Israel's Good News Newsletter to 10th Dec 17



In the 10th Dec 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli device can detect if a newborn has autism.
·         Israel has helped open a new maternity hospital in Syria.
·         Israeli-developed paint keeps buildings cool.
·         Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel ratify plan for piping Israeli gas to Europe.
·         Israeli actress Gal Gadot is GQ Magazine’s Woman of the Year.
·         (If you hadn’t heard) The US now recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

·         Click here to see the 3rd Dec newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo, and United With Israel. Also (TY Sandra) in German.

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ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Diagnosing autism in newborns.  I reported previously (16th Apr) how Israel saves lives with early diagnosis of autism in toddlers. Now an Israeli, Raffi Rembrand, father of an autistic son, has invented the SensPD which detects a newborn suffering from sensory overload – a key factor in autism.

US approval for medicated stent.  The US FDA has approved the EluNIR medicated stent developed by Israel’s Medinol for the treatment of blocked or narrow coronary arteries. The stent system has a novel metallic spring tip and the narrowest strut width of any stent on the US market, for use in complex anatomy and disease.

GE to use Israeli tech in ultrasound scanning.  In my last newsletter (26th Nov) I reported that GE Medical are integrating the stroke diagnosis systems of Israel’s MedyMatch into its CT-scanners. This week, GE announced they will integrate the imaging analysis software from Israel’s DiA into its ultrasound devices.

Heart-winning devices.  Two Israeli startups were among the three finalists in the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s Shark Tank Innovation competition held at the 2017 TCT Conference in Denver, Colorado. Enopace won, with its left ventricular neurostimulator (see here). Paragate’s fluid removal device came third.

Success for no-needle glucose meter.  I reported previously (Sep 2013) about the non-invasive diabetes finger monitor TensorTip from Israel’s Cnoga.  The device uses skin color via LEDs to measure glucose levels and has received approval in Europe (CE certification), China and Brazil. It anticipates US FDA approval in 2018.

Saving patients with smart breathing tubes.  Israeli-founded startup ART Medical has developed sensor-based smart tubes to monitor ICU patients on intubation, intravenous feeding and catheters.  They can detect and alert nurses and physicians of pneumonia or any abnormalities with gastric reflux, saliva, urine output etc.

Personalized cancer treatment.  I reported previously (many times) on Israeli companies developing cancer treatments targeting individuals rather than specific areas of the body. Now, Israeli biotech Ayala is partnering with Bristol-Myers Squibb to develop treatments for cancer patients known to have a gene mutation.

Newly trained EMT saves her own life.  Sarah - a new Emergency Medical Technician with United Hatzalah - saved her own life when she managed to convince medics at her local hospital that she was suffering from a pulmonary embolism. When cynical hospital staff finally agreed to do a CT-scan, they found a clot in her lung.

Trainee EMT saves life whilst playing tennis.  Joel Atkin, a student of United Hatzalah’s NREMT training program helped resuscitate an older man who had collapsed near where Atkin was playing his daily tennis game. Noticing the commotion, he supervised CPR, provided ventilation and used a defibrillator to get a pulse.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Empowering people with disabilities.  Israel marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd Dec. There are 1.6 million in Israel with disabilities. Israeli empowerment involves cochlear implants for the deaf, a theater for blind/deaf actors, the ReWalk exoskeleton for paraplegics, OrCam, EyeControl and more.

Technology to help disabled visit Knesset.  The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) has unveiled a variety of assistive devices to make it easier for the disabled to find their way around the Knesset building. They include a tactile map, smart glasses to identify faces and read text via an earpiece, wheelchairs and magnifying glasses.

Blind, but determined to serve.  (TY UWI) Being born blind didn’t stop Ori from enlisting in the IDF. She visited her base many times before beginning her service, to get to know her way around it.

Ethiopian-Israelis make socio-economic gains.  In 1999, 75% of Ethiopian-Israelis could not read or write Hebrew. In 2016, a higher percentage of 12th graders in the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) SPACE Program matriculated than average Israelis. The ENP program is now being rolled out to non-Ethiopian Israelis. 

Ultrasound training for PA doctors.  I reported previously (26th Nov) that Palestinian Arab eye doctors had been trained in Israel.  Now, Palestinian Arab doctors have been receiving training at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva to give ultrasound-guided local anesthetic for patients who cannot risk having general anesthesia.

Palestinian Arab saved in Hebron.  (TY Zev) Israel Border Police saved the life of a Palestinian Arab in Hebron. The man in his 20s stopped breathing and lost consciousness in a house near the Cave of the Patriarchs. IDF soldiers and a medic revived him. The man's family members thanked the officers for their actions.

Israel sets up new maternity hospital in Syria.  The IDF has helped establish a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. Although staffed by Syrian doctors, the incubators, beds and ultrasound equipment come from Israel. Since its recent opening, 30 Syrian women have given birth at the hospital.

EU awards for joint environmental group. The Geneva Center for Security Policy chose EcoPeace Middle East’s Program on Water Security for this year’s Prize for Innovation in Global Security from among 114 entrees from 50 countries. EcoPeace consists of Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Arab environmentalists.

African heads of parliament attend Knesset. Six heads of parliament, from Ghana, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda will attend a conference at the Knesset – Israel’s Parliament. They will discuss gender equality, combatting terrorism, accessibility for the disabled and sustainability.

The only Western head of government.  (TY Israpundit) At Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was only the only Western head of government present, joining ten African presidents. 


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Paint uses sunlight to cool buildings. Yaron Shenhav and Gadi Grottas, co-founders of Israel’s SolCold, and Hebrew University Professor Guy Ron have invented a high-tech coating that cools down structures when the sun shines. Photons from the sun hit the material which then emits a higher-frequency photon and loses energy.

Energy efficient buildings.  I reported previously (Jun 2015) about Israel’s Market Tech Holdings rebuilding London’s Camden Market. It also installed the energy analysis system developed by Israel’s SmartGreen, which saves 25% of energy costs. SmartGreen’s systems are installed in Israel, UK, Hong Kong, Poland and Africa.

Huge solar farm to be built in the North.  A new solar power plant with nearly five times more capacity than Israel’s current largest solar array will be built in the north of the country with construction expected to begin as early as the first half of next year. The 250MW plant will provide 2% of Israel’s total output of electricity.

No pollution by 2030.  By the year 2013 Israel will not be using polluting fuels such as coal, diesel or fuel oil in electricity production, transportation, and industry, says Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Dr. Yuval Steinitz.

Eco-friendly concrete.  Israeli marine biologist Shimrit Perkol-Finkel is the founder of ECOncrete, which develops environmentally sensitive concrete products. ECOncrete (not to be confused with Eco Concrete) attracts marine life, increases the structural stability, longevity and aesthetics of urban waterfronts and coastal structures.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/KanmayUa2ME?rel=0

Self-healing system for connected cars.  Israel’s Aurora Labs has developed a self-healing platform for connected cars. It detects anomalies in sophisticated automobile software including airbags, steering, brakes etc. Fixes can be applied remotely, avoiding expensive recalls.  Aurora has just raised $2.7 million of funding.

Protecting car passengers.  Israeli startup Guardian Optical Technologies develops sensors that monitor the safety devices inside automobiles. Its new automatic sensor system combines video image recognition, 3D depth-mapping, and motion detection. It can also prevent small children and pets being forgotten in vehicles.

A rescue robot that can walk or fly. The Rooster is a new robot from Israeli startup RoboTiCan that can help reach injured victims of natural disasters where it’s not safe to send a human rescue worker.  Like its biological namesake, the Rooster mostly walks, but when necessary it can hover and fly over obstacles.

Chips for robots.  Israeli startup Inuitive specializes in vision processing and sensing technologies. It uses deep learning algorithms to develop chips and processors that support 3D imaging for uses in robots, drones, augmented reality and virtual reality. Japan’s Softbank is to integrate Inuitive’s chips into its IoT products.

Israeli study – amputees use brain to control avatars and robots.  Israeli scientists have shown that despite losing a hand over 18 months ago, amputees are able to use a brain-computer interface to control the hand of an avatar (virtual representation of a human) and also to direct the movements of a humanoid robot.

Any movie, any language, anytime, anywhere.  Israeli startup Muvix says it is the first in the world to provide movies on-demand in a public space. The Muvix “living lab” in South Tel Aviv had partitioned-off spaces, each with a large TV screen. Viewers watched their chosen film in their chosen language without disturbing others.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

New record for currency reserves. The value of Israel’s foreign currency deposits increased to a new all-time record at the end of November of $112 billion – an increase of $770 million from its end October value.

Israel joins Power Africa initiative.  Israeli companies will now be able to take part in the Power Africa initiative to help overcome Africa’s energy crisis and to connect consumers across the continent. The initiative includes accessibility to government agencies, financial grants, professional and legal counsel.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/israeli-government-joins-power-africa-initiative-good-news-for-energy-sector/2017/12/03/  

European gas pipeline project advances. (TY Hazel) Following previous pledges, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding for constructing an underwater gas pipeline from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Greece and Italy, to transport Cypriot and Israeli gas reserves to mainland Europe.

Huge Florida delegation heads for Israel.  Florida Governor Rick Scott is visiting Israel at the head of an almost 70-strong delegation including businessmen and university heads. Scott is a supporter of the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator which helps Israeli startups make inroads in the US.

German car maker buys auto-security company.  I reported previously (Aug 2015) on Israel’s Argus Cyber Security and its systems to prevent electronic car hijacking. Argus has just been acquired by Gemany’s Continental AG, an automotive manufacturer, for an estimated $400 million.

WeWork is working well. The office space rental company WeWork, founded by Israeli Adam Neumann, is now worth $20 billion and has established itself in some 20 countries. WeWork has been buying up several companies recently, the latest being social networking company Meetup.

Big demand for 3D sweetener.  I reported previously (20th Feb) on the new Liteez stevia sweetener, shaped like a meringue, from Israel’s Lampados International. The sweetener is so popular that Lampados is completing a new plant expansion in Caesarea to cope with the growing demand.

Huge Indian order for Ceragon.  I reported previously (many times) on Israel’s Ceragon Networks which provides broadband wireless connectivity for international mobile service providers. Ceragon has just won a massive $66 million order to provide wireless backhaul services to a major Indian mobile operator.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Gunzburg family collection to go online. The National Library of Israel has added the Günzburg Collection to its new digitized platform. The originals will remain in Russia. Some 2,000 Jewish manuscripts and 14,000 books will be added to the archives’ 45,000 manuscripts – more than half of the world’s known Hebrew books.

African American hoopsters in the Holy Land.  David A. Goldstein, in his new book “Alley-Oop to Aliyah: African-American Hoopsters in the Holy Land,” states that since 1976, 800 African-Americans have competed in the Israeli Basketball Premier League. And most professed a deep, genuine love for Israel.

Boy George – “Israel is in my heart”. (TY Nevet) 80s music icon Boy George and his band Culture Club kicked off their world tour in Tel Aviv. He was joined by the three other original members of Culture Club. Roy Hay, Mikey Craig and Jon Moss. “Israel is in my heart,” he wrote on twitter.

Hi Hi, Miss American Pie.  With iconic hits like “American Pie” and “Vincent,” Don McLean is one of America’s most beloved and enduring artists. He will be performing at the Ra’anana Amphitheater on June 16.
McLean did many tours of Israel during the Iran-Iraq War and is “a staunch supporter of Israel then and now”.

Award and acclaim for Gal Gadot.  The influential National Board of Review gave its Spotlight Award to Israeli actress Gal Gadot for her performance in Wonder Woman. She was also named as GQ Magazine’s Woman of the Year. https://www.timesofisrael.com/gal-gadot-named-gqs-wonder-woman-of-the-year/

Stunning photo at the Hula Valley.  Every year some 500 million birds migrate across Israel in their twice a year pilgrimage to and from warmer climes. Photographer Chanoch Seif caught some in flight over Lake Hula at sunrise, with the backdrop of the “Super-moon”. 


THE JEWISH STATE

Social Media Experts Explore Israel. (TY Sharon) One of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) (see May 2016) groups is Media Magnets - Jewish women with millions of social media followers. 30 Media Magnets recently visited Israel and will certainly be letting their audiences know about the Jewish State.

Highway patrol takes couple to their wedding.  An Israeli bride and groom were on the way to their wedding on Route 4 when their car broke down. A patrolman for Netivei Israel - the government-owned company in charge of Israel’s roads – chauffeured the couple to their wedding himself. He even decorated his car for them.

150 German-speaking Jewish leaders visit Jerusalem.  In the largest gathering of its kind, some 150 young Jewish leaders from German-speaking countries gathered in Jerusalem for an annual event hosted by the Jewish Agency for Israel. Their tracks included hi-tech, archeological discoveries; the social fabric; and education.

90-year-old Holocaust survivor’s first visit to Kotel.  Avraham Takacz, a native of Donetsk and a Holocaust survivor, arrived in Israel as a refugee in 2014 from the battle zones of the Ukraine. For his 90th birthday, he fulfilled a dream and visited the Western Wall for the first time in his life.

Hanukah in Jerusalem. Hanukkah - the Jewish “Festival of lights”, begins on the evening of 12 Dec. This video shows the traditional nightly Hannukiah (candelabra) lighting in Jerusalem’s Old City.

US recognizes that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.  It was a historic moment, just past 8pm Israeli time on 6th Dec when US President Donald Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State and began the process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Czech Republic also announced recognition. https://www.youtube.com/embed/OAKxZeFc8Jk?rel=0

Into the Hands of the Few



On the Jewish festival of Hanukah, we give thanks for the victory in Jerusalem in 164 BCE of the tiny Jewish army over the mighty Greek-Syrian empire - for deliverance of the many into the hands of the few. Today, we continue to see tiny Israel rise to the massive challenges in the world and we can be inspired by the few.

Israel is one of the smallest nations in the world – yet it has a massive positive impact on global health, food and water security, disaster relief and the economies of developing and developed countries. Here are just a few examples from the last three months.

Israel continues to have a significant effect in the fight against cancer. Europe has now approved Weizmann Institute’s breakthrough Tookad prostate cancer treatment that was featured on the BBC back in January.  And Israeli biotech Ayala has joined the many Israeli companies developing personalized cancer treatments targeting individuals rather than specific parts of the body.

Having already helped West Africa defeat the Ebola virus, Israel is now running training courses on how to fight epidemics. Meanwhile, as a recent addition to the dozens of Israeli research projects to solve global threat from antibiotic resistance, Hebrew University researchers are calculating optimum treatment procedures to avoid the under / over-treatment of infections.



An Israeli-developed space laboratory is currently orbiting our planet on the International Space Station. It allows scientists here on Earth to perform unique medical research by remote control. Back on the ground, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Ministry has been funding surgeons from Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart to perform life-saving surgery on 500 Kurdish children from Iraq, the PA, Syria and Jordan. So perhaps it is not surprising that Israel Medical Association chairman Professor Leonid Eidelman has been elected President of the World Medical Association (WMA) - an umbrella body representing national medical associations with more than nine million members.

With all the latest tantrums at the United Nations, readers may have missed the recent Israeli resolution promoting the utilizing of agricultural technology for sustainable development. It was passed by the UN Second Committee by 141 to 1.  One specific project is that of Israeli companies Evogene and Rahan Meristem which have developed non-GMO bananas resistant to the Black Sigatoka fungus which has been threatening world-wide crops. Finally, I highly recommend this article on Israeli water conservation and this video about Israeli food technologies.



You probably already know about the IDF rescue unit of 71 specialists that saved lives following the earthquake in Mexico. President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico certainly was grateful.  Regarding other disasters, Israeli NGO IsraAID sent an emergency response team to help victims of Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico. And the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the South African branch of Magen David Adom sent medical aid to Madagascar to help combat what the World Health Organization described as the worst outbreak of bubonic / pneumonic plague in 50 years.

The situation in Syria is a disaster by any definition. Israel has now treated 4000 wounded Syrians.  Ziv Medical Center in Safed will shortly begin treating Syrian children for hearing loss. The IDF even recently helped establish a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. When the UN does send humanitarian aid to Syria, the only safe route is through Israel.



Israeli latest support for specific African countries includes the JNF / KKL helping the Kenyan government turn its deserts into forests.  Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID has also recently helped build a center in South Sudan for the study of science and technology. Israel’s Fluence Corporation has supplied a water desalination system to South Africa. And 13-year-old Eytan Kramer from Ra’anana commemorated his Bar Mitzva by raising $18,000 to provide solar power for the Bukalikha Primary School in Uganda.

Across the African continent, Israel recently joined the Power Africa initiative so that Israeli companies can help overcome Africa’s energy crisis and to connect consumers.  The Israeli government is also now partnering with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to help bring electricity to Africa.


Israel is vital to the security of Western nations, as former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp explains. Israel also has a major role in NATO and just recently signed an agreement to help expand the sharing of classified intelligence between Israel and NATO. And for 11 days in November, 1,000 pilots and crews from India, the US, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Israel took part in Israel’s largest ever aerial exercises.

The UK is buying Israel's Iron Dome short range missile defense system to boost its defense of the Falkland Islands. And the US Army is to install the Trophy active-protection system developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on many of its M1A2 Abrams tanks. Even Pope Francis employed the Israeli-made Skystar 180 surveillance balloon system during his visits to Uganda and more recently to Colombia.
 
In other areas, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel have agreed to build the world's longest underwater pipeline to bring Israeli natural gas to Europe.  And large delegations from the UK and Florida visited Israel to highlight continued demand for Israeli business and innovation.

I return to the medical arena to finish, by focusing on just one of those few Israelis who make a huge difference almost every day.  Meir Farkash is a legend in his home town Ramat Hasharon.  In his four years as a volunteer paramedic for Israeli emergency service United Hatzalah, Meir has responded to more than 2,500 emergency calls (over 300 life-threatening) on his personal pedal-bike. The residents of Ramat Hasharon wanted to honor him, so … they bought him an electric bicycle.

Israelis may only be few in numbers, but don’t worry…

You’re in safe hands.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to michael.goodnewsisrael@gmail.com