Israel's Good News Newsletter to 4th Jun 17



(Sorry - got delayed - Next newsletter 25th Jun)

In the 4th Jun 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         Breakthrough cell transplants save five elderly Israelis from going blind.
·         Israel provides humanitarian aid to Manchester, Sri Lanka and Mosul.
·         Israel’s UN Ambassador is elected Vice President of UN General Assembly.
·         Israel approved plans for the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline.
·         Israel’s first locally-produced single-malt whiskey is ready for sale.
·         Rod Stewart and Tom Jones perform in Tel Aviv this month.
·         Jerusalem’s walls are adorned with the names of half a million supporters of a united capital.

·         Click here to see the 28th May newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel, with special feature on Technology. Also (TY Sandra) in German and (TY Karen) in Portuguese.

·         Click here, to SEARCH the IsraelActive archives of over 10,000 previous news articles.
·         Click here, to donate a small amount to help me expand the reach of VeryGoodNewsIsrael.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Preventing blindness in the elderly. (TY Nevet) 30% of adults over 75 suffer retinal degeneration with 6-8% going blind. Researchers at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital transplanted retinal pigment cells from embryonic stem cells into five such sufferers and the new cells were absorbed into the retina, preventing loss of vision. 

Fast-track treatment for ALS patients.  (TY Nevet) Scientists at Ben Gurion University have slowed the progress of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s). They used part of an FDA-approved cancer / autoimmune disease treatment to combat glial cells, which kill the body’s motor neuron cells.  It may also treat other brain diseases.

Positive trials of migraine treatment.  Israel’s Teva has reported positive results from Phase III trials of its chronic migraine treatment fremanezumab.  Patients experienced statistically significant reduction in the number of moderate severity headache days vs the placebo. FDA approval is expected by end 2017.

Avoid unnecessary chemotherapy. Israeli biotech NewStem, founded by Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Nissim Benvenisty, has developed a test that verifies if a tumor will be susceptible to chemotherapy.  It prevents a patient having to endure needless treatment with its associated severe adverse side effects.

Advice on the best cancer treatment plan.  (TY WIN) 33% of US cancer patients get poor advice. Eliran Malki, founder & CEO of Israeli startup Belong, describes his new app for cancer patients to chat with physicians, receive good advice and make treatment choices as they battle the disease. Belong  currently supports 25,000 patients in 88 countries.  https://www.youtube.com/embed/Gm_msH1TKRY?rel=0

Blood test for lung cancer.  Israeli scientists from the Rehovot-based company Nucleix succeeded in developing a first of its kind blood test to diagnose lung cancer long before it spreads in the body, thus increasing the chance of survival. The test examines anomalies of the bonds holding the DNA base Cytosine.

Early detection of Polio virus.  Scientists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed a model for preventing the reintroduction of the Poliomyelitis virus into a previously polio-free country. They use environmental surveillance to detect the virus – rather than the alternative of waiting for the disease to strike.

Israelis health improves. (TY Jacques) In the latest annual report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Israeli males born today can expect on average to live 80.6 years, whereas Israeli women should live 84.3 years. Israel’s Health-Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE) ranking was 5th.

When a bone marrow donor says “No”.  Avigayil is head of TED - the organization that arranges Technology Entertainment and Design talks.  But she contracted Leukemia and Israeli charity Ezer Mizion found her a rare bone marrow match.  But the donor changed his mind. Ezer Mizion then found another match who cancelled his holiday to donate.  http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/a-bone-marrow-registry-nightmare-he-said-no/

Helping toddlers to walk.  (TY Karen) I reported previously (Dec 2013) about the foot brace from Israel’s UNFO Med that rectifies infant foot deformities within six weeks. Inventor Dr. Izak Daizade and his son Eilon now have FDA and CE approval and the device is sold in Israel, Italy, Africa, Ukraine, and South Korea.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Paramedics calm blind-deaf daughter of 80-year-old patient.  When United Hatzalah EMTs and paramedics arrived to revive an 80-year-old woman, her blind-deaf daughter was panicking as she didn’t know what was happening.  United Hatzalah brought in Psycho-trauma Unit responder Moshe Mizrachi to explain, using sign language and simultaneously maneuvering the daughter’s hand.  https://israelrescue.org/blog/emt-calms-blind-and-deaf-daughter-of-cpr-patient-while-fellow-emts-revive-her-mother/

New Samaria medical center is for Jews and Arabs.  Israeli MKs have laid the cornerstone for a medical center that will be the largest provider of health services for both Israelis and Palestinian Authority citizens in Judea and Samaria. It is sited in the Binyamin Industrial Park, north of Jerusalem, adjacent to Psagot.

Israel refuses PA request to reduce electricity to Gaza.  Despite Palestinian Authority requests, Israel won’t reduce its supply of electricity to Gaza over unpaid bills. Hamas closed Gaza’s power plant in April as it refuses to pay for fuel. The PA cut its payments for Israeli power to Gaza by 40% due to the PA’s dispute with Hamas.

Training to combat a regional earthquake.  (TY Hazel) With the border area with Jordan at high risk for earthquakes, Israel is working with the Jordanian Red Crescent and Hebron’s Greenland Association to train local residents as first responders in the event of such a catastrophe. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Palestinians-Jordanians-and-Israelis-team-up-to-combat-earthquake-risk-484965

Joint air exercise with UAE.  Pilots from Israel, the US, the UAE and Italy conducted a joint drill in Greece, which also marked the second time that crews from the IAF and the UAE have flown side-by-side.

Solidarity with Egyptian Christians.  For the first time ever, the flag of an Arab nation lit up Tel Aviv City Hall to show Israel’s solidarity with the citizens of Egypt in the wake of a deadly ISIS attack on Coptic Christians.  http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/tel-aviv-city-hall-lit-with-flag-of-egypt-in-solidarity-for-deadly-isis-terror-attack/2017/05/28/

Israeli water expert featured in Arab press.  (TY Nevet) One of the largest Arab media companies published an AP story about Israel’s Daniel Hillel who was central to the global success of drip irrigation. The article says that nominations for his 2012 World Food Prize award (see here) poured in from Jordan, Egypt and the UAE.

Israeli specialists help Manchester trauma victims.  Jerusalem Rabbi Dov Benyaacov-Kurtzman setup the UK National Emergency Response, Resilience and Treatment Program for Stress and Trauma. Its first task is with the victims of the Manchester bombing. Also involved are Israelis Professor Yori Gidronn and Dr. Moshe Farchi. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/europe/uk/israeli-specialists-step-in-to-help-manchester-trauma-victims/2017/05/29/

Aid to flood-stricken Sri Lanka.  Israel’s Ambassador to India and Sri Lanka Daniel Carmon delivered disaster-relief supplies to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, including power generators, drinking water and high-power light sources. President Reuven Rivlin also expressed Israel’s solidarity with the Sri Lankan people.

Saving children in Mosul.  (TY Karen) Sally Becker, famous as the “Angel of Mostar”, has enlisted the help of Israeli experts to treat some of the children of Mosul in need of specialist pediatric care. Israelis are not allowed into Iraq, but Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center is ready to receive wounded children.

Embassy in Nigeria funds displaced children.  (TY Karen) The Israeli embassy in Nigeria cancelled its Independence Day party and used the funds to setup a football league for children from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. The Israeli Government is also planning to award scholarships to 100 IDP kids.

Israel to fund Cambodian agriculture center.  (TY Hazel) Israel plans to fund an advanced agriculture training center in Cambodia, where students will study the latest techniques on model farms. Cambodia has a long history of sending agriculture students to Israel, considered a world leader in agricultural technologies.

Renewed relations with Nicaragua. Israel and Nicaragua renewed official diplomatic relations after a 7-year freeze. In a joint statement, “The two governments attribute great importance in the renewal of relations, with the goal of advancing joint activities for the benefit of the two peoples and contributing in the fight to reach peace in the world.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-nicaragua-renew-ties-after-seven-year-freeze/

Vice President of UN General Assembly.  Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon has been elected as Vice President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly. For one year, beginning September, Danon will chair meetings of the General Assembly and help set its agenda.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The world’s longest underwater gas pipeline.  Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus have pledged to move ahead with the world’s longest undersea natural gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe, with support from the European Union. The $6.2 billion pipeline will take Israeli and Cyprus gas to Europe.

Cybersecurity Solution of the Year.  Israeli cybersecurity company Indegy has been named “IoT Security Solution of the Year” by Computing magazine. It is also one of US data company CB Insights’ “Companies to watch”. Indegy’s software protects key energy and water utilities and manufacturers from cyber-attacks.

A firewall with insurance.  Israel’s Waterfall Security is very confident of its Unidirectional Security Gateway system, designed to protect critical systems from being attacked. Waterfall has teamed up with global insurance giants CNA Hardy and THB to offer cyber insurance to anyone purchasing their product. 

Recording the past.  Past Recorder by Israel’s Ajeera Apps constantly records in the background, saving the last 10 mins of whatever it has picked up. If, within 10 mins, you realize you wish you had recorded something, you can enter the app and save any portion of that conversation or music. Even capture your child's first words.

Communications system for Russian commercial airliner.  I’ve reported previously (several times) on Israel’s Orbit Technologies. Orbit's Orion communications management system was recently successfully installed and integrated into the new Russian MC-21 passenger jet.

Smarter analysis of IT problems.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s ControlUp uses Big data to monitor, analyze and fix problems with IT systems. Its analytics and management platform is used by thousands of companies worldwide, each managing their IT equipment on one console. ControlUp has just raised $10 million of funds.

Solutions for all industries.  (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Variscite develops systems on modules (i.e. hardware and software) for more than 1500 customers in over 50 countries. The companies include those in the medical, agriculture, automotive and multimedia industries. The latest module supports the Lumus DK-40 smart glasses.

3D printing spare parts when needed.  Israeli Cloud-computing startup LEO Lane enables companies to print high-quality 3D parts locally, when they need them, saving most of their warehouse storage costs. LEO Lane has signed a cooperation and integration agreement with SAP estimated in the millions of dollars.

An Israeli solar-energy pioneer.  Arnold Goldman, founder of Luz, has passed away at the age of 74.  In 1990, using technology developed in Israel, Luz generated 90% of all solar energy produced on the planet. Renamed Brightsource Energy, it built the largest solar plant in the US and is building Israel’s Ashalim plant.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Direct flights from Shanghai to Tel Aviv.  Chinese airline Hainan Airlines has requested to begin direct flights between Shanghai and Ben Gurion Airport. Hainan is seeking to begin three weekly direct Shanghai flights from September 12 using Boeing 787s and Airbus 330s.

Now it’s Charlie Airlines.  The interestingly named Charlie Airlines is the latest addition to the seven airlines operating between Tel Aviv and Larnaca, Cyprus. The company's air fleet consists of one Airbus 319-100 with a capacity of 144 passengers.

Collect your donuts on the way. Israeli-founded Waze now allows drivers to “order ahead” and purchase coffee and other items from Dunkin’ Donuts. If all goes well, Waze plans to team up with other merchants to order pizza, reserve parking spaces, fill prescriptions and even buy groceries from the same phone app.

The first Israeli single-malt.  (TY WIN) Israel’s Milk & Honey Distillery (M&H) unveiled Israel’s first-ever single-malt whisky on World Whisky Day (May 20). 391 bottles will be sold in select Israeli stores in late June, after aging 3 years in special oak casks (see Dec 2013 article). Note that Israel’s Golan Heights distillery already produces Golani Two-grain whiskey.

Porsche to invest in Israeli auto-tech.  German carmaker Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, has announced that it would invest tens of millions of euros in smart car technologies startups in Israel. Porsche said, “Israel is a key main market for IT engineers and specialists.”

Frutarom’s second takeover of 2017.  Israel’s flavors and natural specialty fine ingredients company Frutarom has signed an agreement for the purchase of René Laurent of France with activity also in Morocco for approximately $ 21.3 million (Euro 20 million). It gives Frutarom its first local French production site.

Moving into Italian plastics.  Israel’s Ginegar Plastic Products produces and markets polyethylene sheets and nets for use in agriculture and industry. Ginegar has just completed a 7 million Euro takeover of Italy’s Flextech, which manufactures and sells plastic products to customers, mainly in the industrial market.

Microsoft buys Israeli cybersecurity firm. Microsoft has acquired Israeli cyber security company Hexadite for $100 million. Hexadite's solution rates the urgency of alerts identified by the anti-virus and firewall system, helping staff to investigate the most serious cyberattacks first.

Syneron exits for $397 million.  Israeli esthetic medical products company Syneron Medical is being acquired by private equity advisory firm Apax Partners for $397 million. Syneron has been featured previously many times in this newsletter.  Its products are popular globally – even in Lebanon (see here).


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Ashdod Méditerranée Festival.  The 2017 International Méditerranée Festival takes place in 9 settings in the Israeli city of Ashdod from Jun 8-15. All participating artists come from Mediterranean countries. As well as music, the Festival will host cinematic, culinary and artistic presentations.

Slide in the City.  (TY Janglo) Tel Aviv Municipality opened the specially built international giant Slide in the City at Dubnov Park on 30th May. Bubble contests and shows for children were also on the agenda of this sportive day in Tel Aviv. Entrance was free. Video is of the slide in another city.

Christian docudrama about Israel is a hit. The Christian Broadcasting Network docudrama "In Our Hands: The Battle for Jerusalem” generated $1.6 million in its single day of release across US theaters. The film .follows the 55th paratrooper brigade responsible for liberating Jerusalem from Jordanian control.

Jerusalem gazelle herd triples in size. (TY TIP) Staff at the Pri Har “Gazelle Valley” nature park in Jerusalem are celebrating the recent birth of two new fawns, as these cute offspring bring the number of antelope to 20. Two years ago, there were just six gazelles in the 64-acres of Israel’s first urban nature reserve.

June events in Israel.  Pet Shop Boys on 10th June, Rod Stewart on 14th June and Tom Jones on 28th June are the concert highlights for June. Then the Jerusalem Festival of Light runs from 28th June to 6th July.

Amazing photos. (TY Nevet) Images shot by two Israeli photographers were shortlisted among the top 10 in the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition. They were Dina Alfasi’s “Air” and Bar Kaufman’s “Red Heart of Africa”. In addition, Gal Gross’ “Silhouette” was judged to be one of the top 50 best images in the world.  https://www.israel21c.org/israeli-photos-shortlisted-in-global-sony-competition


THE JEWISH STATE

500,000 names of Jerusalem supporters drape Old City walls. Half-a-million people signed United With Israel’s declaration that Jerusalem must remain united as the eternal capital of the Jewish State. UWI presented a book with the names to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and banners with the names were draped around the city.

Cable car to Western Wall approved.  (TY Janglo) The Israeli Cabinet has approved a $56 million plan to construct a cable car from West Jerusalem to the Western Wall. The 1.4km route from the First Station complex to the Dung Gate will take just 4 minutes, improving accessibility by avoiding the Old City’s narrow streets.

Cabinet meeting in Western Wall tunnels.  In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet held its weekly meeting in the Western Wall Tunnels.

Uncovering a 4,000-year-old house near Jerusalem.  Dr. Steven Ortiz of the Tandy Institute for Archaeology reveals the latest findings at the Tel Gezer archaeological site in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains. Gezer is listed in the Book of Joshua as a city belonging to the Jewish tribe of Levi, but existed even earlier.