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Good News From Israel

In the 23rd Aug 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
·         Doctors at an Israeli hospital used innovative surgery to save two pregnant women.
·         Israel donated vital equipment to treat Taiwan burns victims.
·         Israel refueled Jordanian jets on route to joint exercises in the USA.
·         Israeli mapping of the DNA of wheat promises stronger varieties.
·         An Israeli company is building a wind farm in Ireland.
·         Israel’s largest indoor market has opened in central Tel Aviv.
·         Three rare baby sand cats were born at an Israeli safari park.
·         75 Torah scrolls were dedicated at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Doctors revive mother with amniotic embolism.  (TY Phillip) In a first of its kind event, a 43-year-old woman who was declared clinically dead after suffering an amniotic embolism during a C-section has woken up.  Doctors at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital removed a massive blood clot from her lungs with the aid of innovative technology.  Her new baby daughter is also doing well.
Doctors remove tumor from womb of pregnant woman.  A team of doctors at Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital have succeeded in surgically removing a 15cm long tumor from a woman’s womb in the middle of her pregnancy without harming her or the baby.  Danielle Skald later had a normal delivery of a baby boy.
Israeli medial clowns at Chinese hospitals.  Israeli medical clowns from “Dream Doctors” visited seven hospitals and orphanages in Chengdu, southwestern China.  In colorful clown costumes and with big red noses, they sang songs, played ukulele, performed magic tricks and blew bubbles in the wards to cheer up the patients.
Bacteria or virus?  Israel’s MeMed has discovered a protein in blood called TRAIL that dramatically increases in patients infected with viruses but decreases in bacterial infections.  It has developed proprietary algorithms and a blood test called ImmunoXpert that could save hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe alone.
FDA approval for Rosacea treatment.  I reported previously (Sept 2014) on the successful results of the acne treatment from Israel’s Foamix.  The company’s Rosacea treatment – Finacea Foam – has just been approved by the US FDA.  Rosacea is a skin condition of unattractive dilated blood vessels, often on the face.
New Center for Autism in Jerusalem.  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Hadassah Medical Center will establish the first interdisciplinary university-based autism center in the Middle East.  The Autism Center will bring together cutting-edge research, clinical services, state of the art training and education for professionals and parents in the community.
Liver-on-chip device to replace animal testing.  Another liver cell innovation from scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (see Aug 2nd) who have partnered with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute to build a a liver-on-chip device mimicking human physiology.  Soon, toxicity tests no longer need performing on animals.
Medical aid for Taipei burns victims.  Israel is donating two skin graft meshers worth more than $10, 000 each, to Taiwanese hospitals.  498 people were injured (202 in need of skin grafts) following a horrific water park explosion accident in a Taipei water park.
Israeli hospitals unite Israelis and Arabs.  A study conducted at Schneider Children’s Medical Center finds that parents from the Arab sector whose children have been treated in Israeli hospitals feel a stronger sense of solidarity with the State of Israel.
A truly moderate Palestinian Arab politician.  (TY Elder of Zion) Mohammed Dajani Daoudi heads Israel’s tiny Wasatia political party.  He was educated to hate Israelis, but completely changed when his father had his cancer treated in an Israeli hospital.  He accepts Jews having equal rights to Arabs and fights holocaust denial.
Israeli hospital treats Hamas officer.  Not sure if this is good news, but it needs to be reported.  Nayef Rajoub, a senior member of Hamas and the brother of senior Palestinian Authority figure Jibril Rajoub, is currently recuperating in a private hospital in Tel Aviv, apparently after having undergone spine surgery.
Infant mortality in Gaza.  (TY Stuart) A recent UNWRA report criticizing Israel for the health of Gaza infants was simply another case of “propaganda masquerading as science”.  Here are the true facts.
Defying expectations.  (TY Michelle and Avi) Haisam Hassanein, an exchange student from Egypt, received his Master’s degree and became the valedictorian of Tel Aviv University. He delivered a remarkable speech – his insights, both timeless and timely, illustrate the hope for there to be real peace in our time.
Israeli Air Force refuels Jordanian F-16s.  An Israeli tanker plane supported a flight of Jordanian F-16 Vipers which were on route with Israeli Air Force planes to exercises in the US.  The sight of Israeli and Jordanian jets flying together was a unique experience.
Israeli professor joins Iranian environmental journal.  Hebrew University Professor Renata Reisfeld has accepted the invitation of Maryam Pazoki, assistant professor at the Faculty of Environment at the University of Tehran to join the editorial board of the Tehran-based International Journal of Environment, Energy and Waste.
Ivory Coast Health Minister comes to learn from Israel.  Ivory Coast’s Health Minister Dr. Raymonde Goudou Coffie is in Israel on a “learning tour” of Israeli hospitals, especially regarding emergency medicine.
Israel promotes science in Ghana.  Israel has flown two outstanding female science students from Ghana to the World Science Conference in Israel.  Lilian Abrafi Yeboah and Nana Esi Nyarko were given free all-expensive return trips to join 400 young science masterminds from over 70 countries and 15 Nobel laureates.
World class universities.  Six of Israel’s eight universities are in the top 500 of the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities produced annually by the authoritative Shanghai Jiao Tong University.  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was ranked at 67 and Israel’s Technion in Haifa was number 77 on the list.
Play on computer?  Exercise first.  Israeli Eylon Porat has built an accessory for his daughter’s computer.  It comprises an exercise bike that she has to pedal in order to unlock games on the computer for a certain time period. When she run out of credits the computer locks again until she pedals enough “credits” to unlock it.
Haifa to be Israel’s first Clean Air Zone City.  For the first time in Israel, a Clean Air Zone will be enacted, banning polluting diesel-powered vehicles from areas of Haifa, as part of a five-year plan announced by the Environmental Protection Ministry to reduce air pollution and environmental hazards in the Haifa Bay area.
Wheat genome cracked.  It took Israel’s NRGene just 3 months to map out the genome for wild Emmer wheat – a task that had eluded dozens of scientists from 55 countries.  It will now be easier to develop varieties of wheat that will thrive in drier, hotter climates and help relieve world hunger.  And related article by Sharon.
3 Olympiad medals for Israeli high school chemists.  Three members of Team Israel won bronze medals at the oldest (and perhaps toughest) high school competition – the International Chemistry Olympiad, held in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Teams used chemicals to synthesize material and identify unknown elements.
Tinned tuna in low sodium brine.  (TY Liat) Israel’s Salt of the Earth has successfully reduced the sodium content of canned tuna by 35% with its new Umami Essence ingredient – a proprietary, natural liquid formula derived from vegetables and sea salt.  In trials, the taste was indistinguishable from ordinary tuna in brine.
Polly can park your car.  Tens of thousands of Israelis have used the Israeli developed app Polly to park their cars in Tel Aviv.  It is now being expanded to Jerusalem.  Polly uses GPS, crowdsourcing, municipal information and its own algorithm to guide drivers to streets where spaces are more likely to be available.
Israeli wind farms in Ireland.  Enlight Renewable Energy (part of Israel’s Eurocom Group) has just closed a deal worth 24 million Euros to build a 14MW windfarm in Ireland and more are planned.  Ireland is aiming to generate 40pc of all its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The ultimate altruism app.  Only in Israel would a startup develop an app that connects people who want help with those who wish to give help.  Angels Nearby uses a search engine to connect people based on the type of help needed, “trust level” (everyone, Facebook friends only, friends of friends), and location.  
New stamp honors Nobel laureate.  (TY Michelle) Israel releases a new stamp on Oct 10 to celebrate the 2013 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.  Israel’s Arieh Warshel, one of the joint laureates for Computational Chemistry, was the key researcher who deciphered the role of the protein rhodopsin – the biological pigment in retina cells.
State of economy improves again.  July’s rise in the composite state of the economy was 0.3%.  The main reasons were increases in goods exports and services.
Turkey gas deal would be a win-win.  Turkey’s Turcas Petrol CEO Batu Aksoy says that importing Israeli gas is beneficial to both countries.  Turkey has no gas reserves but generates 50% of its electricity from gas.  It pays high prices to gas suppliers, including Iran and Russia.  A deal with Israel can also improve political ties.
Israel’s largest indoor market is open.  The 8, 700 square meter Sarona Market has opened across from the Azrieli towers in the heart of Tel Aviv.  It comprises 89 businesses and anticipates up to 15, 000 visitors per day.
Invest in companies that can change the world.  Israel’s Terra Partners is an “impact investment fund, specializing in startups with world-changing ambitions.  It is not looking at fast exits but rather building sustainable companies. (See also May 17 Newsletter)
Electricity prices to fall 7%.  (TY Janglo)  Electricity rates will fall 7% in September.  This is the second decrease over the past 12 months and means that annual electricity prices would have fallen by 16%.  Reasons include increased renewable energy sources that are supplying the national grid.
A strategic water alliance with China.  Israel’s RWL Water has entered into a strategic partnership with Chinese infrastructure giant China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC). CGGC implements major infrastructure projects in more than 100 countries and regions. 
Making big business of Israeli businesses.  (TY Nevet) Readers used to ask me why there were no big Israeli companies.  Not anymore.
How athlete and mother built a $10m business.  (TY Michelle) Israel’s Chen Levanon is CEO of ClicksMob was a hurdler at college.  She now has 2 kids and runs a fast-moving business that matches advertisers and publishers. Half her management team are female.  ClicksMob generated $10 million of revenue last year.
A photo finish?  (TY Michelle) Lightricks is the Israeli startup behind successful smartphone photo-editing apps Facetune and Enlight.  Founded in 2013, Facetune has 4.5 million customers with another million on Enlight.  With a graphics engine and mobile ad software, Lightricks is a likely target for Apple or Facebook.
Droning over Apollonia.  Amateur drone pilot Jesse Peters flew an aerial quadcopter over Israel’s Apollonia National Park near Herzliya to capture a bird’s-eye perspective of its limestone cliffs. See the 13th-century fortress, remains of a Roman villa, and a self-built “hobbit” home carved into the cliff by artist Nissim Kahlon.
Rare baby sand cats born in Israel.  Rotem, a sand cat at the Ramat Gan Safari, has given birth to three kittens.  The sand cat is the only species of cat able to survive in total deserts but now exists mostly in captivity.
Operation Isotope – the movie.  A new film is to be released shortly of the 1972 dramatic rescue, by Israel’s elite Israeli Sayeret Matkal unit, of hostages on a high-jacked Sabena airlines plane.  The unit included current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former PM Ehud Barak.  Both enjoyed the movie premier.
Street Art.  The International Bat Yam Festival features theater, circus, clowns, acrobats, music parades and more.  It also includes the French show Les Girafes, featuring eight-meter high giraffes.  You can also camp for free on the beach.
Golf in the Negev desert?  Nisim Nir, of the Omer Regional Council is planning a new 18-hole golf course in the Negev.  It will provide a venue for tourism and for company executives at the nearby Omer Industrial Park and Beer Sheva Technology Park to conclude business deals.  And make the desert bloom even more.
UK Parliamentarian’s admiration for the Jewish State.  (TY Michelle) UK Member of Parliament Sir Eric Pickles writes that Israel has held on to its central ethics while embracing modernity. Israel is a country that boasts the history of Jerusalem’s Old City alongside its title as a world leader in biotech and cyber-security. This tiny spit of land along the Mediterranean is not just one of modern history’s most unlikely success stories, but a vital partner and ally to the United Kingdom.  And its humanitarian heart also beats strong.
Never too late to make Aliya.  (TY Janglo) Felix and Feige Bandos, 94 and 90 have just made Aliya.  The two Holocaust survivors arrived in Israel to a warm welcome from their family.  “I’m glad I’m here, ” Felix said upon arrival. “This is the right place to be.”
Progress of the desert Argan trees during the Shmitta year.  Shoshana and Yoni Rappeport have followed the Torah commandment that requires them to perform only basic maintenance every seventh (Shmitta) year on their Negev desert Argan tree plantation.  But the trees keep on growing nevertheless.
A home for lone soldiers.  (TY Elaine) The latest video about HaBayit Shel Benji – the charity that provides accommodation for those who have no family in Israel but who just want to help protect the Jewish State.
75 Torah scrolls dedicated to fallen Israelis.  (TY Sharon)  Tens of thousands of Israelis crowded into the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza to watch the ceremony dedicating 75 new Torah scrolls – one for each Israeli that fell in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. This event typifies Israelis’ positive response to tragedy – part of resilience that has kept Jewish people through so many difficult times.  And please read about the 76th scroll.
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