveness of treatment that block tumor growth. So they have found a solution that targets the adaptations. Applying three treatments together stops tumor growth permanently.

Annotating DNA to prevent cancer

Israel Prize laureate Dr. Haim (Howard) Cedar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem specializes in DNA annotation – the instructions that cells use to do their specific function. He is working to detect wrongly reproduced instructions in order to prevent, not merely cure, cancer.

Hope for advanced cancer sufferers

Israel’s VBL Therapeutics reported good interim results from Phase 2 trials of its VB-111 cancer treatment. VB-111 reduced tumor size by at least 50% in most worst-case Mullerian (ovarian) cancer sufferers. It also extended the survival of patients with aggressive brain cancer (glioblastoma).

UK cancer breakthrough – the Israeli connection

There was no mention of Israel in the international media reports about the recent cancer breakthrough at the Royal Marsden hospital in the UK. So I’d better tell you. Professor Jacob Schachter from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center was a key member of the UK’s research team. Please read my 4 Nov 2012 newsletter article and watch the youtube to see what Professor Schachter does.

The doctor will see you now

Israel’s Teva is investing tens of millions of dollars in American Well – a telemedicine company founded by Israeli doctor brothers Ido and Roy Schoenberg. A patient can contact American Well who will summon a doctor to an immediate video call. It’s like an on-line house call.


NIS 100 million for disabled

Israel has added NIS 100 million to the budget for people with severe disabilities receiving government support. It has the goal of improving the situation of weaker layers of society, and others who need assistance from the state.

The first Arab to head a Knesset committee

Knesset Member Aida Touma-Sliman of the Arab Joint List party became the first Arab party lawmaker to head a permanent committee of the Israeli Parliament. She is now Chair of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and was elected unanimously.

Inclusive magic lesson breaks world record

Israeli magician Israel Cagliostro set a Guinness World Record for the largest magic lesson. He taught a card trick emphasizing peace to 1,576 Jewish, Christian and Muslim fifth and sixth graders brought together from across Haifa for a day of fun and cross-cultural interaction.

Israel helps Qatar re-build Gaza

The chairman of Qatar’s committee for reconstructing Gaza reported to the Arab media “The reconstruction process is progressing very well as construction material is being shipped to Gaza everyday without any obstacles”. “Israel has approved all the Qatari-funded projects in the Gaza Strip.”

IDF supporters in Arab countries

When an Israeli Arab IDF veteran launched the Facebook site Tzahal bistahal (“the IDF is worth it”) he didn’t expect positive messages from Arabs in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco. But that’s what he got. And see the photos that prove it.

Flood relief for Texas

The Israeli organization IsraAID is sending a team to help relief efforts in Texas, where massive flooding has killed at least 21 people and impacted thousands. IsraAID’s executive director Shachar Zahavi said a team of 10 IsraAID volunteers would help with removing debris from damaged houses.

India’s PM to visit Israel

There are many reports of the announcement that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first Indian head of state to visit Israel. This is from the Indian press.



Building the world’s largest radio telescope

Israel’s Mellanox Technologies is to supply the components of the precursor of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope – the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world.

Cleaning up oil spills

Israeli scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed another substance that can clean up after an oil spill. The NHS+ reagent converts the oil into carbon dioxide and water.

Cleaning 5 million solar panels a month

Israel’s Ecoppia has installed its robotic solar panel cleaning system on 5 more solar farms in Israel’s south. The system is now cleaning 5 million solar panels each month, that generate 35MW of energy. Desert dust can reduce solar panel efficiency by 40 percent.

The 5th generation of drip irrigation

Israel’s Netafim, the originator of drip irrigation has, in its 50th year launched its next generation of low-flow drippers. The new design boosts yields under harsh water conditions by combining low flow rates with excellent resistance against clogging.

Honors for biometric security

At the International Security Conference & Exposition (ISC West) in Las Vegas, Israel’s FST Biometrics won two honors for its In Motion Identification (IMID) technology to personal devices. IMID mobile uses face, body and behavior recognition to identify visitors.

How Israel beat an old foe – drought

At last, a positive article about Israel in the New York Times.

Train spotting

Israel and China are exchanging train technology. Israel’s Radware is developing a ticketing system for China Railways. Meanwhile China Railway’s Tunnel Group will be working on building the Red Line – the–first of Tel Aviv’s new subway lines that will eventually crisscross Tel Aviv.



BA uses Dreamliner on London to Tel Aviv route

From Oct 2015, British Airways will operate its new wide-body Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) on its flights BA163 and BA162 from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion. The scheduled arrival and departure times will connect easily with BA’s New York service.

Bringing jobs to the US

Two more Israeli companies have announced new factories in the US. Following Bram Plastics (see last week), kitchen counter maker Caesarstone has opened its first factory in Richmond Hill, Georgia. And Israeli fabric maker Avgol has opened a new production line in Mocksville, North Carolina.

Funding startups with 1,000 shekels

Investing in startups used to be only available for high net-worth individuals. Now, Israel’s ExitValley has designed an investing platform that caters for any Israeli startup to utilize its quota of 35 “regular” investors who wish to invest small sums – usually NIS 1,000 (around $260).

Everything for 5 shekels

Just 18 months after Cofix upset the coffee market with its NIS 5 coffee and snacks, the company has launched “Super Cofix” – a discount store where everything is NIS 5 (around $1.3) or less. No need to buy in bulk and then throw away excess food that’s gone bad.

Israeli cyber security exports double

Israel exported $6 billion worth of computer security products in 2014 – double that of 2013. It was the first year that Israel sold more cyber security products than traditional aerospace and defense products.



Tel Aviv Blues Festival

The first ever Tel Aviv Blues Festival from July 3-6 takes place in 20 different venues and features 40 concerts.

My local river

Just a few miles up the road from Netanya is the Alexander River. It’s a great spot to watch the sea turtles from, and maybe an occasional mongoose.

Enter the Dragon

Thirty boats competed in the third annual Dragon Boat Israel Festival on the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). The joint Israeli-Canadian project raised thousands of dollars for research into diseases by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Chinese Ambassador to Israel, Zhan Yongxin, opened the event.



A non-Jewish Swede in the Jewish State

Freja Berggren studies at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. She writes her reflections as a non-Jewish Swedish student in Israel. It is certainly not what she expected from International media coverage.

40,000 marched in NYC Israel Day Parade

At least 100,000 people lined both sides of Fifth Avenue to watch 40,000 Israel Day Parade marchers make their way up the famous avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street.

Read all about it – National Hebrew Book Week

National Hebrew Book Week takes place 11-21 June, with large outdoor book fairs, special Book Week sales at bookstores all around the country, and a variety of accompanying events such as music, performances, children’s events, workshops, and storytelling.


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