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Good News From Israel No. 21 : Business, Science, Technology And More

In the 23rd Feb 2014 edition of Israel’s good news:


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Israel’s economy index is up again.  Israel’s Composite State of the Economy Index for Jan 2014 increased by 0.3 percent.  Exports of goods and services rose significantly.  The IMF also said that Israel’s economic fundamentals remain strong, with solid GDP growth and low unemployment and inflation.


Jordan is first country to buy Israeli natural gas.  Noble Energy has signed a 15-year agreement in the Jordanian capital of Amman, to sell at least $500 million of gas from the Tamar field to two Jordanian companies.  It is the first export deal for Israeli natural gas. A pipeline will go through the Dead Sea to Jordan.


Connecting Canadians.  (Thanks to Size Doesn’t Matter) Toronto’s Porter Airlines and Israel’s EL AL have signed an agreement.  They will co-ordinate operations at Newark International Airport in New Jersey to connect passengers between Tel Aviv and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and other Canadian destinations.


More passengers, more trains, better reliability.  Israel Railways has reported a new record in the number of passengers. Israeli trains carried 45 million passengers in 2013, 12% more than in 2012.  The growth was due to the opening of new lines plus more new double-decker carriages.  Punctuality rose to 93.3% from 90% in 2012.


The largest Israeli buyout by an Asian company.  Japanese Internet giant Rakuten has just bought Israeli-developed video and voice communications app Viber for $900 million.  Viber allows users to make free phone and video calls within its network, and has over 200 million users all over the world.


An Israeli R&D center in Singapore.  In a reversal of the normal trend, Israel Aerospace Industries and the Singapore government today unveiled the company’s Cyber Early Warning R&D Center in Singapore.  The center will employ mainly Singaporeans, but is modeled on IAI’s cyber-accessibility center in Israel.


How isolated is Israel?  Good economic summary by Yoram Ettinger.


Israel is a manufacturer of innovation.  (Thanks to algemeiner) Ten of Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s former colleagues at Cyota have built companies of their own.  One, Michal Tzur, co-founded open source video platform Kaltura, which has just raised an additional $47 million of capital.


Google buys advanced Israeli security.  IT giant Google has acquired the staff and intellectual property of Israeli start-up SlickLogin.  The Israeli company is developing applications using ultrasound and smartphones, to allow users more easily to login securely.  SlickLogin’s founders served in the IDF elite cyber security unit.


The invisible keyboard for both blind and sighted.  Israel’s Inpris is using crowdsourcing to raise the finance to launch two versions of its invisible keyboard: the UpSense Super Keyboard for single-handed gesture typing, and the UpSense Super Braille Keyboard for a blind person to type with two hands.


Peruvian President visits Israel.  President Ollanta Humala of Peru arrived in Israel for a three-day visit designed to increase economic and security cooperation between the two countries.  Humala was set to meet representatives of Israeli high-tech firms, and receive an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University.


Easing immigration for French Jews.  Israel’s minister of immigration absorption was in Paris and promised to “erase all bureaucratic hurdles” for new immigrants.  Sofa Landver plans to submit her ideas at a future Israel cabinet meeting.  3, 301 French Jews immigrated to Israel in 2013 – the largest figure out of France since 2000.



Green energy from overlooked sources.  Israel’s Energy Industries uses local natural resources to implement energy solutions for its customers.  Methane from organic waste in Ghana; hot springs for greenhouses in Georgia; solar power for Israel’s Ben Gurion University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


One of the most innovative companies in the world.  Prestigious American magazine, Fast Company has ranked Israel’s Water-Gen number 21 in its list of fifty Most Innovative Companies. Water-Gen has developed a unique patented technology that produces drinking water out of air, plus a mobile water purification solution.


Generating a third of US’s solar power.  The 392-megawatt concentrating solar power (CSP) plant built by Israel’s BrightSource Energy is now delivering renewable energy to the California grid.  The five-square-mile Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System in the Mojave Desert is the largest plant of its kind in the world.


Iron Beam is hot topic at Singapore Airshow.  Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems publicized its new laser missile shield at Asia’s largest aerospace and defense exhibition.  “It’s exactly like what you see in Star Wars. You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished.” said Rafael’s Amit Zimmer.


Golden sands.  Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Peretz has allocated NIS 2 million to keep Israel’s beaches clean.  In addition to allowing for increased cleaning operations, the funds will serve to provide educational activities in schools, public relations campaigns and enforcement.


The ultimate in remote control.  Watch how the gesture technology from Israel’s Pointgrab allows you to run applications on the Lenovo range of computers from up to 2 meters away, and in low lighting environments.


Israel’s active pen.  Intel Corporation will integrate the pen and mini-touch technology of Kfar Saba based N-trig into its Educational Tablet, a touch-enabled device for use in the classroom.

Encouraging girls to like STEM.  Tel Aviv start-up Gangly Sister is producing a cartoon web series to promote Science, Tech, Engineering and Math to girls.  The English-language series, titled, “Purple and Nine, ” has had 64, 000 views since its debut on Jan 30. The plan is to release one new 5-minute episode every month.

Helping India clean polluted wetlands.  A team of Israel scientists arrived in Bhubaneswar, Hubaneswar, India, to test a pilot program to use plants to remove pollutants from contaminated soil and water.  The holistic wastewater management process is called “phyto-remediation”.  (See Algemeiner article for more info on India)


Israel and Germany to give joint aid for Africa.  Israel and Germany are launching a joint project for humanitarian relief in developing countries, specifically in Africa. “The Africa initiative” will see Israel pledge 24 million shekel ($6.8 million) toward humanitarian relief in developing countries from 2015-2020.



Non-invasive blood-flow monitor.  CerOx from Israel’s Ornim is the only non-invasive device on the market monitoring blood flow to the brain in patients with severe brain trauma.  The CerOx device uses ultrasound and near-infrared light to measure oxygen saturation and prevent brain damage.  It has just raised $10 million.


Treating depression in Sweden.  Israel’s Brainsway has installed its Deep Brain Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) systems at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital where they will be used immediately to treat patients with depression.  Sweden has one of the highest rates of depression in the world.


Neck device keeps hearts beating.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI)  Israel’s BioControl Medical has developed the first medical device to treat chronic heart failure using neuro-stimulation.  It operates by stimulating the vagus nerve on the right side of the neck. Trials are being conducted at 80 centers in the US, Europe and Israel.





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