By Michael Ordman
In the 15th Aug 21 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
- Huge positive results from Israel’s mass anti-Covid vaccination boosters.
- An Israeli startup can predict and prevent allergies in babies.
- Israelis are helping Greece fight its devastating forest fires.
- A new Israeli low-cost drip-irrigation system is a game-changer.
- Two endangered species have found safe harbor in Israeli waters.
- Young Israeli emissaries embark on international missions.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Hospital kills Covid with UV light. Tel Aviv’s Sourasky (Ichilov) is the first hospital to use ultra-violet (UV) light to disinfect medical spaces. The J. Protect system, from Israel’s Juganu (see here) uses UV-A in occupied rooms and UV-C when the room is empty. Bacteria, fungi and viruses (e.g., Covid-19) are killed in one hour.
Covid treatment trial extended. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Health Ministry has approved a Phase 2 trial of Covid-19 treatment MesenCure (see here previously) from Israel’s Bonus BioGroup. The treatment helped 15 out of 17 severe Covid cases, to be released from hospital just one day after receiving their final dose.
Pfizer booster vaccine works. (TY Hazel) Researchers at Israel’s Beilinson Medical Center have found that twice as many organ transplant recipients developed antibodies after their 3rd anti-covid jab compared to their 2nd dose. There were also good results in the over-60s, of which over 750,000 have had their 3rd vaccination.
Freezing bladder cancer. In a global first, doctors at Israel’s Rambam Medical Center in Haifa performed cryotherapy to treat superficial bladder cancer in a 60-year-old patient. The technology was developed by Israel’s Vessi Medical (see here previously). Bladder cancer is the most common cancer in men over 50.
Defibrillator on a string. Israel’s Newpace has developed. the Implantable Subcutaneous String-cardio Defibrillator (ISSD) – a low-invasive heart rhythm defibrillator that is implanted under the skin and is recharged and monitored wirelessly using Bluetooth. Newpace is now to use the battery system from Israel’s Powermat.
European approval for spinal fusion system. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s ZygoFix (see here previously) has obtained the European CE mark for its minimally invasive screwless zLOCK Spinal Fusion system for the treatment of chronic back pain. The system has been in clinical use for over three years in Hungary and Israel.
Successful trials for knee cartilage replacement. Israel’s CartiHeal (see here previously) has just announced successful results in the two-year trial of its Agili-C implant for 251 patients with damaged knee cartilage. Over 77% of patients said their condition had improved, compared to 33% of those who had conventional treatment.
Israel’s medical robotic revolution. Join Technion UK’s webinar on 24th Aug at 2pm UK time. Professor Alon Wolf, Head of Robotics and Vice President of Israel’s Technion Institute, will talk about his work. His startup Medrobotics is now transforming his search & rescue robotic snake into an anatomical surgery tool.
Hi-tech stroke rehab. Ben Gurion University has established a new rehabilitation lab for stroke victims. It is based at ADI ALEH Negev Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village in southern Israel (see here previously). Patients spend 3 – 5 hours per day with cutting-edge equipment that utilizes the brain’s plasticity to repair itself.
Preventing allergies in babies. Israel’s MyOR uses AI models and predictive data from studies worldwide to forecast which newborns are at risk of developing food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). This, plus a sophisticated skin test, gives pediatricians a tool to guide parents on how to prevent allergies.
Diagnosing cancer in Midwest USA. Alverno Laboratories, one of the largest integrated laboratory networks in the United States, is to deploy the Galen AI platform from Israel’s Ibex Medical Analytics (see here previously) to help pathologists provide accurate cancer diagnosis for patients.
Treating symptoms of Parkinson’s. Former Member of Knesset Michael (Miki) Eitan (aged 77) was once completely debilitated by Parkinson’s disease. In Feb 2021, he underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) at Hadassah Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. Now, although the disease continues, most of his symptoms have gone.
Ethiopian’s 20-year heart guarantee. Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) recently flew 33-year-old basketball coach Luleseged Kassa from Ethiopia to Israel, so that surgeons at could fix a faulty heart valve. The valve was one of two that SACH surgeons replaced (again for free) when Luleseged was just 13 years old.
The downs and ups of an EMT. Baruch, a United Hatzalah paramedic, lost vital minutes when the daughter of a heart attack victim gave the wrong address. He finally arrived to take over CPR from the patient’s exhausted wife and save her husband’s life. And a busy previous day meant that his medical kit was fully replenished.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
The only female CEO of a TASE hi-tech company. Tali Shem Tov of Israeli digital IT Services company Speedvalue is the only woman CEO of a hi-tech, traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. She was previously CEO of Qualitest (see here) until it was acquired by Bridgepoint VC for $420 million.
Record number of women join Border Police. (TY Hazel) A record 320 female recruits have begun their training for Israel’s Border Police, which for the first time will have a majority of female officers. Currently only one place is available for every 10 wishing to join the Border Police, so two new units are to be setup.
Empowering people with disabilities. Israeli companies Fiverr and Salesforce have partnered in a unique 6-week pilot program to train Israelis with disabilities as Salesforce administrators. It is a project of Fiverr Empower which finds freelance employment for special needs individuals through the Fiverr platform.
A new leash of life for special needs. The developers of Israel’s dog-walking app Dogiz (see here previously) have launched a social-impact project called Walking Together. They work with several NGO’s and the IDF to offer training and paid dog-walking work to adults (e.g., with severe autism) who cannot find employment.
Israel’s first Druze Air Force Colonel. In December, Awad Suleiman (see here previously) became the first member of Israel’s Druze minority to be promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. He has now taken command of his new unit. His commander said Awad would be an inspiration for many to follow him.
Agreements with Bahrain. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has signed an historic agreement with the Derasat Institute of Bahrain to set up a network of research institutes in the Gulf region and elsewhere. Also, Bahrain’s senior foreign ministry diplomat made a first visit to the IDF to discuss strengthening security ties.
Boosting ties with Morocco. Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid signed three accords during the first ministerial visit to Morocco since 2003. They covered air service, culture, sports and youth, plus a mechanism for political consultation. Lapid inaugurated a liaison mission and promised a future exchange of embassies.
Teaching Israeli entrepreneurship in Miami. Florida International University in Miami is to offer a course on Israeli entrepreneurship and innovation. “Innovation Nation: The Global Influence of Israeli Technology and Entrepreneurship,” aims to impart lessons from Israel’s startup ecosystem to aspiring business leaders.
Energy advisor for the US. Amos Hochstein, born and raised in Israel, has been appointed to serve as Senior Advisor for Energy Security at the US State Department. Hochstein served in the Israeli Defense Forces from 1992 to 1995. He was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources in 2015.
Firefighting aid to Greece. (TY UWI) Israel has sent 16 firefighters and two planes to Greece to help battle its wildfires. https://www.israel21c.org/
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Five medals at Physics Olympiad. 450 students from 90 different countries competed at the 54th International Physics Olympiad in Lithuania. After eight days of contests, lectures, games and projects, all five members of the Israeli high school team won either silver or bronze medals for their theoretical and experimental exams.
Protecting Airbus from missiles. Israel’s BIRD Aerosystems has won a contract to install its SPREOS DIRCM anti-missile system on an Airbus 320-type aircraft. The system tracks and jams heat-seeking missiles and is part of a wider defense system that is being installed in partnership with Airbus France.
Cutting-edge water innovation. (TY UWI) Here is a new video that highlights (in under 2 minutes) some of the innovative ways Israel utilizes its limited water resources and makes the desert bloom. It features recycling, drip irrigation, desalination, river rehabilitation, and extracting water from the air.
Drip irrigation for low value crops. Israel’s N-Drip (see here previously) has developed a unique zero-energy gravity-powered micro-irrigation system for crops that have a very low profit margin, like corn and potatoes. N-Drip’s Chief Sustainability Officer is Seth Siegel, author of “Let there be Water” (featured here previously).
Desalination plant for Mumbai. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s IDE Technologies (see here previously) is to build and operate a seawater desalination plant to provide drinking water to Mumbai – India’s most populous city.
Developing sustainable food. Yeda, the commercial arm of Israel’s Weizmann Institute is to receive a $40 million investment over 3 years, from US-Israeli company Impact NRS. Yeda will establish Plantae Bioscience, to develop nutritious alternative food sources that have reduced environmental impact and low CO2 emissions.
Build an app – no coding required. Israel’s Wix (see here previously) has launched “Branded App by Wix” – a new tool that gives small businesses the ability to build tailor-made mobile apps without any coding. Users can design the icon, layout and content for product pages, bookings, forums, groups, chats, blogs and more.
Live video streaming for Microsoft. Microsoft has acquired Israel’s Peer5, which develops technology for low-bandwidth video streaming, called eCDN. It is understood that its technology will be used in Microsoft Teams, the company’s platform for communication. Peer5’s team will join Microsoft Israel R&D.
Electric President. Ex-Israeli President Reuven Rivlin seemingly likes the title of President. He is widely reported to be joining Israeli electric road developer Electreon (see here previously) – as its President!
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Revenue up, deficit down. Israel’s cumulative government deficit for the twelve months to end July 2021 was 9.3% of GDP, down from 11.7% at the end of 2020. The main reason is increased revenue, up nearly 30% in 2021 compared to 2020. The government is actually spending more in 2021, mostly due to pandemic assistance.
Black Unicorns. (TY UWI) Cyber Defense Magazine’s named Israel’s Noname Security in its 2021 Top 10 Black Unicorn list of cybersecurity startups likely worth $1 billion in 3 years. Israel’s NanoLock, Adaptive Shield, XM Cyber and Siemplify were in the Top 10 Baby Black Unicorn list of $1 billion value in 3-5 years.
Azerbaijan invests in Israel. In the same week that Azerbaijan opened its first Israel trade office, Azerbaijan Investment Company (AIC) signed an agreement with Israel’s OurCrowd. In the first stage, AIC will invest in 10-15 startups from the OurCrowd portfolio, focusing on energy, health, agtech, foodtech, education and more.
New shopping mall in Judean desert. The DCity shopping mall, which opened outside Ma’aleh Adumim near Jerusalem, is Israel’s largest mall and designed as a replica of the famous Venetian Resort in Las Vegas. Its 150,000 square meters features some 200 storefronts, restaurants, a luxury hotel and an artificial indoor sky.
CropX grows larger. Israel’s CropX (see here previously) has acquired Dutch-based Dacom Farm Intelligence to add its crop protection capabilities to CropX’s active irrigation technology, hardware-based soil data and fertilizer management features. Dacom has 3,000 agricultural clients managing 20,000+ farms in 40 countries.
Nanox swallows Zebra. Israel’s Nasdaq-quoted portable X-Ray devices company Nanox (see here previously) has just acquired Israeli AI imaging analysis company Zebra Medical (see here previously) for $200 million. Nanox has also (TY Atid-EDI) just won a contract to deploy 1,000 systems in Nigeria.
Deloitte makes an awesome acquisition. Deloitte Digital has acquired Israeli brand and product design agency Awesome – the team responsible for Israel’s 2019 Eurovision campaign and the global brand presence of local companies like Playtika and Sodastream. Awesome can now access Deloitte’s many thousands of global clients.
Even NICE-er. Israel’s NICE systems (see here previously) just reported improved second quarter earnings and became Israel’s highest value company at $17 billion.
Investment in Israeli startups: Ownbackup raised $240 million; VGarden raised $55 million; 4M Analytics raised $11 million; Joonko raised $10 million; Buff raised $9.3 million (TASE IPO); SIGA raised $8.1 million; ByondXR raised $7 million; Vesttoo raised $6 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Jerusalem streets in August. (TY Sharon) Those lucky to be in Jerusalem now will be able to enjoy renovated streets, shopping, Segway tours, Teddy Park, Islamic Museum’s coffee exhibit, Bible Lands Museum’s BIRDS exhibit, ice skating at First Station, climbing at the Tower of David Museum, films, Shakespeare and more.
Halleluyah in Arabic. Two young Israeli singers, one Arab, one Jew, wowed the judges and audience on Israel’s Rising Star talent show with their rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluyah in English and Arabic.
New locations for turtles and sharks. (TY Hazel) Israeli researchers have discovered a huge concentration of deep-water sharks and shark eggs in deep sea brine pools near Tel Aviv. And for the first time ever, loggerhead turtles have hatched on an Eilat beach. Previously, the turtle had only been seen on the Mediterranean coast.
How Israel became a Judo powerhouse. In 1992, judokas Yael Arad (silver) and Oren Smadja (bronze) won Israel’s first Olympic medals. The subsequent immigration of judo masters from the Soviet Union spurred a national love affair with the sport. And now the medals keep coming – at European, World and Olympic events.
THE JEWISH STATE
An ancient coin in an ancient Jewish town. (TY UWI) An Israeli girl found a 1,500-year-old coin at the Korazim archaeological park – the site of an ancient Jewish village near the Sea of Galilee. The coin dates to the Talmudic period between the 4th and 5th centuries CE – the peak period of the Jewish village at Korazim.
Emissaries to the world. A total of 145 ShinShinim (gap-year emissaries) depart this month for communities around the world on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Israel. They all volunteered to spend their time pre-IDF service, working with Jewish organizations to help strengthen world Jewry’s relationship with Israel.
Lone soldiers arrive. The first 12 of this year’s anticipated new 300 lone soldiers were among new immigrants who have just arrived on a Nefesh b’Nefesh Group Aliyah Flight. They will become Israeli citizens and then enlist in the Israel Defense Forces, joining some 3,500 existing lone soldiers already serving in the IDF.
Inspiring generosity. Israel Prize winner and Israeli Presidential candidate Miriam Peretz has just donated NIS 50,000 to the “Special in Uniform” program, which helps Israelis with special needs serve in the IDF. Miriam lost two sons in IDF active service and her husband to cancer. She also has two autistic grandchildren.