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Weekly Good News From Israel No. 22 : Business, Science, Technology And More

In the 2ndMar 2014 edition of Israel’s good news:


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Moody’s upgrades its view of Israel’s banks.  Moody’s Investors Service has revised its outlook for the Israeli banking system from “negative” to “stable”.  It reverses their downgrading of banks in May 2012 and reflects improved macroeconomic conditions, capital buffers, liquidity and funding.


EasyJet launches Hebrew site.  UK low-cost airline easyJet has launched a Hebrew-language homepage that allows customers to book flights in any of the ten currencies available.  EasyJet added that, in February, it flew its one-millionth passenger on its Israel route since it started operations in 2009.


“Angels” choose winning start-ups.  New Israeli company iAngels provides a service for individuals to invest relatively small amounts in start-upsiAngels is advised by wealthy investors “Angels” who pledge their own money.  Smaller investors join a “crowdsourcing” investment that is returned if the finance target isn’t reached.


Developing Ethiopia’s potash mine.  Israel Chemicals and Canada’s Allana Potash will jointly develop Allana’s Danakhil potash project in Ethiopia. The proposed mine’s feasibility study indicates that it will produce approximately one million tons of potash annually within five years.


Clean water for Angola.  Amiad Water Systems won a $1.1 million contract to supply 50 filtration systems to a project providing clean drinking water in Angola.  Meanwhile the Israeli government honored Amiad an Outstanding Exporter award for exporting products totaling $83 million in 2012.


America’s support for the Start-up Nation.  Tom Glaser begins a series of blogs for the Times of Israel.  In it, he will focus on the American side of the U.S. – Israel business equation with articles about the people, companies, and organizations making a difference.  I hope to link to his regular articles here.


India’s potatoes need Israeli technology.  (Thanks to Uri) India’s Dr. Akhilesh Kumar works at Israel’s Vulcani Agricultural Research Institute.  His is investigating how to store India’s glut of winter potatoes to feed its hungry population all year round.  Israeli hi-tech can help develop better strains and solar-powered storage.


Israeli gas exports can bring peace between Turkey and Greece.  (Thanks to Nevet – An optimistic piece in the Turkish Haber Turk monthly magazine.  Translated by


Tax breaks to 400 communities.  Israel’s Finance Minister is doubling the number of communities eligible for tax benefits. The emphasis in the composition of the list was the distance of the community from Israel’s center and its proximity to the borders with Syria, Lebanon, or the Gaza Strip.


Good relations.  The PA leadership may not like it, but the religious Jews of Beitar Illit have been shopping in and receiving services from the Palestinian Arab town of Husan for years.  And both communities are very happy about it.


Jerusalem invests in TV and film production.  Jerusalem’s municipality is to invest NIS 22 million (about $6.28 million) to encourage more film and television production within the capital.  The television series Dig, co-written by Gideon Raff of Homeland fame, will be the first production to benefit from the initiative.


Where do Israel’s innovators come from?  The best entrepreneurial incubator in the world might actually be created via conscription the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).  A crop of successful new entrepreneurs is coming out of Israel and they credit military schooling for their success.


Presbyterian leaders acknowledge the truth.  A delegation of 14 leaders from the Presbyterian clergy visited the Soda Stream factory in Maaleh Adumim.  During the tour they affirmed that the location of the factory enhances the business as well as the interpersonal relations between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.


Israel’s popularity highest for 23 years.  (Thanks to Yoram Ettinger) According to the latest Gallup poll, Israel was rated favorably by 72% of Americans.  This compares to 66% at this time last year and is the highest level since 1991.



Most innovative app.  190 Israeli companies presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  Israel’s PointGrab won “most innovative app” with CamMe that lets users make gestures to take “selfies” (photographs of themselves) from their iPhone from up to 16 feet away.  Israel’s EverythingMe was also one of five finalists.


Israel helps drought-stricken California.  In its most severe drought since 1977, California looks to Israel for expert water advice and technology.  Israel’s IDE Technologies Ltd. is already helping to build what it says will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.


Better herbicides.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Israel’s Evogene has launched PoinTar, a computationally based target discovery platform for generating new herbicides.  It identifies key molecules responsible for essential biological processes in weeds, which have the potential to be chemically inhibited in order to cause weed death.


Better batteries.  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has boosted the power of sodium-ion batteries with a new type of anode.  Also Israel’s EnStorage received a $1 million grant for its HBr flow battery development.  Meanwhile Professor Doron Aurbach of Bar Ilan University won the prestigious 2014 International Battery Association Yeager Award for developing super (EDL) capacitors and rechargeable magnesium batteries.


Enjoy the ride.  Here are two videos that demonstrate the selective suspension in the revolutionary new wheel developed by Israel’s SoftWheel.


Eleven cyber security awards.  Israeli cyber-security companies received eleven awards at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco.  Votiro won gold in the “Innovations in Next Generation Security” category for its software that “sanitizes” any form of data that enters an organization via the Internet.  Covertix won two awards – silver for its database security and bronze for “Awesome Product of the Year”.


Cleantech 2014.  CleanTech 2014, the 18th annual international event for Clean Technologies at Airport City focused on environmental quality, infrastructures and green building, renewable energy and water technologies.


Safer aircraft.  Israel’s Defense Ministry has successfully completed final testing on the “Sky Shield” system that protects commercial planes from missile attacks.  A thermal camera integrated with laser technology deflects missiles.  European authorities reported eight attempts to launch missiles at airplanes last year.


Finland looks to Israel for inspiration.  Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is determined to overhaul his economy, and cites Israel’s success as a “start-up” nation brimming with high-tech innovation as his model.  Meanwhile, Finland has been purchasing millions of Euros of Israeli technology.


What does everyone want?  Israeli Technology.  Israeli PM Netanyahu told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that all visiting foreign Heads of State have been asking for three things: Israeli technology, Israeli technology and Israeli technology.


Young innovators solve global problems.  Over 70 young Israeli entrepreneurs impressed United Nations representatives at the Israeli Designed International Development (ID2) conference in Caesarea.  Innovations demonstrated included plants that give off light at night and MobileOCT’s cervical cancer diagnosis system.


Israel and Cyprus ties have never been better.  Relations between Israel and Cyprus are at an unprecedented level, said Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulines during his recent visit.  There is good cooperation on security, energy, water management, science and technology.




 Type 1 diabetes treatment success.  Clinical trials of Alpha 1 Antitrypsin (AAT), developed by Dr Eli Lewis of Ben Gurion University, reduced insulin dependence in Type 1 diabetes sufferers and cured several of the disease.  Some physicians are now prescribing AAT as an off-label treatment ahead of FDA approval.


Trials success for cervical cancer test kits.  Israel’s Micromedic has reported positive results in its pilot study conducted in Peking Union Medical College Hospital (Union Hospital), a central hospital in Beijing, using the CellDetect product for the detection and identification of cervical cancer.


Mobile app for those at risk of heart attack.  Israeli-developed GPS-based CathMaps+ is the world’s first HIPAA-compliant mobile app for those with elevated risk of a cardiac incident.  Android and iOS smartphone users share their medical history with cardiologists and tools include maps of the nearest catheterization labs.



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