By Michael Ordman
NETANYA, Israel — In the August 8, 2021 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Successful Covid-19 treatment trial. A successful Israeli trial of Covid-19 treatment EXO-CD24 (see here previously) has now been reinforced by a trial on 88 patients in Greece. 90% of the moderate and serious patients (aged up to 85) were released within five days of treatment. None required to be put on ventilators.
Second most coronavirus innovations. (TY Hazel) The 2021 report by research center StartupBlink cited Israel as the source of 38 of some 1,300 pandemic-related innovations, ranking it world number 2 after the USA. The report praised Israel’s many innovations relative to its small size and also its vaccination program.
Breakthrough in detecting metastatic breast cancer. Researchers from four Israeli medical institutes have identified early signs in the body that indicate breast cancer is about to spread to other organs. The discovery could save millions of lives. They also discovered that the protein MYC speeds the growth of cancerous cells.
Eat up those cancer cells. A US clinical study involving Irving Weissman of Ben Gurion University is using the antibody Magrolimab to enhance “scavenger macrophages” – cancer cell-eating white blood cells. Magrolimab blocks the CD47 molecule that cancer cells produce to signal “don’t eat me” to the macrophages.
Understanding Alzheimer’s. (TY WIN) It is known that a build-up of Amyloid plaques in the brain is common in Alzheimer’s patients, but what do they affect? Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have just found that they are a catalyst to the degradation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and adrenaline.
Removable heart implant. Israel’s Append Medical is developing the Appligator – an implantable device for closing the Left Atrial Appendix (LAA) to prevent blood clot leakage and strokes in those suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF). However, unlike other implants, the device is removed after surgery, leaving just stitches.
President’s booster. Honest Reporting’s Daniel Pomerantz was interviewed on Turkish TV about Israel’s coronavirus activities. He revealed that President Isaac Herzog was one of the first to receive a third (booster) vaccination against SARS-Cov-2. It was administered at Sheba hospital by Muslim Arab nurse Lina Ahmad.
Heart monitoring smartwatch ready to launch. Israel’s CardiacSense (see here previously) is about to ship its first heart-monitoring smartwatches around the world. This article gives the history and technical details of the low-cost product that can save many lives, at a fraction of the cost of hospital sensors and implants.
US approves 3D medical holographs. Israel-based RealView Imaging (see here previously) has received FDA clearance for its HOLOSCOPE-i holographic system. The system creates spatially accurate, 3D interactive medical holograms, based on data received from standard CT scans and 3D ultrasound systems.
Ribbons of Hope. The Israel Cancer Research Fund is holding a virtual gala on 10th Aug to raise funds to help the most promising Israeli scientists advance ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. ICRF has already provided more than 2,500 grants that have been responsible for major cancer research breakthroughs.
His father’s son. Having watched his father save many lives as a volunteer EMT for Israel’s United Hatzalah, 16-year-old Shaked decided to learn how to administer CPR himself. So, when bystanders didn’t know what to do when a woman collapsed in Afula, Shaked stepped right up and saved her life.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
New children’s day-care center. The Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) has opened the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Day Care and Early Childhood Education Center, for 100 children in Tel Aviv. WIZO operates 183 day-care centers in Israel for 14,000 children aged from three months to three years.
Intel Israel’s first Arab Vice President. Reda Masarwa, from the Israeli city of Taybeh, has been promoted to Vice President at Intel Israel – the company’s first Arab VP. During his 24 years at Intel, Reda managed the construction of Intel’s chip plants, heading a team of 150 Intel engineers and over 2,000 external engineers.
Gaza girl can see again. Israeli surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital restored the sight of a toddler from Gaza, suffering from a malignant tumor that covered half her eye. The treatment took several months and included chemotherapy plus an innovative procedure using a direct, precise injection into the eye.
New York teens at Israeli summer camp. (TY WIN & I24 News) Non-Jewish US youths, including African Americans from Brooklyn and Harlem, joined Israeli Jews and Arabs on Givat Haviva’s “Horizon” program – an international summer camp with a difference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH4U1OpUTaM
How IDF located victims in Miami tragedy. The Israeli Defense Forces’ National Rescue Unit recovered 81 of the 97 victims from the Champlain Towers South condo collapse site in Surfside, Miami. The IDF team used experience and hi-tech to search the rubble and worked with families to identify where to find their relatives.
Home at last. (TY Hazel) After nine months of rehabilitation at Israel’s Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Stitch the loggerhead sea turtle has been released back to the Mediterranean Sea. Fishermen found her off Israel’s coast in December with a fishing hook lodged in her mouth that had caused her lungs to fill up with water.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
New Fire & Rescue dispatch system. Israel’s National Fire and Rescue Authority has launched its new cutting-edge dispatch system. Features include cell phone locating, real-time vehicle tracking (rescue, EMS, police), all fire alerts (e.g. car accidents and terror attacks) and interlinking with Magen David Adom’s systems.
Integrating Arabs in hi-tech. Atidna in High-Tech is a unique program to integrate Israeli Arabs with tech degrees into the Israeli high-tech market. Working with Facebook, Google, Wix and Salesforce, the 3-month training course, improves soft skills and competencies and then helps with interviews to find a suitable job.
Google to connect Israel to Europe. Google plans to build and operate a submarine cable system to connect Israel with southern Europe. The Blue Submarine Cable System will link Israel to Italy, France and Greece. Its 16 fiber optic pairs aims to increase network capacity and decrease latency and be ready for use in 2024.
Enabling the world to communicate. Israel’s Gilat (see here previously) is to supply advanced tactical communications equipment to the U.S. military. Gilat said it would be the largest deployment of frequency converters in the world. Gilat has also just won a major order from SES for its global mobility platform.
Revolutionizing reading for children. Israel’s Inception XR (see here previously) is bringing popular reading book characters to life with Augmented Reality (AR). Inception XR founder Dana Porter spoke at Gaming 2021 about how its product Bookful is helping children to read more and reduce time on Snapchat and Pokemon GO.
Bridging the email generation gap. Nearly 200 million emails are sent globally every minute. But most young people prefer instant messaging. Israel’s Spike bridges the gap by converting an instant message into email format. Spike’s founders plan to transform the world of email and collaboration. Watch for more “messages”.
Safer self-driving European shuttles. Israel’s Autotalks (see here previously) has been selected to provide its V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communications for ZF, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers. ZF will integrate the solution in its 2getthere autonomous shuttles, starting with a major European project.
Mapping Australia. Israel’s GeoX has won a contract to map 18 million buildings throughout Australia using satellite imagery, AI and other patented technologies. It is one of the world’s largest and most advanced geo-mapping projects and will save government surveyors from having to visit individual homes.
AI design for on-line shopping. Israel’s Renovai provides real-time visual AI solutions that help on-line retailers to create inspiring and personal interactions with shoppers. It is marketed as the first-ever virtual interior designer that provides visual artificial intelligence shopping assistance for lifestyle brands.
The secret’s out. (TY WIN) Former Head of Israel’s Mossad, Yossi Cohen, gave his first public speech since becoming head of SoftBank’s investment operations in Israel. He spoke candidly about Israel’s advanced intelligence technology and how the strength of Israeli high-tech was “21st-century Zionism at its best.”
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Fitch A+ rating. Fitch Ratings has reaffirmed Israel’s A+ rating with a stable outlook, citing its “strong external finances and solid institutional strength.” Its report said Israel’s economy stood up to pandemic shock relatively well, due to Israel’s high-tech industries and successful vaccination campaign.
Another record for currency reserves. Israel’s reserves of foreign currency reached a new record of over $201 billion at the end of July – an increase of over $1.5 billion on its end of June level.
Taiwanese incubator selects 21 Israeli startups. Taiwan’s largest software incubator, Innovation to Industry (see here previously), has selected 21 Israeli companies. It aims to integrate Israeli software with Taiwan’s hardware, including computers, LCDs, semiconductors and phones, as well as in Taiwan’s healthcare system.
New funds for medical incubator. British investment firm Consensus Business Group (CBG) is investing $20 million in Israeli-based medical device incubator MEDX Xelerator (see here previously). CBG said the global epidemic requires development of advanced medical technologies. CBG has $500+ million invested in Israel.
Robotic warehouse wins huge US partnership. North American online grocery platform Instacart is partnering Israeli-founded automation logistics startup Fabric (see here previously). Fabric will use its robotic fulfilment warehouses and AI software to help Instacart deliver goods to its customers.
HopOn to Europe. Israel’s HopOn (see here previously) is expanding into Europe with its mobile payment solutions for public transportation. It has just acquired UK-based ECR, a payment solution for public transit and leisure venues, for $10 million. HopOn operates the payment system for Israel’s Rav-Kav service.
Pioneers of flexible working. One of the reasons so many Israeli startups have succeeded despite the pandemic is because their employees can work remote from their main Israeli offices. This article highlights several examples of where startups have even allowed their staff to work overseas but retain their jobs in Israel.
Israel’s most valuable startup. The $300 million just raised by Israel fintech Rapyd (see here previously) makes it Israel’s most valuable privately owned company, with a market value of $10 billion.
Investment in Israeli startups: Hippo raised $550 million (IPO); Rapyd raised $300 million; Buildots raised $30 million; Localize.city raised $25 million; RealView Imaging raised $15 million; HopOn raised $10 million; STOREE raised $8 million; AgroScout raised $7.5 million; Append Medical raised $7.4 million; Renovai raised $3.7 million; Yofix raised $3.5 million; Lendlord raised $2 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Digitizing the writings of Hannah Senesh. In celebrating 100 years since the birth of Jewish war hero and poet Hannah Senesh (Szenes), the National Library of Israel has digitized dozens of items from her recently acquired archive. They include her poems, manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, photos and documents.
Karmiel Dance Festival. (TY I24 & WIN) Israel’s Karmiel Festival showed that life is returning to normal in Israel. It was the first big dance festival since Covid-19 forced closure of almost all Israeli cultural events. The 3-day event included public workshops and showed that performers were eager to make up lost time on stage.
Jerusalem is not just for the Birds. (TY Sharon) Diplomatic guests from Nigeria, Kosovo, Nepal, Russian Federation, and Serbia joined patrons at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum for the gala opening of its exhibit ‘Early birds soaring with the Ancients’. It follows the myths and stories of the human desire to fly like the birds.
Cleveland semi-finalist. Israel’s Rafael Skorka reached the semi-finals (last eight from 26) of this year’s prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition.
Judoka friendship in MGM documentary. Israel’s Tadmor Entertainment is to make a TV series for MGM about ex-Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei (see here previously and below) who rejected Iran’s demand to avoid a contest with his Israeli friend Sagi Muki. It is MGM’s second project with Tadmor.
Two Olympic Golds. (TY WIN) Israeli artistic gymnast Artem Dolgopyat made history when he won Israel’s first Tokyo Olympics gold medal, and first gymnastic medal, in the men’s floor exercise. Then Israel’s Linoy Ashram won the individual all-around gold medal in the women’s artistic gymnastics final.
More Olympic success. The Israeli judo team won the Olympic bronze medal in the mixed-team judo event. Meanwhile, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei (now competing for Mongolia) dedicated his Olympic silver medal to the State of Israel. Plus, an Iranian judo champion and Israel’s judo coach issued a video of sporting friendship.
Israel’s female Olympic surfer. (TY Nevet) Fascinating article describing Israeli surfer Anat Lelior’s journey from the beaches of Tel Aviv to the Tokyo Olympics.
French Champions in Tel Aviv. (TY Hazel) As previously reported here, the scheduled French Champions Trophy (Trophee des Champions) season curtain raiser took place at Bloomfield Stadium Tel Aviv in front of a sell-out crowd of 29,000 spectators. French champions Lille beat Cup winners Paris Saint-Germain 1-0.
THE JEWISH STATE
Azerbaijan opens Israel trade office. Muslim-majority Azerbaijan has opened a trade representation office in Tel Aviv. Israel’s Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov said the historic event “will doubtless serve as a focal point for Israeli entrepreneurs in fields including energy, medicine, water treatment, agriculture and investments.”
Adidas promotes Haredi female athlete. Adidas, one of the biggest sportswear companies in the world, has featured Israeli Haredi orthodox marathon runner Beatie Deutsch (see here previously) in its “Impossible is Nothing” campaign, which aims to unite people through sports and expand the limits of human possibilities.
130 French new Olim. 130 new immigrants from France just arrived in Israel on a flight funded by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. A typical comment “We simply want to live openly as Jews. I dream of the moment when our son will be able to walk outside with his yarmulke on and be able to feel safe.”
Archaeological evidence of Biblical earthquake. (TY UWI & WIN) Excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David have revealed a layer of destruction that has been dated to the eighth century BCE, during the Kingdom of Judah. It corresponds to a massive earthquake as recorded in the books of the prophets Amos and Zechariah.
The Walls of Jerusalem. (TY Sharon) One of the sights on Jerusalem’s city walls is the Lomka Project – an exhibition of portraits of 360 survivors of the Shoah (Holocaust) together with a short biography on each. They include German survivor Sonia Kam whose daughter is now married to the Israeli Ambassador … to Germany!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel. www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com and a searchable archive www.IsraelActive.com For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]