Israel's Good News Newsletter to 1st Mar 2015

In the 1st Mar 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:

·        Israeli scientists have isolated a safe virus that eliminates antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
·        Nigeria has praised Israel for helping it counter Boko Haram.
·        Lufthansa are using Israeli-developed Taxibots to tow their aircraft and save fuel.
·        Israel and Jordan have signed an historic water agreement.
·        Israel’s IronSource is now a billion-dollar company.
·        An amazing video showing Jerusalem’s mayor apprehending a terrorist.

·        Last week’s JPost Israel Good News descriptive summary.  Click here for “Israel Educates for Life” (fast-loading version, no adverts).  Also on Jerusalem Post, IsraelSeen, San Diego Jewish World and United With Israel.

·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News, Israel News Zone, IsraelSeen, Ruthfully Yours, IsraPundit, Janglo, and United With Israel (featuring medicine, technology, culture and global impact).

Page Down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.


ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS

A virus that kills resistant bacteria infections.  Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have isolated (from Jerusalem sewage) a “safe” virus EFDG1, which can kill the bacteria infections associated with up to 33% of root canal treatments.  EFDG1 eradicates even antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria.

BrainTech 2015.  The international conference BrainTech 2015 in Tel Aviv, beginning 11th March, features neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, senior executives, investors, startups and decision-makers who will explore challenges, discover promising projects, create partnerships and accelerate innovation in brain technology.

Monitoring mental illness by smartphone.  Israel’s LifeGraph has developed a smartphone-based platform for monitoring mental illness.  LifeGraph detects changes in a patient’s sleep, social communication, mobility and speech. It provides psychiatrists with innovative insight into the behavioral patterns of the patient.

The nose-to-brain express route.  A major problem in treating mental illness is in overcoming the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) with effective medication.  Israel’s SipNose has developed an innovative nasal delivery device platform that can penetrate the BBB and provide fast, non-invasive treatment to patients.

Opening up the inner workings of the brain.  As Tel Aviv prepares to host the 2015 BrainTech conference, Professor Henry Markram (formerly of Israel’s Weizmann Institute) outlined the goals and activities of the Human Brain Project, of which he is co-director.

Fooling the malaria parasite.  Back in Dec 2012 I reported how Dr Ron Dzikowski at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem had discovered the genetic reason why malaria was so difficult to treat.  Now Professor Dzikowski and other HUJ scientists have used the discovery to disrupt the parasite’s defense mechanism.


ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL

Making nature accessible.  During Jewish Disability Awareness Month, please read this special blog by Raz Rutman about accessible hiking trails in Israel.  Raz, a wheelchair user since age eight, is doing his national service with the non-profit LOTEM, dedicated to making Israeli nature accessible to people with special needs.

Safer Internet for kids.  On Feb 8, the Ministry of Education launched the Annual National Week for Online Safety Education in Israel.  Throughout the state educational system, students engaged in classroom and online activities to increase Internet safety awareness, reduce potential risks, and deal with harmful online incidents. 

Israel moves water pumps into Gaza.  Israeli authorities helped alleviate flooding in Gaza from recent rains by transferring four pumps from the Palestinian Authority into the Gaza Strip.  (Contrary to AFP fake report)

Israeli aid for Iraqi children.  Israeli aid organization IsraAid has been helping Kurdish, Yazidi and Christian refugees in northern Iraq who have escaped Islamic State rule.  IsraAid founding director Shachar Zahavi said the goal now was to help provide a schooling framework for the children.

Last chance for Iraqi infant.  This heart-wrenching story describes how Iraqi Christian refugees, escaping from IS, finally reached Israel where their baby daughter Maryam can be treated for her hole in the heart.

Hispanic media tour Israel.  Top U.S. Latino Media and Entertainment leaders have been visiting Israel in a pioneering initiative to explore joint ventures, scout location sites, and share best practices with their Israeli counterparts.

Israeli help is crucial for Nigeria.  A Nigerian government spokesman has stated that Israel has been a crucial and loyal ally in the fight against the radical Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.  He said that Nigeria’s Israeli partners have used their experience fighting terrorism to provide Nigeria with the required training and support.

Countering cyber threats in Azerbaijan.  (TY Michelle) Israel is helping the government of Azerbaijan defend itself against a growing number of cyber security attacks. 

Helping Canada release its ‘entrepreneurial genie’.  (TY Michelle) Canada’s universities recently convened a meeting of innovation leaders from Israel, Germany and Canada to share insights into their respective national innovation systems, with an eye to strengthening the Canadian system.

The “Israel-Ukraine Tech Bridge”.  (TY Michelle) Despite its current problems, the Ukraine wants to become a Startup Nation like Israel.  A new joint program, entitled “Israel-Ukraine Tech Bridge,” has started with a series of conferences offered in Kyiv (Kiev) by top representatives of the Israeli tech community.

Rwanda strengthens ties with Israel.  (TY Michelle) East African nation Rwanda's ICT Chamber announced that it has selected Israel to strengthen business ties and study best practices in business, innovation, workforce development and promote investment. Israel was Rwanda’s “country of choice”.

Uni votes to invest in Israel.  Yes it’s not a misprint.  “Invest”, not “divest”.  The Student Government Association of the University of Georgia on Tuesday passed the first college resolution this year calling for the school to invest more in its relations with Israel. It is the third such resolution ever to be passed.

Academic conference to take place in Tel Aviv.  The 21st Association of Young Legal Historians is to be held in Tel Aviv, beginning 1st Mar - the first time in 20 years that the conference will convene outside Europe.

Kosovo seeks Israeli recognition.  Kosovo’s former foreign minister Enver Hoxhaj, speaking at the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, said that the rise of the State of Israel was seen as a model for Kosovo in its struggle for independence and expressed admiration for the achievements of the Jewish state.


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The future of long-distance relationships.  The latest youtube from Israel’s Glide shows how their video messaging technology can really enhance the lives that people share together – even when they are apart.

Natural remedies for pests.  Israel’s Bio-Bee plant in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, Israel, is leading the operation to eradicate Israel’s infestation by the Asian palm weevil.  Bio-Bee is importing 42 billion harmless nematode worms from Germany, which kill the weevil’s larvae.  It is also using special odor traps from Spain.

Safe filtration technology.  The National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF) has certified the major product lines of Israel’s Amiad Water Systems.  NSF evaluated that the water produced by Amiad’s automatic self-cleaning screen and microfibre technology is safe for human consumption across the USA and Canada.

Technology to rehabilitate at home. Israel’s Meditouch manufactures innovative physical therapy solutions for hospital, primary and home care use.  Meditouch’s wearable movement biofeedback devices and dedicated rehabilitation software are used in clinic and at home to motivate patients to exercise and improve movement.  The system has been adopted by the Kennedy Krieger Rehabilitation hospital in Baltimore.

TaxiBot starts towing Lufthansa jets.  Lufthansa has commenced operations with the Taxibot towing system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd.  Lufthansa said that TaxiBot could save up to 2,700 tonnes of fuel at Frankfurt Airport per year, plus reduce noise and exhaust emissions.

Israeli technology for UK sport.  (TY Hazel) Future Israel - an initiative of Israel's Economic & Trade Mission to the UK - is bringing over a group of 20 Israeli companies with solutions and technologies for the British sporting establishments including broadcasters, arenas and sports clubs. 

Touchfree smartphone wins $1million prize.  (TY Michelle) A disabled individual can operate the Israeli-developed Sesame Enable smartphone simply by moving their head.  The smartphone has just won the $1 million top prize in the Education category of the Verizone Powerful Answers Award.

Building starts on Med Sea research labs.  Haifa University and the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute laid the cornerstone of the new deep-sea research labs for Haifa’s Mediterranean Sea Research Center.  The lab will develop underwater robots, vehicles, optics, acoustics and propulsion systems.

Talking the same language.  (TY Michelle) The new Empath app from Israeli startup Beyond Verbal recognizes human moods, attitudes and emotional characteristics from human voice intonations in real-time. Beyond Verbal has registered 18 scientific discoveries and a battery of patents for enabling machines to recognize human emotions.

Saving the Dead Sea.  Israel and Jordan have signed an historic agreement to implement the Red Sea-Dead Sea rescue pipeline project.  The $800 million agreement authorizes the construction of a 65 to 80 million cubic meter capacity desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan that will produce fresh water to benefit both nations.

Don’t waste a second to launch your apps.  Israel’s Impris has launched “Super Launcher for Android”.  Now you can open your favorite smartphone apps without even looking at the screen.


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Unemployment down to 5.6%.  The percentage of unemployed Israelis aged 15 and over in the workforce fell to 5.6% in January, from 5.7% in December.  The unemployed rate between ages 25-64 fell to 4.8% in a growing workforce.  More people are now employed in full time jobs.

Lighting up NASDAQ.  (TY Michelle) SolarEdge, founded by five veterans of the IDF 8200 Intelligence Corps, has applied for a NASDAQ listing that will value the company at around $500 million.  SolarEdge’s technology maximizes the energy collected by solar panels and has been installed in 73 countries.

Startup investing for the public.  Israeli startup Exit Valley has launched a “crowdfunding” investment platform.  It allows private individuals to invest as little as NIS 1000 in a startup company.  If the startup fails to reach its target funding within a fixed time period, all monies are returned to the individuals.

India’s matchmaking with Israeli businesses.  (TY Michelle) The purchase of Israel’s Panaya by India’s Infosys is just the beginning.  When Israeli startups engage with Indian companies it gives cutting-edge technology for Indian companies and wider market access for products developed by Israeli firms. So it’s a win-win situation.  http://www.deccanherald.com/content/461679/israel-focus-big-plank-panaya.html

Another billion-dollar Israeli company.  (TY Michelle) After only 5 years, Israeli startup IronSource’s latest round of funding values the app delivery company at over $1billion.  Every day IronSource’s software installs over 7 million applications onto desktops and mobiles.

Apple’s boss comes to Israel.  Apple’s CEO Tim Cook opened Apple’s new offices in Herzliya.  He also met Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.  Alongside Cook for the trip was Johny Srugi, Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Technologies - a graduate of Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology.

Learn the secret of Israeli success.  (TY Michelle) The Israeli business school Lahav Executive Education is part of the Recanati Business School at Tel Aviv University.  Lahav offers its international students some of “the secrets behind ‘Jewish genius’ and Israeli success” as a pre-eminent “start-up nation”.


CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT

Look down to see 3000 years of history.  The Kishle building adjacent to Jerusalem’s Tower of David shows a unique timeline. Its excavation reveals a treasure trove - layer upon layer of history, back to the First Temple.

Jerusalem’s market swings at night.  (TY Size Doesn’t Matter) One night every year in mid-winter, Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s main outdoor market, changes its face. The lanes fill up with diverse crowds: fun-seekers and cultural mavens who take the regular shoppers by surprise.

Gregory Porter to perform in Israel.  Gregory Porter, winner of the 2014 Grammy for the best vocal jazz album - Liquid Spirit, makes his Israeli debut in March. Porter is a unique jazz singer who tells stories with his caressing baritone voice and presents an evening of jazz, soul and blues.

European Chess Championship has a stunning opening.  248 international chess stars from 33 countries, including 112 grandmasters, enjoyed “the best opening ever” of the 2015 European Chess Championship in Jerusalem.  Mind reading magic acts and percussion performances replaced the normal boring speeches.


THE JEWISH STATE

Jerusalem’s Shemitta Park: An Experience in Jewish Values. (TY Ilene) In Israel, every 7th year is “Shemitta” when the land “rests” and its population becomes more spiritual.  Religious leaders, politicians, soldiers and children discovered more at Jerusalem’s Botanical Gardens newest attraction – its Shemitta Park. 

Israel’s “gold coast”.  Scuba divers have discovered the largest trove of gold coins ever found off Israel's Mediterranean coast.  Members of a diving club in Caesarea uncovered nearly 2000 gold pieces dating back more than 1000 years.  The Israeli Antiquities Authority said the find was "so valuable that it's priceless".

Jerusalem mayor tackles terrorism – personally.  Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat stopped a terrorist, who had seconds earlier committed a stabbing in Tzahal Square.  Barkat - an ex IDF paratrooper - saw the incident, got out of his car and when his bodyguard convinced the attacker to drop his knife, Barkat wrestled him to the ground.  http://www.timesofisrael.com/watch-jerusalem-mayor-pins-down-terrorist/