Israel's Good News Newsletter to 16th Apr 17



(Next newsletter on 30th Apr)

In the 16th Apr 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         IBM and Samsung adopt Israeli stroke diagnosis technology.
·         Israel has setup a free program to help Israeli-Arabs quit smoking.
·         Israel is helping Peru recover from devastating floods.
·         MIT has ranked Tel Aviv as one of the world’s greenest cities.
·         Israel is Apple’s largest R&D center outside of its California HQ.
·         New low-cost one-stop scheduled flights between the US and Israel.
·         A new tourist trail of 2000-year-old Jewish baths along Jerusalem’s walls.

·         Click here to see the 2nd Apr newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional feature on Technology. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese. Please pass links onto German and Portuguese readers.

·         Click here to read my latest feature article “For Israel, enough is not sufficient”. Also on Jerusalem Post website and (TY Sandra) translated into German and (TY Karen) into Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Huge boost for stroke diagnosis system.  (TY Hazel) I reported previously (July 3) on Israel’s MedyMatch Artificial Intelligence platform for diagnosing strokes from CT-scans.  MedyMatch has just signed separate 5-year agreements to integrate the groundbreaking technology with IBM and Samsung equipment.

Early diagnosis of Autism can save lives.  (TY Jacques) Dr Hanna Alonim founded Israeli non-profit Mifne Center - the world’s first organization to diagnose and treat toddlers on the autism spectrum, and use a family therapy approach to treatment. Alonim’s ESPASI Screening Scale is used in Israel, the USA and across Europe.

Releasing Glaucoma treatment automatically.  I reported previously (Mar 5) about Israel’s Eximore which is developing a tiny device that is implanted into the tear duct to treat eye diseases such as Glaucoma, without the patient’s knowledge.  Eximore’s Chairperson, Dr Daphne Haim-Langford went on ILTV to explain.

Manage your diabetes efficiently.  Israel’s GlucoMe has developed a “Digital Diabetes Clinic” that monitors diabetics and recommends treatment programs. The platform uses a smart glucose monitor, an insulin pen monitor, a mobile app and a cloud-based management system. It has completed trials and is Europe approved.

The next generation in cancer diagnostics.  I reported previously (July 31) on Israeli-founded Cleveland Diagnostics and its improved early prostate cancer test kit.  Cleveland’s CEO Dr Arnon Chait went on ILTV to explain more and to announce the company’s new Israeli operations.

A robot to traverse the small intestine.  Scientists at Ben-Gurion University are re-designing their Single Actuator Wave-like (SAW) robotic snake to carry a camera and squeeze through the human small intestine.  It could extend and improve the effectiveness of colonoscopy tests.

UK lawyer has MS treatment in Jerusalem.  Top UK Lawyer Mark Lewis (Director of UK Lawyers for Israel) suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, walks with a limp and cannot write with his right hand.  He travels to Israel every six weeks to participate in the MS trial at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center.

Bone marrow tests from Czech Republic in one day. Israel’s Ezer Mizion found a likely DNA match on their database for a bone marrow transplant patient. However, the donor was in the Czech Republic. Using their “Linked to Life” WhatsApp group, volunteers rushed the sample kit from Tel Aviv to Vienna to Prague to Brno and back again in less than 24 hours. http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/czechoslovakia-no-problem/

Emergency app can save lives on the beach.  A volunteer with Israel Emergency Medical Service United Hatzalah has developed a smartphone app to quickly locate swimmers in trouble off Haifa’s beaches, and navigate paramedics to that location.

Paramedic’s first patient was his nephew.  Ben Shetiat’s first call, after completing his 6-months Emergency Medical training course, was an infant having seizures – at Ben’s sister’s house! He arrived in two minutes. After treatment, Ben’s nephew was taken to hospital and was well enough to be discharged later that night.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Where the deaf and blind run the show.  I reported previously (Mar 2011) on the Na Laga’at (“Please Touch”) center in Jaffa for professional deaf & blind actors. Here is an up-to-date video about the center.

BBC shows role of IDF autistic recruits. (TY Hazel) This rare positive BBC video shows the Israeli army giving important analysis jobs to young people with autism.

Jaffa school teaches co-existence.  (TY Hazel) I24News interviews the amazing Veronica Fahel, a 13-year-old student at the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Tabeetha school in Jaffa.

Free program to help Israeli-Arab men stop smoking.  Hebrew University / Hadassah, with funding from the Israel Cancer Association and the Health Ministry, has initiated SMS Quit to help Israeli-Arab men quit smoking. Arab men have the highest smoking rate (44%) in Israel and therefore the shortest life expectancy.

An Israeli-Arab at Ariel University.  (TY IsraellyCool) Amal Medlij, Coordinator for Minority Students at Ariel University, speaks about life for an Israeli-Arab attending a university across the Green Line.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcGxDAC6iHA

Israeli medics treat 7 Syrians on border.  The Israeli army provided medical treatment to seven Syrians, including four women and two children, severely wounded by shrapnel in their country’s civil war. After treatment, all were transferred to hospitals in Northern Israel.

“Caring for Syrian patients is our duty”.  Dr Salman Zarka is General Director of the Ziv Medical Center in the Northern Israeli city of Safed which has treated 800 of the 3000 wounded Syrians taken to Israeli hospitals. Most have serious war injuries, but Ziv doctors have also delivered 19 babies.

Cyprus and Israel, common values and vision.  President of Cyrus, Nicos Anastasiades, at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, described Cyprus and Israel as two countries sharing “the same values and common vision”. They are “beacons of stability, and natural partners of the West in the Middle East.”  http://www.sdjewishworld.com/2017/02/22/cyprus-president-calls-israel-a-natural-partner/

Israeli wins Germany’s highest honor.  Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s President Menahem Ben-Sasson has been awarded Germany’s Order of Merit – the country’s highest honor.  It “recognizes Professor Ben-Sasson's outstanding, extensive, and personal commitment to German-Israeli relations in the field of science. “

Protecting UN troops. (TY Hazel) The UN is using Israeli observation balloons and unmanned aerial vehicles to protect its peacekeepers in the Central African Republic. The equipment is used to guard outposts, carry out operations and gather intelligence.

Training emergency responders in India.  (TY Hazel) At the request of the International Committee of the Red Cross, instructors and paramedics from Magen David Adom spent two weeks in India training Indian Red Cross instructors to improve first response in India, a country prone to disasters and traffic accidents.

Helping flood victims in Peru.  Israeli emergency aid teams from the IsraAID organization are in Peru helping residents get back on their feet after rains caused floods and mudslides. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and thousands are still missing. IsraAID is helping in schools and with sanitation facilities.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Avoid hitting that motorcycle.  I reported previously (here) on Israel’s Autotalks that warns vehicle owners of impending collision with hazards (other vehicles, people or objects).  Autotalks has just received $30 million of funding to help it equip more new vehicles with its life-saving chipsets – a mandatory US DoT target by 2023.

Vital computer protection.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Javelin Networks markets the only product that protects a company’s most important computer asset – its Active Directory, containing all information about its users, servers, endpoints and applications. Javelin has just raised $5 million to fuel development and growth.

65 new Israeli cyber startups in 2016.  (TY Eli) Israel’s proven agility to come up with solutions quickly is one the key factors that puts the nation in a leading position in the battle against cyberattacks. At the end of 2016 there were 365 cybersecurity companies active in Israel, compared to 187 in 2012.

Tel Aviv – the World’s 7th greenest city.  Tel Aviv, Israel, is among the greenest cities in the world, ranking No. 7 on a prestigious list compiled recently by MIT researchers in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.  260,000 trees cover Tel Aviv’s 52 square km, excluding those in parks. Green initiatives include city-sponsored bicycle and car-sharing services.  http://nocamels.com/2017/03/tel-aviv-seventh-greenest-city/

Surveying by drone.  (TY Atid-EDI) The DatuSurvey drone and camera system from Israel’s Datumate (see Oct 10) has been chosen to survey new water ponds being built by Colorado’s Dept of Transport.  The system also is being used on the UK’s re-development of London’s A14 road and railway intersection.

Public water stations.  Here is a new video to accompany my previous reports (see here) about Woosh – the Israeli company supplying clean, low-cost, fresh drinking water vending machines in major cities.

Mellanox helps Jungle Book win an Oscar.  I wrote previously (Mar 5) that Israel’s Mellanox was providing the power and bandwidth needed by ten Oscar-nominated animations.  One of those - Jungle Book - won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

Inno-Negev demos 9 startup ideas.  Nine members of the Inno-Negev startup accelerator of Ben Gurion University demonstrated the results of four months of mentoring and support.

Israel is Apple’s 2nd largest R&D center.  Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple’s offices in Herzliya is the company’s second-largest research and development office in the world. 

Tel Aviv loves dogs.  The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, home to 25,000 registered dogs, is launching a suite of digital functions and information called “Digi-Dog”, for dog owners keen to know where the nearest vet is, or where they can find the best dog-walking beach nearby. 


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Currency reserves at new record level.  Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of March 2017 were just over $103 billion - an increase of $1,271 million from their level at the end of Feb. The reserves now represent 32.4 percent of GDP.

Israelis buy US firm for $102 million. (TY Atid-EDI) In another example of a large takeover by an Israeli company of a US firm, Israel’s Sapiens International has bought Denver-based StoneRiver Inc for around $102 million. Both IT companies focus on the Insurance industry.

Australian entrepreneurs are landing.  This video accompanies previous articles (see here) on the Australian “landing pad” in Tel Aviv. Australian entrepreneurs come to Israel to access the passion, knowledge and innovative abilities that characterize Israel's startup ecosystem and help their ideas become a reality.

Wow! Tel Aviv to New York return for $550.  From June, Iceland’s low-cost airline WOW air intends to run four flights a week from Tel Aviv to Iceland's capital of Reykjavik. From there, travelers can connect with flights to nine cities in the USA and Canada.  Prices will be around $260 - $280 each way.

Buy from the Shuk (market) without leaving home.  (TY Janglo) Residents of Jerusalem and Gush Etzion can place orders with Israeli startup Shukrun to select, and have delivered, fresh fruit and vegetables from Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market (the Jerusalem “Shuk”).  Now with an English-language website.

Integrating Haredim into the Startup Nation.  At KamaTech’s second annual fair for Haredi startups, the eight best companies (chosen from 450 applicants) demonstrated their ideas. Each received a 20,000 Shekel grant. The latest group included Doctorpedia which enables patients to have online consultations with doctors.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Israel’s largest delegation to Winter Olympics.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel plans to send its largest delegation ever to the Feb 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Israelis could win a historic medal in the men’s skeleton bobsled or in the men’s 1,500-meter short track speed skating.

Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition. Thirty-two competitors from 16 countries will participate in the 15th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv (April 25 to May 11). The event is one of the world’s most important piano contests and takes place every 3 years.

The world’s 5th largest whiskey museum.  The world’s fifth-largest whiskey museum is situated in a former Templer wine cellar in Sarona, Tel Aviv. It features hundreds of illuminated whiskey bottles, including one worth NIS 40,000. For NIS 61 customers can taste 4 x 25ml of pure whiskey – enough for two people to share.


THE JEWISH STATE

Follow the mikveh trail.  A newly-opened Jerusalem park takes you past many of the capital’s 200 ritual baths (mikvot), used by pilgrims in the Second Temple era.  Jewish travelers purified themselves by immersion, prior to offering sacrifices in the Temple. 50 baths have been unearthed near Temple mount, most along its southern wall. http://www.timesofisrael.com/on-the-mikveh-trail-follow-the-rugged-path-of-jerusalems-ancient-pilgrims/

“People, Book, Land” reaches UK Parliament. The UK House of Commons is hosting the UNESCO travelling exhibition, “People, Book, Land: The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land.” The exhibit explores the Jewish People’s eternal link to the Land of Israel.

Ironic venue for Balfour conference.  The venue for the Conference “100 Years since the Balfour Declaration” was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem.  The hotel is sited on the earlier Palace Hotel – built by the anti-Semitic Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al Husseini. It was also the site of the 1936 Peel Commission.

Prizes for Sephardi and Oriental studies.  The first-ever Prime Minister's Awards for the Study of Sephardic and Oriental Jewry were to the Dahan Center at Bar-Ilan University, Levana Zamir for "The Golden Age of the Jews of Egypt - Uprooting and Revival in Israel" and Dr. Moshe Gavra for research of immigrations of Yemen Jews between 1948 and 1949.  http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=40717

50 years of re-unification of Jerusalem.  “Voices of Jerusalem” video, produced by the city for June’s 50th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s Capital.

Brazil’s secret Jews renew ties in Israel.  During a visit to Israel, with 18 other Brazilian Anousim (secret Jews) Lavor Serbim told her story at the Brazilian Cultural Center in Tel Aviv. She used to cry when she heard stories about Israel or heard Jewish songs, but there was no clear explanation for her emotions.

50 Ways to Count on Israel



The 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem on May 24th will be celebrated during the 50 days between the Jewish festivals of Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost). This feature article focuses on the significance of the number 50 in many of the recent amazing achievements of the Jewish State.

Among Israel’s numerous medical innovations, ApiFix’s minimally invasive system has straightened the deformed spines of 50 adolescents within two years of being approved in Europe. And the Israeli breakthrough treatment hCDR1 from XTL Biopharmaceuticals is the first new treatment for Lupus sufferers in 50 years. Finally, when surgeons from Save a Child’s Heart mended the heart of baby Lisa from East Timor, the Southeast Asian nation became the 50th country to have children treated by surgeons from the life-saving Israeli organization.




It’s refreshing to see how much Israel has done for the environment in recent years.  Thanks to making a substantial improvement in water quality, the freshwater Yarkon Bleak fish has now returned to the mid-stretches of the Yarkon river, after an absence of 50 years. And it is an annual event to watch newborn sea turtles scamper “home” to the sea just 50 days after the mother turtles lay their eggs on clean Israeli beaches.  But Israel’s biggest cleantech achievement by far is the 700% increase in crops that Israel has managed to produce from the same amount of water it used 50 years ago.




Israel can be proud of its inclusive treatment of the less fortunate in society.  It is even building a new town where 50 Israeli families will be integrated with dozens of high-functioning special needs adults, who will be employed alongside regular workers in the local services. Another highlight is how the all-volunteer Israel Lawn Bowls Association for the Blind coaches 50 adults with visual disabilities at clubs in Israel.

One example (amongst many) of co-existence was a soccer tournament in the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye where Israeli children (50 Jews and 50 Arabs) were split up into six different soccer teams, each representing a 2016 World Cup country.  Another is the Moona outer space research center in the Israel-Arab town of Majd Al-Kurum in which 50 Jewish and 50 Muslim high school students attend courses in robotics, drones, 3D printing, electronics and other technologies related to outer-space exploration.
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Israel’s global impact is astonishing.  Israeli-Arab Bedouins are using Israeli HomeBioGas units (subsidized by Israel’s Environment ministry) to transform trash into bio-gas.  50 HomeBioGas units are now being tested in the Dominican Republic, as part of attempts to curb deforestation caused by the burning of wood for cooking.  In Africa, Israel’s award-winning Amiad Water Systems supplied 50 filtration systems to a project providing clean drinking water in Angola.  And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu improved relations with Africa immensely during the first visit by an Israeli leader to the continent in 50 years.

Trade relations were enhanced by visits to Israel by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and his delegation of 50 business and academic leaders.  Another 50 business professionals came to Israel for the New Zealand’s inaugural Innovation Mission.  And 50 university and secondary students from Hong Kong got the chance to see firsthand the secrets of Israeli entrepreneurial success, thanks to Israel’s Technion and the Li Ka Shing Foundation. 

It may be only the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s re-unification, but Jewish links to its capital city go back thousands of years.  To experience this, tourists can now do “the mikveh trail” - a newly-opened walk to see 50 ritual baths (mikvot) unearthed near Temple Mount. These were used by Jewish pilgrims to purify themselves, prior to making offerings in the Temple over 2000 years ago.  And please watch this video by Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar about the ancient Jewish treasures discovered during excavations just 50 meters from Temple Mount.




Now let’s celebrate – there must be at least fifty ways!

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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