Very Good News Israel

By Michael Ordman, VGNI

Ten years ago I read a copy of a new book containing the reasons for Israel’s transformation into a nation of entrepreneurs.  “Start-Up Nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer inspired me to start compiling a weekly newsletter of positive news about Israel.  The photo is of some of the many inspiring books about Israel published in the last 10 years. They reinforce the thousands of articles in these positive newsletters.

Please celebrate this anniversary by making a donation to help me publicize Israel’s achievements to a wider audience. Many thanks
https://israelactive.com/donate-to-israel-active/

www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com

In the 19th July 20 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

  • Israeli scientists have used fat-reducing medication to starve coronavirus.
  • An Israeli trial has greatly improved cognitive function for healthy seniors.
  • Israeli drones rescue Europeans plus help Florida prepare for hurricanes.
  • Intel’s new superfast USB connectivity was developed in Israel.
  • Huge new investments in joint US-Israeli projects.
  • Israeli-German partnership promises to transform food production.
  • The 10th anniversary of the very first VeryGoodNewsIsrael newsletter.

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Treat fat in lungs to kill Covid-19. Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Mount Sinai in New York, have prevented Covid-19 from reproducing. In lab tests, the virus was destroyed in 5 days on lung tissue that had been exposed to the anti-cholesterol treatment Fenofibrate (Tricor).
https://www.timesofisrael.com/existing-drug-may-downgrade-covid-threat-to-common-cold-level-jerusalem-study/  https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3650499

From psoriasis to Covid-19. One of the treatments being developed by Israel’s Can-Fite (see here) is CF-101 (Piclidenoson) which is in Phase 2 & 3 trials for psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.  Can-Fite is shortly to commence a Phase 2 trial of CF-101 on Covid-19 patients.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200715005283/en/Can-Fite-Completes-Phase-II-COVID-19-Protocol-Based

$9 million for 25 Covid-19 projects. Israel’s Council for Higher Education and philanthropic foundations have selected 25 research projects to share NIS 9 million from their “killCorona” program to help combat Covid-19. The projects include diagnostics, vaccines, treatments for severe cases and curbing the spread of the virus.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/25-research-projects-to-whip-coronavirus-get-nis-9-million-in-funding/

Plasma cancer treatment. Israel’s CAPS Medical has developed a small disposable catheter that can reach deep inside the body to deliver cold atmospheric plasma (CAP). The plasma is a stream of high-energy ionized gas that kills solid cancer cells and triggers a tumor-destroying immune response without harming healthy cells.
https://www.israel21c.org/new-plasma-cancer-treatment-designed-to-kill-malignant-cells/
https://www.capsmedical.com/

Antibodies to fight cancer. There are some “nectin” proteins that help cancer cells evade the immune system. Israel’s Nectin Therapeutics (at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) places novel monoclonal antibodies into these nectins to stimulate the immune system and help it fight cancers in solid tissue and in the bloodstream.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839716,00.html   http://www.nectintx.com/

Matching cancer treatment to patients. Israeli biotech Nucleai (reported here previously) has progressed from merely analyzing biopsies. It now uses its computer vision and machine learning to study the characteristics of tumors, helping predict which cancer patients will react to which immunotherapy medication.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/nucleai-raises-6-5-million-to-help-pharma-firms-match-drugs-to-cancer-patients/

A Smart colonoscope. (TY Atid-EDI) The US FDA has approved the G-Eye Colonoscope from Israel’s SMART Medical Systems. Its unique balloon innovation provides an enhanced field of view and demonstrates a substantial increase in the detection of cancerous polyps – the precursors of colon cancer.
https://www.smartmedsys.com/us/g-eye-colonoscope-now-fda-510k-cleared/

Diagnosing sports brain injuries. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a combined MRI scan plus an analysis of the brain’s blood vessels to detect Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a neuro-degenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries – a major issue in contact sports e.g. US football.
https://unitedwithisrael.org/israeli-creates-first-of-its-kind-test-to-detect-football-players-brain-injuries/

Aging process reversed. Tel Aviv University’s Dr Shai Efrati used hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to improve the cognitive function and brain tissue of dozens of over-65-year-old volunteers. They received a 60-day course of 2-hours in a pressurized chamber 5 times a week, breathing pure oxygen for some of the time.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-doctor-claims-to-reverse-aging-with-pure-oxygen-treatment-study/

Preventing blindness. Israel’s AEYE Health can save millions of people from going blind with its easy-to-use, hand-held retina camera. Together with AEYE’s AI algorithms, even the untrained can perform automated diagnostic screening for retinal imaging and instantly detect various eye diseases.
https://www.aeyehealth.com/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YJjfw2QtKk

Synthetic corneas. Israel has approved the first-in-human synthetic corneal transplants. Surgeons at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital will operate to restore the sight of 10 Israelis using KPro implants from Israel’s CorNeat Vision (reported here previously). If OK, Canada, the US, France, China and the Netherlands will follow.
https://unitedwithisrael.org/israel-to-perform-first-synthetic-cornea-transplant-returning-sight-to-blind/
https://www.corneat.com/news/CorNeat-Vision’s-Synthetic-Cornea-Approved-for-First-in-Human-Implantation

Automating cell analysis. Israel’s Accellix supports vital medical research into cell therapy with its automated flow cytometry devices. Now laboratories can get accurate analyses of their cell samples in minutes without complicated procedures and training or having to send the samples to a central lab.
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200611005290/en/Accellix-Cell-Therapy-QC-Company-Raises-9.5   http://www.accellix.com/   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh9giMuJsik

Medical robots more advanced than F-35 jets. (TY Yehoshua) Great article featuring many of the tasks and procedures performed by hi-tech robots at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, that would have previously been impossible. These include spine surgery, 3D imaging during operations and automated blood tests.
https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/283730

ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Helping children cope with Covid-19. Leading Israeli pediatricians have founded the Goshen organization to advance children’s optimal health, development and well-being. Its website (in Hebrew, English & Arabic) includes explaining coronavirus to children, calming their fears, helping them sleep and home activity ideas.
https://www.jpost.com/health-science/an-online-resource-for-israeli-parents-to-rely-on-during-lockdown-622418   https://gadalta.org.il/corona-eng/

Australia and Israel are “mates”. Good article highlighting the excellent relationship between Israel and Australia both politically and economically. It is described as “a mateship based on trade, trust and mutual values.”  https://www.jns.org/australia-israel-relationship-a-mateship-based-on-trade-and-mutual-values/

Rescue service for Norway. Israeli drone manufacturer Atlas Dynamics has signed a contract with Norwegian People’s Aid (NPAID), one of the world’s top arctic rescue units. Swarms of Atlas Pro drones, equipped with artificial intelligence and distributed communication systems, will patrol the arctic skies of Norway.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839585,00.html
https://www.atlasdynamics.eu/applications/search-and-rescue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brt2lUgGJ8M  (see video of an actual rescue)

Drones to help Florida respond to hurricanes. The Sparrow “drone in a box” from Israel’s Percepto (reported here previously) passed level 5 Florida hurricane testing, including winds up to 150mph and will help Florida Power and Light’s emergency response during the hurricane season. Percepto has customers in 10 countries.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-drones-to-help-floridas-emergency-response-to-hurricane-season/
https://www.wptv.com/news/region-martin-county/florida-power-and-light-uses-drones-to-improve-service-after-storms  (includes great video) https://percepto.co/

Connecting Israel to the Americas. Israeli non-profit Start-Up Nation Central has partnered ConnectAmericas – a social network for Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) businesses to get global help with health, social services, food security and more. Already some 5,000 Israeli companies have set up profiles on the network.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/start-up-nation-central-to-help-latin-american-firms-tap-into-israeli-tech/

Mental health aid for workers battling Covid-19. CoronaCare Israel is offering free psychological first aid (anonymously) for New Jersey healthcare and law-enforcement personnel on the Covid-19 frontlines. The pilot project is a partnership between New Jersey doctors and Israel’s voluntary first-response NGO United Hatzalah.
https://israelrescue.org/blog/corona-care-israel-offers-virtual-mental-health-aid-to-u-s-health-workers-and-first-responders-battling-covid/

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Covid-19 has boosted training in hi-tech engineering. Tel Aviv’s Afeka College of Engineering is holding a conference on the Development of National Human Capital in Engineering on 20th July. It reports a 50% increase of interest in studying engineering since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839661,00.html  https://english.afeka.ac.il/
https://www.afeka.ac.il/ba_minisite/camp/2020/human_capital20/index.html

A parched wasteland transformed. Always good to read a new article describing the “miracle” of turning the Northern Israel from withered fields and swamps into a land of natural beauty and proliferation of agriculture.
https://www.jns.org/opinion/how-israel-rescued-the-promised-land-from-devastation-and-neglect/

Testing smart transportation on Israel’s busiest road. Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Freeway is to become a test site for Israeli autotech. The highway’s operator, Netivei Ayalon Ltd. is set to embark on a series of pilots in the smart vehicle and smart transportation field, in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3835458,00.html

More on the paper 3D-printed drone. More details on the “Sky Printer” unmanned drone (reported here 28th June). The electric-powered UAV is 1.65m long with a 1.5m wingspan. It can carry communications gear and a camera. Its 26 parts (including the wheels) are made from paper, printed in just a few hours on a 3D printer.
https://worldisraelnews.com/new-israeli-paper-airplane-drone-made-with-a-3d-printer/

Predict prices a year in advance. Israel’s Fetcherr employs deep price neural networks (DPNNs) to predict prices with (it says) 90% accuracy up to a year in advance. Its AI algorithm factors in hundreds of variables, including unexpected events (such as Covid-19). It is currently focusing on aviation and tourism.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3838051,00.html

A cybersecurity alliance. Israel’s Cybellum detects vulnerabilities in engine control units. It is partnering with The Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv (reported here previously) to build cybersecurity technologies for the automotive market. The Alliance includes Renault, Nissan Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3838507,00.html

Protection from wireless attacks. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s InfiniDome protects systems dependent on GPS and wireless communications (e.g. trucks) from jamming and spoofing attacks. GPS jammers can be bought online for just $18 and are responsible for thefts and damage costing billions of dollars (see video).
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200610005095/en/Israel%E2%80%99s-GPS-Security-Startup-infiniDome-Closes-Seed   https://www.infinidome.com/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKeVPz5LnX4

Tel Aviv adopts Carbyne. Tel Aviv has joined several other Israeli cities, including Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Modiin, and Rehovot, by implementing the smart emergency call service from Israel’s Carbyne (reported here previously). Carbyne currently operates in seven countries and can handle over 400,000 calls a day.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3838352,00.html

Intel Israel has the best connections. (TY UWI) Intel’s Client Connectivity Engineering Group in Israel has developed Thunderbolt 4, the next generation universal cable connectivity solution. With a USB 4 port and a cable up to 2m long, users will be able to fast charge their computer or transfer data at 4GB / second.
https://www.jpost.com/jpost-tech/israeli-intel-plant-rolls-out-new-thunderbolt-4-cable-port-634315

REE is a gamechanger. Israel’s REE Automotive (reported here previously) has won Bloomberg’s 2020 BNEF Pioneer award. REE was named as one of ten game-changing companies, for its breakthrough wheel arch that incorporates most of a vehicle’s systems.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839660,00.html   https://ree.auto/
https://about.bnef.com/blog/ten-innovative-companies-named-as-2020-bnef-pioneers/

Keeping Blockchain secure. Covid-19 has encouraged many more business contracts to be performed on-line using latest Blockchain technology. Fraud is still possible, so Israel’s Valid Network protects smart contracts, including code vulnerability checks, intrusion detection, version compatibility checks, and anomaly detection.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839587,00.html  https://valid.network/
https://valid.network/  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD-NIqvONVM

What did we just say? As reported recently (see here) one Israeli company has developed an AI system to take notes during on-line doctor/patient consultations. Now Israel’s AudioCodes (see here) has partnered Microsoft to develop Mia (Meeting Insights). Its AI bot produces a transcript and summary of a Microsoft Teams meeting.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839592,00.html

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Grants for joint US-Israeli projects. Israel’s Innovation Authority is providing more funds (see previous) to Israeli technology companies initiating industrial R&D and pilot projects with companies in the US states of New York, New Jersey, Colorado, and Indiana. They can receive up to 50% of the approved R&D costs.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3838736,00.html

Another $8 million for US-Israeli projects. The Israel-U.S. BIRD Foundation is investing $8 million in 10 new automotive, cybersecurity, healthcare, and other joint US-Israeli projects. The Israeli companies are AEYE Health, Aeronautics, Datumate, Firedome, Genoox, Redler, Senso, Serenus.AI, VayaVision and XRHealth.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839383,00.html

Economic agreement with Thailand. Israel and Thailand signed an agreement to bring essential Thai workers to Israel to work in the agricultural sector. It also marks 66 years of ties between the two countries.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpvXe0qAJ5U

Meet me in The Lounge. If Israeli companies must meet face to face with an overseas guest during lockdown, Fattal’s Lounge at Ben Gurion airport’s VIP terminal (see here) is where to do it. It has 3 luxury bedrooms and a meeting room. After approval by Israel’s Interior Ministry, the guest flies in for up to 2 days in The Lounge.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839472,00.html

New VC fund for early stage startups. Tel Aviv-based venture capital firm Amiti Ventures has secured $110 million in commitments for its third fund. It will invest in early stage Israeli companies that otherwise would suffer due to the global Covid-19 crisis. Most of fund’s money comes from investors outside of Israel.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839382,00.html

Barcelona partners Israeli startup. Israel’s Pixellot (reported here previously) and Barça (FC Barcelona) have signed a partnership to record and analyze the team during training sessions. Pixellot has been working with Barcelona for 3 years, supplying its automated AI cameras at the Ciutat Esportiva, and the Estadi Johan Cruyff.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3838366,00.html

Transforming greenhouse production. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Prospera (see here previously) is partnering German giant Bayer to help improve greenhouse output. Prospera’s AI and big data monitors the production of $5 trillion worth of agricultural produce. Bayer says the partnership will help transform grower operations.
https://www.jpost.com/jpost-tech/prospera-technologies-bayer-partner-to-improve-agriculture-output-634543
https://media.bayer.com/baynews/baynews.nsf/id/Bayer-partners-Prospera-Technologies-Inc-develop-integrated-digital-solutions-vegetable-greenhouse  https://home.prospera.ag/greenhouses

After takeover production moves to Israel. US giant KLA Tencor acquired Israel’s Orbotech last year for $3.4 billion. Since then, KLA has moved its flat panel display testing equipment production to Israel. Some 90% of the company’s total production will be performed in Israel by end 2021.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3835616,00.html

Microsoft expands and moves offices. Microsoft’s Tel Aviv development center is expanding. Its 1,500 employees will move to WeWork’s Midtown Tel Aviv building, specially tailored to Microsoft Israel’s R&D division’s needs. Joining them are Microsoft for Startups, the Microsoft accelerator, and Microsoft’s Reactor.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839793,00.html

To grow or to exit – that is the question. Israeli entrepreneurs vary between those who want to grow billion-dollar “Unicorns” or those that simply want to make a quick profitable exit and start a new company. Here is the view of the latter. Ram Yonish is now helping other entrepreneurs make that decision.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3839776,00.html

A global HR management system. Israeli-founded Payroll and workforce management tool Papaya has acquired Israeli HR information system platform Mensch. It will result in what Papaya says is the first global human resources management system.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3837510,00.html

Another Israeli startup benefiting from Covid-19. Israeli digital advertiser Kendago B2C Media Solutions was on the rise well before the arrival of Covid-19, growing by 150% year-to-year in 2019. It has since grown another 600%, marketing companies selling inexpensive products online to customers staying at home.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3837753,00.html

Investments in Israeli startups. OwnBackup raised $50 millionSeebo raised $9 millionNovaSight raised $8 million; Valid Network raised $6 million; Nectin Therapeutics raised $6 million;

CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`

Off Broadway, On HaMasger. Today! (19 July) 12-1pm EST, 7pm Israel; America-Israel Friendship League in partnership with Center Stage in Ra’anana and Jewish Plays Project present 3 short performances.  Hudson’s Legacy, Madame Magician, and Refuge Malja. Register on Zoom or live streaming on AIFL’s Facebook page.
https://aifl.org/events/off-broadway-off-raanana
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TngOtUUwS6ecjA3QA2bcRQ
https://www.facebook.com/events/2709052012700937/

Animated film prize. The Israeli concept film “Cinema Rex” won the Canal + Youth Award at June’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The fictional story is about a Jewish boy and Arab girl in 1938 Jerusalem who make friends due to their love of movies. Cinema Rex was a real cinema co-owned by an Arab and a Jew.
https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/cinema-rex-israeli-animated-film-about-jerusalem-wins-prize-632767
https://vimeo.com/432113608

A glimpse of Israel. A video featuring Israeli tourist sites, history, nature, togetherness, culture, food, innovation and the beautiful sunset.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzZ_kWFnidY

THE JEWISH STATE

The Jerusalem Road. Jerusalem has started building part of an $870 million major highway that will serve as a ring road around Israel’s capital city, with the goal of significantly alleviating traffic throughout the capital. It will complete the “American Road” which was planned in the 1960s but halted due to the Six-Day War.
https://www.jns.org/jerusalem-highway-under-construction-aims-to-significantly-modernize-traffic-flow-around-the-historic-city/

The religious significance of Israel. (TY Aish & Zev) Last year, in his “Covenant and Conversation” essay on this week’s Torah portion (Masei), ex-UK Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote “Only in Israel can the Jewish people construct a political system, an economy, and an environment on the template of Jewish values.”
https://rabbisacks.org/the-religious-significance-of-israel-masei-5779/

The 10 lost tribes are not lost anymore. Excellent lecture by Rabbi Dr Jonathan Lieberman. He suggests that Ezekiel’s prophecy of the return of the lost tribes of Israel is becoming a reality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl-YL4iRAFk

Ten years of Very Good News. On 18th July 2010, the very first issue of the VeryGoodNewsIsrael newsletter was emailed only to some 30 family and friends.  Current editions now reach many thousands every week.
https://verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com/2011/07/2010-history-of-good-news-july-dec-2010.html

July 19, 2020 | Comments » | 334 views

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