ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Treatment for Alzheimer’s and Covid-19. Israeli-founded AZTherapies is in Phase 3 trials for its ALZT-OP1 for Alzheimer’s disease. The treatment also suppresses the immune system’s “cytokine storm” that is often lethal to Covid-19 infected patients. AZTherapies is building commercial partnerships with Israeli institutions.
Developing a mutation-proof Covid-19 vaccine. Dr Frenkel-Morgenstern of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University has filed a US patent application for her research (see previously) on epitopes (proteins) that can build immunity against COVID-19. An advantage of such a vaccine is it will still work even if the virus mutates.
Israel’s best shots at a vaccine. (TY Hazel) A round-up of the leading Israeli prospects for a COVID-19 vaccine. One of them - the Israel Institute for Biological Research and the Weizmann Institute of Science - featured in the World Health Organization’s periodic report on international vaccine efforts.
From cancer to shrimps to a Covid-19 vaccine. Professor Avi Schroeder of Israel’s Technion (reported here previously) was working on a cancer cure using Elephant protein and a cure for a disease decimating the shrimp population. Then he discovered that the shrimp medication could also be adapted to make a Covid-19 vaccine.
Crowdsourcing for a Covid-19 algorithm. Scientists at Israel’s Technion are confident that they can monitor Covid-19 patients at home. For their algorithm that monitors oxygen levels, they issued an international call for statistics through an open source medical platform. They hope to receive tens of thousands of case files.
Cancer screening for UK NHS. Another instance of Israeli technology saving British lives. Israel’s Ibex Medical (reported here previously) is helping the UK’s National Health System (NHS) diagnose cancer from biopsies. Ibex, has teamed up with UK’s LDPath to reduce pathology pressures on 24 different NHS trusts.
Israel is first to approve new AML cancer treatment. (TY Hazel) As soon as Phase 3 results were published, Israel added the new combo-therapy of venetoclax and azacytidine from global biotech AbbVie to the basket of treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Israel had the most patients enrolled in the Phase 3 study.
Slowing down the aging process. (TY WIN) Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have discovered, for the first time in mammals, that by slightly lowering body temperatures in mice, the animals lived 20 percent longer, Also, by reducing their oxygen level and increasing their CO2 level, their wounds healed faster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MycF-7T1zqY https://in.bgu.ac.il/en/pages/news/mice_lifespan.aspx
Off-road rescue. United Hatzalah EMT Eilon crossed the Judean desert in 3 minutes to save the life of Elad – whose arm was almost severed in a car accident. Following Elad’s recovery, the Western Marble Arch synagogue in London (the Rabbi is Elad’s grandfather) donated an off-road ambucycle to United Hatzalah.
Med-tech startups pitch up. (TY Charmaine) Five graduates of the Hadassah IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator presented their solutions to investors. Their products included wearable pain relief, distance eye diagnosis, preventing medication errors in hospitals, help for stroke patients and a brain-wave sleep headband.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
PA scientist doing cutting-edge Israeli research. (TY Nevet) Dr. Rafat Qubaja lives in Tarqumiyah under the Palestinian Authority but works at Israel’s Weizmann Institute. His research on trees in arid regions found they can absorb vast amounts of carbon. Meanwhile he praises the opportunities he has in the Jewish State.
Natural pest control. (TY UWI) New video re-iterating the Israeli project (reported here previously) to use barn owls to keep agricultural crops free from rodent pests. It brings together farmers from Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to cooperate for mutual benefit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWdtOValDTs
Israel-UAE alliance. Two private companies in the United Arab Emirates have signed an agreement with two Israeli companies, to develop research technology to fight COVID-19. Announcements were made both by the Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Health and a UAE spokesperson.
Bringing the smile back. (TY Hazel) Israeli-founded global non-profit Faces Behind Masks aims to provide medical staff in every hospital worldwide with sets of free personalized Smiling Face stickers. A photograph of each staff member’s face can be worn over protective clothing, so that patients see faces instead of just masks.
Helping Ethiopia combat Covid-19. Israeli NGO NALA was helping Ethiopia fight snail fever in 2018 (see here). It is now working to combat Covid-19 and has implemented a 5-point plan – information to rural areas, enlisting religious leaders, distributing PPE, building handwashing stations, and training health workers.
Medical supplies for Nepal. (TY Hazel) The Embassy of Israel donated aid to the Nepalese government to help front-line workers contain Covid-19. It comprised Personal Protective Equipment, masks, infrared digital thermometers, surgical gloves, hand sanitizers, hand sprayers and disinfectant solutions.
On vultures’ wings. (TY WIN & ILTV) Here is a new video featuring Israel’s work to protect the endangered Griffon vulture and increase its numbers in the wild. The Hebrew word for vulture is “nesher”, mistranslated as “eagle” in some Biblical sources. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMGwkU3tbkM
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Covid-19 immunity passports. Israeli startup Pangea has devised a biometric smart card to enable countries to reopen airports to tourists while protecting their population from Covid-19. Pangea’s immunity Pass Card would be issued by a country’s health ministry, include recent antibody test results and allow real-time updates.
Discovering light behavior by accident. In an accidental breakthrough made while blowing soap bubbles, scientists at Israel’s Technion have demonstrated the branched flow of light. The phenomenon was discovered in 2001 but never before seen by the human eye. Besides being beautiful, it has practical medical implications.
Sparrow can see in the dark. Israeli startup TriEye (reported here previously) has developed Sparrow, the world’s first CMOS-based camera with Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) sensing technology. The camera will enhance visibility for smart vehicle systems at night, during adverse weather and other low visibility conditions.
Nano onion lubricants are out of this world. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University are the first in the world to produce sizable amounts of "nano-onion" structures from boron nitride. They make remarkable lubricants and NASA has already requested samples of BN nano-onions for possible use on US satellites.
Israeli drone defense technology. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Israel’s Iron Drone are to integrate Iron Drone’s interception capabilities with IAI’s ‘Drone Guard’ anti-drone system. Drone Guard uses advanced radar, sensors and computer vision that can detect, lock onto and neutralize drones as they enter Israeli airspace.
Now we’re cooking. Israel’s Redefine Meat (reported here previously) has produced what it says is the first plant-based 3D-printed kosher and pareve steak with the texture, taste and look of the real thing. It will start testing the steaks soon at high-end restaurants in Israel, followed by marketing in Israel and elsewhere.
A portable oxygen generator. (TY Hazel) Israel’s Oxygenium has developed an ultra-portable oxygen generator. The 45 x 18 cm device would help Covid-19 patients needing oxygen and ventilation. It can save wounded soldiers and accident victims and help patients needing oxygen at home and even mountain climbers.
Taking note of the treatment. Israel’s Simply Speak uses Artificial Intelligence to help physicians document their interactions when treating patients remotely using telemedicine tools. It enables doctors to focus entirely on the patient while the software extracts meaningful medical notes from doctor-patient conversations.
Smart detection of cyber-attacks. Israeli cybersecurity startup Hunters can detect cyber-attacks that are usually overlooked. It uses automation tools that identify and cross-reference various IT attack strategies. Hunters has just received $15 million of funding from companies including Microsoft’s M12 investment arm.
Ahead of the Curv. Israeli startup Curv has developed innovative encryption technology for securing blockchain assets. It enables the transfer, storage, and management of any digital asset on any blockchain or distributed log. Customers transfer billions of dollars each month on Curv’s security platform.
Fishing in data lakes. Israel’s Upsolver helps companies trawl through the huge volumes of data that they have accumulated to extract key information and make important decisions. Upsolver has just raised $13 million from companies including Israel’s JVP, to help its expansion in North America.
Enhancing photos. Israeli genealogy company MyHeritage Ltd. (reported previously here) has launched Photo Enhancer, that brings blurred, low-resolution or low-quality photos into sharp focus. Newsletter readers may remember (here) when MyHeritage launched its app that turns B&W photos into color.
The re-invented workplace. Israel’s Spike has developed a mobile application to handle the way people are working in the new post-Covid-19 workplace. Spike puts existing e-mails into a multimedia mobile messaging, chat-like interface enhanced with voice calls, video calls, memos, reminders and the option to share documents.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Jerusalem & Tel Aviv are joint top 6 ecosystems. The 2020 Startup Genome Ecosystem report has listed Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as the sixth most attractive ecosystem for startups and innovation.
A new hi-tech center for Eastern Jerusalem. The first stage of the "Silicon Wadi" project is underway. The initiative is designed to set up industrial and business zones in the eastern half of Jerusalem. 200,000 sqm of commercial space should result in 10,000 new jobs and increase Arab participation in the hi-tech workplace.
Stock Exchange launches English website. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) has launched an English version of its MAYA website. It will report corporate disclosures of its 436 TASE-listed companies and is part of its program to make the exchange more accessible to foreign investors.
$1 million for the best homeland security. The Israel-U.S. BIRD (Binational Industrial R&D) Foundation is offering to fund 50% (up to $1 million) of the budget for advanced tech projects in homeland security. These include for anti-cybercrime, critical infrastructure, border protection, UAVs, and first responder security.
Companies snap up available talent.The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many skilled Israeli hi-tech employees being made redundant. This has encouraged many Israeli companies to actively recruit the newly available skilled staff. Before the current crisis there was a shortage of some 15,000 IT employees in Israel.
Surge in on-line e-commerce. Israeli e-commerce startup Global-e Online Ltd. has raised $60 million to help expand the technological solutions it provides to international e-commerce websites. It comes on the heels of a significant increase in global online commerce, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Everyone will work from home. Israel’s LivePerson surveyed its 1,300 employees and the vast majority said they preferred to work from home. So LivePerson has adopted a full work from home (WFH) model until a vaccine to Covid-19 is found. It will now forgo its office real-estate rentals, saving it $12-15 million a year.
How to Gett ahead during the pandemic. Israel’s Gett has managed to compensate for the loss of private and business transportation due to Covid-19. It has maintained its income level by capturing a large share of the delivery business. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3831750,00.html
Lemonade double-bubbles. Israeli insure-tech company Lemonade has just completed a listing on the New York Stock exchange. Its share price at the start of trading was $29. By the end of the day, the share price was over $69 – a 139% increase. https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3837404,00.html
A healthy takeover. Israel’s Healthy.io (reported here previously) has acquired its U.S. competitor, Inui Health, for $9 million. Both companies develop and market FDA-approved analysis kits for home monitoring of the progress of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). The takeover gives Healthy.io a stronger US presence.
Music to make videos with. Israel’s Artlist develops and offers content, including video, photos, music, and sound effects to content creators, who pay through monthly subscriptions. This media can then be used in videos and video games without worrying about copyright or other legal issues.
https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3836750,00.html https://artgrid.io/ https://artgrid.io/
Funds raised by Israeli startups. Artlist $48 million; Cynet $18 million; Codefresh $27 million; TripActions $125 million; Simply Speak $1.1 million; Hunters $15 million; Upsolver $13 million; Spike $8 million; Global-e Online $60 million; InterCure $11 million; ECOncrete $5 million; InnoCan $3.7 million; Curv $23 million; Electreon $50 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
From Persia to Jerusalem. As reported here previously, the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem has re-opened. Its first exhibition is called “Banai: A Musical Journey from Persia to Jerusalem.”. It focuses on modern-day Israel, on the well-known Banai family and their influence on the music of a rich and ancient city.
IPO virtual concert. (TY Mickey) Dane Helen Mirren hosted a wonderful on-line concert featuring musicians from the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Stars included Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman & Amanda Forsyth, Itzhak Perlman, Khatia Buniatishvili, Sir András Schiff, Gil Shaham, Adèle Anthony and many more.
Giraffe born on World Giraffe Day. The longest day of the year (Jun 21st) is designated World Giraffe Day. This year it coincided with the birth of a 50kg, 1.5m baby female giraffe at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. The South African giraffe is a vulnerable species. Her parents, Maya and Roi, were also born in the zoo.
THE JEWISH STATE
More support for increased Aliya. To help the growing numbers of Olim (immigrants to Israel), Aliya organization Nefesh b’Nefesh is to build a 2,200-square-meter Aliyah Center in the heart of Jerusalem. It will include space for Hebrew classes, exhibits, performances, and lectures on Israeli culture and history.
Evidence of Jews’ return to Zion. (TY UWI) Archaeologists have unearthed, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, evidence of resettlement after the Babylonian exile of 586 BCE. A clay “official” seal impression, and a pottery sherd seal, indicate that Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem in the 6th century BCE.
Journey to Judaism. (TY David Herman) Three videos of Israel's top jazz singer Elana Watson, who was born to Christian Zionists in June 1967 (during the six-day war); then moved to Israel and converted to Judaism.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyH-krfRzec (Elana reading her story – 8 minutes)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_TqJH3laYQ (longer interview)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GinLzE1zOa8 (Elana singing “Awake O Israel” composed by her mother)
CT-Scan on ancient mummies. (TY Janglo) Two small Egyptian mummies, some 2,500 to 3000 years old, from Haifa Museum, were brought into Haifa’s Rambam hospital for CT-scans to reveal more information about them. One mummy turned out to be a falcon with a broken spine. The other still remains unidentified.
Eli Beer is back at work. Eli Beer, CEO of Israeli emergency medical organization United Hatzalah, is back saving lives despite still recovering after almost dying of Covid-19. He said “I have a big responsibility to raise more funds to grow the organization. I have no choice. If I relax, people will suffer.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itl0N1FKnoE&t=600s (Video of Eli celebrating Pesach Sheni)