Published On: Sun, Dec 13th, 2015

Good News From Israel

Galileo Wheel
In the 13th Dec 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
 
·         Israeli scientists have discovered the reason why many elderly become deaf.
·         An Israeli system can identify why an individual suffers from insomnia.
·         Watch the IDF rescue wounded Syrians.
·         The UN used Israeli technology to protect the Paris climate conference.
·         Israeli-developed cups make plain water taste like juice-flavored drinks.
·         Israeli insects give hope to farmers in Colombia.
·         An Israeli violinist has received America’s highest civilian honor.
·         A 2800-year-old seal impression of King Hezekiah has been found in Jerusalem.
·         Israel is bringing home the last remnant of Ethiopia’s Jews.
 
Michael ORDMAN BLOGGER FRONTISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
Missing protein causes hearing loss in elderly.  (TY Nevet) Joint Israeli-US research has discovered that the absence of protein RFX in many elderly people causes hearing loss.  The protein is responsible for maintaining tiny hairs (cilia) in the inner ear.  When these hairs die off, the person becomes deaf.  The team believe their discovery will help develop treatments to restore hearing in patients. http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Health-and-Science/Breakthrough-find-may-lead-to-restoring-hearing-in-elderly-431761
 
Self-healing artificial skin.  Israeli researchers at Israel’s Technion have created a new, flexible material that is sensitive to touch and can heal itself automatically if there is damage within 10-30 minutes, according to research published in the Advanced Materials journal.
 
Protein link to aggression. Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute investigating the protein tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) found in the brains of humans and animals, have discovered that low TH levels increase aggression in males.  High TH levels reduce aggression in males but increase motherly instincts in females. 
 
US approves leukemia treatment.  The US FDA has approved BENDEKA, (bendamustine hydrochloride) injection from Israel’s Teva for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and for indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). BENDEKA is expected to be commercially available by 1st Quarter 2016.
 
Smart enzymes.  Israel’s SmartZyme is developing new proteins and enzymes for medical and industrial uses.  One enzyme has improved bio-electrochemical glucose catalysis, to be used on glucose test strips for the Self Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG) market. SmartZyme has just received $4 million of funding.
 
Infrared imaging checks quality of sealed treatments.  Israel’s DIR Technologies has invented a system that checks every package of medicine using thermal imaging. Operators can then find and fix problems causing faulty seals whenever they occur, without destroying a sample or holding up the production line.
 
Kids kicking cancer in Israel.  Kids Kicking Cancer, founded by Detroit Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, has now expanded to five Israeli hospitals.  Children who have life-threatening diseases are taught martial arts in order to help them cope with the aftermath of the disease.  The pool of instructors includes both Jews and Arabs.
 
Identifying your “Sleep DNA”.  Israeli crowdsourcing platform Sleep ASAP (see Jun 2015 newsletter) offers insomniacs a solution to their sleeping problems.  In a recent study, Sleep ASAP analyzed personality traits and sleep habits of 2500 participants. It successfully determined the reason for the insomnia in 99% of cases.
 
 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
 
Millions use Israeli app after Paris attacks.  During the 24 hours after the Paris terror attacks, 4.1 million people checked in with friends and relatives using Facebook Safety Check, a technology developed by Facebook Israel’s research and development department. The app then sent messages to 360 million people to inform them that their loved ones were safe. 
 
Germany and Israel sign space agreement. Representatives of the German and Israel Space Agencies signed an agreement in Tel Aviv for cooperation on technological R&D to benefit mankind.  Among the topics will be space missions, observations of Earth, communications, navigation and deep space.
 
Research with the UK to double.  (TY Michelle) The Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space will partner with the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network on a new set of Researcher Exchange Programs, doubling the number of research scientists for the next four years.
 
TA University and China.  Tel Aviv University has forged links with over 30 leading universities and major Chinese cities – the latest with Nanjing and Yunnan.  TAU also signed a memorandum of understanding with Peking University to establish a joint agricultural research institute in Weifang, China. Research will focus on climate, improving crop yield, and creating food strains with enhanced nutritional properties.
 
4 Israelis in MIT’s top 35 innovators under 35.  Four Israelis are among 35 honored this year by MIT with its annual list of young researchers who have had a huge impact on the world – and are expected to go on to do much more. They are Dr Gilad Evrony (brain cells), Professor Cigall Kadoch (neuro-technology devices), Dr Rikky Muller (cancer research) and Ben Rubin (Meerkat video app).
 
A whole new tire design.  Israeli start-up Galileo Wheel has invented a new design of tires for agricultural vehicles.  It provides better control, a wider footprint, more stability, and the ability to transform between tire and track mode, depending on what terrain the vehicle is riding on.
 
Detecting the smallest of leaks.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Aquarius Spectrum (see Oct 2013 newsletter) can detect water leaks from holes only 1.5mm diameter.  The startup has just received $2.2 million of funding.
 
Juice-flavored water cups.  Israeli startup The Right Cup has developed a fruit-scented cup that tricks the brain into thinking it is drinking juice instead of plain water. CEO Isaac Lavi created the product after contracting diabetes and forced to avoid sugary drinks. He has raised $90, 000 more than his $50, 000 target.
 
A much better tour.  Israeli start-up Manage Your Trip collects, collates and analyzes data to determine the pluses and minuses of a tour, a guide, a venue, a restaurant, a bus company, and many other factors.  The system is geared not only to provide tourists with a better experience – but tour organizers with bigger profits.
 
Get a better job, faster.  Israeli startup Highr recently completed Microsoft’s accelerator program (see July newsletter) and is now matching qualified people to technical job vacancies with a success rate of 78%. 
 
Protecting mobile apps.  (TY Michelle) Israeli startup AppDome protects any mobile application.  It allows users to download a secure version of an app within minutes and distribute it via the App Store or Google Play.  AppDome was named 2015 Gartner Cool Vendor in Mobile Security and has just raised $13 million of funding.
 
3D printing in metal.  Israeli startup Xjet has developed technology to print 3D objects made of metal (current 3D printing is based on plastic).  It could revolutionize the production of custom-made metal objects, which currently require an expensive mold to take liquid metal that then solidifies. 
 
 
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
 
Economy strengthens as exports surge.  Israel’s economy grew by an annualized 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015.  Private spending (Israel’s main growth driver) rose 2.4% and exports grew by 4.4%.   
 
Lower water charges.  (TY Atid-EDI) Water charges will fall by 3% in Israel from Jan 1.  Charges have been cut by a cumulative 20% in the past three years. The current cut is thanks to a 16% annual fall in the price of electricity – the main cost in water desalination that produces much of the water consumed in Israel.
 
No VAT on public transportation.  The Israeli cabinet has approved the exempting of public transportation from VAT.  From Jan 1 2016, the cost of public transportation for all Israelis will fall by 17%.
 
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
 
Public transport costs down, child benefit up.  2.5 million Israeli travelers will benefit from expanded public transportation discounts or free travel. They include 2 million children aged between 5 and 18, 280, 000 disabled people; the blind and those accompanying them.  Child benefit will increase by up to 34%, backdated to May.
 
The Ethiopian festival of Sigd.  (TY Sharon) The Sigd holiday, 50 days after Yom Kippur, is now celebrated annually in Jerusalem.  Kessim (leaders of the Ethiopian Jewish community) in traditional garb sat under colorful umbrellas.  Buses brought tens of thousands of Israeli Ethiopians from all over Israel to participate.
 
Glide awarded for work with hearing-impaired.  US national advocacy group for the deaf and hard of hearing, TDI (Telecommunications for the Deaf and hard of Hearing) has awarded the Andrew Saks Engineering Award to Israeli startup Glide for making its video messaging app accessible to the hearing-impaired. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/204576#.Vmbzf-Ln-Vc
 
New bridge to connect Israel and Jordan.  A new bridge is to be built across the Jordan River to connect Israel and Jordan.  The bridge is a key part of the Jordan Gateway project – a joint industrial and business area spanning the river that is a natural border between the two countries.
 
3, 000 come to honor fallen Druze hero.  3, 000 people, from all over Israel, attended the memorial of Druze policeman Zidan Saif, killed whilst responding to a terrorist attack at a Jerusalem synagogue one year ago.
 
IDF’s dramatic rescue of wounded Syrians.  The UK Daily Mail has published video footage of an IDF mission to evacuate seriously wounded Syrian Sunni rebels and treat them in Israel.  The mission also returned treated patients to Syria. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/204631#.Vmf2OOLn-Vc
 
Water for Ethiopian kids.  Israel’s Technion Institute chapter of Engineers Without Borders has built a safe drinking supply water system in a village school at Meskele Cristos, in northern Ethiopia. The system collects and stores rainwater from rooftops during the rainy season giving fresh water to over 600 schoolchildren.
 
Israeli-trained medics treat Paris trauma victims.  15 French clinicians, trained by Israeli experts, provided psycho-trauma treatment to victims of the Nov 13 Paris terror attacks.  The Israel Trauma Coalition trained 80 French mental-health professionals following the terror attack on a Paris kosher supermarket last January.
 
6 million seeds for Indian farmers.  (TY Michelle) The Indo-Israel vegetable center of excellence in Haryana state, India has boosted the annual number of seedlings grown by state farmers from half a million in 2011 to six million in 2015.  Farmers from Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are also using the facility.
 
World Bank brings Brazil delegation to Israel.  A delegation of 4 World Bank representatives and 20 from nine Brazilian states came to Israel in November to view water and agriculture technologies that can be implemented in the extensive World Bank and other projects planned in Brazil.
 
UN Euro conference protected by Israeli technology.  The Skystar 180 tactical aerostat surveillance balloon system developed by Israel’s RT Ita Systems was used to protect world leaders at the recent United Nations climate summit in Paris.  And a nice cartoon by Dry Bones to illustrate the significance.
 
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- 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. www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com

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