Israel’s Good News Newsletter to Feb 1st 2015

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
There are good and bad white blood cells.  Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have discovered that neutrophils (a form of white blood cell) contain many different subtypes. Some of these prevent cancer and others promote it. It opens avenues for therapies that increase anti-tumor neutrophils and limit pro-tumor ones.
 
Graft-vs-Host disease treatment gets boost.  The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted Israeli biotech Enlivex “orphan” status for its ApoCell treatment to prevent Graft-vs-Host Disease.  It will speed up development of the Israeli innovation that stops rejection of transplanted cells and bone marrow.
 
Researching Autism with Japan.  A team of Israeli and Japanese researchers has embarked on a project to discover how autistic spectrum disorder develops in the brain. It follows the conference “Advances in Brain Sciences”, jointly hosted by the Weizmann Institute of Science and Japan’s RIKEN Brain Science Institute.
 
Norwegian charity prize for Israeli cancer expert.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Norway’s largest charitable organization, the Olav Thon Foundation has chosen Tel Aviv University cancer geneticist Professor Yosef Shiloh as one of the two recipients of its very first international medical research award.
 
350,000 people to benefit from new medicines.  Israel’s Health Council has added an additional 73 medicines and technologies into the Government’s subsidized “Health Basket”.  The changes will benefit 350,000 Israelis at a cost of NIS 324 million.
 
Mapping the brains of the blind.  Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are studying brain activity of blind people in order to shed new light on how our brains can adapt to the rapid cultural and technological changes of the 21st Century.  Already they have found that reading Braille utilizes “visual” areas of the brain.
 
 
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
 
Integrating minorities into hi-tech.  Israel’s Economy ministry has awarded NIS 10 million to two organizations, Tsofen and ITworks, for the training and integration of Arab, Druse, and Circassian academics into the hi-tech sector.  It will help narrow the social and economic gaps between population sectors in Israel.
 
Haredi women – a market sector all their own.  Technically skilled Haredi (ultra-orthodox) women are carving out a new sector in the Israeli entrepreneurial space.  The Jerusalem “hub” of the organization Temech, helps connect them to professional resources, to employment opportunities or to start their own businesses.
 
And the first Haredi women’s political party.  For the first time in Israeli political history, a political party led by Haredi women is to run in the March 19th Israeli elections.  The party to be named “Bizchutan” (“in their merit”) will be led by Ruth Kuliak, a social activist who has worked to promote the advancement of women.
 
More protection for consumers.  (Thanks to Janglo) Amendments to Israel’s Consumer Protection Law went into force on 1st Jan, strengthening consumer rights.  They enforce existing laws with short-timescale fines and add new laws to ban undue pressures to make purchases.  You can also now take your own food into cinemas!
 
New program to get Israelis on their bikes.  Israel’s Environment Ministry is to provide $1.6 million for local authorities to encourage commuters to use public transport or bicycles in congested Israeli cities.  It includes new bicycle rental stations, cycle paths and a subsidized station taxi service.  Jerusalem will get a “biker’s app”.
 
Nice photos from home and abroad.  (Thanks to Israelicool) Two photos aptly fit this “inclusive and global” section.  The first is of an Arab girl in hijab, a Jewish man in black hat and a female Israeli soldier waiting to cross a Jerusalem street.  Then Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird took a lovely photo at Davos.
 
Bringing a smile to Vietnamese children.  Two surgeons from Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center – Omri Amudi and Zach Sharony – have just returned from participating in “Operation Smile” in Vietnam. They performed free reconstructive surgery on children for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.
 
 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
Send video messages from your wristwatch.  Israeli start-up Glide has developed video texting that is so fast, you be watching the video the other side of the world before your friend has finished recording it!  And now, Glide is putting that technology onto smart watches.  Remember Dick Tracey’s watch? It’s been superceded.
 
Ecological makeover for Tel Aviv bus station.  The Onya Collective is turning Tel Aviv’s massive concrete bus station into a blossoming center for urban ecology.  This includes hydroponics, growing plants without soil, under special LED lights. Gardens grow lettuce and strawberries using drip irrigation from the air-con system.
 
China-Israel innovation cooperation.  (Thanks to Michelle) Beijing hosted the first meeting of the China-Israel government innovative cooperation joint committee.  Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both sent their congratulations.
 
Micro-irrigation for India.  Israeli water company Netafim has been selected to partake in a $60 million micro-irrigation project in the Indian state of Karnataka.  The project will span 12,000 hectares, help 6,700 farmers in 22 villages, increase crop production and save 50 percent of their water consumption.
 
A Digital Upgrade at the Tower of David Museum.  (Thanks to Michelle) Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is introducing a new digital initiative. Position any mobile device over the view and an audiovisual guide, using IDF mapping technology, will identify and explain landmarks within the frame.
 
You won’t need this in Israel.  Israeli Shalom Koresh has invented a new invisible kippa (skull cap) made from artificial hair called “Magic Kippa.” It is for Orthodox Jews in Europe where recent terrorist attacks against the Jewish communities have left many afraid to go out in public wearing a kippa.
 
 
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
 
Government deficit far lower than expected.  The Israeli Government’s 2014 deficit was NIS 29.9 billion (2.8% of GDP) compared to its budget of NIS 31.1 billion.  This is despite an unplanned NIS 7 billion cost of fighting Operation Protective Edge.
 
Over $900 million for Israeli startups in one week.  Acquisitions and investment into Israeli startups in a seven-day period in January amounted to over $900 million.  Amazon bought Israel’s Annapurna Labs for $370 million. Harman paid $200 million for Red Bend Software.  Dropbox bought CloudOn and Microsoft, Equivo.  And take a look at The Economist’s infograph showing Tel Aviv as the world’s no. 2 startup ecosystem.
 
17-year-old head of Israeli startup.  (Thanks to Israel21c) 17-year-old Iddo Gino heads RapidPay, a year-old company providing a mobile payment platform for customers without a credit card.  Iddo studies at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa and hopes to obtain a degree in computer science at the Open University next year.
 
Direct flights to China.  China’s largest private airline, Hainan, is to commence flights between Tel Aviv and Beijing.  Hainan will operate three return flights a week, on the days that El Al does not fly to Beijing.  The new service reflects increased business ties between China and Israel and a 76% rise in Chinese tourists since 2012.
 
Chinese set up second $100 million investment fund.  The founders of Chinese holdings giant Tencent and social network Renren are putting up cash for a new $102 million fund – the second to invest in Israeli startups.  The new fund will cover financial technology, the Internet of Things, mobile development, and robotics.
 
Canada strengthens cooperation with Israel (thanks to www.sizedoesntmatter.com) The Foreign Ministers of Israel and Canada have signed a Joint Declaration of Solidarity and Friendship that they said would increase collaboration on diplomacy and trade development.
 
Water desalination for Texas.  Israel’s IDE Technologies is expanding throughout the USA by opening a new office in the State of Texas.  Regular newsletter readers may recall IDE’s desalination facility in San Diego.
 
Dropbox opens Middle East hub in Israel.  Dropbox has acquired Israel’s CloudOn, a startup that offers a service for creating and editing documents on mobile devices.  Dropbox will use CloudOn’s Herzliya office as a new hub in the Middle East.
 
 
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
 
Israeli food is “yummy”.  A new Taglit tour of Israel concentrates on the culinary delights of Israel.  Participants (mostly chefs) learn about Israeli cuisine, meet Israeli chefs and visit organic farms in the desert, boutique wineries and markets.  A participant described it as a “bonding experience with the land through food”
 
Israel Space Week.  During its annual Space Week Israel launched an “out of this world” website on Israeli activities related to space. There were also 25 free activities including observations of Jupiter, workshops for building satellite and space vehicle models, planetarium shows, an intergalactic light show and much more.
 
Jewish Capoeira in Tel Aviv.  Ultra Orthodox Jew Micky Hayat belongs to the Abada Capoeira training group near Tel Aviv Port.  Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music. Micky teaches over 200 students, while seeking to promote martial arts in the ultra orthodox sector in Israel.
 
“The largest sports event in Israel’s history.”  The 2015 Tel Aviv Marathon on Feb 27th has attracted 40,000 runners. 110,000 more will take part in the half-marathon, the 10km and 5km races and the hand-cycle race.
 
 
THE JEWISH STATE
 
Israel’s Social Media Ambassadors.  The International education non-profit StandWithUs has launched its “Social Media Ambassadors” program. University students will be trained to use multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, to educate the public at large about the reality of Israel.
 
“The most diverse Jewish community in the world”.  Nachalot is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Jerusalem.  Sephardim, Ashkenazim, Hassidim, secular, non-Jews, everyone lives together.  Students and tourists make it part of the essential Jewish experience.
 
Israel’s first female spiritual advisor.  In the Bible there was Deborah and in Talmud times there was Bruriah.  Today, the Efrat Community has Jennie Rosenfeld – the first woman in the history of the State of Israel to fill the role of manhiga ruchanit – spiritual advisor.
 
“Awed by pluralistic, diverse Israel.”  During a San Diego State University non-Jewish student’s visit to Israel he saw a Christian church, a Jewish synagogue, and a Muslim mosque all within a block of each other and heard the Muslim call to prayer in Jaffa.  It left him determined to stand up for the democratic Jewish State. 

25th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news

In the 25th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
 
·        Jerusalem exhibits a Jewish doctor’s vaccine from 1892 that saved millions of lives.
·        Israel funds the training of Palestinian Arab farmers.
·        Johnson & Johnson and Takeda have started a biotech incubator in Israel.
·        2014 saw a massive increase in international investment into Israeli companies.
·        Japan used a huge jumbo jet to bring hundreds of businessmen to Israel.
·        For the first time, an Israeli has won a European speed-skating gold medal.
·        Israel is bringing home from Argentina the plane that rescued Jews from Iraq in 1947.
 
·        Last week’s JPost Israel Good News descriptive summary.  Click here for “Israel is Getting it Together” (fast-loading version, no adverts).  Also on Jerusalem Post, IsraPundit and San Diego Jewish World.
·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News, IsraelSeen, IsraPundit, “Ruthfully Yours” and United with Israel.
 
Page Down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.
 
 
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
Jerusalem displays Jewish-developed cholera vaccine.  Dr Waldemar Haffkine, a Russian-Jewish microbiologist, developed the cholera vaccine in 1892.  Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is now exhibiting one of the original ampoules of vaccine.  Dr Haffkine also developed a vaccine for plague and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897.  Sir Waldemar donated his extensive personal archive to the National Library of Israel.
 
ALS treatment trial shows success.  Israel’s Brainstorm has announced positive final results from its phase 2a clinical trial of NurOwn cells in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients used on 14 subjects at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.  Nearly all subjects experienced clinical benefit.
 
Good results for Fabry Disease treatment.  Israel’s Protalix Biotherepeutics reported good results in its trials of its PRX-102 treatment for the genetic disease Fabry’s.  Even a low dosage had an average 78.8% decrease in the effect of pain on the patients’ functioning.
 
Teva launches a generic painkiller.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Teva has launched the first FDA-approved generic equivalent to Celebrex (Celecoxib) Capsules in the US.  Celebrex is used to treat arthritis, pain, menstrual cramps, and colonic polyps.
 
The fruitful way to conceive.  Israel’s Fruitful Way Ltd. has pioneered a new, natural fertility and conception toolkit for couples who are trying to get pregnant. It includes a unique, science-backed dietary supplement, scientifically mated with a sophisticated fertility app.
 
Israeli science saves 5-year-old girl.  A 35-year-old study by Israel’s Professor Raphael Mechoulam convinced Denver-based physician Dr. Alan Shackelford to use synthesized cannabidiol or CBD to save 5-year-old Charlotte Figi who suffered 300 epileptic fits a week.  Dr Shackelford immigrated to Israel in 2012.
 
 
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
 
Beer Sheva – a “City of Tomorrow”.  Beer-Sheva is one of seven locations worldwide included in the Global Technology Emerging Markets study by Brandeis International and T3 Advisors of emerging, up-and-coming hubs that technology and life sciences companies should consider as they evaluate their global location strategy. 
 
Israeli Christians who fight for Israel.  A UK reporter finally realizes that there are Christians in Israel who identify with the Jewish State.  (However, he falsely defines what a Jewish State is.)
 
Israeli-Turkish relations requires a woman’s touch.  Israel has appointed Amira Oron as head of its embassy in Ankara.  Oron has been serving as the head of the Egypt Department at the Foreign Ministry. Israel recently appointed seven new top women foreign diplomats including Einat Shlain, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan.
 
Israeli support to Palestinian Arab farmers.  The Israeli government has donated 300,000 shekels to five Palestinian Arab farmers to upgrade their strawberry facilities.  In addition 30 Palestinian Arab farmers came to Israel to study strawberry cultivation.  Annually, Israel funds 1200 Palestinian Arab farmers to study in Israel.
 
Water for India – out of thin air.  (Thanks to Michelle) Israel’s Water-Gen is to bring its pioneering air-to-water technology to India, where more than 50% of the urban poor (over 150 million) are not connected to a water supply.
 
Israel adopts Grand Challenges Canada.  (Thanks to Nevet – www.broaderview.org) Israel’s new “Grand Challenges Israel” program is modeled on Grand Challenges Canada. Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman and Canada’s John Baird unveiled ten Israeli innovation projects, addressing cancer, malaria, aquaculture, wheelchairs etc.
 
Japan to partner Israel technology.  Flying out of Tel Aviv last week I passed by the Japan Airlines 747 that brought in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his large delegation of Japanese businessmen.  Abe and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presided over a “Japan-Israel Business Forum” to promote mutual connections.
 
 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
A technology innovation leader.  Frost & Sullivan have awarded their prestigious Global Technology Innovation Leader Award to Israel’s Windward.  The award reflects Windward’s unique technology, which is bringing cutting edge innovation to one of the last ‘wild west’ frontiers: ships navigating the world’s oceans.
 
Horizon 2020.  Ben Gurion University’s Dr. Natalie Elia and Dr. Eyal Arbely were awarded a European Horizon 2020 ERC Starting Grant for their project, “Quantitative Nanoscale Visualization of Macromolecular Complexes in Live Cells using Genetic Code Expansion and High-Resolution Imaging”.  (Don’t ask!)
 
Another Israeli R&D center.  (Thanks to Michelle) Teradata – the US giant data analytics company, has bought Appoxee – an Israeli startup aimed at publishers and developers that want to send out messages to increase user engagement in their apps.  Appoxee will become Teradata’s research and development center.
 
Biotech incubator opens.  Johnson and Johnson, together with Takeda and OrbiMed have launched FutuRx in Rehovot’s Weizmann Science Park.  Its first start-up is Hepy Biosciences, which is developing a tumor enzyme inhibitor. The second, XoNovo, is developing a treatment that targets a protein implicated in Alzheimer’s.
 
Israel’s water graduates are on a crest of a wave.  Delegates at Kinneret College’s first water conference learnt about the work of its BSc graduates in Water Industry Engineering.  One breakthrough project is the extension of a wastewater system under Israel’s main Tel Aviv highway, undertaken without disrupting traffic.
 
Cambridge University funds Israeli scientists.  The Blavatnik Family Foundation has set up a new multi-million pound investment fund for Israeli scientists to pursue post-doctorate research at Cambridge University.  Three Israeli scientists are now furthering their research in engineering, genetics and physics at Cambridge.
 
 
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
 
Huge investment in Israeli innovation.  (Thanks to Michelle) The Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center reported that Israeli venture capital funds attracted $914 million in 2014, up 68 percent on 2013.  Israeli companies raised $2.1 billion with US Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in 2014 – up from $360 million in 2013.
 
Israel exhibition pavilion opens in India.  (Thanks to Stuart Palmer) The Israel pavilion entitled “Israel Innovation in India” opened at Vibrant Gujarat 2015, exhibiting the ongoing Indo-Israeli cooperation and showcasing advanced Israeli technologies in the fields of agriculture and homeland security.
 
Games are a big business.  Israel’s TabTable is one of the world’s top 10 mobile games publishers with operations in Israel, the U.S., China, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.  TabTable has just bought Serbia’s Level Bit, developers of Genesis Rising – the biggest PC game hit by a Serbian company.
 
Moovit is really moving.  (Thanks to Michelle) Israel’s Moovit has raised $50 million for its mobile app that lets riders plan trips and avoid obstacles on public transit systems in more than 500 cities around the world.
 
Bone-repair company plans NASDAQ IPO.  Israel’s PolyPid is preparing to launch on NASDAQ.  PolyPid, develops an antibiotic coating for safer bone repair.  It also has two candidate bone grafting materials and a unique PLEX (Polymer-Lipid Encapsulation MatriX) mechanism for delivering medicine into the body.
 
Microsoft buys another Israeli startup.  Software giant Microsoft is acquiring Israel’s Equivo for at least $150 million.  Equivio’s text analysis software summarizes and condenses lengthy documents.  Microsoft plans to integrate the product into its Office 365 package to boost user productivity.
 
 
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
 
Boutique revolution puts Israeli wines on world map.  (Thanks to Israel21c) This AFP news story about Israeli boutique wines has been reprinted in Malaysia, China, South Africa, Bangladesh, the UK, Sweden and France.  Globes also reports that Israeli wine sales increased by 10% in 2014.
 
Now you can fish in Jerusalem.  (Thanks to Janglo) Nachal Refaim Park is a new Jerusalem park between the neighborhoods of Malcha, Givat Masua and Kiryat Menachem.  Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat, found a good place in the park to do some river fishing.
 
Israel wins European speed-skating gold medal.  (Hot off the press) Israel’s Vladislav Bykanov won gold in the 3000m race of the European Short Track Speed Skating championship. It is the first time an Israeli has won the competition.  The 26-year-old from Kiryat Shmona beat world champion Viktor Ahn by 500 meters.
 
“Mortally wounded” Israeli recovers to launch triathlon.  Ohad Ben-Yishai received critical shrapnel wounds to the head during Operation Protective Edge.  Still in a wheelchair, Ohad was given a break from his rehabilitation to officiate at the start of Eilat’s “Ironman” triathlon, in which his father is competing.
 
 
THE JEWISH STATE
 
Safed – one of Israel’s holiest cities.  Surrounded by the mountains and forests of the green Upper Galilee, Safed (Tzfat) is world-famous for its winding alleyways and old majestic synagogues, its Artists Quarter, its musicians, its history of kabbalah and spirituality.
 
The Modern Day Miracle of Israel.  Armstrong Williams writes an inspiring account of his journey across Israel and the PA territories. His key sentence is, “When you pause to consider what Israel has managed to give to the world, despite being under constant fire from its enemies, it is staggering.”
 
Historic plane rescued from scrap yard.  A Curtiss C-46 Commando transport aircraft, used to rescue 100 Iraqi Jews in 1947, will soon return to Israel after being saved from a metal scrap yard in Argentina.  Operation Michaelberg was launched when the British denied persecuted Iraqi Jews permission to enter Israel legally.
 
US ex-Army amputee volunteers for Israel.  US Christian Brian Mast, who lost both legs from a bomb-blast in Afghanistan, has joined the IDF’s Sar El volunteer program.  He puts his pro-Israel attitude down to his upbringing, military contacts with IDF personnel and warm relations with his Florida Jewish neighbors.
 
Don’t judge Israel before you’ve seen it.  Irish Catholic Belinda Hickey visited Israel for the first time in 2006, when love for Israel was kindled in her heart.  Now she is a role model in courage as she promotes Israel in the face of anti-Semitism in Ireland.

18th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news

In the 18th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
 
·        Two Israeli biotechs are at the forefront of a new method for destroying cancer cells.
·        A 16-year-old Israeli girl has just started medical School.
·        65% of Israel’s Arabs say they are proud to be Israeli.
·        An Israeli T-shirt monitors your heart.
·        Drivers can see five times further with an Israeli night vision system.
·        Israel has discovered another massive natural gas field.
·        Two Israelis, who escaped Nazi Germany, celebrate the birth of their 100th great-grandchild.
 
·        Last week’s JPost Israel Good News descriptive summary.  Click here for “How lucky is Israel?” (fast-loading version, no adverts).  Also on Jerusalem Post, IsraPundit and San Diego Jewish World.
·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News, IsraelSeen and United With Israel.
 
Page Down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.
 
 
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
Trial of new cancer antibody approved.  Israel’s cCAM has received US FDA approval to commence trials of its CM-24 monoclonal antibody (mAb) for the treatment of various types of cancers.  CM-24 targets CEACAM1, a novel immune checkpoint protein expressed on a variety of cancer cells.
 
Israel & USA team up to fight cancer.  Israeli biotech Compugen has enlisted John Hopkins University to help assess Compugen’s cancer immunotherapy candidates.  These new treatments aim to counter the ability of tumors to highjack “immune checkpoints”, thereby blocking the immune system’s ability to destroy the tumor.
 
Effective for detecting lingering cancer cells.  (Thanks to Michelle) New York City’s NYU Langone Medical Center has praised MarginProbe from Israel’s Dune Medical, used by surgeons to identify and help them remove cancer cells on the margins of removed tumors.  MarginProbe avoids the need for follow-up surgery.
 
90% response to cancer vaccine.  (Thanks to NoCamels.com) Julian Levy, CFO of Israel’s Vaxil Biotherapeutics speaks to NoCamels about Vaxil’s cancer vaccine, ImMucin, that boosts the immune system and prevents cancer returning.  ImMucin triggers a response in about 90 percent of all types of cancer.
 
US approve 360-degree colonoscope.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s GI View has just received US FDA approval for its Aer-O-Scope colonoscope, for advanced detection of polyps that frequently develop into colon cancer. GI View is expected to start selling the product in the U.S. in early 2016.
 
Spine surgery system wins two awards.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s NLT-Spine has won a 2014 Spine Technology Award from US Magazine Orthopedics This Week, for its ARC Pedicle Screw System.  The company also was included (for the second year running) in the list of Red Herring Global 100 winners.
 
Med school at 16.  If Israelis are exceptional people, then Maya Fishman is amazing.  Only 16-years old, she has already started med school at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  She is on course to become the youngest doctor in the history of the State of Israel.
 
What lurks in your lungs?  (Thanks to Israel21c) Professor Elizabeth Fireman of Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center has developed a highly accurate bio-monitoring technique to detect dangerous particles inhaled by firefighters, factory workers, dental technicians and kids with asthma.
 
 
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
 
Kids can explore the world in 80 words.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Tel Aviv’s Wiki-Kids has launched Wikids – apps with friendly text, images and sound, to help children discover the world independently.  Each entry has around 80 words, with no adverts or links – all certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program and Momswithapps.
 
Jerusalem opens center to empower new mothers.  The Jerusalem Municipality is opening a community center to address the ongoing needs of women during and after pregnancy. It will offer career counseling to assist mothers on maternity leave to successfully renter the workforce.
 
Lalli the lamb gets a new chance of life.  Lalli the lamb was born with deformed legs and unable to walk.  Thanks to Israeli ingenuity and physiotherapy, she is getting along just fine.  (Video has English subtitles)
 
Arabs proud to be Israeli.  (Thanks to Evelyn Gordon)  In a recent survey, 65 percent of Arab citizens said they were either “quite” or “very” proud to be Israeli in 2014, up from 50 percent the previous year.  The majority had faith in the Supreme Court, Israeli police and in the IDF.
 
Israel’s top rescue missions – Leadership and saving lives.  An inspirational presentation by Brigadier General Professor Yitshak Kreiss describing the medical rescue missions undertaken by Israel’s army in recent years.  Leadership, medicine and the personal dilemmas faced when dealing with humanitarian emergencies.
 
Journey to the Start-up Nation.  During January, students from seven US Jewish day schools will participate in the first “CIJE-Tech: Journey to the Start-Up Nation” STEM Education Israel Trip.  It will prepare students to innovate, problem solve and leverage their skills in 21st century Science, Tech, Engineering and Math.
 
Chicago reaches out to Israel for water’s sake.  The University of Chicago has sought out Israel’s Ben-Gurion University to help tackle water scarcity.  In laboratories in Chicago and the Israeli desert, scientists are crafting radical new approaches that may one day rejuvenate the world’s water-starved regions.
 
 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
Next generation of flash storage – simply faster.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Kaminario has set new performance records for flash storage.  It also boasts reliability, scalability and cost/performance figures that its competitors can only dream of.  Kaminario easily raised $53million in funds to fuel global expansion.
 
Scottish Water likes Israeli recycling technology.  Israel’s Applied CleanTech has successfully completed its first UK pilot project of its new recycling technology for wastewater at Scottish Water.  The system produces a useful material called Recyllose from sewage while reducing maintenance and power costs.
 
A shirt that monitors your heart.  Israeli startup HealthWatch Technologies has developed a washable T-shirt that can read a patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac irregularities, and other vital signs that could be the key to preventing heart attacks.  All data can be transmitted instantly to your cardiologist, as speed is essential.
 
Smart low-energy hotels.  Israeli startup Phoebus Energy is to install smart systems in the Fattal chain’s nine Israeli hotels.  The systems will cut the chain’s heating and air-conditioning costs by 50-75%, amounting to NIS 40 million over the coming decade. The lower energy consumption will also benefit the environment.
 
Bell Labs (Israel) has big plans.  The opening of Bell Labs in Israel provides an avenue for Israeli PhD graduates to pursue research careers in Israel.  Director of the new branch, Danny Raz, was until recently a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Israel’s Technion.
 
Would a solar panel work for you?  It can cost up to $4,000 for a survey to check whether a solar panel on your roof could generate sufficient solar energy to justify installation.  Israel’s SolView uses Google Earth and its automated rooftop scanning technology to do that instantly.
 
Safer night driving.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Israeli startup BrightWay Vision has developed “BrightEye” – a unique night-vision system that gives drivers a clear, panoramic view of the road.  The system uses active-gated imaging to project images up to 250 meters ahead (5 times further than headlights) onto the driver’s screen.
 
Another “doggy” app.  Following on the heels of “Dogiz”, “Oggii”, “Pawly”, “Swifto”, “KelevLand” and “DogTV”, we now have “Wooof” – a made-in-Israel app, providing a platform for dog owners to get together online, “trading” photos, recording dog walking routes and even alerting when a dog inspector is in the area.
 
 
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
 
Israel discovers another major gas field.  A new huge natural gas field has been discovered about 150 km off Israel’s coast. Seismic analysis suggests that the Royee field contains an estimated 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it Israel’s third largest after Leviathan and Tamar.
 
Turning viewers into customers.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Viewbix turns a company’s youtube or vimeo videos into marketing applications.  It integrates interactive features such as action buttons and email forms into the video itself, allowing potential customers to communicate directly.  Viewbix has just raised $3million.
 
AOL invests in Technion research.  AOL, the American Internet and media giant, will be investing $5million in a video research project at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.  AOL’s R&D center in Israel specializes in developing innovation in the field of online video.
 
A healthy acquisition.  Israel’s Frutarom Industries has bought Slovenia’s Vitiva for around $10million.  Vitiva’s antioxidants, natural colors and botanical extracts will enhance Frutarom’s food, health and cosmetic business. It also brings in a cutting-edge plant, skilled personnel and impressive R&D capabilities.
 
Another $8.3million for 11 projects.  The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has approved $8.3 million in new funding for 11 projects involving US and Israeli companies.  The Israeli firms include BrainsGate, MobileOCT, ThetaRay, Orgenesis and Softwheel (from previous newsletters).
 
Kodak wants to buy Israeli startups.  Jeff Clarke, the new CEO of venerable camera-maker Kodak, is in Israel looking to acquire tech startups that can help rebuild his company as a leader in digital printing.
 
 
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
 
Hebrew Bibles reunited after 350 years.  When filmmaker Micha Shagrir donated a 1667 Hebrew Bible to Haifa University, staff discovered a Bible written by the same person already on the library’s shelves.  An Egyptian Armenian gave Shagrir his Bible in gratitude for his film about the Armenian genocide.
 
Israeli short film ‘Aya’ gets Oscar nomination.  The 40-minute Israeli film “Aya” has been included in the final list of nominations for an Oscar in the category of “Best Live Action Short”.  Aya follows the encounter between an Israeli woman driver and a Scandinavian musician who gets into the wrong car at the airport.
 
English soccer club appoints Israeli coach.  (Thanks to Hazel) English Championship Soccer League side Charlton Athletic has appointed Israeli Guy Luzon as their new head coach.  Luzon was previously coach at top Belgian soccer club Standard Liege.
 
 
THE JEWISH STATE
 
Archeology points to King David.  Archeologists have discovered clay seals in Israel dating from the 10th century BCE – the biblical dating of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.  The find is evidence of a national government at a time when many scholars previously believed that there were only backwater chieftains.
 
 “This is your land”.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 15th anniversary event said to the youngsters, “In Israel, every Jew can say, ‘I am a Jew, Je suis Juif,’ out loud and proudly, without fear. Come to Israel. Come visit Israel. Come stay in Israel. Come make aliyah to Israel. This is your land.”
 
100 great-grandchildren.  Israelis Michael (92) and Marion (90) Mittwoch have just celebrated the birth of a new great-grandchild – their 100th.  After escaping Nazi Germany, the Mittwochs immigrated to Israel where they became the first couple to be married at Kibbutz Lavi.  All children and grandchildren live in Israel. 
 
Ukrainian refugees land in Israel.  Two hundred and twenty-six immigrants, 76 of which are children, landed in Israel on a special flight from Ukraine.  They included dozens of families of refugees from eastern Ukraine who were made destitute as a result of the ongoing fighting, and were forced to leave their homes.
 
A Zionist dream come true.  Evelyn Gordon writes about some of the reasons that European Jews, despite all doors being open to them, are now choosing Israel to be their future home. 
 
 “They will all come to Jerusalem”.  Select full screen view to see this amazing video tour of the highway to Jerusalem. It shows the new road construction in context with the Biblical sites mentioned along the way.

How Lucky is Israel?

How Lucky is Israel?

Last week, Ben Gurion University researchers made an “accidental” discovery, when testing an experimental anti-inflammatory drug, that could signify a breakthrough in the treatment of deadly infections. My immediate thought was how “lucky” the BGU scientists were – but in reality, the discovery followed the proscribed use of methodical testing procedures and meticulously careful observations. Here are some further recent cases of where Israelis definitely do not rely on “luck” when it comes to vital innovations and activities.

Traditional cancer chemotherapies depend on the laws of chance in that sufficient numbers of cancer cells will be destroyed alongside the (unwanted) death of normal, healthy cells. Several Israeli companies, however, are working on removing this random, “splatter-gun” approach. One of these, Quiet Therapeutics, has developed the “GAGomer,” a new class of nano-particle that specifically targets tumors and blood cancers. Another Israeli biotech, Compugen, has announced positive initial experimental results for two Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC) treatments. ADC therapy uses antibodies to target proteins present at high levels in cancer cells, releasing a toxic payload to kill the cells.

Some say that those who inherit a high risk of cancer are simply “unlucky”. That may indeed be the case, however with genetic screening, it no longer needs to be a question of luck as to whether the onset of cancer is detected and treated early enough to save their lives. So it is fortunate that researchers at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem have discovered a genetic mutation that can identify those at risk of colon and uterine cancers. Similarly, doctors and researchers no longer need to rely on luck when examining patients for the early onset of Parkinson’s disease. Patients can now be monitored continuously, using smart watches linked to smartphones. The data is then transmitted to an advanced analytics platform developed by Intel Israel that can handle 300 observations per second from each patient.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJX9f8goIq8#t=139
On a Syrian street, a 23-year-old man was unfortunate to have been hit by a bullet that shattered his lower jaw and blew his teeth to bits. Luckily for him, he was rushed across the Israeli border and taken to Haifa’s Rambam hospital where doctors implanted a custom-made 3D-printed titanium jaw in a pioneering operation. One day after surgery, the patient was eating and speaking. Meanwhile, a Palestinian Arab baby with heart problems suffered a heart attack whilst on his way to Jordan for treatment. Luckily for him, IDF medics arrived to resuscitate him and evacuated him and his grateful parents to Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQvH5Saw5ZA
Many Israeli children were “lucky” to enjoy a couple of days playing in the snow that fell across the country. Following a request by the Palestinian Authority, the IDF have been helping to clear snow blocking roads to the PA city of Ramallah, helping to clear flooding in Tulkarem and pushing a not-so-lucky Palestinian Arab taxi driver out of frozen mud. Overseas, the Philippines has been very unlucky with the weather, as typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) has just devastated a country still reeling from last year’s typhoon Haiyan. Luckily, an IsraAID emergency response team has again responded quickly with medical relief and humanitarian aid.

Anyone unlucky enough to have lost their water supply due to a burst water main will appreciate the monitoring systems from Israel’s TaKaDu. The water utilities that have engaged TaKaDu’s services don’t wait for a lucky phone call from a dutiful member of the public and instead are saving billions of liters of water otherwise lost through leaking pipes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDsmIhhmE3U
Having proved that Israelis don’t rely on luck, I will conclude with two recent news stories where fortune (or something else) must have been involved. First, it was lucky that art historian Nirit Shalev-Khalifa stopped to answer her cell phone when she was driving away from Jerusalem. The tour guide that called her had just happened to be visiting Jerusalem’s Ades “Great” Synagogue and seen someone begin some very amateurish restoration work. Nirit made a quick “U” turn, just in time to save the Stark Murals – an early 20th Century masterpiece of Jerusalem’s Syrian Jewry.

Finally, a baby faun in Hebron had a lucky escape from being eaten by poachers. Israeli police were busy uncovering a weapons and drugs cache when they heard noises coming from inside a barrel. Instead of dismissing the noise as just rats, they checked the barrel and found the faun (a protected species in Israel) chained up inside it. The faun was transferred to the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo for medical treatment.

Put your trust in Israeli ingenuity – you won’t believe your luck.

4th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news

In the 4th Jan 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
 
·        Israeli scientists have developed the basis for an artificial retina.
·        Israeli paramedics saved a Palestinian Arab baby who suffered a heart attack.
·        Per-capita, Israel is the world’s largest contributor to the fight against Ebola.
·        An Israeli startup has developed a portable solar power generator.
·        Israel has made large reductions to the prices of electricity, water and gasoline.
·        Low cost airline easyJet is starting a Paris to Tel Aviv service.
·        2014 saw 26,500 new immigrants to Israel – the highest in a decade.
 
·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News.  Also on Israel Seen and in sections on United With Israel.
 
Page Down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.
 
 
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
Breakthrough in development of artificial retinas.  Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University have developed a wireless, light-sensitive, flexible implantable film that mimics the function of the photosensitive cells in the retina. It could potentially form part of a device to replace a damaged retina.
 
Cell analysis system makes first discovery.  Professor Itai Yanai of Israel’s Technion developed the CEL-Seq cell analysis method in 2012, identifying the on-off status of each of the 20,000 genes in a cell.  It has just been used to determine embryonic development sequences and could help in understanding how cancer develops.
 
3D compass in the brain.  Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have demonstrated that brains of mammals (including humans) contain a 3D compass.  Microelectrode recordings revealed that certain neurons activate only when the head is at a particular 3D angle.  It explains conditions such as vertigo and disorientation.
 
Parkinson’s treatment trials success.  Israel’s NeuroDerm has announced positive results for its Phase II trials of ND0612H, intended for severe Parkinson’s disease patients. The results indicate that ND0612H may provide an effective alternative therapy to current treatments requiring surgery.
 
Personalized medical videos.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Israeli physician Dr. Rami Cohen has developed a proprietary platform for healthcare workers to easily create personalized instructional videos for patients. Telesofia Medical uses clips and graphics to generate videos in the time it takes to produce a prescription.
 
Beit Issie launches disabilities tech center.  On Dec 3rd (International Disabilities Day) Beit Issie Shapiro – Israel’s leading organization for developing therapies for disabled children – launched its Technology Consulting Center, to share its expertise in the field of disabilities and technology.  Also, an amazing video.
 
 
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
 
World’s first-ever e-storybooks with sign language.  The new eMotion Stories digital books by Israel’s Eyal Rosenthal, with English and American Sign Language, are the world’s first interactive bilingual e-library for parents of children with hearing impairment. They include Goldilocks, Cinderella, and Three Little Pigs.
 
200 salons collect hair for cancer patients.  More than 200 hair salons across Israel took part in the annual nationwide drive to collect hair for Zichron Menachem Cancer Support in Israel, in partnership with Pantene Products Israel. Hair salons provided free haircuts during the three-day marathon from November 24-26.
 
Bedouin schools flourish in the Negev.  (Thanks to UnitedWithIsrael) 130 Arab teenagers attend the Al-Sayed Technological School in the Northern Negev.  It is one of eight high schools operating for Bedouin students by the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network.  “This school is excellent for us,” local tribe elder Alsyal Saleem said. “It gives the next generation of our tribe a chance to work thanks to the vocational studies in the school.”
 
IDF saves Palestinian Arab baby after he suffers heart attack.  Magen David Adom and IDF paramedics resuscitated a six-month-old Palestinian Arab baby after he collapsed at a Jordanian border crossing.  The baby was evacuated by IDF helicopter to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, to the delight of the parents.
 
Israel facilitates new Gaza Coca Cola plant.  Israel has allowed Gaza to import machinery to equip its first Coca Cola factory.  Israel allowed nine truckloads from Jordan to reach Gaza for an enterprise it hoped would provide jobs, by the end of 2015, for hundreds of people in the coastal territory.  Gaza already has a Pepsi plant.
 
IDF soldiers donate lunch to PA kids.  IDF paratroopers’ hearts went out to two Palestinian Arab children who approached their post asking for food.  After seeing the kids searching dumpsters, the paratroopers decided to give them bread, meatballs, fruit, vegetables, hummus and snacks that they had bought for their own lunch.
 
Israel has improved Palestinian Arab health.  (Thanks to Hazel) Evidence-based analysis concludes that Israeli policies have brought about measurable improvements in Palestinian health and welfare. See the facts on death rates, life expectancy, mortality (infant, maternal, perinatal), immunization coverage, nutrition etc.
 
Israel is the biggest contributor to the war on Ebola.  (Thanks to UnitedWithIsrael) “The U.S. Fund for UNICEF applauds Israel’s recent pledge of $8.75 million to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa. This donation to the UN’s Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund represents the largest per-capita investment by any nation in efforts to combat the virus”.
 
Israeli aid to the Philippines.  This may seem an old headline, but it relates to the recent Philippines typhoon Hagupit (Ruby).  An emergency response team of IsraAID and IsraAID Philippines (the local partner agency) has been providing medical, psychological, social and material relief goods in the Can-Avid municipality.
 
 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
Oxford Uni launches British-Israeli water initiative.  Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, launched the British Council in Israel’s Water Research Initiative, to fund opportunities for researchers from Britain and Israel to work with researchers in countries facing water challenges.
 
An astronaut’s view of Israel.  Some crystal-clear photos of Israel from the International Space Station.  It received over 33,000 likes.
 
Portable solar power.  (Thanks to SDM and NoCamels.com) Israel’s Kalisaya has developed the KaliPAK – a portable renewable power solution.  It generates solar energy that can be used by campers and trekkers or as an emergency backup generator in case of natural disasters.  Kalisaya is hoping to raise £250,000 on Kickstarter.
 
KeyBoots finds work for extended holidays.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Israelis enjoy traveling.  So it was natural for Moshik Cohen to develop KeyBoots (a play on words similar to Kibbutz).  Now when backpackers run out of funds, Keyboots can help them get food and accommodation in exchange for voluntary work.
 
The pocket printer is on the move.  Here is a new video of the portable robot printer from Israel’s ZUtA Labs.  ZUtA expects to start shipping the printer in June.
 
TwitterMate – just for the important messages.  Tomer Simon, a Ph.D. student at Ben Gurion University’s Department of Emergency Medicine, has developed a system called TwitterMate, a tool for archiving and classifying information on social media.  It records specific hashtags, users or subjects for later analysis.
 
Israel’s most outstanding public building.  Tel Aviv University’s Capsule Building received 1st place (in the public buildings category) at the Israeli Association of Builders’ Excellence Awards. The building was chosen for its design, quality and compatibility to the local environment.
 
 
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
 
Cheaper electricity, water and gasoline.  Israel’s electricity rate is being cut by 9.4% with effect from January thanks to the natural gas from the Tamar reservoir.  Water rates are being reduced by 10% effective from 1st Jan 2015.  Gasoline prices were also cut by 10%.
 
Mutual support between Indiana and Israel.  US State of Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence undertook a nine-day trip to Israel, which included an “economic development mission to bring jobs and investment to Indiana.”  Governor Pence expressed his view that support for Israel in the US has never been stronger.
 
Zaatar chocolate wins international gold.  Israel’s Ika Cohen shared a gold medal at the International Chocolate Awards in London.  Ika Chocolate’s zaatar truffle won a joint gold medal in the “flavored dark ganaches and truffles” section of the competition.
 
Strengthening Indo-Israeli ties.  Experts at the seventh India Israel Forum – the Indo-Israel Innovation Colloquium in Mumbai – explored further ties between the two nations in innovation, information technology, healthcare, water technology, renewable energy, wellness and engineering sectors. 
 
Making it “easy” to fly from France to Israel.  Low cost carrier easyJet plc will launch a new direct route between Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, starting 30th March 2015.  Ticket prices for the flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays start from 45.99 Euros one-way.
 
 
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
 
Sarona – Tel Aviv’s newest leisure and culture oasis.  Just across from Tel Aviv’s Azrieli towers, the former German Templer colony of Sarona has been revitalized and landscaped to include playgrounds and parks.  33 residences dating from 1871 have been renovated and converted into eateries, upscale shops and art galleries.
 
Recycling is a “hit” with Israelis.  This youtube film promoting awareness of recycling in Israel by the Tamir recycling corporation has had almost 900,000 views.  No wonder – it features some phenomenally accurate precision ways to dispose of recyclable containers and plastic bottles. 
 
Music and food bring peace to Jerusalem.  Watch 2000 young Jews and Arabs gathering together at November’s “Simply Singing” event in Jerusalem.  In addition to the music, poetry and dancing, two chefs, one Arab-Israeli, the other Jewish-Israeli worked together to create fusion dishes that reflected both cultures.
 
But is it art?  Jerusalem’s annual winter festival, “Hamshushalayim,” which takes place over four consecutive weekends, includes an unusual exhibition displayed among supermarket shelves.  The exhibition, “Mivtza” (“sale” in Hebrew), seeks to examine the meeting between modern art and a familiar daily space.
 
Hollywood movie of Israeli’s jungle survival.  US actor Kevin Bacon is to star in “Jungle” based on the true story of Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, who was lost in the Amazon rainforest for three weeks in 1981.  “Back to Tuichi” was one of Israel’s most popular books in the 1990s. It has been translated into 15 languages.
 
 
THE JEWISH STATE
 
Underwater village discovered near Haifa.  (Thanks to David and Israel21c) A water well that may be the oldest wooden structure ever found, and the oldest evidence of an ancient olive-oil industry, are among the preserved remains of a prehistoric village discovered underwater by Israeli researchers off the coast of Haifa.
 
Aliya at highest level for a decade.  Around 26,500 new immigrants arrived in Israel in 2014 marking a 32% increase over last year and a ten-year high.  Nearly 7,000 French arrived – more than double the 3,400 in 2013.  Immigration from the Ukraine increased by 190% to 5,840 in 2014.
 
Take the Israel Course.  Explore Israel’s past and future with “The Israel Course” a 7-Part film series designed to reinforce your understanding of Israel’s history and future. Be pro-active in Israel’s miraculous narrative.  http://www.theisraelcourse.com/unitedwithisrael/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJmja7T2gzw
 
The great escape.  Three rare white rhinos at Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari took advantage of a dozing guard and an open gate to explore the safari’s car park.  Fortunately, Rhianna and her friends couldn’t find a suitable vehicle in which to make a complete getaway.  (They should have chosen a Range Rover or Nissan Prairie!)