Published On: Sun, May 3rd, 2015

You can grow rice on a mountain and more good news from Israel

 You can grow rice on a mountain AGRITECH 2015
In the 3rd May 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
·        Israeli scientists have mapped the brain’s neuron network.
·        Israeli scientists have generated an illusive sub-atomic particle in their laboratory.
·        Infinidat has become yet another $1 billion Israeli company.
·        Robbie Williams performed his first ever concert in Israel.
Mapping the brain.  Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Harvard University in Massachusetts have succeeded in mapping the circuitry of the brain.  The Neuronal Positioning System (NPS) maps neuronal circuits to help understand how messages are sent within the brain or to other parts of the body.
Link between gluten and ALS.  Researchers at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center have detected large concentrations of a specific antibody in some ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) sufferers. The same antibody is present when Celiac disease sufferers consume gluten.  Further studies are being conducted into the link.
Israel is Polio free.  Two years ago, the international press reported that the Polio virus was found in Jerusalem’s sewage system, although no one was infected.  I doubt if the press will report that the World Health Organization has now declared that the virus has been eradicated.  That’s why I’m reporting it in my newsletter.
Delayed release treatment.  Israeli biotech Intec has signed a deal with a major (but unnamed) international company worth $150 million to distribute Intec’s treatment for mental and neurological diseases.  The delayed release treatment remains intact until it reaches the intestines, in order to release more effectively into the body.
EyeOn sees more investment.  I reported on Israel’s EyeOn Medical’s contact lens to treat corneal edema in my 11 Aug 2013newsletter.  EyeOn began selling the product this year and has just raised $3.6 million of funds to help recruit staff and develop further innovative ophthalmologic products.
Philanthropy funds medical research.  (TY Size Doesn’t Matter) A $1.6 million gift to Israel’s Technion and Canada’s Waterloo University by the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation will fund joint research into lung disease in prem babies, nanotechnology treatment therapy and quantum computing.
AgriVest 2015.  Israeli agritech startups pitched their technologies at the 3rd International AgriVest Conference held at the Weizmann Institute of Science on 27th April.  It featured a startup competition, won by Israel’s DouxMatok for its development of sweeter sugar that reduces the amount of sugar required in foods.

  35, 000 attended Agritech 2015 in Tel Aviv, including 200 Gaza farmers. Israel’s Netafim installed the biggest agricultural wall in Israel to demonstrate how its drip-irrigation systems can help grow crops anywhere – even vertically.  Israel’s flux showed its system for vertical hydroponics. 

Keeping produce fresh.  A new technique developed by Hebrew University researchers that extend the life of vegetables for weeks without refrigeration could help break the cycle of poverty among rural farmers in the developing world.  The technology was on display at Agritech 2015.
India’s smart cities.  (TY Michelle) Chief Minister of India’s Maharashtra state, Devendra Fadnavis, was so impressed with Israel’s smart city Tel Aviv that he will partner with Israel to make six smart cities in his state.
Maharashtra’s Chief Minister also requested Israeli help to stem the suicide rate of the state’s farmers, which amounted to nearly 1, 200 in the first 3 months of 2015.
Water sensitive cities.  Three Israeli universities are developing a new program, “Creating Water Sensitive Cities in Israel.”  Ben Gurion University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Technion Institute will develop strategies and solutions for improving water security and reducing the carbon footprint.
Israeli technology saves lives in Nepal.  Israeli aid workers in Nepal are using innovative Israeli products such as the Emergency bandage, the Pocket BVM ventilator and the NowForce Life Compass.
Taiwan & Israel sign R&D agreement.  (TY Michelle) Taiwan and Israel signed the Taiwan and Israel Industrial Research and Development Cooperation Agreement.  It will foster research programs between Taiwan and Israel in the future, creating new innovative research potential between the two countries.
French scientists study Israeli robotics.  Eight scientists from France attended the HCST Medical Robotics symposium in Tel Aviv on 23rd March.  The following day they visited Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Universities to see Israeli robotic devices under development.
The Cornell-Technion alliance.  (TY Michelle) Dan Huttenlocher is the Founding Dean of Cornell Tech and Vice Provost of Cornell University. He describes the new Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech on a visit to Israel’s Technion Institute campus.
Now imagine it smaller.  10 Israeli companies showcased at Imaginenano 2015 in Bilbau Spain, Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference.  Two, Melodea and Valentis, are using cellulose nanocrystals to make a variety of groundbreaking products out of wood pulp sludge and other plant-derived waste. 
Meanwhile (TY Michelle) See how Technion scientists engraved the 1.2 million letters of the Hebrew Bible on a microscopic wafer of gold. 

The Higgs boson is super-cool.  Bar-Ilan University researchers have revealed the illusive sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs boson, during low-temperature superconductivity experiments.  The Higgs boson, believed responsible for most of the mass in the universe, had previously only been observed in high-energy collisions.
Proving that you are a good driver.  Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed an app that records if you break the speed limit, swerve, stop short, or switch lanes too often.  Insurance companies could use the information to reward good drivers and “punish” bad ones.
Another 3D printed car.  Israeli startup Massivit is using Autodesk’s “Spark” to print a full-sized car. The Strati is billed as the world’s first car where all the non-mechanical components have been produced on a 3D printer.  The Strati was designed and developed by US-based Local Motors. (See also 23 Nov 2014 newsletter)
Toys from recycled spare parts.  Israel’s OffBits has produced “build it yourself” kits, comprised of throwaway screws, springs etc.  Kids can assemble the kits into cool little toy robots and add their own “bits”.

Another $1 billion Israeli company.  (TY Michelle) Israel’s Infinidat has raised $150 million, valuing the company at $1.2 billion.  Infinidat has filed more than 100 software patents, and its product, InfiniBox, lets customers store as much as 2 petabytes (2 million gigabytes) of data on a standard 19-inch, 42-unit storage rack.
Jerusalem – an emerging tech hub.  (TY Michelle) Best known as the ancient city holy to billions of people around the world, Jerusalem has become a flourishing center for biomed, cleantech, Internet/mobile startups, accelerators, investors and supporting service providers.
And please listen to Roy Munin, CEO of MadeinJLM, who explains why Entrepreneur and Time magazines named Israel’s holy capital city as top global startup ecosystem. 
Citi challenges startups in Jerusalem.  (TY Michelle) I included Citi’s Mobile Challenge in the 29 Mar 2015 newsletter.  There were 12 Israeli startups among the 21 contenders at Jerusalem’s “Startup Nation demo day”.  Winners will receive $100, 000 and get the opportunity to give Citi’s customers “remarkable experiences”.
Israel and Korea Strengthen Water Industry Ties.  At the World Water Forum in Daegu, Korea’s 3rd largest city, Israel and Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance cooperation in the water arena.  A large delegation from Daegu is coming to the WATEC (Water Technology) conference in Tel Aviv in October.
Growing farms in Zimbabwe.  (TY Michelle) Israeli startup Platfarm has developed a platform for farmers in developing countries to improve their production and delivery to buyers.  It has a pilot running in Zimbabwe and aims to roll out to South America, where Platfarm’s co-founder Leonardo Marcovitz was born.
Brazil and Israel startups meet up.  (TY Michelle) Israeli and Brazilian entrepreneurs and investors joined up at a “Meet the Brazilian start up scene in Israel. 

What makes Tel Aviv the hottest tech hub?  (TY Michelle) Israelis explain the secrets of Tel Aviv’s success.
Just Gett it.  (TY Hazel) Israeli-based start-up Get Taxi is branching out.  It has re-branded itself as Gett and will soon allow customers to order a wide range of services and products, from pizza and sushi, to flowers and wine, massages and manicures, cleaners and even doctors – and all within 10 minutes, the company promises.
Meanwhile, (TY Michelle) Gett has introduced guaranteed maximum (fair) fares for its black cab taxi service in New York City. And unlike most competitors, it keeps prices constant, even during busy times.
$10 million for Windward.  (TY Michelle) Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, has made another big Israeli investment through his Horizons Ventures fund.  This time, its Windward – the maritime data and analytics company.  Horizons invested in Israel’s Waze, before Google bought it for $1 billion.
Starting up in NYC.  (TY Michelle)  Two articles featuring new Israeli startups in New York City. ICONYC is a new accelerator for Israeli startups.  And six startups pitched to investors at a “Series A Demo Night” event.
Mississippi wants Israeli companies.  (TY Michelle) Mississippi governor Phil Bryant hosted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and invited Israeli companies to “come to Mississippi”.  Dermer listed agriculture, defense and cyber security as Israeli sectors likely to find a home and/or a partner in Mississippi. 


Israel21c helps special Olympians.  An article written by Israel21c about special swimmer Mati Oren has helped raise NIS 300, 000 to send 40 special Israeli athletes to the July World Games in Los Angeles.
Israeli discovery is important for Druze community.  Israel held a ceremony to honor the six divers who discovered 2, 600 gold coins on the seabed near Caesarea (see 1 Mar 2015 newsletter).  Also invited were Israeli Druze leaders, as most of the coins bore the name of their founder, Fatimid caliph al-Hakim bi Amr Allah.
IDF honors female Muslim soldier.  (TY Hazel) Among the 120 soldiers receiving a “Medal of Excellence” at the President’s Residence on Israel Independence Day was a Muslim woman who grew up in an Arab village and is currently a cadet in an IDF officer’s training course.  Her family doesn’t even know she is in the IDF.
Easing the journey to work.  (TY Hazel) Israel has provided permits for 100 Palestinian Arab doctors to work in Israeli hospitals.  It halves the time taken to drive into Jerusalem from Judea and Samaria.
Syrians treated in Israel:  (TY Hazel) Israeli doctors at Poriya Hospital near Tiberias treated a 28-year-old man who suffered a broken leg and shrapnel lodged in other parts of his body.  Also, a 40-year-old man who stepped on a landmine.  The hospital has treated 166 Syrians wounded in their civil war.
Environmental program with Morocco.  The Galilee International Management Institute in the Israeli city of Nahalal is to develop joint environmental training programs in cooperation with Morocco’s new Euro-Mediterranean University in Fez and the established Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.
Zambia opens Israeli embassy.  (TY Michelle) Zambia has opened a diplomatic mission in Israel, after a gap of 40 years, reflecting improved relations between the two countries.  Zambia’s Jerusalem House of Prayer also organized an inter-domination march-past in Zambia’s capital of Lusaka, to celebrate Israel Independence Day.
The largest aid team, from such a tiny country.  Over 250 Israeli doctors and aid workers are saving lives in Nepal – more than all other countries combined.
The IDF field hospital treats hundreds a day and delivered its first baby.
Dr Avi Yitzchak, an Ethiopian Jew honored on Israeli Independence Day, leads the IDF medical team.
Not forgetting Vanuatu.  (TY Hazel) Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID may now have arrived in Nepal, but it is also still busy in the Islands of Vanuatu devastated by Cyclone Pam.

UN praises Israel’s fight against corruption.  A report by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption praised Israeli law enforcers for their efforts to eliminate public corruption. The report noted Israel’s success in putting leading public figures on trial and passing laws against bribery. 

About the Author

- Michael Ordman highlights Israel's latest achievements in the fields of technology, health, business, and co-existence in a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.

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