Israel's Good News Newsletter to 19th Feb 17

In the 19th Feb 17 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·         An Israeli doctor flew to London to try save an Iraqi man’s sight.
·         Israeli “virtual world” helps children learn about co-existence.
·         Months after the Italian earthquakes, Israelis are still helping the homeless.
·         Two Israeli research satellites have been successfully launched.
·         Israel is planning the cleanup of one of the most polluted rivers in India.
·         Haifa welcomes the largest ship ever to dock in an Israeli port.
·         A new Israeli initiative to promote startups in energy conservation.
·         Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari celebrated the birth of another rare white rhino.
·         The largest group of “lost” Jews made Aliya from India.
·         The first edition of this newsletter in Hebrew.

·         Click here to see the 12th Feb newsletter on IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, Janglo and United With Israel with additional features on Health and Jewish State. Also (TY Sandra) available (click here) in German and (TY Jenka) for the first time (click here) in Hebrew. Please pass these links to German-speaking and Hebrew-speaking readers.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

Better connections for patients needing dialysis.  Israeli medical device startup Laminate Medical Technologies has developed a blood vessel support device implanted in patients needing dialysis. It prevents blockages and repeat operations to re-insert connections to dialysis machines.  Laminate has just raised $8 million of funds.  http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-laminate-medical-technologies-raises-8m-1001176025

Israeli eye surgeon is Iraqi’s last chance.  Top Israeli surgeon Dr Ygal Rotenstreich of Sheba Medical Centre flew to the UK in a last-ditch attempt to save the sight of an Iraqi father-of-seven. The Iraqi stayed anonymous but was told in Turkey that Israel is at the cutting-edge of optical medicine. The appointment was made in London. http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israeli-dr-iraqi-official-sight/

Volunteer EMT’s record 236 calls. Avraham Levi is a self-employed entrepreneur who works full time, has a wife and two children and volunteers as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with United Hatzalah. This past month in January, Levi broke records when he responded to 236 emergency calls in just one month.

Three promising Nazareth medical startups.  Nazareth-based Venture Capital fund NGT3 is preparing for sale three exciting medical startups featured previously in this newsletter.  Aqueduct helps fast, painless cervical cancer checks, Guide In helps safe intubation and ParaSonic’s ultrasonic comb clears head lice.

New Israeli sugar-free vegan sweetener.  (TY Liat) Israel’s Lampados International is launching Liteez - a new sweetener delivery system, shaped like a meringue. It’s egg-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and rich in prebiotic fibers. For sweetening tea and coffee or enjoyed as an ultra-low calorie sweet treat.

Repairing defects before birth. (TY Nevet) Surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital can detect and correct abnormalities in the fetus from eight weeks after conception.  Irregular heartbeats, anemia, twins sharing placentas, congenital hernias, repairing spinal cord. Israeli doctors are saving life before it has even begun.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

One of the best countries for families.  I reported previously (May 2016) that ex-pats voted Israel the 4th best country to raise their kids, according to InterNations’ Family Life Index. This year, Israel rose to 3rd on the list, behind Finland and the Czech Republic.  Good childcare and education options were major factors.

Heating assistance for the elderly.  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) has again stepped in this winter to provide some 14,000 poor elderly Israelis with home-heating assistance amid the cold winter weather. Vouchers were given to elderly in need in 100 municipalities.

Helping disabled live independently.  The Colel Chabad charity and Israel’s Ministry of Social Services and Welfare are providing 40 disabled adults aged 18 - 50 with specially adapted communal apartments. Located in Migdal HaEmek in northern Israel, they provide completely independent and private living spaces.

Innovative method to educate for peace.  (TY Elaine H) Israel’s MOFET Institute is at the forefront of teachers’ training and the development of innovative methods for teaching children. Its Technology Education and Cultural diversity (TEC) center has developed a “virtual world” to educate about co-existence.

Syrian gives birth at Israeli hospital. (TY Bennett) A 29-year-old Syrian woman recently gave birth to a healthy girl in Ziv Medical Center in Safed, and in gratitude to the State of Israel, named the baby Sarah. The woman came from a village, around which every hospital and clinic had been destroyed in the long civil war.

Building a Free Trade Zone with Jordan.  (TY Eli) I reported previously (here) on the train link from Israel to Jordan.  One of its aims is to connect to a future Free Trade Zone in a 175-acre shared industrial and business enclave on the Jordanian side of the River Jordan. Mines have been cleared and work has begun on the bridge.

Delivering winter aid to refugees.  Israel’s IsraAID and New York Jewish organization Amaliah distributed 1.5 tons of relief supplies collected in Israel to refugees suffering in snow and sub-zero temperatures on the Greek island of Lesbos. It includes warm and waterproof clothing, sleeping bags and blankets. http://www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-and-israeli-organizations-deliver-emergency-aid-to-refugees-on-frozen-greek-island/

Still supporting homeless Italians.  (TY Hazel) I reported previously (Aug 30) that IsraAID was the first foreign NGO to provide aid to Italian victims of the latest earthquake.  Over six months later and after another quake, IsraAID is still there, providing thermal blankets, jackets, shoes, portable heaters and other material.

French doctors learn emergency procedures. (TY Hazel) A delegation of French doctors visited Israel to learn about emergency protocols for hospitals in situations of mass casualties and terrorist attacks. They saw Tel Aviv Sourasky’s underground hospital, built to withstand nuclear, chemical, biological and missile attacks.

Indonesian Muslim leaders in Israel.  Israeli President Reuven Rivlin welcomed a delegation of Indonesian Muslim leaders to his Jerusalem residence. The delegation was visiting Israel on the initiative of the Australia / Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC). Rivlin said that his father, Yosef Yoel Rivlin, translated the Quran into Hebrew in 1936. https://unitedwithisrael.org/israeli-president-meets-muslim-leaders-from-indonesia/


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Two micro satellites launched.  The Indian Space Agency has just launched two Israeli satellites into orbit. SpacePharma’s DIDO contains the world’s first “nano satellite laboratory” under the control of researchers who will conduct medical experiments. Meanwhile, Ben Gurion University’s BGUSAT will study Earth’s climate.

Israeli scientists catch early view of supernova. (TY Sandra) Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute used rare early data of supernova SN2013fs to reconstruct material expelled in a dying star’s final year, 160 million years ago.  The study (published in Nature Physics) was even (mis)reported in the anti-Israel UK Graudian.

Judean pottery tracks Earth’s magnetic field.  The Earth’s magnetic field fluctuates over time - phenomenon that is recorded in the ceramic materials affected inside the kiln. Israeli scientific analysis of 67 well-dated Judean jar handles shows how the strength of the geomagnetic field varied from the 8th to 2nd centuries BCE.

CleanTech 2017.  The 21st “Clean Tech” International Convention and Expo takes place on Feb. 22-23 at the Fairs & Conventions Center in Tel Aviv. Hundreds of Israeli CleanTech companies will attend the event, plus government bodies, green organizations, technological greenhouses, venture funds and educational institutions.

Cleaning up another Indian river.  (TY Steve) I reported previously on Israel’s work to purify India’s rivers (Jan 2013) and wetlands (Feb 2014). Now Israeli cleantech Ayala Water and Ecology has been asked to formulate a plan to clear up a stretch of the River Yamuna near Delhi - one of the most polluted rivers in India.

Kishon River is blooming.  I wrote previously (Jan 2016) on the rehabilitation progress of Israel’s once-polluted Kishon River. Nature lovers were pleasantly surprised this winter to see the thousands of narcissus flowers in and around the river where they hadn’t bloomed in 20 years.

Chemical analysis of plants. Researchers at Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, have developed a new method of plant analysis and identified an average 15,000 organic chemicals (metabolites) in each plant. They then set up a database of metabolites, called WeizMass, and a tool MatchWeiz

Breeding better cattle.  Israel’s NRGene and US giant Monsanto have signed a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement for NRGene’s genome-analysis technology. The accord “will enhance Monsanto’s ability to predict, compare and select the best genetic makeup.

Wireless sound-effects touchpad.  Israeli startup GTC Sound Innovations has produced the RevPad, an innovative wireless sound-effects controller designed as a compact touchpad that attaches easily to any amplified instrument.  It frees guitarists from sound-effects pedals that connect via cables to their guitars.

Wi-Fi on the plane.  (TY Aviram) Israel’s Gilat Satellite Networks is partnering with Air Media Group to provide an in-flight broadband service exceeding 100Mbps to air passengers in flights over mainland China.

Device to prevent jamming of GPS systems. (TY Eli) Israeli startup GPSdome is marketing a miniature “GPS anti-jammer,” a low-cost pocket-sized gadget to counteract radio frequency transmitters that deliberately block GPS communications. GPS is essential for autonomous vehicles and GPSdome is talking to car manufacturers.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

The largest ship ever to dock in Israel.  Israel’s record for the largest ship ever to dock in the country has been achieved by the 13,092 TEU Maersk Elba container ship which docked at Haifa on Feb 2.  Haifa is now formally a member of an exclusive club of ports handling high-capacity 14,000 TEU mega ships.

International startup event for young professionals.  Around 350 budding entrepreneurs on the Masa Israel Journey program attended a professional development conference at Tel Aviv’s Yitzhak Rabin Center. They got an inside look at Israel’s start-up ecosystem and learned how to build networks, CVs, and personal brands.

Jerusalem gives Tel Aviv a run for its startup money.  In 2015, Time magazine picked Jerusalem as the world’s top emerging technological hub. Corporation tax had been reduced from 25% to 9%; And the Jerusalem Development Authority’s Jnext program helped setup 110 startups in Israel’s capital in 2016 alone.

Business zones booming in Judea and Samaria.  (TY Hazel) Industrial parks in the Territories are in high demand.  At Shahak, over 100 dunams have been sold to developers. At Barkan 60 companies have applied to join the existing 160. Nahal Rabah is set to open shortly, just 20 minutes from Petah Tikva.

Israeli business giants surge ahead.  Israel’s Tower Semiconductor had a record year with 2016 revenue of $1.25 billion, up 30% over 2015 and profit of $204 million after a loss in 2015. But this was dwarfed by Israel’s Teva whose revenue was $6.5 billion in just one quarter!

Mobileye and Volkswagen. Further to previous (Jan 2016) reports, Volkswagen and Mobileye now plan to implement a new navigation standard for autonomous driving starting in 2018. Future Volkswagen models will use the camera-based map and localization technology Road Experience Management™ from Mobileye.

Wizz Air from Tel Aviv to Luton and Varna.  From July 21, Wizz Air is commencing 3 flights a week between Varna Bulgaria (coolest city on the Black Sea) and Tel Aviv (coolest city on the Mediterranean). And from Jun 24, Wizz will operate four weekly flights from London Luton to Tel Aviv.

Venture Capital for energy conservation.  Israel’s Electra Consumer Products is setting up a joint project with Israel’s TechForGood to promote technology to solve social problems. The joint initiative aims to foster startups in energy conservation, the Internet of Things and air conditioning and climate control systems.

Sewage treatment for Ethiopia. Israel’s Emefcy is to build an innovative sewage plant to serve an area of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The plant will use Emefcy’s Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor to generate recycled water for irrigating the neighborhood’s landscape. It is Emefcy’s second treatment plant in Ethiopia.

Underwater defense for Indian harbor. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has developed and delivered comprehensive security and protection systems, known as the ‘Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System’ (IUHDSS for the Indian Navy. Its sensing arrays can detect threats from small boats, submersibles, divers etc. http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iai-completes-integrated-underwater-harbour-defense-and-surveillance-system-for-indian-navy/2017/02/15/


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Taste some of Israel’s best wines.  (TY Janglo) The Jerusalem Wine Experience (Feb 22-23) at Jerusalem’s First Station allows you to taste some of Israel’s finest boutique wines. Participating wineries include Yaffo, Ramat Negev, Metsuda, Jerusalem, Morelli, Kishor, Tanya, Netofa and Haroe. 

Rihanna has a baby.  Readers may remember (Jan 2015) when Rihanna, a rare white rhino, escaped briefly from Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari Park. She has been much more content since and recently gave birth to her first calf, Rami - the 29th baby rhino to be born at Ramat Gan.  Click here to read about three others.

Eilat’s dolphin reef.  Eilat’s dolphins are not encaged but free to come and go when they please. Israeli biologists have discovered that dolphins have their own names for each other, their own language and can even remember dolphins from the past. https://www.youtube.com/embed/_PiEN07txR0?rel=0

The Tel Aviv Marathon.  (TY Janglo) 40,000 runners are registered to compete in the Tel Aviv Marathon events on Feb 24.  In addition to the 42km run there is a half-marathon, 10km run, 5km run, 42km cycle race and a kids mini-marathon.  Set along the beautiful coast and amongst the city’s famous metropolitan sites.


THE JEWISH STATE

Israel welcomes Latin American youth leaders. (TY Eli) KKL-JNF held its first Latin American Youth Leadership Conference in Israel. It brought together young volunteers and professionals from Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador and Cuba to see the wide scope of KKL-JNF projects in Israel.

102 lost Indian Jews make Aliya.  One-hundred and two members of India’s Bnei Menashe community have arrived in Israel, marking the latest group of so-called “lost” Jews to make Aliyah.  Members of the Bnei Menashe community trace their roots from Jews banished from ancient Israel to India in the 8th century BC.

“He made me an Israeli - I am Israel”.  (TY Eli) Gershon Veroba’s first new solo album of original songs in nearly a decade, includes a song titled "Ani Yisrael" (I am Israel). Veroba said, “Israel is part of us. It’s ultimately where we’re from and where we live, no matter what our backgrounds have been or where our houses are."  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/223371

Flying abroad?  Take some Zionism with you.  (TY Eli) Helena Glaser, Chair of the Zionist Council, highlights the 400-foot poster display of 120 Years of Zionism at Ben Gurion Airport.  Its message is that although you might be leaving the Holy Land physically, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay in Israel in spirit.

National Library buys 8000 manuscripts. (TY Eli) Israel’s National Library has purchased 8,000 or so texts at Sotheby’s from the Valmadonna Trust collection. They include a 1491 Lisbon Bible; a 1556 Prague Passover Haggadah and the 16th Century Plantin Polyglot “King’s Bible” in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Aramaic and Syriac.

Inspiration for Australian Aborigines.  Nyunggai Warren Mundine is a leader of the Australian Aborigines. He has just returned from his fifth visit to Israel in the last ten years. He says, “I’ve found inspiration in peoples who’ve rebuilt themselves to thrive in modern society.” He describes the history of the Jewish State very well.

Found in Jerusalem - source of Tekhelet blue dye.  The latest discovery from the Temple Mount Sifting Project are shells from the sea-snail Murex trunculus used by Jews in Biblical times to make the blue dye Tekhelet. The dye was used to color the fringes worn on prayer shawls and 4-cornered garments, until the technique was lost. https://templemount.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/arent-you-dying-to-know/

Israeli weather forecast – Rain, cold with chance of rainbows. Israelis look forward to winter rains.  They provide precious water but are also often accompanied by a heavenly visual promise of no more global flood!