Israel's Good News Newsletter to 22nd May 16

In the 22nd Mar 16 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Successful trial of new Israeli insulin treatment gives hope to millions of diabetics.
·         Jerusalem Education Week highlights Israel’s diversity.
·         A charity donation to Israeli hospitals that treat Syrian war wounded.
·         Israeli development of a keyboard operated using only eye-movements.
·         An Israeli startup provides drinking water for the Taj Mahal.
·         A delegation of 130 from Ontario boosts Israeli-Canadian trade.
·         Israeli divers off Caesarea made a historic discovery of a sunken Roman ship.
·         An innovative Israeli-directed Coldplay video has had over 15 million views.

·         Click here to see the 15th May newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo, IsraPundit and United With Israel with extra features on Health, Global impact, Technology and Jewish State.  Also (TY Sandra) available in German.

Page Down for details on these and more good news stories from Israel.  Thank You to all who have sent me links to many of these positive news articles.  Please use IsraelActive to search the archives.


Success for diabetes treatment trial.  Israeli biotech Oramed has reported success in the Phase IIb study of its insulin capsule.  Oramed highlighted that it was the first time an oral solution showed a significant drop in blood sugar at night.  Oral insulin will replace injected delayed-release insulin. (See also May 2015 newsletter)

Breakthrough scanning technology.  GE Healthcare’s Israeli R&D center has developed the Discovery NM/CT 670 CZT system to perform faster, more accurate, safer and less intrusive SPECT/CT scans of the body.  It uses 50% less radioactive tracers and captures all the required data on multiple organs in a single pass.

Living on the edge.  The borderline between genius and madness is well known.  Now Ben Gurion University and Weizmann researchers have shown that learning processes can make the brain operate at peak performance in processing incoming sensory information. However, it may also risk causing hallucinations.

Exoskeletons – the next generation.  (TY Hazel) Israel’s ReWalk has teamed with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute to develop ‘soft suit’ exoskeleton systems enabling people to walk following stroke, lower limb disabilities, MS etc. Millions need some structural support but not a rigid exoskeleton such as ReWalk.

Jay Leno raises $50k for United Hatzalah.  (TY Janglo) US personality Jay Leno donated a $36,000 fully equipped “ambucycle” to Israeli Emergency Medical Service United Hatzalah at a concert to support the EMS.  Leno also made a separate appeal to the 1300 members of the audience, which raised another $50,000.

Help create new dream doctors. I have reported about Dream Doctors (Israeli medical clowns) previously.  Now you have the opportunity to donate in a matching scheme to sponsor five new clowns to heal and decrease the suffering of sick children in Israeli hospitals.

Imaging tech to save women’s lives.  (TY Hazel) Israeli startup Illumigyn, is using IDF technology to develop the Gynescope – an advanced machine-vision image-recognition device for gynecologists to identify cervical cancer and other diseases in routine inspections.

Israeli men have world’s 5th longest life expectancy.  Israel is ranked fifth in terms of men's average life expectancy, at 80.6 years - after Switzerland, Iceland, Australia, and Sweden. Israeli women's life expectancy is ranked ninth globally, at 84.3 years. 

A medical device powerhouse.  (TY Dan) This is a very informative look at Israel's medical device sector with 725 medical device companies.


Diversity in Jerusalem’s Education Week.  (TY Sharon) The theme for children’s arts projects during Education Week in Jerusalem was “My home, your home”.  Projects in Hebrew and Arabic were displayed next to each other.  Please take a look at the photos, and note the diverse groups that attended the opening event.

Google donates to Israeli disabilities tech initiative.  Google is granting $700,000 to Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM), an Israel-based initiative aimed at producing technology to help people with disabilities.  TOM’s 120 prototypes include a bionic hand and a walker that helps disabled people climb stairs.

Education for kids with Cerebral Palsy.  Ilanot is a school in Jerusalem for children with physical and cognitive disabilities.  Seventy students aged six to twenty-one attend the school daily.  The school provides students with knowledge to improve motor function and help independence to increase their quality of life.

Not another trip to the doctor.  Cancer charity Ezer Mizion transports the sick, frail, elderly and disabled to treatment centers, therapy clinics and doctor’s appointments.  And it even takes them to weddings and the Western Wall - after all, everyone needs to enjoy life.

$10 million for humanitarian hospitals.  The Helmsley Charitable Trust has donated $10 million to the Poriah hospital in Tiberias and the Ziv Medical Center in Safed that treat Syrian wounded.  Another beneficiary is the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon where surgeons from Save a Child’s Heart operate on overseas children.

A better life for Majuli islanders.  Israeli Gili Navon used her Master’s degree from Hebrew University of Jerusalem to found the charity Amar Majuli (“Our Majuli”) and enhance the livelihood and wellbeing of the Mising tribe on the island of Majuli in Assam, northern India.

Australia security experts visit Israel.  A group of business people, intelligence experts and academics have participated in the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce Security Delegation to Israel.  Analyses included from Bar-Ilan University’s Prof. Efraim Inbar and University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz.

Female-only startup competition in Vietnam.  (TY Dan) Israel’s Vietnamese embassy is launching a new women-focused startup competition called Startup Tel Aviv. It will have the sponsorship of the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology.  One of the partners must be female and aged between 25 and 35.

A Danish innovation center in Tel Aviv.  (TY Dan) Denmark’s Education and Research Ministry and its Foreign Ministry are to establish a new innovation center in Tel Aviv.  “We are strengthening Danish research by co-operating with the best environments abroad,” said Ulla Tørnæs, the education and research minister.


A keyboard for your eyes.  Israeli cancer charity Ezer Mizion and Israeli startup Click2Speak are piloting an on-screen keyboard operated by eye-tracking.  The goal is a low-cost, multi-lingual, easy-to-use keyboard, for users with impaired motor skills and high cognitive ability. Google has given the project a generous grant.

Five female students win Intel awards.  Five female engineering students studying at Ben Gurion University have received Intel Academic Excellence Awards.  They are Liron Agmon (Chemical), Liel Cohen (Industrial), Shiran Navah (Electrical & Computer), Rachel Abu (Industrial) and Naama Shukran (Electro-Optical).

At the forefront of education technology.  This blog highlights some of the Israeli startups leading the way in technologies designed to improve the educational progress of students with learning difficulties. 

Security using neuroscience.  Israeli Psychoanalyst, counter terrorist expert, international writer and newsletter subscriber Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin has written “The Jihadi Dictionary”.   This groundbreaking work is an essential intelligence tool for law enforcement. It is being used by US Psychological operations (PSYOP).

NIS 800 million to boost energy efficiency.  Israel’s cabinet has approved a plan to allocate some £200 million in loans and grants for projects that will lead to energy efficiency in industry, business and local governments.  It is expected to save the Israeli economy $8 billion, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce pollution.

A cyber city in the Negev Desert.  (TY Dan) Beer Sheva is becoming a cyber-city to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power.  No other country is so purposefully integrating its private, scholarly, government and military cyber-expertise.

Israel’s desert is a teaching experience.  (TY Dan) The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) hosts over 1,000 students every year from across Asia and Africa at its 10-month agriculture work-study program.  In 2014, AICAT introduced an 18-month-long international master’s degree in plant sciences.

Water for the Taj Mahal.  It is because of Israel’s Aqwise that visitors to India’s Taj Mahal have drinking water.  The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, a city with about 2 million people.  Aqwise helped build a water treatment plant, designed to treat 160,000 cubic meters per day, supplying drinking water to the entire city.

Romania seeks Israeli water tech.  The senior management of Raja Constanta, Romania’s largest water utility, visited Israel with an intention to implement Israeli water technologies to improve Romania’s infrastructure.  Currently only half the 22 million Romanians are connected to municipal water or wastewater systems.


Debt to GDP falls again.  For the sixth consecutive year, Israel lowered the ratio of Government debt in proportion to GDP – this time by 2.1%.  It also reduced interest paid on the debt by NIS 600 million.

Workspace for out-of-town entrepreneurs.  Outside of Tel Aviv, startups also need space to develop.  Powerball in Ness Ziona and In-Vent in Haifa provide facilities and services for those who don’t want to “schlep” to Tel Aviv’s startup hub.

Israel’s first on-line shopping mall.  BIG Shopping Centers announced that in early 2017 it will launch BIG+, Israel’s first online shopping platform. It will offer apparel, home products, travel goods, electronics, plus international brands not currently sold directly to the Israeli consumer.

£50 million for TAU School of Management.  UK businessman Jeremy Coller has donated $50 million to the Tel Aviv University School of Management, which will be renamed after the entrepreneur.  The donation is earmarked for research and development, study programs, and teaching.

Air Europa increases Israel flights.  Air Europa, Spain’s third largest airline, is adding an additional weekly flight to the three it operates on its Tel Aviv-Madrid route.  It is also adding follow-on routes from Madrid to Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador, starting in late December.  It is also launching a price sale to Spain and South America.

Medtronic to market Israeli surgical robots.  Israeli innovative bone mounted surgical robotic guidance systems developer Mazor Robotics has entered into two strategic agreements with US giant Medtronic.  Medtronic will invest in Mazor and also co-promote, co-develop and potentially distribute Mazor products.
And (TY Dan and Israel21c) six more Israeli Robots that are transforming surgery.  MedRobotics, MST (more), Human Extensions, Microbot Medical, XACT Robotics (more) and Memic Innovative Surgery.

Huge Canadian trade delegation.  (TY Dan) Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne came to Israel on a five-day trade mission together with 130 government officials, academics, scientists and business leaders.  Two-way trade in 2015 between Israel and Ontario was almost $1 billion, making Israel Ontario’s fifth largest trading partner. Premier Wynne signed 18 new agreements and partnerships valued at $87 million.

An all-women mission to Israel.  (TY Dan) The first all-women Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) mission to Israel is led by Lucy Turnbull, Australia’s first lady and a respected company director in her own right.  The 36 participants want to learn about smart cities, Israel’s ecosystem and its innovation culture.

Massive Chinese incubator fund.  (TY Dan) Chinese tech giant Kuang-Chi is to launch a $300-million global fund and incubator in Israel.  It intends to invest in the best Israeli companies in the fields of biometrics, communications, robotics, and AR, and to take them to the next level commercially and technologically.

Netanya’s new hotel.  (TY Dan) Visitors to my home town can now stay at Accor’s luxurious MGallery by Softel hotel.  Rebranded from the David Tower hotel in King David street, the MGallery has a spa, heated indoor swimming pool, restaurants and bar and beautiful views of the Mediterranean.  Accor also plans to open another Netanya hotel next year. 


The biggest treasure discovery in 30 years.  (TY Jacques) Two Israeli divers have uncovered a treasure trove of ancient artifacts that made their way to the sea bed when a merchant ship sank off the coast of Caesarea some 1600-years ago.  Many Roman bronzes in perfect condition were described as of great historical importance.

National Conservation Week.  The Society (Council) for the Preservation (Conservation) of Heritage Sites in Israel invites all to celebrate Israel's "Heritage Week" from May 20th-28th by joining tours and events from the Upper Galilee, to Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva.

On-line exhibition of Israeli achievements.  (TY Jacques) Israel21c invites guests to the “must-click” online exhibition “18 Ways Israel is Changing the World”. It spans from cancer sniffing devices to Israelis who help Syrians; from latest role models to water scarcity solutions.

Your next Israeli adventure – the Arava. Vanishing Valley, House of Aloe Vera, Peace Road, Yotvata Chocolate Trail and other treasures beckon from this long strip of desert filled with B&B lodges. You can enjoy archaeology, Bedouin hospitality, eco-art, hiking, biking, riding, farms, birdwatching and ice-cream workshops.

Tuesday is Tel Aviv food tour day.  A 2-hour tour every Tuesday explores Tel Aviv’s vibrant food scene, home to the trendiest eateries in the entire Middle East.  The $39 fee includes guiding, tasting and water.

Coldplay’s Israeli-made video.  The video promotion for the track “Up & Up” from Coldplay’s new album “A Head Full of Dreams”, was directed by Israelis Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia.  Coldplay's lead singer Chris Martin raved about the two Israelis on Beats 1 radio, saying, “it's one of the best videos people have made.”

Acro-yoga flash mob in Tel Aviv.  Organizers say the 150 gravity-defying balance enthusiasts in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square formed the world's largest outdoor flash mob of its kind.  The fact that it took place only three days after a terror attack on the Tel Aviv boardwalk shows just how much Israelis love life.

Euro silver for Taekwondo.  Israel’s Ron Atias, ranked 80 in the world, won the taekwondo under-58 kg silver medal at the European Championships in Montreux, Switzerland.  World No. 2 Rui Braganca of Portugal edged Atias in the final, after three rounds ended tied at 2-2. Atias is aiming for gold at the Rio Olympics.


Jewish mothers connect Israel and Diaspora.  More than 800 Jewish mothers from 14 countries celebrated a life-changing journey to Israel this month, at a Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) Mega Event.  It launched the JWRP’s specialized “Momentum” trips for 2600 women from 26 countries.

Bene Israel are descended from Jews.  Researchers in the USA and at Tel Aviv University have produced genetic proof of the Jewish roots of the Bene Israel community from western India. 70,000 Bene Israel made Aliya and always considered themselves descendants of 14 Jews who were shipwrecked on the Indian shore.

How Israeli animals survive in the heat.  With Israeli temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius the animals at Ramat Gan safari park keep their cool in various ways.  Some manage by themselves, whilst others need help.

Did you try kosher for Passover beer?  Israel’s Bryan Meadan produces gluten-free beer made from chickpeas and buckwheat all year round.  But for the Jewish festival of Passover he brings out a date ale which is certified Kosher for Passover by Badatz Beit Yosef.  (3rd link is to a USA site that brews KfP honey beer.)