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The Weekly Good News From Israel : Business, Science, Technology And More

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


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Israel’s currency reserves increase again.  Israel’s deposits of foreign currency rose for the sixth consecutive month to yet another all-time record of $83.976 billion at the end of Feb 2014.

Budget deficit lowest in 2.5 years.  Israel’s accumulated budget deficit fell to NIS 28.6 billion or 2.7% of GDP.  It is the lowest since Aug 2011 and below the government’s target of 3% of GDP.

 Where dealmakers and innovators meet.  Over 1, 000 senior executives from around the world came to Israel Dealmakers Summit 2014 in New York to discuss innovation across key growth sectors including Digital Media, Cleantech, Mobile, Internet, Big Data, Semiconductors, Software, Healthcare and Telecom.


 Nurturing female Israeli entrepreneurs.  The UpWest Labs Female Entrepreneurship Program, funded by Google, is establishing a network of mentors in Silicon Valley and Israel. Its co-founder Shuly Galili said, “Israel leads the world in empowering women to take command.”


Send us a minibus.  Israel’s Ototo (“just a second” in Hebrew) is attempting to change the concept of public transport with “travel-on-demand”. Ototo will use crowdsourcing to identify demand for passengers from a particular destination to another, and will send a bus or minibus.


Insulin products for Europe.  Israeli biotech Insuline has announced a new European distribution agreement with 24Care, which will distribute InsuPad in the Netherlands and Belgium.  InsuPad increases the effectiveness of Insulin injections, lowering the required dose and allowing flexibility on timing the injections.


Japanese firms seek to tap into Israeli startups.  More Japanese companies are looking at the Israeli startup market in search of innovative technologies and investments to beef up their businesses. Takeda, Rakuten, Samurai Incubate and now the Japan External Trade Organization are investing heavily in the Jewish state.


Israel is a major strategic partner of the US.  The US House of Representatives approved by 140 – 1 the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act.  The bill promotes bi-lateral military, energy, water, science, homeland security, and agriculture co-operation and has now been transferred to the Senate for final approval.


PM is TV tour guide.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the star of a new series about the tourist sites in Israel. The program, produced and hosted by CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg, features footage shot the length and breadth of Israel, with Netanyahu himself introducing Israel’s major tourist spots.


Israel to host European swimming championships.  Israel will host the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Jan 2015 – the first time for such a large-scale swimming event.  The venue is the new Olympic-size pool at the Wingate Institute near Netanya, and anticipates around 145 million TV viewers.


21% increase in Israeli philanthropy.  Israelis contributed NIS 5.7 billion (approx £1 billon or $1.6 billion) to nonprofit organizations in Israel in 2011 – up from NIS 4.1 billion in 2009.  It is the first comparison ever performed by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.


The Argan trees are growing up.  “When you come into the Land and have planted trees for food…” Here is a new video from Zo Artzeinu (“This is our Land”) that shows Argan tree farmers Yoni and Shoshana Rappeport in Mitzpe Ramon connecting the physical to the spiritual.  The planting season is upon us – you can join in too.




Israeli system protects Statue of Liberty.  The Statue of Liberty National Monument has included Israel’s BriefCam in its state-of-the-art surveillance system. Briefcam’s unique Video Synopsis software solution enables law enforcement and security personnel to review hours of video in minutes.


Baby monitor grows up.  In 2010, Israel’s Evoz introduced an app that turns an iOS device into a virtual baby monitor.  This summer, the app matures into a full home-monitoring system that will detect burglars, fire, electrical devices not switched off, elderly at risk, and more.


Israeli students take to the air.  One of the highlights at the 54th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences in Tel Aviv was a competition for students to build unique aircraft.  Projects included a mechanical bird, a short take-off drone, an electric passenger plane and an autonomous cluster of satellites.


Israel’s record-breaking milkers.  Joshuah Miron heads the Ruminant Sciences Department at Israel’s Volcani Center.  He says that Israel’s success in the dairy industry is due to enhanced breeding of cows for their milk, advanced nutrition science, and a team of highly educated dairy farmers.


Israel and California sign R&D agreement.  Israel’s PM signed an agreement with California Governor Jerry Brown stressing four main Research & Development areas: water, energy, storage and cyber security.  Brown said “10% of San Diego’s water will be a result of this collaboration and an outcome of Israeli technology.”


The blind can hear shapes.  Delegates at the recent AIPAC conference saw a demonstration of EyeMusic – a tool that provides visual information for the blind.  Shapes, colors and locations are converted to music in order to give an audible “picture” of objects.


Israeli-Chinese electric bike.  Qoros – the joint venture between Israel Corporation and China’s Chery – has unveiled the EBIKE at the Geneva Motor Show. The bike, one of the most advanced electric bicycles ever developed, is equipped with a large battery, electric motor, touchscreen display and traditional pedals.  Meanwhile, multinational car manufacturers are expecting heavy competition from Qoros’ new hatchback.


A new mindset for education.  The Israeli accelerator MindCet incubates education technology start-ups in Tel Aviv and in the Negev.  Its founders went to SXSWedu in Austin Texas, along with start-upsCodeMonkey, Simlisco and RoadStory to explain how technology can significantly change teaching and learning processes.


Arab students excel at the Technion.  20 percent of students at Israel’s Technion are Arab, which shames anyone claming Israel is an apartheid state. 100 have graduated from Technion’s NAM (Outstanding Arab Youth) program since 2006 and are now embarking on successful careers in hi-tech and engineering.

Technion receives $21 million donation.  The Azrieli family has donated $21 million to Israel’s Technion, to help build a Tel Aviv campus.  David Azrieli, 91, studied at the Technion in the 1940s and fought in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.


Sustainable water solutions for Africa.  Ornit Avidar, formerly a diplomat for Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade founded Waterways, in 2010 in order to provide small-scale, locally beneficial water solutions to rural African villages.  They install easily maintainable solutions that do not require huge start-up costs.




Genetic disease breakthrough.  Dr. Ohad Birk of Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva has discovered the genetic mutations that cause Progressive Cerebro-Cerebellar Atrophy (PCCA) and its variation PCCA2.  A simple blood test can detect both these mutations in prospective parents.


New Israeli-German lab for neurological illnesses.  The Weizmann Institute and the Max Planck Society are establishing a laboratory for Experimental Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurogenetics in Rehovot. Headed by Weizmann Professor Alon Chen it will research cognitive, emotional, behavioral and neurological disorders.


GPS navigation in hospital.  Some hospitals are now so large that 25 percent of visitors and patients become confused and get lost inside, despite signage and information desks.  Carmel Medical Center in Haifa is the first hospital in Israel to introduce a smartphone GPS app to help people find their way to the correct department.



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