Israel Can Prevent It

I usually publicize the positive achievements of the Jewish State. This week, however, I want to illustrate that much of Israel’s work also goes into counteracting the negative side of life in the modern world.

Disease prevention is a top priority of Israeli medical research.  Israel’s Avraham Pharmaceuticals has just announced successful interim results in a Phase 2b clinical trial of ladostigil, which prevents patients suffering mild cognitive impairment (MCI) from progressing to the more serious Alzheimer’s disease.  Meanwhile, New Jersey Department of Health has approved the OncoGxSelect diagnostic test for lung cancer developed by Israel’s Rosetta Genomics.  The test can help clinicians prevent the disease spreading by detecting genetic mutations responsible for the tumors.
The recent innovations of two Israeli companies will help prevent heart attacks.  First, Israel’s Eximo has developed a patented hybrid catheter, which is connected to a pulsed laser system, for the treatment of blocked arteriesassociated with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).  Then Israel’s DiACardio has just won the 2015 Shengjing Global Innovation Award in Beijing China, for its revolutionary software to decode echocardiograms. 
The mission of “Eye from Zion” is to prevent permanent blindness.  Volunteer doctors from the Israeli-Jewish organization performed cornea surgery, plastic surgery and removed tumors and cataracts to restore the eyesight of 90 adults and children in the Muslim country of Kyrgyzstan – many patients had been blind for years.  Next, a recent study by the Israeli Health Ministry as to why the incidence of HIV was six times less in Israeli men than those in Netherlands or France, revealed that circumcision prevented the disease from spreading in the heterosexual community.  And if you are concerned about preventing potential development problems in your baby, you may wish to join the on-line community launched by Israel Technion Professor Eli Ben-Sasson and his wife Ayelet. With their CROwd-based INteractive Clustering (CROINC) site, parents can check their child’s progress with other parents and compare against actual scientific and medical facts.

Israelis work globally on the ground, preventing drought, hunger and epidemics.  Israeli water technology is benefiting hundreds of millions in China, Latin America and Africa.  Israel’s TAHAL Group is to construct and operate a water supply system for 131 villages in the Indian state of Karnataka. Israeli experts are speaking at JNF water summits in 10 US cities.  The Philippinesis to use Israeli greenhouse technology to increase food production.  And Israel’s Evogene is developing crops with microbial properties to prevent infestation from insects.  Meanwhile, Israel maybe unable currently to prevent natural disasters, but IDF humanitarian missions have prevented the subsequent loss of thousands of lives in Japan, Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines.

Above the ground, there has been phenomenal recent demand for the C-MUSIC system from Israel’s Elbit, as a countermeasure to prevent terrorist missile attacks launched at civilian and military aircraft.  And further up, in outer space, Israel and the US have signed the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) agreement to prevent satellites and other objects colliding in space and ensure safe spaceflight operations.
One disease that Israel cannot prevent is anti-Semitism, but it can prevent Diaspora Jews suffering its effects, by bringing them home to the Jewish State.  With help from our Christian friends, 108 Jews from war-torn Ukraine just arrived to a warm welcome at Ben-Gurion Airport, to make a new start in the land of their spiritual forefathers.  And children of the on-going massive wave of French immigration were treated to free summer camps in order to prevent problems with childcare during the school holidays.
Finally, Israeli lifeguards, naval police and the Shavei Zion diving club all worked together to prevent a tragedy for a dolphin that had stranded itself on the rocks at Acre (Akko) beach.  Swimmers watched in amazement as the exhausted animal was rescued and then taken for medical treatment by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
Israel – where prevention is as good as a cure.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]

Always Expect the Unexpected

When I return to Israel from overseas trips I always marvel how fresh and exciting the discoveries and innovations that I collect from the Israeli news are. But last week, even I couldn’t anticipate the vast number of astonishing stories recently reported in the Jewish State.
In the operating theatre at Petah Tikva’s Beilinson Hospital, Israeli doctors performed two groundbreaking procedures.  Firstly, they surgically removed a 15cm long tumor from a woman’s womb midway through her pregnancy without harming either her or the fetus.  Then in a first of its kind event, Beilinson doctors used innovative technology to remove a massive blood clot from the lungs of a 43-year-old woman who was declared clinically dead after suffering an amniotic embolism during a C-section.  Both the mother and her new baby daughter are now doing well.
Would it surprise you to learn that Israeli hospitals are uniting Israelis and Arabs?  A study conducted at Schneider Children’s Medical Center found that parents from the Arab sector, whose children have been treated in Israeli hospitals, feel a stronger sense of solidarity with the State of Israel. 
It really would be unexpected if Hamas senior member Nayef Rajoub’s recent spine surgery at Israel’s Assuta hospital changed his negative attitude towards the Jewish State.  That was indeed the case with Mohammed Dajani, who heads Israel’s tiny Wasatia political party.  He was educated to hate Israelis, but completely changed when his father had his cancer treated in an Israeli hospital.

Israel’s major research breakthroughs often come out of the blue. Israeli bio-tech MeMed has developed a simple blood test to reduce the overprescribing of antibiotics that is the chief cause of resistant bacteria.  MeMed has discovered a protein in blood called TRAIL that dramatically increases in patients infected with viruses but decreases in bacterial infections.  Another Israeli bio-tech, NRGene, together with Tel Aviv University scientists took just 3 months to map out the genome for wild Emmer wheat – a task that had eluded dozens of scientists from 55 countries.  It will now be easier to develop varieties of wheat that will thrive in drier, hotter climates and help relieve world hunger.
Recent unexpected international events include that of Hebrew University Professor Renata Reisfeld accepting an invitation to join the editorial board of the Tehran-basedInternational Journal of Environment, Energy and Waste.  And international plane spotters were amazed to watch the mid-air refueling by an Israeli tanker plane of a flight of Jordanian F-16 Vipers, which were flying together with Israeli Air Force planes on route to exercises in the US.  But hats off to Master’s graduate Haisam Hassanein, an exchange student from Egypt, who defied expectations in becoming the valedictorian of Tel Aviv University. He delivered a remarkable speech, emphasizing that Arabs must question their assumptions about the Jewish State.

Here now are three relatively new Israeli-developed apps that could help you out of an unexpected situation.  Tens of thousands of Israelis have used the app Polly to find a car parking space in Tel Aviv’s congested streets.  Polly uses GPS, crowdsourcing, municipal information and its own algorithm to guide drivers to streets where spaces are more likely to be available.  Polly is now being expanded to Jerusalem.  Next, why should children expect to play on their computer rather than take regular exercise?  Israeli Eylon Porat hooked up his daughter’s computer to an exercise bike that she has to pedal in order to unlock games on the computer for a certain time period.  And if you suddenly get an unexpected problem, Angels Nearby will connect you to somebody who wishes to help.  Angels Nearby uses a search engine to connect people based on the type of help needed, “trust level” (everyone, Facebook friends only, friends of friends), and location.  

To conclude, Felix and Feige Bandos certainly didn’t expect to make Aliya at their time of life.  But at ages 94 and 90 respectively the two Holocaust survivors arrived in Israel to a warm welcome from their family.  “I’m glad I’m here,” Felix said upon arrival. “This is the right place to be.”

Finally, I certainly didn’t expect Israel to host a global UN event next week, but 200 scientists from 40 countries will be in Tel Aviv to attend the Animals Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  It coincides with a related unexpected event – Rotem, a rare Israeli sand cat, has just surprised staff at Ramat Gan Safari by giving birth to a litter of three kittens.

Israel – surpassing expectations.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]

Israel Goes Nuclear

In contrast to Iran’s destructive ambitions and manipulative nuclear activities, Israelis are working from the microscopic to the atomic level, in order to develop vital medical treatments and life-enhancing technology.

Israeli scientists are working with international organizations to eradicate cancer at the cellular level.  One Israeli scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT has identified which of the 20,000 genes are essential to particular cancer cells, and are therefore weak spots to target with treatments.  And an International team, including researchers from Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI), has discovered that fluorescent pigments in Eilat’s rainbow coral are ideal for use as biomedical markers for tracking cancer cells.

Knowledge of the minute interactions in the brain will lead to the next medical breakthrough.  So it is timely that Canada has just announced a multi-million program to fund joint Canadian-Israeli neuroscience research projects.  Staying inside the brain, Israeli biotech Pharma Two B has announced positive results in its trials of P2B001 for the treatment of early stage Parkinson’s disease. 
Hardly a week goes by without an Israeli breakthrough with tiny stem cells.  Weizmann Institute scientists have used embryonic stem cells in clinical tests to repair damaged lung tissue and help alleviate chronic respiratory disease.  And Israelis such as Tel Aviv University Professor Udi Qimron are at the forefront of exciting antibiotic research using bacterial viruses (phages).  Professor Qimron has published how phages transfer “edited” DNA into resistant bacteria to kill off resistant strains and make others more sensitive to antibiotics.  And if you are worried that your dog has an infection, the PCRun molecular detection test kits from Israel’s Biogal Galed Labs will diagnose it in 75 minutes instead of previously several days.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University and Israeli medical centers have developed a groundbreaking method for sealing the incisions in the eye following cornea transplant surgery.  They used tiny silver halide optical fibers to deliver an infrared laser beam at the precise temperature needed to bond the tissue.  And scientists at Israel’s Technion have injected the heart with light-stimulated genes and used pulses of light to regulate the heart, just like a mechanical pacemaker.  But the most fascinating microscopic device could be the implanted microchip being developed jointly by Israel’s Teva and US firm Microchips Biotech that will deliver Teva-made treatments direct to patients.  The technology avoids having to measure out meds or to even to remember to take them – perfect for the elderly and forgetful.
We now launch into the world of water, where Israeli micro-biological technology has the potential to save half of the planet from drought.  Israeli startup Ayyekahas developed a unique water chemical pollutant monitoring kit that is being piloted in Israel.  And H2energy Now is the first Israeli startup to be invited to the European Union-sponsored Alpine High-tech Venture Forum.  H2energy’s technology uses radio waves to break the hydrogen-oxygen bond in salt water.  The hydrogen produced is a source of clean energy.  And it is definitely worth watching this video featuring Israel’s Netafim and its drip irrigation system that is globally transforming unproductive land into flourishing agricultural centers.

In addition to Israel’s work with the H2O of life, Israeli agri-tech companies are addressing the core issues involved in feeding a hungry world.  Dr. Zvi Peleg, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem screened over 100,000 sesame seed variants to develop a new elite variety with enhanced yield and seed quality. But maybe I should leap over the news that Israeli startup Steak Tzar Tzar is solving the world’s critical shortage of sources of protein compounds – using grasshoppers!

Israel’s Adama has just received Israeli approval to market NIMITZ, a low-toxic, eco-safe chemical to control nematodes, one of the most destructive and problematic pests in agriculture.  Meanwhile, toxic pesticides in the rice fields have devastated Japan’s bee population.  Which is why Israel’s Bio Bee, at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, is exporting bumblebees in spacious hives, each with an impregnated queen bee and 50 worker bees.
Israel’s Phytech has developed its Plantbeat sensors to measure how healthy a plant is and what to do to improve it.  Phytech is to sell its PlantBeat alert system to farmers in North and South America.  And if you want to know the fundamental constituents of any food item, you will be pleased to hear that, after 4 years of development, the new SCIO scanners from Israel’s Consumer Physics are now being shipped to customers.

Finally, there is likely to be the usual “nuclear reaction” by the Palestinian Authority leadership as they try to deny more evidence of historical Jewish existence in the Jewish State, following the discovery by the Shimshoni family of a perfectly-preserved 2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath (mikvah) directly under the living room floor of their Jerusalem home.
Explosive stuff, no? 
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]

It does not add up

The United Nations published a very misleading report recently.  No, not that one – I’m referring to the UN report that showed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Israel was 46% lower last year compared to 2013.  However, if you read the report, it shows that FDI in France, the USA and Austria fell by twiceas much; Germany and Ireland were practically wiped out and the Belgians ought to be going around with begging bowls.  So much for UN reports.  In contrast, here are some recent news articles that reflect the real economic success of the Jewish State.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is extremely upbeatabout the Israeli economy.  Its recent preliminary report noted that Israel’s economy is “performing well” and that the economic outlook is positive.  Over at the World Bank, Israel signed an agreement to share best practices on water.  And Israel and China are working on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesman said that Israel is one of China’s major economic and trade partners in the Middle East and an FTA will lift bilateral cooperation to a new height.
Cyber security products contributed $6 billion per year to Israel’s 2014 exports and the fifth annual International Cybersecurity Conference in Tel Aviv attracted those seeking Israel’s latest innovations.  The Israeli cyber-security start-up Checkmarx, for example, has just raised $84 million of Direct Foreign Investment. Checkmarxcustomers include the US Army, Samsung, Deutsche Telekom, Deloitte and PwC.

Commercial success is vital in the life-science industry, even though enhancing life is the true priority.  Recent news of Israeli successes include the ApiFix system, which has now been used to correct scoliosis (deformed spines) in 50 adolescents since it was launched in Europe in 2013.  Other Israeli developments with excellent financial prospects include BondVax’s universal flu vaccine, which has just received FDA approval to proceed with clinical trials.  Another is IBM Israel’s Doctometelemedicine platform, which has turned IBM’s Watson supercomputer into a digital doctor. Finally, Israel’s Crowdsourcing platform for insomniacs Sleep ASAP is already described as “Waze for the sleep-deprived”. 

Some Israeli companies have no need of FDI.  Frutarom, for example, has bought up seven foreign companies in the last 12 months.  The latest is Australia’s Taura, a world leading player in concentrated and texturized fruit ingredients, with factories in New Zealand and Belgium, and offices in the US and UK.  The FDI report would probably ignore the growth of Israeli renewable energy company SolarEdge, whose value since its March NASDAQ launch has doubledto $1.5 billion.  And several more billion-dollar Israeli companies are in the pipeline.
The UN report definitely hasn’t recognized the commercial success of Israel’s TV and Film industry which has been selling virtually every new Israeli series to International studios and channels.  The new spy thriller “Kfulim” (False Flag) looks to be the next Israeli “top of the box”.  And the Jerusalem Film Fund announced that several long-term animation projects, including a new Walt Disney Studios TV series, will be based in Jerusalem.
Innovation is key to Israel’s commercial success.  Israeli startup Sound Better is revolutionizing the music business by providing musicians the facility to record themselves at home instead of in a studio and then collaborate onlinewith artists all over the world.  And the world of on-line shopping just became virtual 3D shopping thanks to Israel’s Tridshops.  The advanced platform allows retailers to quickly set up an on-line store where shoppers “move” on a virtual walkway past 3D images of products which they can pick up, examine and manipulate through 360 degrees.

There has been no shortage of commercial visitors to Israel.  100 German industry leaders including from SAP, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom, Merck, Inc., Mercedes-Benz and Lufthansa have been attending an investors’ conference in Israel.  60 general managers and senior executives of the world’s largest hotel company, InterContinental Hotels, booked Israel for their annual conference and enjoyed pitches from six Israeli hotel-related start-ups.  They may have had a few sleepless nights following American tourism magazine Jetsetter’s naming of the Norman Hotel Tel Aviv as the world’s best boutique hotel.  The Israeli hotel industry has also experienced an increase in tourism from Arab and Moslem countries, especially Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Indonesia.
So how can you best get to share in Israel’s wealth?  Well if you live in the USA, you could follow the advice of Izzy Tapoohi, President & CEO of Development Corporation for Israel Bonds. He advocates buying Israel Bondsto counter calls from the BDS thugs to Boycott, Divest from or Sanction the Jewish State. “The best defense is a good offense”, Izzy says. And investing in Israel’s economy is the greatest form of offense.
Finally, it was sweet justice at the United Nations when Israel’s Yotam Goren was appointed as deputy chairman of the Administrative and Budgetary Committee to the United Nations General Assembly.  The committee functions as the U.N.’s “Finance Ministry,” responsible for a budget of more than $11 billion.
Let’s hope he puts an end to worthless UN reports!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]

Israel Confronts Crisis

If you analyze the news for the most serious problems affecting the planet, they would include disease, hunger, drought, natural disasters and terrorism.  Israel’s superb work to combat these menaces deserves far more publicity.  Here are some recent examples.
The risk of contracting canceris now estimated at 1 in 2, which puts the deadly disease firmly into the crisis category.  Weizmann scientists have just developed a triple-effect treatment to kill lung cancer cells and prevent them from returning.  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has designed a tiny antenna that can be inserted into the stomach to detect and treat early-stage gastric tumors too small to be treated by current methods.  Meanwhile, Israel’s VBL Therapeutics reported interim results from its Phase 2 trials of its VB-111 advanced ovarian cancer treatment that reduced tumor size by at least 50% and also extended the survival of patients with aggressive brain cancer (glioblastoma).  And finally, let’s hear itfor Israel Prize laureate Dr. Haim (Howard) Cedar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem whose work to detect wrongly reproduced instructions in the DNA may one day not merely cure, but actually prevent cancer from forming.
The media warns us that the next medical crisis will occur when bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics and that there is insufficient research into alternatives.  But almost every week Israeli biotechs announce advances in this area.  Such as the P-1000 optical device from Pocared Diagnosticsthat performs bacteria tests in minutes and even identifies which antibiotics the bacteria is resistant to.  Or the pulsed light research at Tel Aviv University that kills the listeria bacteria in infected milk products.  In fact using pulsed light once a day may mean that milk no longer requires refrigeration.  Finally, Redhill Biopharma, which has just completed a Phase III successful trial of RHB-105 for H. pylori infections, the major cause of stomach cancer.

According to the World Bank, there is a crisis in food security, with one-third of global child deaths due to malnutrition.  Thankfully, Israel’s agricultural expertise is combatting this crisis.  The new government of India has deployed Israeli technology to feed its growing population in almost every state, the latest being Goa.  Visit the Israeli Pavilion at the Milano Expo to see Israel’s Hinoman, which is cultivating Mankhai, a sustainable vegetable containing more protein than meat or fish.  It is also high in vitamins, low in carbohydrate, fat, sugar and salt and is GMO, gluten and pesticide free.
There is an even bigger global crisis with drought.  So Israel has just signed an agreement to share its best practices on water with the World Bank.  The water crisis affects even developed countries and Israeli water technology experts are busy working in the Californian cities of Sacramento, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.  
Ironically, too much water is one cause of the many crises from recent natural disasters.  Massive floods in Texas killed dozens and impacted thousands.  So the Israeli organization IsraAID sent a team of volunteers to help remove debris from damaged houses.  And in Tbilisi, the east European capital of Georgia, a team of Israeli veterinarians helped rescue wild animals that escaped during severe floods.  Meanwhile, IsraAID also launched its “A Roof for All” program to provide safe and sturdy transitional shelter for thousands of displaced families who lost their homes as a result of the last two devastating earthquakes in Nepal.
Israel is a key player in solving the world’s energy crisis.  Despite its recent discovery of huge deposits of natural gas, Israel is firmly at the forefront of renewable energy developments.  Israel’s latest billion-dollar company, SolarEdgehas just released a new solar energy storage system and expanded its commercial products.  And with Israel’s Ecoppia cleaning system, 5 million solar panels are now keeping free of the dust and sand that reduces efficiency by up to 40 percent.  Meanwhile, those companies still having to clean-up after oil-spill crises will be encouraged that Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have developed a reagent that converts the oil into carbon dioxide and water.  And a new fast-deployed oil-spill containment boom from Israeli startup HARBO will provide a major improvement on disaster response times.

Israel’s work to combat the world terrorism crisis would take up too much room than I have available here.  Suffice it to say, however, that eleven Israeli companies exhibited products at the recent Paris Air Show.  One new Israeli device will prevent an on-board crisis should a pilot lose consciousness.  The Cannary flight helmet smart system from Tel Aviv’s Lifebeam has sensors that measure the pilot’s vital signs and will take control of the plane in order to prevent disasters. 
Finally, some 150 of the Jewish world’s leading change-makers from 32 countries gathered in Jerusalem for the 2015 ROI Summit.  They will no doubt learn to combat many crises as they seek to build a thriving Jewish future and a better world.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to [email protected]
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