Reasons to love Israel




Overview: What makes Israel so distinctive among nations

(1) Technology innovation: Israelis create more start-ups, and file more patent applications for innovative technologies, than any nation except the U.S.

(2) Health science innovation: X% of all major health science breakthroughs originate in Israel

(3) LGBT welcoming: Israel is the only nation in the Middle East in which the LGBT community can live openly, safe from systemic oppression & terror in the region

(4) Humanitarian benevolence — even to the soldiers and children of Israel’s enemies

(5) Inclusion of the handicapped and special-needs people

(6) Cuisine: Israeli cuisine is the most diverse in the Middle East, and conducts food exhibits around the world

(7) Benevolence towards animals

(8) Teaching entrepreneurship

(9) Public safety

(10) Agriculture & environmental science & technology

(11) Israel’s love of dogs

(12) About the Jewish people

Overview: What makes Israel so distinctive among nations

65 top ways Israel is saving our planet, by Nicky Blackburn, Israel 21C, April 14, 2013. Excerpt:

Since 1948, Israel has set itself a task of finding creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. To celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday, ISRAEL21c looks at some of the best achievements.

Since Israel was founded in 1948, the country has set itself the goal of becoming a light unto the nations. In the early years of the state, despite austerity rationing, the Israeli government founded MASHAV, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for International Cooperation, as a vehicle to share Israel’s creative solutions with the rest of the developing world.

Israel remains true to that vision and every year, with little fanfare, and sometimes very little press attention, Israelis work long hours to find solutions and offer relief to some of the most pressing problems of our times.

From environmental breakthroughs that will help reduce greenhouse emissions, to technologies that can increase food production and save vital crops, to humanitarian aid missions in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters, Israelis are providing significant assistance.

To celebrate Israel’s 65th birthday, ISRAEL21c takes a look at some of the many creative and varied ways Israel is helping to enrich and improve our planet.

1. An Israeli company is developing a toilet that needs no water, and generates its own power to turn solid waste (including toilet roll) into sterile and odorless fertilizer in 30 seconds. Liquid waste is sterilized and then used to flush the toilet. Developer Paulee CleanTec has been awarded a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which reports that about 80 percent of human waste goes into rivers and streams untreated, and 1.1 billion people don’t use a toilet.

2. Fifty years ago, Lake Victoria carp was a significant part of the diet of Ugandan villagers. But when Nile perch was introduced to the lake, it decimated the carp population. Villagers had neither the equipment nor the expertise to catch the huge perch, and symptoms of protein deficiency started becoming apparent in their children.

Prof. Berta Sivan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem came to the rescue with a multiyear project to help these African families. Using expertise developed in Israel, her project not only successfully spawned carp on Ugandan fish farms, but also provided training on how to dig and fill ponds and raise the small fish. Now local children have an abundant supply of protein.

(1) Technology innovation: Israelis create more start-ups, and file more patent applications for innovative technologies, than any nation except the U.S.

Quick facts:

  • Of the world’s ten largest corporations, all ten have research centers in Israel

The Quantum Computer Is About to Change the World. Three Israelis Are Leading the Revolution, by Oded Carmeli, Ha’aretz, February 16, 2020. Excerpt:

The Israeli startup QM is the first company in the world to be building both the hardware and the software that will make it possible to use quantum computers – once they actually are a practical reality.

In October 2019, Google announced that its quantum computer, Sycamore, had done a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would have taken the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years. “Quantum supremacy,” Google claimed for itself. We now have a quantum computer, it was saying, capable of performing calculations that no regular, “classical” computer is capable of doing in a reasonable time.

Where do you buy a computer like that? You don’t. Google’s Sycamore can’t run Word or Chrome, it can’t even run a nice friendly game of Minesweeper. In fact, Google’s supreme quantum computer doesn’t know how to do anything, other than perform one useless calculation. It resembles the huge computer in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which came up with the calculation of 42, as the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” – although no one knows what the question is.

The question is now being worked on in Tel Aviv, on Derech Hashalom Street. In their generic office in the city’s Nahalat Yitzhak neighborhood, three physicists who received their doctorates at Rehovot’s Weizmann Institute of ScienceNissim Ofek, 46; Yonatan Cohen, 36; and Itamar Sivan, 32 – are developing instruments of control that will tame the quantum monster.

“Ten years ago, when I took a course in quantum computing, it was considered science fiction,” Dr. Sivan, the CEO of their company, Quantum Machines, relates. “The experts said that it wouldn’t happen in our lifetime or may never happen. As a physicist, quantum computing is a dream come true. Almost all our employees are physicists, even those who work as programmers, and most of them approached us. They read about an Israeli company for quantum computing and simply couldn’t restrain themselves. There’s nothing more exciting than to learn for years about Schrödinger’s cat and about all the wild quantum effects, and then to enter a laboratory and actually build Schrödinger’s cat and leverage the theory into a prodigious force of calculation.”

The Quantum Machines leadership team: Nissim Ofek, Itamar Sivan and Yonatan Cohen.

Israeli startup helps you take only the vitamins you need; Nutricco takes away the guesswork with a smart high-tech solution that suggests and supplies supplements based on what you actually ate – or not, by Naama Barak, Israel21C, February 11, 2020. Excerpt:

Eating healthfully is a tricky business nowadays. We know better than ever what’s good for us, but all this information makes the optimum diet seem like a distant and elusive goal.

Have we had enough omega-3 fatty acids this week? And what about our calcium intake? And who can keep track?

Israeli startup Nutricco wants to put an end to the confusion by providing a smart, comprehensive solution that monitors nutrient intake and fills in the gaps with dietary supplements.

Users will get an app that tracks dietary needs and a supplement dispenser stocked with the vitamins they need.

Not that Nutricco plans on pushing pills down people’s throats, founder and CEO Leonid Pirogovsky insists.

“We provide the nutrients people need in the amounts that people need at the time they need to take them,” he notes.

Israeli Water-From-Air Technology Named ‘Energy Efficiency Product of Year’, The Algemeiner, January 10, 2020. Excerpt: – An Israeli-made machine that creates fresh drinking water from air was named the “Energy Efficiency Product of the Year” in the 2020 Smart Home Mark of Excellence Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Presented annually during CES by the Consumer Technology Association, the Mark of Excellence Awards recognize the technology industry’s top smart-home innovations. The water-from-air appliance, named “GENNY,” was manufactured by the Rishon Letzion-based company Watergen.

“Our company’s mission is to eliminate the need to rely on outside sources for life necessities and to help people become more environmentally friendly,” said Dan Clifford, president of Watergen North America. “We are especially honored to be named ‘Energy Efficiency Product of the Year’ at this year’s CES show because this award directly supports one of the top values Watergen stands for.”

The machine, which resembles a typical water cooler, taps into atmospheric water using patented heat-exchange technology and can produce up to 30 liters of drinkable water every day. It is designed especially for homes and offices.

“GENNY” eliminates the waste caused by drinking bottled water, significantly reducing plastic usage and disposal, and makes water always available on demand.

Residents of El Talento, a small town in Colombia adjacent to the city of Cúcuta, have been introduced to the GEN-M, Watergen’s medium-scale atmospheric generator that produces water out of air, October 2019. Photo: Courtesy.

Israeli startup TriEye partners with Porsche to create autonomous tech; The SWIR sensing technology developed by TriEye was manufactured to enhance visibility in unfavorable weather and night-time conditions, by Zachary Keyser, Jerusalem Post, January 2, 2020. Excerpt:

Israeli tech start-up TriEye will be partnering with German automotive manufacturer Porsche to further revolutionize their Short-Wave Infra-Red (SWIR) sensing technology, with the hopes of advancing the performance of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles developed by the tech start-up.

The SWIR sensing technology developed by TriEye was manufactured to enhance visibility in unfavorable weather and nighttime conditions. The technology itself is mainly used and developed to guide autonomous vehicles through low-visibility situations that would ordinarily disrupt these independent systems from working properly.

Automobiles and relying solely on sensing systems found within these types of vehicles is that when visibility is limited during travel – even the addition and combinations of radar – LIDAR and standard cameras still cannot always accurately or clearly detect and identify objects on the road. TriEye incorporated SWIR sensing technology into its systems to combat this issue.

Intel buys Israeli AI start-up for $2 billion; Habana Labs, whose 150 staff are developing dedicated artificial intelligence processors, was created by David Dahan and Ran Halutz, whose previous company PrimeSense was sold to Apple for $345 million in 2013, by Reuters (via Ynet), December 16, 2019. Excerpt:

Intel Corp has acquired Israel-based artificial intelligence firm Habana Labs for about $2 billion, the U.S. chip giant said on Monday.

Habana Labs will remain an independent business unit and will continue to be led by its current management team, reporting to Intel’s data platforms group.

The company was created in 2016 by David Dahan and Ran Halutz, the founders of PrimeSense, a 3D sensing company sold to Apple for $345 million in 2013.  Habana, which employs more than 150 staff in Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Poland and San Jose, is developing a series of dedicated AI processors called Goya.

Goya comprises hardware and software, including a high-performance graphic compiler, hundreds of kernel libraries, and the tools needed to integrate software frameworks used by customers.

Israelis develop ‘self-healing’ cars powered by machine learning and AI, by Eytan Halon, Jerusalem Post, December 15, 2019. Excerpt:

Even before autonomous vehicles become a regular sight on our streets, modern cars are quickly resembling sophisticated computers on wheels.  Increasingly connected vehicles come with as many as 150 million lines of code, far exceeding the 145,000 lines of code required to land Apollo 11 on the Moon in 1969. Self-driving cars could require up to one billion lines of code.

For manufacturers, passengers and repair shops alike, vehicles running on software rather than just machines represent an unprecedented world of highly complex mobility. Checking the engine, tires and brakes to find a fault will certainly no longer suffice.

Seeking to build trust in the new generation of automotive innovation, Tel Aviv-based start-up Aurora Labs has developed software for what it calls the “self-healing car” – a proactive and remote system to detect and fix potential vehicle malfunctions, and update and validate in-car software without any downtime.

An illustration of Aurora Labs’ technology (photo credit: AURORA LABS)

Israeli Technology Converts Air Into Water for Residents in Northern Colombia, by JNS, October 24, 2019. Excerpt:

Residents of El Talento, a small town in Colombia adjacent to the city of Cúcuta, have been introduced to the GEN-M, Watergen’s medium-scale atmospheric generator (AWG) that produces water out of air.

The machine, a technological innovation of the Israel-based company, arrived in Cúcuta at the beginning of October thanks to Andrés Suárez, pastor of the Christian Center and general manager of the alliance project with the State of Israel in Colombia.

Suárez said he was driven by a desire to show residents in northern Colombia that such technology can provide some of the most needy communities in the region with safe drinking water.

Requiring no external infrastructure to operate except for a source of electricity, Watergen’s GEN-M can make up to 800 liters of water per day. With a weight of just 780 kilograms, the machine is easily transportable and specially designed to help isolated communities that do not have adequate access to clean water.

Israeli develops piston engine that runs on water, alcohol – no gas, by Alan Rosenbaum, Jerusalem Post, October 22, 2019. Excerpt:

In the annals of business, successful companies that originated in the garages of their founders have assumed an almost mythic significance. Corporate giants such as Apple, Google and Hewlett-Packard all began in small workshops adjacent to their creators’ homes. Now, another small, garage-based family business run by three Israelis near Miami, Florida, that says that they have succeeded in reinventing the internal combustion engine is aiming to join the elite group of legendary garage-based startups.

The company is called MayMaan Research, LLC, and it has developed a system to operate a traditional piston engine with a combination of 70% water and 30% ethanol (or any other alcohol) – no gasoline or diesel required. This revolutionary system can be applied, say its founders, with simple yet sophisticated modifications of existing engine designs, and saves 50% on fuel costs, produces far fewer emissions than gasoline or diesel, and is up to 60% more efficient than gasoline. MayMaan has built four operating prototypes to date, including a car, a generator and various engines. While the company has outgrown its garage-based origins, and has grown into a research laboratory facility, it remains imbued with a start-up spirit.

MayMaan is the brainchild of Yehuda Shmueli, 81, a talented inventor, engineer and master mechanic. Assisted by sons Eitan and Doron, and backed by an impressive executive management team, including Joe Nakash, founder and chairman of Jordache Enterprises; Yedidya Ya’ari, company chairman and former president and CEO of Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority; Malcolm Hoenlein, CEO and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents; and other distinguished individuals, MayMaan’s disruptive technology plans to revolutionize the world of transportation, from passenger cars, to trucks, locomotives and even ships.

Emissions free and pollution free: Israel unveils massive solar power plant, by YNet, October 19, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel has taken another step in moving from fossil fuels to environmentally friendly renewable energy, approving its biggest plant of unique solar panels to date. The plant, which is for commercial use, operates without generating pollution or any greenhouse gas emissions.

The Electricity Authority (TEA) and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz have recently approved the commercial activation of the Ashalim photovoltaic power station – located in the Negev Desert, south of the city of Be’er Sheva – for a period of twenty years.

The power station consists of 360 solar power panels with an output of 121 Megawatt, double the energy output of Israel’s current, much-smaller photovoltaic power station, Mash’abey Sade.

Ashalim photovoltaic mirrors

Israeli Tech Pioneer Who Made It Possible to Talk on Skype and Watch YouTube Dies, by Ofer Aderet, Ha’aretz, August 23, 2019. Excerpt:

Danny Cohen’s name may not be familiar to members of the public, but people around the world have benefited from his pioneering research on computers. It is thanks to Cohen that we can make internet voice and video calls on platforms such as Skype, that we can watch YouTube videos or store data in the cloud, beyond the confines of our own computers. Cohen, who was born in Haifa, died in Palo Alto, California on August 12 at the age of 81. In his New York Times obituary, he was hailed for having “helped set the stage for the digital era.”

“His innumerable accomplishments in the computer sciences fields were enormous,” Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny, an Israel Prize laureate in earth sciences, remarked. “At my advanced age, I have had the privilege to meet a considerable number of brilliant people, including Nobel Prize winners,” but Cohen was a standout among those people of brilliance, he remarked.

Caption: Undated photo of Danny Cohen at an airport in California. Courtesy of the Cohen family

Israel ranked among top 10 most innovative countries in the world, by Tamar Beeri, Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel was ranked among the top 10 countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The GII is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for innovation and their success. Israel has been climbing the ladder of the index since ranking 21st worldwide in 2016. Since then, Israel ranked 17th in 2017 and 11th in 2018 and, for the first time this year, reached the top 10.

The placement within the top 10 will only be divulged after the exposure event on July 24 in which Israeli Ambassador to India Dr. Ron Malka will represent Israel, along with Israeli Director of Digital Health Esti Shelly.

The GII chooses and ranks the most innovative countries in the world out of 129 countries using a complex algorithm and measuring 80 indicators, which examine the overall creative environment within the country. Some key categories include levels of education, investment in infrastructure, investment in research, business sophistication and political environment.

Watergen partners with Flint, Michigan where water quality is ‘third-world’, by David DiMolfetta, Jerusalem Post, July 18, 2019. Excerpt:

“For the past five years, there have been solutions promised to the community by many, yet no one has delivered,” said Armstrong Williams.

Israeli company Watergen just launched a new partnership with the community of Flint, Michigan, providing what could be the first large scale solution for drinking water by placing a 350 unit in the community church. If successful, it could be a model for similar towns.

As opposed to bringing in plastics that are associated with trucking in water bottles, Watergen uses a dehumidification apparatus to create water out of thin air.

“For the past five years, there have been solutions promised to the community by many, yet no one has delivered an affordable solution that is good for the people and for the environment by reducing plastics,” said Armstrong Williams, a nationally syndicated talk show host who partnered with WatergenUSA and NBC25 to bring the Watergen solution. “When I saw the Watergen unit, I immediately started working with the company to bring this technology to Flint.”

The unit was placed in the community church, Greater Flint Holy Temple.

“Now we need to make certain that every school in Flint has this solution, and we cannot allow the children’s health to be compromised,” Armstrong continued. “The people of Flint have now given their community and government leadership a solution to make certain the right options are implemented for the safety of their children.”

People drink from a Watergen machine in Florida after Hurricane Irma, September 2017 (photo credit: PR)

Researchers find solution to help prevent leaving babies in cars, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2019. Excerpt:

According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, an average of 37 American children die each year in hot cars.

A team of Israeli scientists has developed a new, machine learning-based thermal sensor that could help prevent parents from forgetting their babies and toddlers in cars, which can lead to vehicular heatstroke,  hyperthermia and even death.

According to the safety organization Kids and Cars, an average of 37 American children die each year in hot cars. These include instances where a child has been forgotten in a car, accidentally locks themselves in a car or trunk, or, in a small number of cases, when a child has been intentionally left in a car.

There have been instances in Israel, as well. Last April, for example, a two-year-old boy died after he was left alone in a car in the northern town of Rechasim, police said. The boy was found after five hours.Temperatures in the town reached a high of 26°C (79℉) on the day of his death.

In July 2013, three Israeli children died in the first two weeks of the month from being left in hot cars. Those deaths included an 18-month-old girl who was left inside a car for five hours in the West Bank settlement of Dolev; a 5-month-old baby who was left in a car for seven hours in Shiloh, also in the West Bank; and a 9-month-old girl who died after she was left in a parked car in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan.

Israeli AI device ‘watches’ swimming pools to prevent drowning accidents, by Eytan Halon, Jerusalem Post, January 3, 2019. Excerpt:

As winter gradually gives way to spring in the coming months, Israeli families with private swimming pools will slowly start dreaming of enjoying a refreshing splash once again.

While for the vast majority, pools provide a way to cool off from the summer sun, 2018 was overshadowed by the tragic increase of children and adults who drowned at home.

After unsuccessfully searching for a drowning detection solution for his own private pool, entrepreneur and homeland security expert Eyal Golan partnered with computer vision specialist Dr. Tamar Avraham in 2014 to establish Haifa-based Coral Drowning Detection Systems and prevent the tragedies that strike dozens of Israeli families and many more worldwide every year.

Their first-of-its-kind, patent-pending Coral Manta system constantly “watches” and detects movement in private pools using a built-in underwater video camera, computer vision and artificial intelligence technology.

When it identifies a potential drowning situation, it sounds an ear-piercing alarm and immediately sends a smartphone alert to all household members.

The Coral Manta system designed by Coral Drowning Detection Systems (photo credit: Courtesy)

Chakratec introduces a 10-minute charge for electric cars, by Brian Blum, Israel 21C, July 12, 2018. Excerpt:

Israeli startup is starting its first deployments in Europe. The technology puts a very modern spin on the old-fashioned flywheel.

After years of sputters and stalls, including the billion-dollar failure of Israel’s Better Place, nearly every car manufacturer is actively working up an electric vehicle (EV) roadmap. General Motors, which plans to launch 20 EV models by 2023, has some 1,700 developers, including a team in Israel, working on batteries and EV design.

There’s one electric elephant in the room, though: the time it takes to recharge an electric car.

Even the best fast-charge technology available today takes a sluggish 40 minutes to fill a depleted battery. For drivers accustomed to pulling in and out of a filling station in under five minutes, that’s not good enough.

Israeli startup Chakratec aims to speed up battery charging through a unique technology that sounds like science fiction: floating flywheels suspended in mid-air by magnetic levitation.

Chakratec’s solution is intended for the charging stations, not the batteries, so any current-generation EV ready for fast-charging will work with its system.

Chakratec battery-charging stations work with any current-generation EV ready for fast-charging.

Every Room With A View: Israeli Architect Designs Rotating Dubai Skyscraper, by Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels, February 27, 2017. Excerpt:

Do you prefer a sea view or a garden view? Sunrise or sunset? Well, if you can afford a $30 million apartment in the world’s first rotating skyscraper, you can have it all.

The brainchild of Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher, the Dynamic Tower Hotel in Dubai has been planned since 2008 and is scheduled for a grand opening in 2020. The opening is intended to coincide with that year’s World Expo, an event that the UAE expects will draw 25 million visitors to Dubai from across the globe.

When completed, the impressive structure will stand 1,375 feet tall, with each of its 80 storeys capable of rotating individually around a concrete core, offering 360-degree views of Dubai. The hotel’s residents will also be able to control rotation speeds and stop their apartment from spinning with voice commands. The skyscraper is expected to be completely self-powered, reportedly featuring as many as 79 horizontal-lying wind turbines between floors, as well as roof-mounted solar panels.

Israeli solar tech could make clean water a global reality, by Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, September 21, 2016. Excerpt:

The Jerusalem-based SunDwater, whose standalone system harnesses heat through concentrated solar power, now has two fully operational pre-production models purifying water in the Arava Desert.

Remote villages around the world that lack access to both electricity and potable water may soon be able to quench their thirst, with the development of an Israeli solar powered water distillation system.

The Jerusalem-based SunDwater, whose standalone system harnesses heat through concentrated solar power, now has two fully operational pre-production models purifying water in the Arava Desert. The hope is, according to CEO Shimmy Zimels, to market the relatively low maintenance system to small villages in South America, Africa and Asia, ideally by means of aid organizations.

“You would reduce dramatically the mortality rate in those places, specifically among the young, who suffer the most from the lack of freshwater,” Zimels told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“Today, these people spend the vast majority of their time on the quest for water,” he said, noting how much time is wasted in walking to the nearest supply. “They could invest that time in building a better future for their families.”

Along SunDwater’s journey to build a distillation system, the company had four main objectives in mind, Zimels explained. These goals included creating a system that could process as many types of unsafe water as possible, remain sustainable, produce substantial quantities of water and did not involve sophisticated infrastructure, he said.

The SunDwater system at Kibbutz Ketura

Israeli women — and tech — connect African villages to water, electricity, by Times of Israel, March 6, 2016. Excerpt:

Innovation Africa, founded by Sivan Ya’ari, has brought solar energy, improved irrigation and cleaner water to as many as 1 million people.

A charity led by Israeli women and employing Israeli technologies has connected 104 villages across Africa to water and electricity.

Innovation Africa, the Israeli organization founded by Sivan Ya’ari, has sought to better the lives of rural villagers in Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and elsewhere by mining Israeli technological innovation for solutions that fit the needs of hard-to-reach places across the vast continent. Its work was highlighted in a report on Israel’s Channel 2 on Saturday night.

In places with no electrical power, and thus no means for refrigerating medicine or food, or for turning on the lights in schools, Ya’ari’s organization turned to the solar panels that are a ubiquitous feature of Israeli rooftops. These new sources of power also allow villagers to recharge cellular phones without traveling outside their villages to find a working plug, expanding their access to communications and the Internet, the TV report showed. Computers designed to be powered by solar power are being used as educational tools.

Israeli-made locks also help cut down on theft. Israeli drip irrigation systems are dramatically increasing the efficiency of agricultural water use, leading to cheaper and larger crop yields. And a manual pump that can purify water – even sewage – to make it drinkable without the use of electricity is making water safer.

Innovation Africa’s founder and president Sivan Ya’ari and NBA all star Dikembe Mutombo visit Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa.

“HomeBiogas” Makes Fertilizer and Cooking Gas, by Mila Luleva, GreenOptimistic, November 25, 2015. Excerpt:

This compact biogas unit, developed by a promising Israeli startup, can turn your organic waste into both garden fertilizer and cooking gas.

If your household generates large quantities of organic waste, but not enough to make you follow our tutorial on how to build your own biogas plant, this new invention might be the right choice for you.

Developed by HomeBiogas, a start-up based in Israel, this home-sized biogas unit promises to take care of all your organic waste, including meat, dairy and animal manure. The unit produces both rich fertilizer and cooking gas, and requires relatively little space in your garden. It measures 123cm x 165cm x 100cm (48” x 65” x 39.4”) and weighs just under 40 kg (88lb).

County Approves Water Pact with Israel, Santa Clarita Vally TV (SCVTV) Press Release, September 1, 2015. Excerpt:

To identify solutions to the drought-related water crisis, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Mayor Michael D. Antonovich and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl establishing a formal relationship with the State of Israel to exchange research and information on water conservation, reclamation and management.

“This vital partnership will provide opportunities for Los Angeles County to learn from the State of Israel which has become completely water-independent, maintaining total water consumption levels at 1964 levels while its population has quadrupled — and only receives about an inch of precipitation a year,” Antonovich said.

“The technology Israel has developed and employed to stretch its meager water resources is truly impressive,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “I look forward to working together on ways that Los Angeles County can benefit from their work on technology and research concerning point of reuse, recycling and groundwater recharge. ”

10 top ways Israel fights desertification, by Karin Kloosterman, Israel21C, July 15, 2012. Excerpt:

Israel has gained a worldwide reputation for its ability to turn barren desert into useful and arable land. ISRAEL21c takes a look at the country’s top 10 eco-strategies.

This past year’s erratic and violent weather is only a small taste of what’s to come, climate scientists predict, as the impact of global warming starts to hit. Weather will become more unpredictable, flooding will become even fiercer, and droughts and famine more widespread as land increasingly gives over to desert.

With desert covering a large part of its surface, Israel has had to quickly develop solutions for its lack of arable land and potable water. Israeli research, innovation, achievements and education on this topic now span the globe in tackling problems common to all desert dwellers.

“We’ve done a lot of research on ecosystem response to drought because we have this problem on our doorstep,” says Prof. Pedro Berliner, director of Israel’s foremost research center for desert research, the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev Desert.

ISRAEL21c looks at Israel’s top 10 advances to combat desertification, putting special focus on the work done by researchers at the Blaustein Institute.

1. Looking to the ancients

They lived in the Land of Israel more than 2,000 years ago in the heart of the Negev Desert, yet found a way to survive and thrive. How did the Nabateans build a sustainable community that provided food, firewood and fodder for animals?

This is Prof. Pedro Berliner’s area of interest. He has developed a modern-day version of the Nabatean floodwater collection system, Runoff Agroforestry Systems, and travels the world teaching farmers in countries such as Kenya, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Mexico how to implement it. His low-tech approach redirects floodwaters to dike-surrounded plots or hand-dug pits in which trees or shrubs are planted.

Going one step further than the Nabateans, “In our system we not only plant trees and between them rows of crops, but gave the old a new twist by using legume shrub-like trees which can absorb atmospheric nitrogen through their root system,” Berliner says. Soil fertility is maintained at practically no cost, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the system.

Professor Pedro Berliner

Israeli invention powers screentime with exercise, The Jewish Standard, August 9, 2015. Excerpt:

Amazing Israeli invention a gamechanger: Kids have to earn their computer time with exercise.

Shai Shalev is a computer science and aeronautics engineer. He is also the father of three children. “As a parent, I was worried seeing my kids sitting in front of the computer for hours,” he said. “I was looking for a way to make them do some sport activity.”

“I’ve developed this system along with my kids, and it’s really working. They love it. I love it. It’s a win-win.”

How does it work?

The computer is connected to an exercise bike — and the screen is locked. it’s simple! You unlock the screen by pedaling the bike.  Other options enable parents to preset free daily time for their kids, and allow kids to earn credits on the bike and save them to use later.

“The system is intended to be fair, and to give the kids a goal that they can reach,” Shalev said.

Israel’s drip irrigation pioneer says his tech feeds a billion people, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 21, 2015. Excerpt:

As his firm prepares to unveil world’s biggest project in India, Rafi Mehudar, one of this year’s Independence Day torch-lighters, says the battle against famine is far from over.

As the world’s population grows, governments around the world are questioning how the billions of new mouths will be fed. The answer, according to Israeli inventor Rafi Mehudar, is right under their feet – in the drip irrigation technology he perfected for water tech firm Netafim.

Now found in farms around the world, Netafim’s irrigation and watering technology is already helping feed hundreds of millions, and, according to Mehudar, “it’s the only technology that has been proven to significantly increase the supply of food. We are already saving large parts of humanity from starving, and this is just the beginning.”

Over forty years after Netafim acquired the rights to the pressure regulator, his first drip irrigation invention, Mehudar is being feted for his accomplishments with one of the greatest honors bestowed by the state – the lighting of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel on Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.

Israel is a small country, but Netafim, with which Mehudar has been working since 1972, is a company that operates on a world-wide scale. “Netafim has sold over 150 billon drip irrigation devices, which cuts down water use by up to 90%, allowing farmers to spend less on water and more efficiently use their resources,” Mehudar told the Times of Israel in an interview.

An aerial view of Alicante, Spain, where a Netafim system recycles wastewater and distributes it via a drip-irrigation system, watering all public areas in the southern Spanish town. (Courtesy Netafim)

Israeli Scientists Start to Bring Star Trek Tricorder to Life, by Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, April 2, 2015. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering are in the process of bringing the iconic Star Trek “tricorder” to life.

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering are in the process of bringing the iconic Star Trek “tricorder” to life.

The essential multi-functional tool used on board the Starship Enterprise as it explored new worlds on its five-year mission in space was used to sense, compute and record data in a non-threatening manner.

So too is a new optical component and imaging processing software developed by Professor David Mendlovic and his doctoral student Ariel Raz.

Mendlovic states the obvious: “A long list stands to gain from this new technology. We predict hyperspectral imaging will play a major role in consumer electronics, the automotive industry, biotechnology and homeland security.”

The two men came together with a team of researchers at the Unispectral Technologies firm and patented an optical component based on existing microelecctromechanical (MEMS) technology that can be used in mass production and is compatible with standard smartphone cameras. The combination of the optical component and newly designed software, however, go further than the current smartphone cameras by offering superior imaging performance and hyperspectral imaging capabilities, Mendlovic said.

Israelis to dedicate largest solar field in East Africa, by Melanie Lidman, Times of Israel, February 4, 2015. Excerpt:

Gigawatt Global will formally open $23 million project to power 15,000 Rwandan homes.

A company with Israeli ties will dedicate East Africa’s first large-scale solar field in Rwanda on Thursday, which will bring power to 15,000 homes.

Gigawatt Global will officially dedicate the 28,360-panel solar field, built in the shape of the continent of Africa, on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a kibbutz-style orphanage for victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

The project, which is part of the United States government’s Power Africa Initiative, an attempt to increase access to electricity throughout all of Sub-Saharan Africa, was constructed in just 12 months.

Government officials and aid workers in Africa believe that improving electricity access is the best way for countries to develop economically.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, around 70 percent of the population, 600 million people, do not have electricity, according to Power Africa.

The $23.7 million solar field will provide Rwanda with 8.5 megawatts of power for 12 million people. The country currently has only about 138 megawatts of power, so the solar field will increase the entire country’s electricity production by 6 percent. Comparatively, the US uses almost 100,000 megawatts of power over the course of a single summer.

The solar field has more than 28,000 panels built in the shape of the African continent, on land leased from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.

(2) Health science innovation: X% of all major health science breakthroughs originate in Israel

Quick facts:

  • Although there are only 6.7 million Jews in Israel, representingless than 1/1,000th of the world’s 7.63 billion people, they produce roughly 20% of all major medical advancements.
  • A briefer on the history and dynamics of Israel’s unrivaled record in medical advancement, from the Jewish Virtual Library
  • “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”
    Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1 (22a)

Israeli-made x-ray capsule identifies warning signs of colorectal cancer, by Eytan Halon, Jerusalem Post, February 20, 2020

“When we ask patients and physicians, we get a clear answer that the device has the potential to change the natural history of colon cancer screening,” said Check-Cap CEO, Alex Ovadia.

A swallowable capsule to x-ray and identify warning signs of colorectal cancer is edging closer to the American market, promising an Israeli-led revolution in colorectal cancer prevention.

The small C-Scan capsule, developed by Isfiya-based Check-Cap, is simply swallowed by a patient to generate three-dimensional maps of the inner lining of the colon, and detect any pre-cancerous polyps or other abnormalities.

Far from the invasive and unpleasant nature of a colonoscopy, the x-ray capsule requires no preparation and autonomously communicates with a wearable tracking unit. After swallowing, the patient can continue with their daily routine and allow the technology to do its work.

The company is currently working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) toward a pivotal trial in late 2020, and the innovative technology could be commercialized in the United States by 2022. The solution was granted CE approval in early 2018, and has already been approved for sale in Israel.

“The number of people willing to do a colonoscopy is less than half – it is a problem looking for a solution,” Dr. Yoav Kimchy, founder and CTO of Check-Cap, told The Jerusalem Post. “The idea was to find a way to look for polyps and not to look for cancer. Polyps are like a warning sign and you don’t want to wait for the cancer.”

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among both men and women, and over 53,000 deaths are estimated from the disease in the US alone this year. If polyps are identified early, however, it can be one of the most preventable cancers of all. Typically-benign polyps can be present in the colon for a decade before developing into invasive cancer.

The C-Scan capsule, developed by Check-Cap (photo credit: CHECK-CAP)

New technology could revolutionize market of 500 million diabetes patients, by i24NEWS, January 14, 2020. Excerpt:

Oramed Pharmaceuticals developed insulin capsule that can be consumed orally.

A new technology developed by tech company Oramed Pharmaceuticals may revolutionize treatment methods for millions who suffer from diabetes.

Instead of injecting insulin on a daily basis, Oramed developed an insulin capsule for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that can be consumed orally.

Until now there were two main obstacles to taking insulin in the form of a pill: Firstly, a degradation that ensues from oral digestion, and secondly, the size of the insulin which is too big to get inside the bloodstream without direct injection.

“Oramed’s technology, that was developed by my mother and Professor [Avram] Hershko the Nobel Prize winner, allows us to overcome those obstacles,” Israeli CEO of Oramed Pharmaceuticals Nadav Kidron tells i24NEWS in an interview conducted in New York City.

Ariel initiates Innoging Medical, by Thierry Heles, Global University Venturing, November 1, 2018. Excerpt:

Ariel University spinout Innoging has made its public debut and will commercialise ultrasound technology that lets radiologists manipulate scans without the patient being present.

Innoging Medical, an Israel-based ultrasound technology developer, has been launched by Ariel University, Israel21c reported on Tuesday.

The company has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from unnamed angel investors and physicians.

Innoging is working on technology that combines a probe, which resembles the transducer used in the ultrasound scan, with a pad, which simulates the patient’s body. Radiologists move the probe around the pad and can see a three-dimensional model of their patient on a screen.

[Bioprinting] CollPlant Announces Positive Clinical Data Published for Tennis Elbow Treatment, by Edward Kim,, December 10, 2018. Excerpt:

Soft tissue injuries refer to damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons, and can range from modest strains to tendinitis, bursitis, severe bruises and sprains. According to an August 2018 report from Allied Market Research, the global soft tissue repair market was worth $16.6 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow to $25.6 billion by 2015, driven by an increase in sports-related injuries and a rise in obesity. While traditional treatment methods for soft tissue injuries involve the standard “RICE” recommendations of rest, ice, compression and elevation, we’ve been following a growing number of companies that are developing next generation solutions to treat these injuries in a more effective manner.

CollPlant is an Israel-based developer of tissue repair products for orthobiologic applications and advanced wound care markets. The company’s products and pipeline are based on recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) produced with its proprietary plant based genetic engineering technology. CollPlant’s lead product lines include rhCollagen BioInk, used for 3D bioprinting of tissues and organ material, and VergenixSTR (soft tissue repair), an injectable gel formulation of rhCollagen and plasma that forms a soft tissue repair matrix for treating tendon injuries. CollPlant also markets VergenixFG, which is added to bandages to help wound healing. The company’s BioInk is sold in the US, while the Vergenix line is marketed in Europe.

The Future of Medicine: new discoveries by Israeli scientists, by Embassy of Israel, December 12, 2018.

​Israel renowned as Silicon Wadi, the Silicon Valley of the Middle East has recently gained great recognition for its contributions to the world of biotechnology.

Israel is renowned for its achievements in the field of security, IT, smart mobility and start-ups, which earned the country the nickname of Silicon Wadi, the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. Lately, the country has also gained great recognition for its contributions to the world of biotechnology.

Israeli biotech initially started in 1901 with the creation of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – a very small structure at the time –, which became today the world’s biggest pharmaceutical company.

There is a consensus that the main source of innovation originates in the medical centers and the seven universities of the country. These scientific hubs opened the way for medical innovation and led to the creation of over 1400 Israeli companies in the life science sector today.

This Israeli doctor’s revolutionary discovery could end the need for kidney dialysis; Will kidney dialysis become a thing of the past? Israeli researcher discovers evidence that kidneys can be rejuvenated, by Ken Stephens, Arutz Sheva, January 26, 2020. Excerpt:

A groundbreaking study has shown that it is possible to rejuvenate damaged kidneys and improve their function, a procedure that could reverse chronic kidney disease, offsetting the need for dialysis. This is the first breakthrough in decades to combat this disease, often precipitated by hypertension and diabetes, and which affects a whopping 10% of the population worldwide.

The study was conducted by Professor Benjamin Dekel, head of Pediatric Nephrology and the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute in the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s hospital at Sheba Medical Center, and published this week in the prestigious Cell Reports medical journal.

In past studies, researchers discovered that the adult kidney constantly renews itself over time through the activity of colonies of cells that replace lost and degenerated cells in the kidney. Prof. Dekel and his team have now developed an innovative technology that involves the extraction of such healthy kidney cells from diseased kidneys. These cells are then expanded into large numbers within a laboratory environment. By generation of three-dimensional cultures called “kidney spheres,” the cells show improved function to generate new kidney tissue and replace lost cells. The new cells are then reintroduced into the kidney where they rebuild it, positively influencing neighboring cells and improving its function (see diagram below).

Israel’s alpha radiation treatment shows 100% rate of tumor shrinkage; Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Around the globe, cancer incidence has been steadily increasing over the past half-century, by Hillel Fuld, Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2019. Excerpt:

Today, there are many available cancer treatment options, with varying levels of effectiveness and safety. However, when the tumor is inoperable or there are multiple tumors, good treatment options are limited, and the medical community has long sought a cancer therapy that is highly potent (can effectively treat aggressive tumors) while sparing healthy tissue.

Alpha Tau’s Alpha DaRT (Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Treatment) is the first technology to provide a highly localized and effective treatment of solid tumors using alpha radiation. Alpha particles are known for their high capacity to destroy cancer cells, inducing irreparable double-strand breaks in cellular DNA. However, alpha particles have an extremely short path length in tissue, which means they cannot reach across the entire volume of a tumor and therefore, until recently, could not be used as treatment for solid tumors.

THE ALPHA DaRT technology, enables the spread of alpha particles across entire tumors by utilizing the radioactive decay of an isotope called radium-224. The treatment is delivered by inserting into the tumor Alpha DaRT seeds which contain radium-224 atoms embedded into their surface. In the process of decay, radium-224 releases its alpha-emitting daughter atoms. These atoms diffuse to a range of several millimeters, delivering a high dose of alpha radiation along the way.

Ben-Gurion University develops miracle molecule for fighting Lupus; NIBN, BGU and NIH researchers make breakthrough in the ‘Fight to Cure Lupus: A Proof of Concept in an Animal Model’, reported in the prestige journal Science, by Zachary Keyser, Jerusalem Post, December 29, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers from the National Institute of Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in collaboration with the National Institute for Biotechnology and the United States National Institute of Health (NIH) have made a breakthrough in dissecting the pathology of the Lupus disease – creating pathways to pave the direction towards an eventual cure to the autoimmune disease.

Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of the Department of Life Sciences and the founding director of the NIBN in collaboration with Dr. Jay Chung of the NIH have successfully shown that the mitochondrial protein VDAC1 is “critical” for the release of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). mtDNA is linked to the composition of Lupus in patients, in addition, the newly found discovery has shown results in animal models for lupus to successfully relieve symptoms of the disease.

“Our breakthrough is identifying a new pathway for the exit of mitochondrial DNA that we can either trigger under controlled conditions or inhibit using our novel molecule that we specifically developed to prevent the formation of this pathway,” said Shoshan-Barmatz in a statement. “Since the results thus far with lupus have been so promising, we believe that the molecule will be beneficial with regards to other diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis – as our preliminary results already support.”

Israel’s IceCure gets FDA nod to treat tumors in liver, kidney; The company’s treatment uses special needles to inject liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy tumors without the need for surgery, by Reuters (via Israel Hayom), December 23, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel’s IceCure Medical said on Sunday it received US regulatory approval to expand the use of its cryoablation technology to treat benign and cancerous tumors in livers and kidneys, sending its share price up 30%.

IceCure’s treatment uses special needles to inject liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy tumors without the need for surgery.

It has focused on breast cancer tumors, but now the US Food and Drug Administration approved new uses, such as against tumors in the kidney, liver, and in the fields of neurology and ear, nose, and throat, the company said.

A Yisraeli company created a user-friendly cryoablation device that turns small breast cancer tumors into ice balls. Procedure is performed in an office setting w local anesthesia, eliminating the need for more invasive treatment options like mastectomies.<3

Posted by Mery Nickey on Sunday, May 19, 2019

The FDA also approved its new MultySense system that has three probes, it said. Its earlier system had one needle.

“This machine … will allow us to treat bigger tumors or a few different tumors at the same time of treatment,” said IceCure Chief Executive Eyal Shamir, adding the new system is slated to be launched at the end of 2021.

Doctors perform historic surgery with aid of virtual reality; VR system developed by former Israeli fighter pilots helps neurosurgeons rehearse difficult procedures and show the patient what will happen, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, December 17, 2019. Excerpt:

It wasn’t going to be easy to remove a brain tumor threatening the life of 2-year-old Ari Ellman of San Francisco. Experts at several US hospitals weren’t even sure it was possible.

But Ari’s tumor was removed, piece by piece, in a groundbreaking endonasal surgery lasting nearly 18 hours.

Following three more surgeries and six weeks in the pediatric ICU, Ari is “a gorgeous healthy boy who’s loving and living life to the fullest,” according to his mom.

It was a historic surgery. Neurosurgeons at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital of Stanford University had never done this procedure on a child so young.

They felt confident enough to try the risky surgery because they were able to rehearse it to perfection using the Surgical Theater system developed by former Israel Air Force officers Moty Avisar and Alon Geri.

Surgical Theater began in 2010 with the idea of giving neurosurgeons the ability to prepare for specific surgeries the way fighter pilots prepare for specific missions.

Today, the virtual reality visualization platform is in 15 leading US hospitals, such as New York University, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Houston Methodist, George Washington University, Mount Sinai, Stanford and Children’s National Hospital.

Surgical Theater’s VR platform lets doctors and patients see inside the brain and prepare for surgery.

Israel develops ‘breakthrough’ method to identify thyroid cancer, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, December 17, 2019. Excerpt:

Doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center have developed what they are calling a “breakthrough” new method to identify thyroid cancer with 94% accuracy.

The study – led by Dr. Haggi Mazeh, head of the department of General Surgery at Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mt. Scopus, and Dr. Iddo Ben-Dov, senior physician in the Department of Nephrology – was published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Mazeh explained to The Jerusalem Post that the thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism, temperature regulation and more within the human body. However, the thyroid often develops small nodules, or solid or fluid-filled lumps that have the potential to be cancerous.

“In some cases, a biopsy should be performed to determine if the lump is benign or malignant,” the doctor said.

New Israeli technology replaces surgeon’s knife with no-cut alternative, by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2018. Excerpt:

The technology developed at the Technion softens the collagen fibers by means of a controlled release system of collagenase, an enzyme that breaks down the collagen.

People who have to undergo surgery but fear the scalpel will have a less-frightening alternative, the enzymatic “blade.” Researchers at the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at Haifa’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a device that replaces the surgeon’s knife with natural biological materials.

In an article just published in ACS Nano of the American Chemical Society, the researchers present the application of this technology in a surgical procedure in the mouth. This application significantly reduces the pain associated with orthodontic surgery and significantly accelerates tissue restoration.

The research was conducted by Prof. Avi Schroeder, a nanotechnology expert who is head of the targeted drugs laboratory and personalized medicine technologies at the faculty. The “blade” is based on the intelligent use of enzymes – biological molecules by which the body restores itself – as well as nanoparticles and technology for controlled release of drugs.

Israeli device banishes finger-pricking for sugar levels in diabetes patients, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 5, 2017.

Cnoga says it has created the first commercially available noninvasive glucose meter, using a camera and algorithms to read changes in fingers’ color.

Diabetes patients know that one of the greatest challenges in managing the ailment is tracking their blood sugar, or glucose, levels. To do that the only option available today is through the use of standard glucose meters — devices that require multiple finger pricks each day, a painful process.

For years, researchers have been trying to find a noninvasive, quicker and easier way to monitor blood glucose. Even the most advanced devices in use today, like needle sensors, which can track glucose continuously, need to be inserted under the skin every one to two weeks.

Now, Caesarea-based startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. says it has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels without pricking or pain. Its glucose meter, already approved for use in numerous countries worldwide, uses a camera to provide a diagnosis of blood glucose levels by observing the changing colors of the user’s finger.

Cnoga’s TensorTip device, also known as the CoG, allows an accurate and non-invasive monitoring of glucose levels in the blood

Israeli-developed ALS treatment reversing motor decline breakthrough, by Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, October 17, 2017. Excerpt:

Israeli firm leads new way to fight ALS, doesn’t slow down the progress of the disease, reverses the damage it causes.

You may recall friends and family dumping buckets of ice on their head to raise funds for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neuro-degenerative disease.

Current treatments are able to slow ALS’ progression but fail to maintain or restore motor movement. Now, multiple clinical trials conducted by an Israeli firm, Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics, show a first-ever reversal in expected decline for patients, likely to transform how we treat ALS.

“We showed a very strong improvement when we compare pre-treatment to post-treatment in the patients that were treated,” said Chaim Lebovits, CEO of Brainstorm, referring to the company’s advanced stem cell therapy treatment. “It means that it’s not even a slowdown of the disease, or a halt, but it’s a reversal of it. It’s unheard of in ALS, if we replicate this in a third trial.”

BrainStorm announced on Monday that its first patients had enrolled in a phase three clinical trial for its treatment of ALS at two American hospitals. The research will occur at Massachusetts General Hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center in California and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota — and it will include some 200 patients, half of whom will be given a placebo.

Israeli ice device destroys breast tumors, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, July 2, 2012. Excerpt:

For the past year, a novel Israeli medical device has been changing the way American doctors remove fibro-adenoma tumors – benign breast lumps. Now an internationally renowned Japanese surgeon is testing IceSense3, made in Israel by IceCure Medical, to destroy small malignant tumors as well.

“This is the future,” CEO Hezi Himelfarb tells ISRAEL21c.

During an ultrasound-guided procedure, the IceSense3 probe penetrates the tumor and destroys it by engulfing it with ice. Needing only local anesthetic, the cryoablation process takes five or 10 minutes in a doctor’s office, clinic or breast center, and the patient can get up and leave afterward. No recovery period or post-care is necessary.

A First in Israel, Cardiac Catheterization Conducted Using Sound Waves, by Tazpit News Agency, December 8, 2019. Excerpt:

For the first time in Israel, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem successfully performed a cardiac catheterization using sound waves to treat a complex case of severe arterial congestion.

The new catheterization was performed on Sunday with the use of special equipment developed by SHOCKWAVE on a 66-year-old patient with a calcium build-up, and after a previously performed catheterization failed to treat the problem.

The treatment entails the deployment of a tiny balloon filled with fluid and tiny balls at the point where there is a build-up of calcium within the artery. After the balloon is in place, sound waves are triggered to create a rapid movement of the balls which create cracks in the calcium inside the artery.

The cracks allow for the elasticity of the artery and the insertion of a stent in the same location, without damaging the artery.

Israeli Study Finds Molecule Triggers Self-Destruction Of Pancreatic Cancer Cells, by NoCamels, December 3, 2019. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists say a new study has shown that a small molecule called PJ34 triggered the self-destruction of human pancreatic cancer cells in mice.

According to the research, published in the peer-reviewed open-access biomedical journal Oncotarget, the administration of the molecule reduced the number of cancer cells in developed tumors by up to 90 percent in 30 days.

The study was led by Professor Malka Cohen-Armon and her team at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Talia Golan and her team at the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, and conducted with transplantations of human pancreatic cancer cells into immunocompromised mice, or xenografts.

“In research published in 2017, we discovered a mechanism that causes the self-destruction of human cancer cells during their duplication (mitosis) without affecting normal cells,” explained Professor Cohen-Armon in a statement by the university this week. “We have now harnessed this information to efficiently eradicate human pancreatic cancer cells in xenografts. The current results were obtained using a small molecule that evokes this self-destruction mechanism in a variety of human cancer cells.

Professor Malka Cohen-Armon, left, of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. Talia Golan, right, of the Sheba Medical Center.

Discovery at Hebrew University could revolutionize chemotherapy, by Arutz Sheva, November 27, 2019. Excerpt:

It is a feeling that many who receive a cancer diagnosis can identify with: heartbreak and fear, followed by hopes that chemotherapy will save the day. Unfortunately, for many patients, chemo’s painful side effects cause them to stop treatment prematurely.

Now, a research team headed by Professor Alexander Binshtok, head of the Pain Plasticity Research Group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine and Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, has developed a method that delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to malignant cells and bypasses healthy ones. This discovery could allow doctors to reduce chemo doses for patients, thereby reducing the unpleasant side-effects associated with the treatment, and improve treatment compliance and overall prognoses.

“Most anti-cancer treatments are not sufficiently specific, meaning they attack healthy cells together with the malignant ones they’re trying to get rid of,” explained Binshtok. “This leads to the many serious side-affects associated with chemo therapy. Eliminating cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones alone is an important step towards reduce patients’ suffering.”

Professor Alexander Binshtok

Israeli team uses silicon chip to deliver Alzheimer’s-busting protein to brain, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, November 26, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University have developed technology they hope will help inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published recently as a cover story in the journal Small. It was led by Prof. Ester Segal and PhD student Michal Rosenberg from the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering with their partners, Prof. Orit Shefi and PhD student Neta Zilony-Hanin from the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Engineering. […]

The chips allow the insertion of the curative protein directly into the brain and its release at the targeted tissue.

Prof. Ester Segal, of the Technion Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering

World’s first ‘artificial meniscus’ implant performed in Israel, by Tamar Beeri, Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel was the first country in the world to perform a new “artificial meniscus” transplant, which was developed in Israel by Active Implants LLC. The transplant can easily replace previous treatments for people with damaged or torn menisci to help in pain management and physical therapy.

The NUsurface Implant passed clinical trials in Israel performed by two leading surgeons, Dr. Gabriel Agar from Shamir Medical Center and Dr. Ron Arbel from Ramat-Aviv Medical Center, who were involved in the development of the new technology.

“It is an exciting time to finally be able to make the NUsurface Implant available to Israeli patients,” said Agar. “Continued pain after repairing meniscus tears is a very common orthopedic problem, and until now, we have not had effective treatment options.”

The implant, made of medical-grade plastic and inserted into the knee joint through a small incision, mimics the function of the natural meniscus. The implant requires no fixation to bone or soft tissues, allowing patients to go home soon after the operation.

A team of surgeons performs an innovative meniscus transplant. (photo credit: ACTIVE IMPLANTS LLC)

New route to blocking children’s bone cancer, by ISRAEL21c, November 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that mainly affects teenagers. Once it spreads to distant organs, it is hard to treat.

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have discovered molecular interactions underlying Ewing sarcomas and proposed a potential treatment, which showed promise in a study in mice published recently in Cell Reports.

The study focused on glucocorticoids, receptors for steroid hormones. These receptors convey hormonal messages related to stress, wakefulness and other important functions in virtually all human cells.

But sometimes glucocorticoid receptors stimulate malignant growth by moving to the cell nucleus, where they interact and bind with molecules that turn genes on or off.

In the biological regulation laboratory of Prof. Yosef Yarden, postdoctoral fellow Swati Srivastava and colleagues revealed previously unknown interactions leading to the creation of an oncogene — a cancer-causing gene.

Prof. Yosef Yarden and Dr. Swati Srivastava propose a new treatment for Ewing sarcoma. Photo courtesy of Weizmann Institute

Israeli blood cancer treatment could also kill solid tumors – new study, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, October 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel’s revolutionary CAR-T cancer treatment, which has proven successful in treating the blood cancer leukemia, might now also be effective in killing solid tumor cells coated in specific antibodies, according to research published this month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

The study was led by Dr. Yaron Carmi of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Carmi told The Jerusalem Post that chemotherapy is currently the most common treatment for fast-growing, solid tumors. However, chemotherapy attacks healthy cells and tumors at the same time, causing serious side effects, such as hair loss, nausea, mood changes, pain, anemia and nerve and muscle problems, as well as heart and kidney issues.

“Immunotherapy, on the other hand, is a type of biological therapy that uses the body’s own immune system to seek out and destroy cancer cells,” he explained.

A Tel Aviv University release explained that CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses altered T cells to fight cancer. T cells are a type of lymphocyte, or white blood cell, that play a central role in the immune response (The “T” is for thymus, where the cells mature). T cells are collected from the patient and modified in the lab to produce structures called CARs on their surface. These Chimeric Antigen Receptors allow the T cells to attach to a specific antigen on the tumor cells and kill them.

Tel Aviv University researchers (from left): Dr. Yaron Carmi, Diana Rasuluniriana, Dr. Peleg Ride (photo credit: TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY)

[Israeli research]: Ultrasound targeting the brain is poised to revolutionize the treatment for Parkinson’s disease, by Andrew Zaleski, CNBC, May 9 2018. Excerpt:

[A] noninvasive treatment option that uses focused ultrasound to mitigate the effects of essential tremor is slowly making its way into hospitals worldwide. University-affiliated medical systems, such as the Mayo Clinic, are currently using it, and more than 1,000 patients with essential tremor around the world have been treated. It’s also being tested further to see how it could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and to help deliver targeted drug therapy for people suffering from brain tumors. Israel-based Insightec, backed by $400 million of investor capital to date, is the company behind it.

The treatment involves two steps: Patients are first fitted with a helmet that transmits ultrasound waves. They’re then placed inside a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine, which allows doctors to monitor and adjust the procedure as it’s taking place.

Insightec’s focused ultrasound therapy, coupled with MRI, targets tissues deep within the brain and either thermally ablates it or disrupts cell membranes similar to how ultrasound is used to break up kidney stones.


Israeli-made innovative cancer treatment gets FDA stamp of approval, by Rachel Wolf, Jerusalem Post, September 5, 2019. Excerpt:

The world’s first drug to prevent proliferation of cancerous cells, established by Israeli scientist Dr. Sharon Shacham, just received FDA approval, kicking off Leukemia Awareness Month.

XPOVIO was developed by Karyopharm Therapeutics, a Newton, Massachusetts company established by Israel’s Dr. Sharon Shacham.

“We believe that our activity at Karyopharm constitutes an important milestone in the war on cancer,” she said.

The FDA first approved the drug for sale in July after 10 years of development. Karyopharm wrote in a press release that within six days of the FDA’s approval, cancer patients in the USA began receiving XPOVIO.

During a pivotal trial that led to the drug’s approval, approximately 40% of patients saw their tumors shrink. Karyopharm also reported that patient life expectancy increased by three to five times thanks to the treatment.

Save A Child’s Heart – Israel, saves a Uzbekistan boy with a donated heart procedure

Learn about Save A Child’s Heart here.

Teva launches generic version of EpiPen for young children, by Reuters, August 21, 2019. Excerpt:

The drugmaker has been struggling with falling prices of generics and faces lawsuits that allege it helped fuel the U.S. opioid addiction epidemic.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd on Tuesday made its generic version of Mylan’s EpiPen for young children available in most retail pharmacies at $300 for a 2-pack.

U.S.-listed shares of the Israel-based company rose 4.9% to $7 in afternoon trading.

Teva, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, is already selling the product for adults, after getting U.S. approval for its copy of EpiPen last August, following several years of delay.

Raymond James analyst Elliot Wilbur estimates the current U.S. epinephrine market is worth about $700 million.

“Teva can capture about $290 million-$300 million in annual sales, or roughly 45% market share,” Wilbur said.

New Antibacterial Fillings from Israel May Fight Repeated Tooth Decay, by TheTower, July 9, 2019. Excerpt:

Novel dental fillings made of resin-based composites enhanced by antibacterial nano-assemblies, developed at Tel Aviv University, can hinder bacterial growth on dental restorations, the main cause of recurrent cavities that can lead to root-canal treatment and tooth extractions.

“Antibiotic resistance is now one of the most pressing healthcare problems facing society, and the development of novel antimicrobial therapeutics and biomedical materials represents an urgent unmet need,” said lead researcher Dr. Lihi Adler-Abramovich.

“When bacteria accumulate on the tooth surface, they ultimately dissolve the hard tissues of the teeth. Recurrent cavities — also known as secondary tooth decay — at the margins of dental restorations results from acid production by cavity-causing bacteria that reside in the restoration-tooth interface.”

She explained that the enhanced material is superior both to composite resins, which look good but don’t have any antibacterial effect, and antibacterial amalgam fillings composed of metal alloys that have problems of toxicity and lack of adherence.

The new material “is not only aesthetically pleasing and mechanically rigid but is also intrinsically antibacterial due to the incorporation of antibacterial nano-assemblies,” said TAU doctoral student Lee Schnaider.

Technion team develops medical glue to replace stitches in serious injuries, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 11, 2019. Excerpt:

Applied with a glue gun, the melted polymer works both externally and internally, and is nontoxic, flexible and biodegradable, researchers say.

Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology have developed a glue gun to put the human body back together when it has been seriously injured.

The pins and stitches currently used to treat serious injuries come with drawbacks: They can be painful, they leave scars, they require high skill from the doctor, and they sometimes have to be removed after the tissues heal. Suture on the intestine, lungs or blood vessels often leak and therefore require a sealant.

The medical glue that the researchers have developed is a “two in one,” said Prof. Boaz Mizrahi, head of the Biomaterials Laboratory of the Technion. It replaces both stitches and the sealant, and is good for both external and internal injuries, he said.

Technion researchers have developed a medical glue gun to help heal human tissue that has been seriously injured (Courtesy)

WATCH: FDA Approves Israeli Device that Lets Paralyzed People Walk Again, by JNS (via United With Israel), June 7, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel-based ReWalk Robotics Ltd. announced that its ReStore product will have a starting price in the United States of $28,900, though leasing options will be available.

New Israeli technology can now freeze cancer cells, by i24NEWS, June 3, 2019. Excerpt:

Most patients can be treated within one hour and in some cases even within just ten to fifteen minutes.

An Israeli company based in the northern coastal city of Ceasarea has developed a revolutionary minimal technique to freeze cancerous tumors that only requires a local anesthetic.

It is already treating thousands of women with breast cancer worldwide within hospitals and doctors’ offices, including in Japan, Ausralia, Germany and Spain. A clinical trial is currently being performed in the United States.

Vice President of Icecure Medical Elizabeth Sadka explains that the method is meant “to replace the surgery for a specific population that we can offer to treat in a minimal invasive operation.”

Israeli scientists unveil world’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue, by Delphine Matthieussent, Times of Israel, April 15, 2019. Excerpt:

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say their ‘major medical breakthrough’ will advance possibilities for transplants.

Scientists in Israel unveiled a 3D print of a heart with human tissue and vessels on Monday, calling it a first and a “major medical breakthrough” that advances possibilities for transplants.

While it remains a far way off, scientists hope one day to be able to produce hearts suitable for transplant into humans as well as patches to regenerate defective hearts.

The heart produced by researchers at Tel Aviv University is about the size of a rabbit’s.

It marked “the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said Tal Dvir, who led the project.

“People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels,” he said.

The Israeli dogs that can detect cancer, by Alon Einhorn, Jerusalem Post, February 12, 2019. Excerpt:

Dogs were trained to smell cancer through different samples before, but “Dog Prognose” does it for the first time through saliva.

Somewhere in Southern Israel, a first-of-its-kind venture trains dogs to locate early signs of cancer.

The name of the laboratory is “Dog Prognose.” It allows a person to send a saliva sample (in a small plastic container), and receive an immediate answer as to whether they have cancer. The cost of the test is NIS 399, just a little over $100.

Uri Bakeman, professional dog trainer and owner of the laboratory, told Army Radio that “the most important issue is that this test detects the disease at its earliest stage, since the dogs can identify the characteristic signs of the smell of the disease. If the dog sits down after sniffing the sample, it means it is suspicious.”

In a recent study conducted by Prof. Pesach Schwartzman of Ben-Gurion University, it was determined that various types of cancer share an odor that dogs are capable of identifying.

A famous case involved Daisy, a dog who managed to correctly identify 500 cases of cancer, and smell a total of 6,500 samples. Daisy, who worked for “Medical Detection Dogs”- a foundation in the UK – passed away last year.

Daisy was a pioneer in sniffing out cancer cells in breath and urine samples, and even detected her owner’s breast cancer in its early stages.

Israel: For Your Eyes Only: the Next Great Ophthalmology Innovation, by i24 News, Mar 8, 2018:

Wouldn’t it be nice if surgery wasn’t required for ophthalmology cases? This group in Jerusalem may have the next great medical innovation to improve eyesight. Our Ariel Levin-Waldman has the story.

Israeli Company Develops Goggles Allowing Surgeons to See Right Through You, by Adi Pick/CTech, The Algemeiner, February 5, 2019. Excerpt:

Ever chose “X-ray vision” as your choice of a hypothetical superpower?

Israel-based Augmedics Ltd. has developed a set of goggles giving surgeons X-ray-like visualization capabilities.

Augmedics is creating an augmented reality headset for surgical procedures. Called xvision, the headset projects X-ray-like 3D visualization of the patient in real time, allowing surgeons to “see” through the patient’s skin, muscle tissue, and bone.

The imaging is projected onto the surgeons’ retina using the transparent display headset, allowing surgeons to simultaneously look at their patient and see the necessary navigation data without averting their eyes to a remote screen.

The headset is intended for use in surgeries where a reference to a rigid anatomical structure, like the spine or the pelvis, can be identified.

Clinical trials of the headset in minimally invasive spine surgeries have been underway in Israel since August, Augmedics’ CEO Nissan Elimelech said in a Tuesday interview with Calcalist. So far the device has been used in six surgeries.

A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists may have found one, by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, January 28, 2019. Excerpt:

“Our results are consistent and repeatable.”

A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

Israeli Scientist Wins EU Innovation Award For Breath Test Device That Detects Diseases, by NoCamels, November 26, 2018. Excerpt:

Israeli Professor Hossam Haick of the Wolfson Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology was awarded the European Commission Innovation Prize last week for his invention of the SNIFFPHONE, a device that uses nanotechnology sensors to analyze particles on the breath and is able to pinpoint to exact diseases, like certain kinds of cancer, pulmonary and even the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

Haick was awarded the prize last week in Lisbon, Portugal at the annual European Forum of Electronic Components and Systems (EFECS), which focused on humanity’s “digital future.” The Technion professor was chosen by a prize committee as the most innovative scientist realizing an idea in the field of electronic systems.

The SNIFFPHONE includes the NaNose, developed in 2014 by Haick and Professor Nir Peled of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. It is a microchip incorporated into a the breathalyzer-like device, capable of diagnosing various diseases. The device uses the presence of specific volatile organic compounds, which are unique fingerprints for various forms of diseases.

Mom’s melanoma leads to Israeli device for early detection, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, December 24, 2018. Excerpt:

Ofir Aharon invented a new technology and put it into a patented scanner that shows early deterioration of skin lesions before they become pigmented.

Ofir Aharon was in the last year of his PhD studies in electro-optics when his mother was diagnosed with melanoma.

Learning all he could about this deadly form of skin cancer, Aharon came to the conclusion that more than half of malignant melanoma lesions (usually, moles) fail to be diagnosed in the first two years after they appear – at a stage when treatment could be lifesaving.

“Physicians say 50 percent of skin cancer starts out ‘innocent’ and then becomes cancer, but pathologists familiar with tissue structure say 95% of lesions that look innocent already started as cancer. I wondered why there was no tool that could show the early deterioration of lesions much before they became pigmented,” Aharon tells ISRAEL21c.

Ofir Aharon, founder of an early detection system for melanoma.

New drug may lead to cure for aggressive brain cancer, Israeli researchers say, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 19, 2018. Excerpt:

10% of animals treated with SIXAC gained ‘extended life’ and the drug ‘actually cured them of the disease,’ Sheba Medical Center reports.

Neuroscientists at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer have discovered a new drug they say has “the potential to cure terminally ill patients” suffering from glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer.

Arizona Senator John McCain recently died of the cancer, and according to medical industry sources, there over 240,000 new cases of GBM diagnosed worldwide every year.

Israeli neuroscientists Dr. Efrat Shavit-Stein and Professor Yoav Chapman, who have been working on the treatment at the Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center, Sheba Medical Center, published their discovery in the December 17 issue of Frontiers in Neurology magazine.

Glioblastoma is believed to be the most common and deadly primary brain tumor. Despite extensive research in the field, the results of current treatments are limited and there is no cure for the disease. It is therefore necessary to seek innovative approaches, the Sheba Medical Center said in a statement.

Israeli scientists say they’ve created first fully personalized tissue implant, Times of Israel, December 4, 2018. Excerpt:

Tel Aviv University researchers convert fat cells into stem cells, then grow them into any required tissue — including for the heart and brain.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they have created the first fully personalized tissue implants, based entirely on a patient’s own cells.

According to Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, researchers have managed to create tissue for various organs that are 100 percent compatible with transplant patients, as they are grown from cells extracted from the patient.

The process has been successful with animal subjects, and the scientists hope human trials could follow soon.

Fatty tissue cells were extracted from subjects, then converted into stem cells that can be manipulated to generate any tissue type needed by the body.

Current processes to create such implants involve biologic material not derived from the patient, leading to potential rejection by the immune system and associated dangers. But the TAU researchers say they’ve succeeded in creating tissue with only the original cells, minimizing such risks.

“We were able to create a personalized hydrogel from the materials of the biopsy, to differentiate fatty tissue cells into different cell types and to engineer cardiac, spinal cord, cortical and other tissue implants to treat different diseases,” Dvir said.

Prof. Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University

Israeli technology revolutionizing brain cancer treatment, by Doron Kooperstein, YNet, January 1, 2018. Excerpt:

Optune, a skullcap developed in Israel that fights cancer using electric frequencies, has extended the lives of patients with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, by months or even years.

There is no more accurate description of “thinking outside the box” than when talking about Optune, the Israeli innovation that fights glioblastoma (GBM), a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.

Until now, there has been no effective cure for this cancer. In fact, the last time a treatment was approved for glioblastoma was 15 years ago, when a chemotherapy drug was approved, which did extend the lives of patients, but only for a very short time.

Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Every year in Israel, some 200 people are diagnosed with the disease, and 200 patients die from it. The average survival time after surgery combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy (the standard treatment to date) is only 70 weeks.

Michael Paransky wearing his Optune skullcap (Photo: Eldad Refaeli)

Israelis discover promising treatment for aggressive brain tumors, by ISRAEL21c, November 19, 2018. Excerpt:

Hebrew University researchers share results of a new glioblastoma treatment with the potential to improve and extend patients’ lives.

A new treatment for aggressive brain tumors (glioblastoma) shows great promise, according to a report by Israeli scientists that was published  recently in the journal Nucleic Acids Research.

Glioblastoma is a serious and incurable brain cancer. Patients receiving this diagnosis typically have 11 to 20 months to live. One of the main difficulties in treating this cancer is that its cells quickly build up a resistance to chemotherapy.

A team headed by Prof. Rotem Karni and PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky at Hebrew University’s Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada (IMRIC) designed a molecule that inhibits glioblastoma tumor growth by regulating the proteins it produces.

Karni explained that the MKNK2 gene produces two different protein products through a process called “RNA alternative splicing.” These proteins have two opposing functions: MNK2a inhibits cancer growth, whereas MNK2b supports cancer growth.

Hebrew University PhD student Maxim Mogilevsky and Prof. Rotem Karni in the Institute for Medical Research-Israel Canada lab. Photo by Polina Denichenko courtesy of Hebrew University

Israeli scientists develop implanted organs that won’t be rejected, by ISRAEL21c, November 14, 2018. Excerpt:

Breakthrough development uses a patient’s own stomach cells, cutting the risk of an immune response to implanted organs.

Israeli researchers report that they have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, engineered from a patient’s own materials and cells. The new technology makes it possible to engineer any kind of tissue implant, for the spinal cord, to the heart, or brain, from one small fatty tissue biopsy.

“We were able to create a personalized hydrogel from the materials of the biopsy, to differentiate fatty tissue cells into different cell types and to engineer cardiac, spinal cord, cortical and other tissue implants to treat different diseases,” said lead researcher Prof. Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology.

“Since both the cells and the material used derive from the patient, the implant does not provoke an immune response, ensuring proper regeneration of the defected organ,” Dvir explained.

The research was conducted by Dvir’s postdoctoral researcher, Reuven Edri, and doctoral students Nadav Noor and Idan Gal, in collaboration with Prof. Dan Peer and Prof. Irit Gat Viks of TAU’s Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Prof. Lior Heller of Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center in Israel. It was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Breath Test Device May Help Diagnose Early-Stage Parkinson’s Disease,
By NoCamels, September 18, 2018. Excerpt:

A team of scientists at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has developed a device they say can detect early-stage Parkinson’s disease using a breath test.

In a July study published in the scientific journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, the scientists detailed their findings following testing of the device on the exhaled breath of 29 Parkinson’s disease patients after initial diagnosis by an experienced neurologist, and 19 control subjects of similar age.

Their results, according to the research, showed accuracy levels of 81 percent.

Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra, has four main symptoms and can be difficult to accurately diagnose in its early stages. Symptoms develop gradually and include shaking or tremors, a slowness of movement called bradykinesia, stiffness in the extremities, and postural instability. Diagnoses are often first made by family physicians after which neurologists are usually consulted, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Tumors to meet a frozen end at private Haifa hospital, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, August 15, 2018. Excerpt:

IceCure’s tech to be used starting within a few months, initially on benign breast tumors and malignant kidney tumors.

A private Israeli hospital in Haifa will start using IceCure Medical Ltd.’s tumor freezing technology within the next few months to fight benign breast tumors and cancerous kidney tumors without the need for surgery, the Israeli medical devices firm said.

The firm, whose shares are traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, said Wednesday that commercial treatment of its product will start for the first time in Israel at the Elisha Hospital, using the startup’s ProSense system.

IceCure in May reported (Hebrew) results of a breast cancer trial that showed a low rate of cancer recurrence of cancer after treatment using its IceSense3 system, an earlier version of ProSense.

The treatment lasts for 20 to 40 minutes in a clinic, without surgery.

The trial, conducted in 18 clinics in the US, consisted of 146 patients with low-risk breast cancer, with only one patient showing a recurrence of the cancer. Seventy-six percent of patients returned to full daily activities 48 hours after the treatment and 95% of patients and doctors reported satisfaction with the cosmetic results, the company said in a statement.

Illustration of how IceCure Medical’s technology freezes tumors using a probe and extremely cold temperatures (Courtesy)

Nanodrops: Israel invented eye drops that repair eye vision


WATCH: Israel invented eye drops that repair eye vision.Israeli innovation is changing the world!Via Cultura Colectiva +

Posted by Hananya Naftali on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Israeli researchers say they have found a way to curb growth of cancer cells,
by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, May 15, 2018. Excerpt:

Scientists at Ben-Gurion University develop a molecule that inhibits development of a protein that is active in many tumors

A group of researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has developed a new molecule that they say inhibits the growth of cancer cells and also reprograms them to be noncancerous.

The new treatment is based on inhibiting the production of a protein, the voltage-dependent anion-selective channel 1 (VDAC1), highly increased levels of which are found in many solid and non-solid tumors.

The research was led by Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz of the Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev Ltd. (NIBN), both of which are part of BGU.

The VDAC1 protein regulates the mitochondria, which control cell metabolism. Cancer cells are known to have a very active metabolism.

“Cancer cells have hundred times more VDAC1 than normal cells,” said Shoshan-Barmatz in a phone interview. “So we said, let’s prevent, down-regulate its formation.”

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Prof. Varda Shoshan-Barmatz

Israeli Drug Achieves Dramatic Results with Lung and Colon Cancer, Virtual Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. Excerpt:

In recent months, the department of molecular biology in the Integrated Cancer Prevention Center headed by Prof. Nadir Arber and Dr. Shiran Shapira, head of the molecular biology laboratory, conducted trials on lung and colon cancer cells, achieving dramatic results and eliminating some 70% of the carcinogenic cells.

The scientists believe the drug will be found as effective for all cancer types.

The anti-cancer drug “Gammora” was developed by Israeli Zion Biomedic, a sister company of Zion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a drug that eliminates the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), in collaboration with Prof. Avraham Loyter from the Institute of Life Science in the Hebrew University who developed the drug, and Prof. Zev Sthoeger, director of the AIDS Institute at the Kaplan Medical Center.

The drug’s action was described in a statement released by Zion Biomedic: “Gammora works with unique peptides (short protein segments) derived from the HIV integrase protein. This protein is expressed by the virus and is required for the viral infection process. The peptides cause multiple copies of the viral DNA to enter the infected cell instead of just one. This triggers the cell’s apoptosis mechanism. The benefit of the new drug is that it targets only the cells infected by the virus while leaving the healthy ones unharmed. Hence, no harsh side effects are expected to the Gammora therapy. Moreover, introducing the peptide to carcinogenic cells with non-functional DNA will cause these cells to die so that when administered with DNA molecules to cancer patients, the tumor will be destroyed.

Can cannabis turn back the aging process? Israeli researchers restore the memory performance of lab mice to a juvenile stage. Clinical trials on humans are next, by ISRAEL21c, May 14, 2017. Excerpt:

As our brain ages, our cognitive abilities naturally decrease and it becomes more difficult to learn new things or devote attention to several things at the same time.

Researchers have long been looking for ways to slow down or even reverse this process.

Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report in Nature Medicine that they have now achieved this goal in mice by administering a small quantity of THC, the active ingredient in the hemp plant (cannabis).

Mice have a short lifespan and begin displaying pronounced cognitive deficits even at one year old. So the researchers gave doses of THC to lab mice at the ages of 12 and 18 months over a period of four weeks.

A low dose was chosen to avoid any intoxicating effect in the mice.

After the regimen of treatment, the scientists tested learning capacity and memory performance in the animals – including, for instance, orientation skills and their ability to recognize other mice.

Mice that were given only a placebo displayed natural age-dependent learning and memory losses. In contrast, the cognitive functions of the animals treated with cannabis were just as good as the functions of two-month-old mice used as a control group.

WATCH: Israel develops 1st blood-free device to self-diagnose heart attacks, World Israel News, May 18, 2017.

Amir Marmor, CEO of Israeli start-up CorAlert, describes the first non-invasive monitoring device that can diagnose heart failure as it’s happening, while the patient is still at home.

Israeli Scientists Make Huge Alzheimer’s Breakthrough, by Virtual Jerusalem, October 6, 2016. Excerpt:

There is new hope for Alzheimer’s patients. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed a new form of treatment which fixes the impaired gene that causes the illness. Mice that were treated recovered.

The treatment takes a new approach; targeting the APOE gene. The gene has two forms: a healthy form called APOE3 and a disease-related pathological form called APOE4. The researchers at TAU have developed an approach that will convert the bad form into the good form.

The research team is led by Prof. Daniel M. Michaelson, Director of the Eichenbaum Laboratory of Alzheimer’s Disease Research and incumbent of the Myriam Lebach Chair in Molecular Neurodegeneration at TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

“APOE4 is a very important and understudied target,” Prof. Michaelson said. “It is expressed in more than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients. Anti-APOE4 treatments are thus expected to have a major impact on the patient population.

Miracle drug with Israeli roots saves Jewish hockey player hit with cancer, by Abigail Pickus, Times of Israel, March 11, 2017. Excerpt:

CHICAGO — Hockey had been the focal point of Sam Fields’ life for almost as long as he can remember.

A Chicago native who got into the sport at the age of eight, Fields had been playing professional hockey for about five years when he was tapped for a tryout with the National Hockey League. At the age of 27, he was on the cusp of becoming one of a handful of Jews in the NHL.

But just weeks before he was to head off to NHL training camp, Fields could barely rouse himself from bed. He was sleeping for 20-hour stretches, unable to shake off physical exhaustion. One day after forcing himself out of the house to run some errands, Fields passed out while behind the wheel of his car.

Initially, doctors thought he had the flu. But it quickly became clear that there was something much more serious going on. Fields eventually was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Fewer than one in three such patients survived beyond five years, and Fields appeared to be in the advanced stages.

Hockey player Sam Fields was diagnosed with cancer at age 27, just weeks before he was scheduled to go to NHL training camp.

Revolutionary Israeli device can eliminate need for follow-up breast cancer surgery, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, February 9, 2017. Excerpt:

MarginProbe, which checks tumor’s edges while lumpectomy patient is still on operating table, is already in use in over 100 US hospitals.

Israel’s Dune Medical Devices has developed an instrument to help women with breast cancer avoid undergoing dreaded follow-up surgery to remove residual cancer cells after a tumor is removed. The device is already being used by surgeons on patients in more than 100 hospitals in the US and in Israeli medical centers.

When women undergo lumpectomies to remove breast cancers, the cancerous tissue is then sent to labs to ensure that the margins surrounding the tumor are clear of cancerous cells, so that the patients are truly cancer-free. Unfortunately, statistics show that when lab results are released, after a process that can take several weeks, one in four women is asked to return for re-excision — secondary surgery — if the tumors tested reveal that the margins are not clear, indicating some cancer cells remain in the patient’s body.

“We have developed the only technology in the world that has a commercial product that allows surgeons in operating rooms, in real time, to check the margins of the tumor, identify cancerous tissue and decide on the spot if more tissue needs to be removed or not,” Gal Aharonowitz, general manager in charge of Israeli operations, told The Times of Israel in a phone interview.

Your Breath Does More Than Repulse—It Can Also Tell Doctors Whether You Have Cancer, by Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, December 21, 2016. Excerpt:

An artificial “nose” could be the next tool for diagnosing illnesses from cancer to Crohn’s disease.

Your terrible breath is trying to tell you something—and not just that it’s time to crack open a bottle of Listerine. Within that cloud of onion and stale tuna fish odors are hundreds of chemical compounds, which combine in your mouth to create a ratio as unique as a fingerprint. By analyzing that ratio, researchers have come up with a powerful new way to detect the signatures of various diseases, from prostate cancer to Parkinson’s.

Today in the journal American Chemical Society Nano, researchers unveil a sensor array that identifies and captures the unique “breathprint” of 17 different diseases. The researchers hope that their array, which uses artificial intelligence to match up the varying levels and ratios of 13 key chemical compounds found in human breath to different diseases, will pave the way for a versatile medical diagnostic tool. After sampling the breath of more than 1,400 people, they found that their technique was able to discriminate among diseases with 86 percent accuracy. […]

But previously, such efforts have mainly been used to detect a single disease. In the new study, Hossam Haick, a nanotech expert at Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, and several dozen international collaborators aimed to lay the groundwork for a general diagnostic tool to identify the breath signatures of many diseases, including kidney failure, lung cancer, Crohn’s disease, MS, prostate and ovarian cancer, and more. Their array first assesses each compound’s relative abundance within a person’s breath, and then compares disease signatures against healthy individuals.

“We have a mixture of compounds which characterize a given disease, and this picture is different from one disease to another,” explains Haick. Using mass spectrometry analysis, the group first identified the specific compound signatures for 17 different diseases. They then sampled the breath of more than 1,400 people, using a sensory array of carbon nanotubes and gold particles to register which mix of compounds they exhaled. A suite of computer algorithms deciphered what the data told them about the presence or absence of each disease.

Mobile SniffPhone will detect cancer on a user’s breath, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, February 3, 2015. Excerpt:

Diagnostic system developed by Technion professor is to pair with tiny smell-sensitive sensor that can go anywhere.

An innovative early disease detection system that uses the sense of smell is going mobile.

The NaNose breathalyzer technology developed by Professor Hossam Haick of the Technion will soon be installed in a mobile phone – to be called, appropriately, the SniffPhone. A tiny smell-sensitive sensor will be installed onto a phone add-on, and using specially designed software, the phone will be able to “smell” users’ breath to determine if they have cancer, among other serious diseases.

By identifying the special “odor” emitted by cancer cells, the NaNose system can detect the presence of tumors, both benign and malignant, more quickly, efficiently and cheaply than previously possible, said Haick.

“Current cancer diagnosis techniques are ineffective and impractical,” he said. NaNose technology, he said, “could facilitate faster therapeutic intervention, replacing expensive and time-consuming clinical follow-up that would eventually lead to the same intervention.”

According to research done by Haick’s team, the NaNose system has a 90 percent accuracy rate.

A patient uses the NaNose breathalyzer.

[Israeli] Laser therapy with deep-sea drug kills prostate cancer in trial, by Kate Kelland, Reuters, December 20, 2016. Excerpt:

A non-surgical treatment for low-risk prostate cancer in which doctors inject a light-sensitive drug derived from deep-sea bacteria into a patient’s bloodstream was shown in a trial to kill cancer cells without destroying healthy tissue.

Results of a trial in 413 patients showed that the drug, which is activated with a laser to destroy tumor tissue in the prostate, was so effective that half the patients went into remission, compared with 13.5 percent in a control group.

“These results are excellent news for men with early localized prostate cancer, offering a treatment that can kill cancer without removing or destroying the prostate,” said Mark Emberton, a University College London consultant urologist who led the trial. “This is truly a huge leap forward.”

The treatment, called vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy or VTP, was developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel in collaboration with the privately-owned STEBA Biotech.

Israeli-developed molecule shown to protect brain, by Judy Siegel, The Jerusalem Post, July 12, 2016. Excerpt:

“This research demonstrates the potential for TXM-peptides to significantly reduce cognitive impairment after mild traumatic brain injury.”

A single dose of a new molecule developed by Hebrew University researchers has been shown to protect the brain – so far in mice – from inflammation, cell death and cognitive impairments that often occur after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

This injury occurs frequently in children (for example in school and road accidents) and adults, particularly among athletes and the elderly (when they fall). But because external signs or objective structural brain damage can not been seen, mTBI is an under-diagnosed injury. But it is often accompanied by long-lasting cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with biochemical and cellular changes.

While mTBI symptoms mostly disappear within days or weeks of the injury, up to half of mTBI patients experience symptoms even a year after injury. These may include psychological symptoms, subjective cognitive impairments, and bodily complaints.

At present, there is no effective treatment for patients with mTBI.

“It is widely known that external or internal injury strongly activates the inflammatory response and leads to cell death through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways, which are involved in the cellular responses that lead to inflammation in brain cells,” said Prof. Daphne Atlas, from the biological chemistry department at the university’s Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.

“Therefore, for reversing the effects of mTBI, it is essential to calm the inflammatory pathways.”

At her Jerusalem lab, Atlas developed new molecules derived from the active site of Trx1, called thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM-peptides).

WATCH: Israeli ‘Wonder Cream’ Rapidly Heals Wounds!, by World Israel News, July 18, 2016. Excerpt:

One of the worst results of a deep wound is the difficult healing process. Israeli company Biotreat 21 has invented what it calls a miracle cream, claiming it could completely regrow damaged skin by utilizing one’s own immune system. Initial trials have erased scars and even healed severe diabetic ulcers.

“All of us suffer from cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns. One, they are painful, and two, they don’t heal well,” says Dr. Mark Lubin, Biotreat 21’s marketing and communications director, explaining what the product contains and how it works.  It’s still in the testing stage, however, so the public will have to wait a bit longer to try it.

High-pressure oxygen for fibromyalgia, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, August 18, 2015. Excerpt:

Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are used in many countries to treat patients with embolisms, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness. Now, an Israeli study shows that the high-pressure pure oxygen treatments are also helpful for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome affecting an estimated one in 70 Americans, most of them women.

The study, published recently in the journal PLoS ONE, describes how the researchers were able to map the malfunctioning brain regions responsible for the syndrome, and used hyperbaric oxygen treatment to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, the need for pain medication.

“As a physician, the most important finding for me is that 70 percent of the patients could recover from their fibromyalgia symptoms,” said Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research and head of R&D at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin, and a faculty member at the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University (TAU).

Fibromyalgia can be triggered by head trauma, a neurological infection or severe emotional stress, and causes symptoms such as musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory loss and mood swings. Few therapies have been found to be effective in assuaging its symptoms.

Israeli researchers discover why diets don’t work, by Arutz Sheva, November 20, 2015. Excerpt:

Research in Israel shows effects of foods can be radically different from person to person, proving importance of microbiome.

A healthy food for one person may lead another to gain weight, according to a study out Thursday that suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting is fundamentally wrong.

For instance, one woman in the study repeatedly experienced a spike in blood sugar after eating tomatoes, which would generally be considered a low-fat, nutritious food.

The findings are based a study of 800 people in Israel, and are published in the journal Cell Press.

“The first very big surprise and striking finding that we had was the very vast variability we saw in people’s response to identical meals,” said researcher Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Participants wore blood sugar monitors that took measurements every five minutes for an entire week.

They also provided stool samples so that their gut microbiome could be analyzed, and kept a careful log of everything they consumed.

None of the participants had diabetes, but some were obese and had a condition known as pre-diabetes.

Researchers were stunned to see the difference in people’s metabolic responses to the exact same foods.

Researchers Regenerate Heart Cells In What Could Be A Huge Breakthrough For Heart Disease Treatments, by Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels, May 6, 2015. Excerpt:

Heart attacks are one of the most common and deadly human ailments, with a cardiovascular event striking once every 34 seconds in the United States. Yet few know that following a heart attack, a good portion of the heart muscles remain damaged, leaving patients at risk for future heart failure and other serious cardiovascular diseases. And despite the brevity of most cardiovascular events, human heart cells rarely regenerate (unlike blood, hair and skin cells), which led researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel to question whether heart cells can be programmed to reverse damage in the heart.

Prof. Eldad Tzahor and Dr. Gabriele D’Uva succeeded in both understanding why heart cells don’t regenerate in repairing damaged heart muscles in mice. These insights may be key in formulating a treatment for heart conditions related to and following heart attacks, that is if the researchers succeed in regenerating heart cells in human subjects as well.

Using his knowledge of embryonic development, particularly as it pertains to the heart, Tzahor set out to understand why humans are naturally unable to regenerate their own heart cells. Animals, like salamanders and zebrafish, are able to regenerate heart cells, and though they don’t usually live through heart attacks (if they have any) their hearts are able to naturally recuperate from minor cardiovascular events.

Inspired By Israeli Air Force Simulators, Former Pilots Develop 3D Brain Simulator for Surgeons, by Betty Ilovici, NoCamels, December 25, 2014. Excerpt:

For decades, pilots have practiced for combat missions using flight simulators. Now, brain surgeons are adopting a similar ritual, using flight simulation technology during both rehearsal for and practice of complex microsurgical procedures.

Surgical Theater, founded by former Israeli Air Force officers Alon Geri and Moty Avisar in 2010, developed a revolutionary brain surgery simulation method for doctors. Much like a flight simulator, Surgical Theater helps surgeons with pre-operative and intra-operative surgery preparation, making sure that doctors are fully briefed and prepared before embarking on complex surgical procedures.

Non-Invasive Brain Navigation System Helps to Remove Tumors

Preparation is crucial; nearly 70,000 new cases of brain tumors will be diagnosed in the US next year, 4,600 of them in children, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Previous simulators in the medical field were designed for training and teaching, but Surgical Theater takes simulation to a new level of planning and rehearsal. Geri and Avisar have come up with a simulator that enables brain surgeons to rehearse on 3D holograms (images) before actually performing complex procedures, such as removing cancerous tumors and treating aneurysms, on the patient.

Surgeons using Surgical Theater

Wearable device slows brain tumor growth, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, February 4, 2015. Excerpt:

TTFields therapy, developed by an Israeli scientist, delivers low-intensity alternating electric fields via a scalp device to inhibit cancer cells.

A novel wearable device, already used on nearly 2,000 patients to slow the growth of cancerous glioblastoma brain tumors using electrical fields, is now being tested to judge its effectiveness against other types of solid tumors.

A novel wearable device, already used on nearly 2,000 patients to slow the growth of cancerous glioblastoma brain tumors using electrical fields, is now being tested to judge its effectiveness against other types of solid tumors.

Novocure Chief Science Officer Eilon Kirson tells ISRAEL21c that the 15-year-old company’s Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) technology is being tested on ovarian and pancreatic cancer patients and patients with cancers that have spread to the brain.

At the same time, Novocure is involved in trials to see if TTFields can extend the life of even more patients with glioblastoma, the most common form of primary brain cancer in adults. Approximately 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

“Electric field-based therapy had never been used to treat cancer beyond very local therapies,” Kirson explains. “Treating entire parts of the body this way is a completely novel concept and technology, and there is no other one like it. Novocure owns the entire IP portfolio for the science and the product.”

TTFields therapy, developed by Dr. Yoram Palti, now a retired Technion professor, is delivered via a non-invasive electrode device attached to the patient’s scalp. The low-intensity alternating electric fields have been clinically proven to slow and even reverse tumor growth by inhibiting the process of cells division and replication.

Israel’s Exelon inventor sees an end to Alzheimer’s, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 22, 2015. Excerpt:

Medicine’s next great challenge is to help people live better-quality lives, says Dr. Marta Weinstock-Rosin, one of this year’s Independence Day torch-lighters.

Dr. Marta Weinstock-Rosin, inventor of Exelon, a drug that improves memory and slows its decline in subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, is a big believer in the ability of medical science to help people live longer and better-quality lives. “It’s sad to see someone who is afflicted with a disease like Alzheimer’s,” Weinstock-Rosin told the Times of Israel. “On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a modern phenomenon; 100 years ago you never saw people like that, because they all died of other diseases before the brain degenerated.”

And eventually, she believes, a preventive treatment will be found for Alzheimer’s and the other maladies of the brain, along with cancer, heart disease, and the other great medical challenges of the modern era. Exelon, the drug she created to treat Alzheimer’s, is just the beginning. “A young person today may live to see a time when Alzheimer’s and many of the other great challenges are preventable,” she said.

Rivastigmine, commercially known as Exelon, is one of the most important drugs to have emerged from Israeli medical research labs in recent years. In recognition of this fact, its chief developer, Weinstock-Rosin, was awarded the Israel Prize for Medicine last year for her work. In a further honor, Weinstock-Rosin was chosen this year to light of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.

[Israel] Beating the malaria parasite at its own game, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, April 22, 2015. Excerpt:

Israeli scientists develop a novel method to suppress malaria parasite’s virulence genes so that it cannot evade the immune system.

Up to one million people — mainly pregnant woman and young children — are killed each year by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the most devastating form of human malaria.

Israeli researchers have now revealed the genetic trickery this deadly parasite deploys to escape attack by the human immune system.

The parasite replicates within the circulating blood of infected individuals and modifies the surface of the infected red blood cells. It hides from the immune system by selectively varying which surface protein, or antigen, it displays at any one time.

Hebrew University Prof. Ron Dzikowski has long believed that understanding exactly how the deadly Plasmodium falciparum parasite bypasses the immune system – and bypasses drug therapies as well — will open the door to a more effective battle plan against the malaria parasite, which infects about 250 million people worldwide.

“Others are looking for drugs or vaccines, but the parasite is always one step ahead of us,” he told ISRAEL21c in 2013, when he won a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant for his team’s work in uncovering this genetic mechanism. “Our approach is to understand how these parasites evade immune attack, and then we can learn how to disrupt this ability.”

With his PhD student Inbar Amit-Avraham, Dzikowski recently found the key: At the precise moment in the cell cycle when a specific gene of the parasite is displayed, corresponding long noncoding RNA molecules (lncRNAs) incorporate themselves into DNA structures, determining how the parasite selects a single gene for expression while the rest of the family is kept silent.

Prof. Ron Dzikowski with PhD student Inbar Amit-Avraham.

Israeli-developed breath test catches stomach cancer early, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 14, 2015. Exerpt:

NaNose, the Technion-built nano-technology detection system, proves as effective as standard method, far simpler, cheaper.

The NaNose technology developed at Israel’s Technion is an effective tool in detecting early-stage gastric (stomach) cancer, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Gut.

The study showed that the tech was able to detect elements indicating the onset of the cancer in the breath of patients, matching the results picked up by the standard method of gastric cancer detection, called GCMS (gas chromatography mass spectrometry).

The advantage of his method, said Dr. Hossam Haick of the Technion, inventor of NaNose, is that the nano-tech breath analysis is a lot cheaper and presents results far more quickly than GCMS. “The attraction of this test lies in its non-invasiveness, ease of use, rapid predictiveness, and potentially low cost,” enabling doctors in clinics who don’t have access to the expensive needed for GCMS analysis to diagnose stomach cancer.

“Mostly the patient arrives for diagnosis when the symptoms of the sickness have already begun to appear,” Haick told The Times of Israel in an interview earlier this year, describing the drawbacks in current detection protocols. “Months pass before a real analysis in completed. And the process requires complicated and expensive equipment such as CT and mammography imaging devices. Each machine costs millions of dollars, and end up delivering rough, inaccurate results.”

The NaNose technology, installed in a breathalyzer device, on the other hand, doesn’t require anything more than a patient’s breath in order to come up with an initial diagnosis. Cancer tumors produce chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which easily evaporate into the air and produce a discernible scent profile. Haick’s NaNose chip detects the unique “signature” of VOCs in exhaled breath. In four out of five cases, the device differentiated between benign and malignant lung lesions and even different cancer subtypes.

Israeli app offers alternative to hyperactivity medications, by Viva Sarah Press, ISRAEL21C, April 8, 2015. Excerpt:

Forget Ritalin, new Israeli company Myndlift has an app that can improve attention disorders without negative side effects.

Aziz Kaddan, one of the co-founders of Myndlift, didn’t flinch when asked in front of an audience of global entrepreneurs and scientists at the recent BrainTech conference in Tel Aviv how he plans to go up against the better-funded American companies with his alternative non-drug treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Myndlift uses neurofeedback, also known as electroencephalographic (EEG) biofeedback, to train the brain to focus. It’s a computer-based technique developed and tested by NASA to improve attention, focus and learning.

Kaddan, the 22-year-old phenomenon taking Israel’s brain-tech world by storm, knows the path to changing hyperactivity treatment is a tough one but he’s positive his app-based, wearable neurofeedback solution, coupled with specially tailored mobile games that only work through concentration, can increase attention levels with just 10 minutes of play time a day.

“I know that I have a product that has a value to a lot of people,” he tells ISRAEL21c, from his co-working space for high-tech entrepreneurship and innovation at Tel Aviv’s public library.

Myndlift’s idea is to get sufferers of ADD and ADHD off medications like Ritalin, which suppresses appetite and has other negative side effects, and help them focus their minds using a mobile app, neurofeedback and a brain-sensing wearable technology.

The Myndlift team, from left: CEO Aziz Kaddan, customer relations specialist Amr Khalaily, lead developer Hilal Diab and CTO Anas Abu Mukh.

Nano-bullet tech shoots down brain cancer in Tel Aviv U study, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 12, 2015. Excerpt:

Israeli researchers may have discovered a way to beat the worst form of malignant glial tumors

The worst form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is considered largely incurable by doctors. Victims generally die within a year and a half of being diagnosed with the tumors. It’s such a devastating disease that the National Academy of Sciences calls it “the Terminator.” But an innovative nanotech-based “end-run” around cancer cells by Tel Aviv University researchers could provide doctors with a new way to treat – or even cure – GBM and other malignant killer cancers.

The technique, developed by Prof. Dan Peer of TAU’s Department of Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Scientific Director of TAU’s Center for NanoMedicine, has proven itself in the past: It’s based on the “cancer bullet” system Peer and other TAU researchers developed that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, using bioadhesive liposomes (BALs), consisting of regular liposomes reduced to nano-sized particles that attach themselves to the cancerous cells. Peer and Prof. Rimona Margalit, with whom he developed the method, have published several studies showing its effectiveness.

That research was done on ovarian cancer tumors, and it proved to be effective – but that wasn’t the case when it came to GBM, which is far less responsive to chemotherapy. Prof. Zvi R. Cohen, Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Unit and Vice Chair at the Neurosurgical Department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel, contacted Peer to discuss whether anything could be done for individuals suffering from the aggressive and fatal form of brain cancer.

“I was approached by a neurosurgeon insistent on finding a solution, any solution, to a desperate situation,” said Peer. “Their patients were dying on them, fast, and they had virtually no weapons in their arsenal. Prof. Zvi Cohen heard about my earlier nanoscale research and suggested using it as a basis for a novel mechanism with which to treat gliomas,” the cancers that originate in glial cells in the spine or brain, of which GBM is the most devastating.

To Stop Cancer From Spreading: Shoot The Messenger, by NoCamels, April 9, 2015. Excerpt:

Humans need to communicate with each other in order to get things done – at work and at home. But so do the cells inside our bodies, which transmit messages from their outer walls to their inner nucleus. These messages prompt them to take immediate action. Now, it turns out that if cancerous cells don’t receive certain messages, the spread of cancer throughout the body can be halted. How? Israeli researchers have come up with a method of shutting off the overflow of information that creates cancerous mutations.

The average living cell must transmit a constant stream of messages quickly and efficiently from its outer walls to the inner nucleus, where most of the day-to-day “decisions” are made. But this rapid, long-distance communication system leaves itself open to mutations that can give rise to a “spam attack” that promotes cancer. Weizmann Institute scientists have identified a potential drug molecule that stops only cancerous cells (not healthy ones) from getting their “mail.”

Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Rony Seger and his team have proposed a new method of shutting off the overflow of information before it can get to the nucleus. Their method could be used to treat a number of different cancers, especially several that develop resistance to current treatments, and it might possibly induce fewer side effects than those treatments do. These findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Diabetics worldwide to benefit from artificial pancreas, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 7, 2015. Excerpt:

Medical device giant Medtronic will use a unique algorithm developed at an Israeli hospital to help patients in 120 countries.

Israeli medical tech firm DreaMed Diabetes has struck a deal with Medtronic, the world’s biggest medical device company, to use its MD-Logic Artificial Pancreas algorithm in Medtronic’s insulin pumps.

Under the terms of the agreement, DreaMed Diabetes will receive undisclosed royalties from future sales of each device utilizing MD-Logic.

In addition, Medtronic has made a minority investment in DreaMed Diabetes of $2 million.

A distribution deal with a company like Medtronic is about as big a deal as a medical technology developer of any type could hope to achieve. The company had nearly $30 billion in revenue last year, and a market cap well over $100 million, and operates in more than 160 countries.

Working with a company like that is extremely exciting, said Prof. Moshe Phillip, MD, chairman and chief scientific officer of DreaMed Diabetes. Phillip is also director of the Institute for Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, which is located in Petah Tikvah — where the system was developed.

What was especially exciting, he said, was that the project was started a mere one year ago. “This is an extremely gratifying validation of our technology and a major milestone for our company,” said Phillip.

Israeli scientists develop body armor inspired by fish skin, by Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, April 8, 2015. Excerpt:

The protective yet flexible material could be used to protect soldiers and space-walking astronauts.

Israeli scientists have recently developed an innovative new material able to withstand bullets and knife attacks that could revolutionize body armor technology.

Inspired by the scaly skin of fish, researchers from the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology designed a hybrid double-layered material that provides protection against penetration while preserving flexibility.

“The secret behind this material is in the combination and design of hard scales above with soft, flexible tissue below,” lead researcher Assistant Professor Stephan Rudykh told American Technion Society — a university-affiliated website — last month.

While strength and flexibility are generally competing properties, Rudykh said that his team found that by varying the angle in which the scales are arranged, it was possible to increase their resistance to penetration by up to 40 times, while the flexibility of the material only decreased by 5 times.

Researchers used a 3D printer to create the hard, outer surface out of acrylic-based plastic scales positioned at varying angles between 10 and 45 degrees. Afterwards, the outer layer was attached over a softer material, meant to mimic the flexibility of skin.

Rudykh hopes that by using 3D printing, body armor made from the material could be customized for body type or fined-tuned for different scenarios. In addition to making bulletproof clothing for the military, the material could be used to protect space-walking astronauts from radiation and micro-meteors.

Assistant Professor Stephan Rudykh with a sample of the durable material (photo credit: Technion — Israel Institute of Technology)

Israeli Vaccine Blocks 90% of Cancer Types, by Arutz Sheva, January 2, 2015. Excerpt:

Vaxil BioTherapeutics’s ImMucin trains immune system to fight cancer cells and prevent the disease’s return for early stages and remission.

An Israeli biotech company is developing a vaccine for cancer that it says can help prevent the return of the lethal disease for 90% of the different types of cancer.

Vaxil BioTherapeutics based in Nes Ziona has been developing ImMucin for more than five years, and already has seen strong success in testing indicating it can be a vital tool in combating cancer. The disease kills eight million people worldwide per year, and sees 14 million new cases diagnosed annually according to the World Health Organization.

“Vaxil is developing a drug to keep the cancer from coming back,” Vaxil’s CFO Julian Levy told NoCamels. “We are trying to harness the natural power of the immune system to fight against cancer by seeking out cancer cells and destroying them.”

(3) LGBT welcoming: Israel is the only nation in the Middle East in which the LGBT community can live openly, safe from systemic oppression & terror in the region

Quick facts:

  • Israel is one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly nations, and hosts one of the largest annual Pride Festivals
  • Every nation in the Middle East — except Israel — has outlawed homosexuality, with punishments ranging from imprisonment to execution
  • The LGBT community throughout the rest of the Middle East must live secretly, in chronic fear of harassment, discrimination, terror and violent attacks, including from their own families
  • Israel is the only nation in the region in which the LGBT community can flee, to live openly, in peace and freedom

For Gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv Is Mecca, by Kathleen Peratis, The Forward, February 24, 2006. Excerpt:

Arab human rights organizations sometimes advocate for gay rights, but they do so sotto voce. In fact, the only country in the Middle East in which gay people may safely leave the closet is Israel. Which is why, for gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is Mecca.

Gay Palestinian men flee to Israel because they are not safe in the West Bank and Gaza. They also have no place else to go.

“Israel is close and far at the same time,” says Haneen Maikey, a gay rights activist with Jerusalem Open House, one of the principal gay rights organizations in Israel. If the sexuality of a gay man in Palestine is exposed, his family might torture or kill him and the police will turn a blind eye.

Because they are so vulnerable to blackmail, it is assumed by the families and neighbors of gay Palestinian men — sometimes correctly — that they have been blackmailed into becoming informers, either for Israeli intelligence or for opposition Palestinian factions. So when they meet a violent end, the motivation of the killers is not entirely clear.

Hiding Out: Gay Palestinians In Israel: The ‘Invisible Men’; On the run from their Palestinian families, living illegally in Israel—treated by both sides as the enemy—gays from the Palestinian territories can’t go home again, by Itay Hod, The Daily Beast, August 13, 2014.  Excerpt:

It’s a dreary day in Norway despite it being the middle of summer. “It hasn’t stopped raining,” [Abdul Rawashda, a 27-year-old Palestinian from Hebron] said, covering himself with a thick blanket. “I’ll never get used to this weather.” From his balcony overlooking the American embassy hangs a Palestinian flag. “I want them to see it every morning when they come in,” he laughs.

It’s a far cry from his hometown in the West Bank, the place he was forced to flee. “I’m happy,” he said. “I love Norway. I have Norwegian citizenship now. I can go anywhere in the world.” Then, he pauses, realizing the irony in his last words. “Except home, of course.”

On January 26, 2010, Rawashda was picked up by the Palestinian secret police in the middle of the night. Cops had gone through his friend’s cellphone, where they found text messages sent from Rawashda that made it clear they were both gay. Next thing he knew, he was in an interrogation room being accused of collaborating with Israel. “I’d never even been to Israel before. But anyone who’s gay is immediately accused of spying for the enemy.”

For the next 16 hours, Rawashda was brutally beaten and tortured. Twelve thugs in uniform dunked his head in a toilet, trying to get him to sign a confession. “It was the worst night of my life. I don’t like talking about it.” When Rawashda refused, they picked up the phone, at 5 a.m., called his dad and told him his son was gay.

“They knew it was my biggest fear. They wanted to punish me.” His mom told him over the phone not to return home because his father and brother were going to come after him. “I had ‘dishonored’ the family.”

With the help of some friends, Rawashda escaped to Jordan, then Israel. He was in awe of Tel Aviv, a gay-friendly city with Pride parades rivaling those in Berlin and Amsterdam. As we chat about his life in Israel, Rawashda tells me to pan the camera so he could see the street behind me. “How is Tel Aviv?” he asks. “I miss it.”

Video: “Israel: Gay Oasis”

“We came to Israel from one of Americas most progressive and accepting cities, San Francisco. In search of common ground, we decided to look at Israel through the lens of the gay community. All we really had starting out was a BlueStar postcard telling us that gay Israelis could serve in the army, a right still not enjoyed by our fellow Americans. The question was, how does a country so wrapped up in religion and conflict exceed our relatively peaceful and secular nation in terms of gay rights?. What kind of gay community has grown up in Israel in the last sixty years? And where will it lead? We found that Israels gay community has fought at least as hard as ours to secure its rights. And that even a nation surrounded by enemies can find a place for every one of its citizens to belong.”

Tel Aviv Declared World’s Best Gay Travel Destination, by Haaretz, Jan 11, 2012.  Excerpt:

In a world-wide survey hosted and American Airlines, 43 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the White City, pushing it ahead of other proud towns including New York, Toronto and London.

Israel’s LGBT community has a reason to be proud: It has officially been proclaimed the best gay travel destination of 2011.  In a world-wide survey conducted by and American Airlines, 43 percent of voters cast their ballot in favor of the White City, followed by New York City with 14 per cent, Toronto with 7 per cent, Sao Paulo with 6 per cent, Madrid and London with 5 per cent each and New Orleans and Mexico City with 4 per cent each.

200,000 party at Israel Gay Pride Parade, region’s biggest, by Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2016. Excerpt:

Colorfully-dressed drag queens and bare-chested muscular men on floats partied alongside thousands of others from the LGBT community at Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade on Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Israeli media reported that 200,000 people joined the festivities. “The sun is out and everybody is partying and having fun, the atmosphere is great,” said Christian Tummann, a German tourist celebrating with his husband.

“I feel so happy, so happy, that I can go to the Middle East and still be proud, it’s very nice,” said Swedish tourist Dona Ulzen.

West Bank, Gaza no haven for LGBT Palestinians, by Christopher Scott McCannell, Washington Blade, July 9, 2015. Excerpt:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray visited the only Democratic state in the Middle East and the only one that protects the rights of all minorities, including gay and lesbian citizens. His visit to Israel as well as time spent in the West Bank, where he experienced firsthand the challenges facing the Israeli and the Palestinian populations is one that is often taken by American elected officials to understand the daily security threats the Israeli people endure. As the Syrian war continues to rage on at Israel’s northern border and the threat of ISIS grows throughout the Middle East, Israel’s strong and vibrant democracy is needed more than ever.

While in Tel Aviv, Mayor Murray spoke at a conference marking the 40th anniversary of Tel Aviv Pride, which reflected the accomplishments and continuing work that Israel needs to do to achieve true equality. This conference was hosted by the U.S.-based NGO A Wider Bridge, which promotes LGBT support for Israel and the Agudah, Israel’s version of the Human Rights Campaign. Israel’s record on LGBT issues has been one of the strong hallmarks of a democratic and civil society and includes being one of the first countries to allow gays to serve openly in the military, allowing equality at workplaces and recognizing same sex marriages performed outside of Israel. Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay community is known for its 150,000 strong Pride march as well as a vibrant LGBT center supported by politicians of all stripes.

(4) Humanitarian benevolence — even to the soldiers, civilians and children of Israel’s enemies

Quick facts:

  • Israel is one of the most generous nations in the world, even to those sworn to its destruction
  • Israel has placed its own soldiers and medical personnel at risk to help rescue and provide both emergency and restorative medical treatment to Syrian soldiers, civilians and their children, who must cross over the treacherous border into the Jewish state
  • Israel routinely provides life-saving medical treatments to the children of terrorist-controlled Gaza, and the Palestinian territories

Israeli doctors who saved thousands of Palestinian children honoured by UN, by Verena Dobnik, Independent (UK), June 30, 2018. Excerpt:

A group of Israeli doctors have bypassed the region’s politics to save thousands of Palestinian children and those from 57 other countries by operating on their diseased hearts.

Earlier this week, the doctors with Save a Child’s Heart, an organisation based in Holon just south of Tel Aviv, were honoured at the United Nations, where Israeli positions have often clashed with those held by Arab member nations.

But group co-founder Dr. Sion Houri said that when it comes to children’s lives, “Our activity is international, non-political and non-religious.”

Dr Lior Sasson and his fellow physicians have performed surgery on nearly 5,000 children since Save a Child’s Heart was founded over 20 years ago ( REUTERS/Yonathan Weitzman )

Israeli Doctors Save Young Syrian Refugee Child With Heart Defect, Mother Thanks Israel, by Jewish National News, August 19, 2019. Excerpt:

Israeli doctors at a Jerusalem hospital have saved a one-and-a-half-year-old Syrian toddler with a heart defect whose parents fled with him from the carnage of their country’s civil war.

The child’s mother — identified only as L. — told Israeli news website Mako on Saturday that she and her husband knew their son was ill very early.

“He looked small for his age and very thin,” she said. “I felt something was wrong. He seemed to be in pain all the time, crying, uneasy, especially when he was asleep.”

A doctor later told her that her son was suffering from a serious congenital heart problem. He was hospitalized eight times in Syria and regularly medicated. L. later went to Jordan with her husband, but doctors there told her there was no surgical option.

Israeli doctor treating Syrians hopes to save hearts and win minds, by Eric Cortellessa, Times of Israel, August 18, 2019. Excerpt:

In 2013, Salman Zarka, then head of IDF medical corps in the north, sent injured Syrians who came to Israel’s border to a Safed hospital. Now, he’s running it.

For Israeli soldiers guarding the country’s northern border, Shabbat morning is often, though not always, quite placid, even with a raging civil war unfolding miles away.

The Israel Defense Forces have naturally been vigilant to keep the Syrian conflict from bleeding into Israel, especially over the last year as Iran has sought to entrench itself in the beleaguered Arab state. But more often than not, it hasn’t been Syrians with weapons who head toward Israel’s borders: it has been Syrians with injuries.

That came to the fore on a fateful morning in February 2013, when seven Syrians arrived at the Israeli border in need of serious medical attention. The medics there provided them with care, but it soon became clear that this would not be enough to save their lives.

Dr. Salman Zarka, director of the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, Israel, speaks with a Syrian girl to whom he gave treatment (Courtesy).

Israeli lacrosse team buys new shoes for cleatless Kenyan rivals, Times of Israel, August 16, 2019. Excerpt:

After realizing their opponents were at a disadvantage, the Israelis surprise the Africans with a useful gift

Israel and Kenyan lacrosse players embrace after the Israeli team gifts its opponents with new cleated shoes, August 7, 2019

Israel’s under-19 Women’s lacrosse team showed some true sportsmanship during the World Championship in Ontario, Canada, last week, after they realized their opponents were playing at a disadvantage.

During their match against Kenya in Peterborough on August 6, the Israelis noticed the underfunded African team did not have cleated shoes as is standard in the sport. The grass was wet from rain and the Kenyans were slipping and having great difficulty with the field conditions. Israel eventually won the game 13-4.

Ashlee Aitken, a liaison for the Kenyan team in Canada, told Global News: “Unfortunately the cleats that they had ordered and sent to Canada all came in the wrong sizes so they had no shoes to play.”

The Israeli team members decided to take action, and spoke with their parents who agreed to fund shoes for the Kenyan athletes. The Israelis contacted the Kenyan coach and discretely obtained the girls’ sizes, then found a store in town that could quickly supply the order.

Telegraph Reporter Reveals Lengths Israel Goes to in Effort to Avoid Harming Palestinian Civilians in Gaza Airstrikes, The Algemeiner, November 16, 2018. Excerpt:

A tweet published by The Daily Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent on Thursday revealed the lengths the Israeli military went to in order to not harm Palestinian civilians during the surge of violence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip earlier this week.

“We got a sense of how careful Israel was to avoid civilian casualties during the airstrikes in #Gaza,” Raf Sanchez wrote. “The Israeli army called one guy we met and spent 45 mins on the phone with him, getting him to evacuate his neighbours, before they blew up a Hamas media building next to his.”

Israeli doctor treating Syrians says snipers deliberately shoot children in the spine, by Inna Lazareva, Telegraph (UK), March 14, 2014. Excerpt:

Doctor makes claim after UN report shows child casualty rates in Syria are the highest recorded in any recent conflict in the region.

A Syrian boy on a wheelchair in Qah refugee camp. A UN report notes child casualty rates in Syria are the highest recorded

A senior Israeli doctor treating child victims of the Syrian civil war has said that snipers in the war-town country are aiming for the spine to cause maximum trauma.

Dr Yoav Hoffman, a doctor at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, is one of many doctors who has been treating severely wounded Syrians at the Western Galilee Medical Centre in Nahariya, northern Israel.

Having examined the patients, 40 per cent of whom have been women and children, he came to a disturbing conclusion.

“I am sure that the snipers hit the spine on purpose,” he said this week after noticing the same gunshot wound “at this very same point” several times in the children he had treated.

At least five of the children were left partially or fully paralysed as a result of the injuries.

“You know by the hit it was by a sniper and it was on purpose,” he said.

“If you want to kill a man, or you want to kill a child, you put a bullet in his head or his heart. They purposefully put the bullet in the lumber [lower] spine so that the child would suffer. I don’t have any other explanation. It was cruel. I almost cried when I saw it,” he said.

Others at the hospital have made similar observations.

“We have young children right now who have been shot in the head or suffered blast injuries, at a very young age. It’s very difficult to understand how this can happen, that a child is shot from a very close distance,” said Prof Jean Soustiel, Director of Neurosurgical Department at the hospital.

This is not the first time that claims about deliberate targeting of children in Syria have been made.

Yazidi Women Training in Israel to Help Their Community Cope With the Trauma of ISIS, by Ido Efrati, Ha’aretz, July 6, 2019. Excerpt:

Two-week course developed by experts in the hopes community leaders can return to Iraq, where ‘there’s roughly one psychologist or social worker for every 300,000 people,’ with the tools to help others.

It’s hard to look Lamiya Aji Bashar in the eyes. Through them you can see the hell this young Yazidi woman has went through, not to mention her scarred face. The eyes of our Kurmanji translator fill as she translates from this Kurdish dialect into English, proving a little distance from the story of a girl who was taken captive by the Islamic State at age 15. But not enough.

This rare face-to-face meeting took place, surprisingly enough, in central Israeli Bar-Ilan University’s psychology department. Aji Bashar is the only member of her delegation from Iraq who can reveal her face and name. That’s because she now lives in Germany, as part of a special rehabilitation program for 1,100 women and children who survived Islamic State captivity.

Most of the 15 or so women in the delegation are Yazidi, but a few are Christian. And aside from Aji Bashar, they will return to Iraq following a special two-week course that was developed for them in Israel on coping with complex post-traumatic stress disorder – a term used for extreme cases of ongoing trauma, like captivity and severe abuse.

All of the women are active in various aid agencies. Their goal is to use some of the tools acquired during their brief training in Israel to help others ease the deep emotional wounds left by Islamic State’s occupation of northern Iraq, especially among the Yazidis.

Lamiya Aji Bashar who tried to escape countless times after being sold to Islamic State fighters. Meged Gozani

Israel wins widespread praise for role in rescue of Syria’s White Helmets, Times of Israel, July 22, 2018. Excerpt:

UK foreign secretary thanks Israel and Jordan for helping evacuate hundreds of the civil defense workers, who will be taken in by Western countries.

Israel earned plaudits on Sunday for helping to evacuate hundreds of Syrian civil defense workers from southern Syria to Jordan overnight at the request of Western countries.

Founded in 2013, the Syria Civil Defense, or White Helmets, is a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of airstrikes, shelling or explosions in rebel-held territory.

The IDF took them from Syria and escorted them through Israel to Jordan. Jordan said 800 White Helmets rescuers and their families had been authorized to enter into the country and would eventually be taken in by Britain, Germany and Canada. Jordan later said a total of 422 had actually made the trip.

“Fantastic news that we – UK and friends – have secured evacuation of White Helmets and their families – thank you Israel and Jordan for acting so quickly on our request,” UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote on his Twitter account.

“The [White Helmets] are the bravest of the brave and in a desperate situation this is at least one ray of hope,” added Hunt.

Niels Annen, a minister of state at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, also praised Israel for the evacuation mission.

Saving their sworn enemy: Heartstopping footage shows Israeli commandos rescuing wounded men from Syrian warzone – but WHY are they risking their lives for Islamic militants?, by Jake Wallis Simons, Daily Mail (UK), December 8, 2015; Updated February 7, 2017. Excerpt:

Under cover of darkness, an Israeli armoured car advances down the potholed road that leads to Syria. As it crests a small hill, the driver picks up the radio handset and tells his commanding officer that the border is in sight.

He kills the engine. Ten heavily-armed commandos jump out and take cover, watching for signs of ambush. Then five of them move up to the 12ft chainlink fence that marks the limit of Israeli-held territory.

On the other side, on the very edge of Syria, lies an unconscious man wrapped like a doll in a blood-drenched duvet. The commandos unlock the fence, open a section of it and drag him onto Israeli soil.

But this wounded man is not an Israeli soldier, or even an Israeli citizen. He is an Islamic militant. And his rescue forms part of an extraordinary mission that is fraught with danger and has provoked deep controversy on all sides.

MailOnline has gained unprecedented access to this secretive and hazardous operation, embedding with the commandos to obtain exclusive footage, and interviewing the medics who are obliged to treat Syrian militants, some of whom openly admit that they intend to kill Israelis.

Inside the Hospital Where Israeli Doctors Treat Syrian Patients, by Sara Elizabeth Williams, VICE, July 25 2015. Excerpt:

VICE News visited Ziv Medical Center, a hospital just west of the Golan Heights, where injured Syrians cross the border to receive medical care with no questions asked.

The attack last month by a group of Israel’s Druze minority on wounded Syrians traveling in an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ambulance to a hospital in the Golan Heights has drawn attention to Israel’s practice of offering medical care to Syrian militants. But it’s not just rebels who are being treated.

In nearly two and a half years, around 2,000 Syrians have been admitted to Israeli hospitals. While the vast majority are male — up to 90 percent at Ziv, the hospital closest to the border — there are women, too, and 17 percent of all patients are children.

There are the very old, and the very new: At least 10 Syrian babies have been born at Ziv alone since Syrians began arriving in February 2013.

Word has spread that Syrians can access medical help over the border from people they’ve long believed are the enemy. Medics say more patients, and less urgent cases, are filling the beds of publicly-funded Israeli hospitals. As these patients flow in, questions are being raised about the ethics of filling a hospital’s limited beds with Syrians — and how comfortable Israelis are helping their old enemy so close to home.

Ziv Medical Center in the mountain city of Safed, just west of the Golan Heights, is the first port of call for most patients who come through the border fence near the devastated Syrian city of Quneitra. With 331 beds and seven operating theatres, Ziv is modern, well-equipped, and only 40 minutes from the border in a fast-moving IDF ambulance.

Ziv has been treating Syrians since the night of February 16, 2013, when a convoy of IDF ambulances unloaded seven wounded Syrians in the emergency room. Trauma nurse David Fuchs said he and his colleagues were shocked but quickly adjusted.

Hamas leader’s daughter treated in Israeli hospital, by Robert Tait, The Telegraph (UK), October 20, 2014. Excerpt:

Daughter of Ismail Haniyeh was admitted to Tel Aviv hospital from Gaza after the two sides fought a bloody seven-week war over the coastal territory.

The daughter of Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, has undergone treatment at an Israeli hospital, just weeks after a 50-day war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement that left more than 2,000 people dead.

She was transported to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv as an emergency case after suffering complications from a procedure originally carried out in Gaza, the coastal enclave whose hospitals came under severe strain due to the deluge of casualties admitted during the summer’s conflict.

The identity of the daughter – one of Mr Haniyeh’s 13 children – has not been revealed, nor have details of her condition been disclosed.

Her admission suggests that humanitarian cooperation between Israel and the Gaza authorities continues despite the bitterness left by the hostilities, which ended on August 26 after both parties accepted the terms of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

Editor Note: Per The Hamas Covenant, the terrorist group is sworn not just to the destruction of Israel, but the extermination of all Jews. More here, here and here. And yet year in and year out, Israel provides medical care to its rulers, and their families.

7,000 Syrians were treated in military clinics and another 5,000 in civilian hospitals under Operation Good Neighbor – and it helped secure Israel’s borders, by Brian Schrauger, Jerusalem Post, February 18, 2020. Excerpt:

An unusual tourist arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport in January. When the border patrol agent there took his Netherlands passport, it only took a glance at Emeth’s olive skin and Persian features to see that he was not a native Dutchman. His place of birth? According to the passport, Tehran.

Asked to step aside, he was taken to a room and asked to wait. Four hours later, agents returned with questions.

Presumably they had done a thorough background check. What did they learn?

Emeth (a pseudonym) gave me some idea when he sat down to tell his story while at a conference in the Galilion Hotel and Conference Center just north of the Hula Nature Reserve in the Upper Galilee. When our conversation ended an hour later, I was stunned.

The conference was a Christian confab called the Maranatha Alliance. I went to the gathering to learn about a nonprofit called Frontier Alliance International (FAI). The group is intriguing because, during the last two and a half years of the Syrian civil war, the Israel Defense Forces partnered with this small Evangelical organization to provide humanitarian relief to enemies of the Jewish state.

Aid that was provided by Israel – including tons of food and clothing, more than a million liters of fuel, electric generators, tents, vehicles, diapers, baby food, medical equipment and medications – had to find its way into Syrian border villages. Where the IDF could not go, foreign volunteers to FAI did. Acting as proxies for Jerusalem, they provided medical aid from Israel for its enemies behind enemy lines. At the same time, medical refugees from Syria were welcomed into Israel for medical care in Israeli clinics and hospitals by Israeli doctors and nurses.

It was called Operation Good Neighbor and it was a military endeavor. When it officially concluded in September 2018, some 7,000 Syrians were treated in military clinics and another 5,000 in civilian hospitals.

Israeli nurse breastfeeds Palestinian baby boy after his mom critically injured, by Rachel Paula Abrahamson, TODAY (NBC), June 7, 2017. Excerpt:

An Israeli nurse and a Palestinian family worked together to soothe an inconsolable baby boy.

On June 2, Yamen, a 9-month-old from Hebron, was rushed to the emergency room at Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem. The infant’s parents had been involved in a horrific collision with a bus in the West Bank, which left his father dead and his mother with a critical head injury. Yamen, who was restrained in his car seat at the time of the accident, survived with only minor injuries — and he was hungry.

When nurse Ola Ostrowski-Zak arrived at the hospital for her night shift in the emergency room, Yamen’s frantic aunts pulled her aside. The exclusively breastfed child had been crying for seven hours while refusing to take bottle and they wanted to know if Ostrowski-Zak could find someone to nurse him.

Ostrowski-Zak had a better idea: she would do it herself. “That was my first instinct,” Ostrowski-Zak tells TODAY. “I thought to myself, ‘I must help this baby.’” Her offer left the aunts speechless. Later, they hugged Ostrowski-Zak and explained they didn’t know of any Jewish women who would have done what she did.

“I was emotional about this sad assumption,” said Ostrowski-Zak, who has an 18-month-old son, Ayam. “I know any Jewish mother would have done the same.”

Israeli nurse Ola Ostrowski-Zak breastfed a Palestinian baby after a car accident left his mother unconscious.Courtesy: The Hadassah Spokesperson

Israeli women — and tech — connect African villages to water, electricity, by Times of Israel, March 6, 2016. Excerpt:

Innovation Africa, founded by Sivan Ya’ari, has brought solar energy, improved irrigation and cleaner water to as many as 1 million people.

A charity led by Israeli women and employing Israeli technologies has connected 104 villages across Africa to water and electricity.

Innovation Africa, the Israeli organization founded by Sivan Ya’ari, has sought to better the lives of rural villagers in Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and elsewhere by mining Israeli technological innovation for solutions that fit the needs of hard-to-reach places across the vast continent. Its work was highlighted in a report on Israel’s Channel 2 on Saturday night.

In places with no electrical power, and thus no means for refrigerating medicine or food, or for turning on the lights in schools, Ya’ari’s organization turned to the solar panels that are a ubiquitous feature of Israeli rooftops. These new sources of power also allow villagers to recharge cellular phones without traveling outside their villages to find a working plug, expanding their access to communications and the Internet, the TV report showed. Computers designed to be powered by solar power are being used as educational tools.

Israeli-made locks also help cut down on theft. Israeli drip irrigation systems are dramatically increasing the efficiency of agricultural water use, leading to cheaper and larger crop yields. And a manual pump that can purify water – even sewage – to make it drinkable without the use of electricity is making water safer.

Innovation Africa’s founder and president Sivan Ya’ari and NBA all star Dikembe Mutombo visit Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa.

Israeli ingenuity helps third-world countries to produce water from thin air, by Alexander J. Apfel, YNet, January 22, 2016. Excerpt:

Water-Gen, founded by Arye Kohavi, developed revolutionary technology to ensure IDF soldiers are never short of clean water; Kohavi brought the technology to India, Africa, Central America and China.

A lack of water on the battlefield is not something that soldiers can afford to worry about in the heat of combat. Supplying clean water however, is not always an easy task given the dangers of any battle.

Aware of this fact, Arye Kohavi, a former company commander in the IDF Special Forces, set about creating technology which would ensure that soldiers are never short of clean water and that the water supply is never delayed.

Water-Gen, a company founded by Kohavi in 2009, developed revolutionary technology designed for the military which can produce clean water out of thin air by extracting water from the ambient air humidity. The technology is now being supplied to the Israeli, British, French and American armies.

Israel’s aid team to Nepal among the largest, Times of Israel, April 29, 2015. Excerpt:

Field hospital begins work; nearly 2,000 Israelis evacuated since Saturday; just one Israeli remains unaccounted for.

Israel’s aid team to the earthquake-battered Himalayan nation of Nepal is one of the largest in manpower of any international aid mission.

Over 250 doctors and rescue personnel were part of an IDF delegation that landed Tuesday in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, in the wake of Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake that devastated large swaths of the mountainous country, killing at least 5,000 and leaving some 8,000 wounded and tens of thousands seeking shelter and food.

The Israeli group set up a field hospital with 60 beds that began operations on Wednesday in coordination with the local army hospital.

Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and the Nepalese Army’s chief of staff visited the field hospital to attend its opening ceremony.


(5) Inclusion of immigrants, the handicapped and special-needs people

Quick facts:


The IDF Druze Commander Training Soldiers With Disabilities, by Natalie Solomon, Jewish Journal, February 12, 2020. Excerpt:

Every day Commander Rami Hassan drives 90 miles each way from his home in Kfar Yarka in the Galilee to his military base in Yehud near Tel Aviv. But he’s used to it. He’s been in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 26 years.

A member of the Israeli Druze community, Hassan has two great loves: his family and his country. A husband and father of four, Hassan comes from a family dedicated to public and national service. His father served as a border police officer and all of his brothers served in the IDF.

“I love to give as much as I can, to contribute as much as I can,” he said. “In our culture, we learn from our parents, our cousins. They all do service — a love for the land, for the country.” While Druze make up under 2% of Israel’s population, they are disproportionately found in the army and police forces.

IDF Integrates Special Needs Soldiers, by Rabbi Shraga Simmons, AISH, May 17, 2014. Excerpt:

A foiled terror attack provides the inspiration for new levels of inclusion.

Imagine being an Israeli kid with Down Syndrome and dreaming one day of becoming a soldier in the IDF.

Imagine the parents dreaming to see this special child gain an independent life.

Now imagine this dream becoming reality.

As the video below shows, “Great in Uniform” is a project that integrates young people with disabilities into the IDF, as soldiers in every aspect including a uniform. The goal: to provide a successful path of integration into society.

It all started in 2001, when IDF Lt. Col. Ariel Almog was driving in the Jordan Valley and spotted a terrorist approaching a bus full of passengers. After a short struggle, Almog succeeded in neutralizing the terrorist, who was wearing three explosive devices.

Then suddenly, shots were fired at Almog from a nearby olive grove. A “back-up” terrorist was there to assist in the planned carnage. Almog was shot in the head, but miraculously managed to fire his own weapon and neutralize the second terrorist as well.

Special Needs Soldiers Marching On In IDF, by Mara Vigevani, Tazpit News Agency, December 27, 2017. Excerpt:

More than one hundred Israeli soldiers with developmental disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome to autism and cognitive delays will be drafted on Wednesday to serve their country.

Like all their peers the new recruits will go through the motions at the IDF enlistment center, undergoing medical tests, vaccinations and donning uniforms to become soldiers.

Eighteen-year-old boys and girls with developmental disabilities are exempted from military service, but more and more are volunteering and more and more are being accepted into one of the strongest, best trained and motivated armies in the world.

For almost 60 years, the Israeli armed forces avoided enlisting people with mental or physical problems, but in the last decade, however, groups fighting for rights for people with disabilities, like Akim, Special in Uniform (SIU), The BeYachad Center For Inclusion, Ro’im Rachok (Looking Ahead) and others have embarked on a battle to obtain full citizenship, even in their duties.

“I feel at home” – Meet the first Nigerian female officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, by Theodora Aidoo, Face2FaceAfrica, October 22, 2019. Excerpt:

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. Tobi Cohen has been hailed as one of the best officers in the Israeli Army after becoming the first and only female Nigerian in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Lt. Cohen became the first Nigerian woman to serve in the IDF at the age of 21.

Lt. Cohen’s journey to become a soldier did not come easy considering the language barrier. “New immigrants are often embarrassed and ashamed to speak, because they may say something wrong, and I was one of them.”

“But at some point, I realized that I couldn’t go on like this. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and it was hard, but it was worth it,” Cohen said.

She learnt Hebrew and her friends helped her to adjust into the Israeli society. According to Lt. Cohen, her father was happy about her decision to become an officer in the Israeli army.

Although she has an Israeli father, she grew up with her Nigerian mother and siblings in northern Nigeria with a quest to connect with her father, who served in the IDF as a soldier.

In a bid to follow in her father’s footsteps, at age 16, she enlisted in the army and joined a programme which sends people to Israel.

Lt. Tobi Cohen

(7) Benevolence towards animals

In first pilot of its kind, Israeli dairy won’t separate calves from mothers; Yotvata project will allow female calves to stay with mothers until weaning — but male calves will still be separated, sent off for fattening and slaughter, by Aviv Lavie, Times of Israel, February 11, 2020. Excerpt:

The Yotvata dairy farm in southern Israel is launching the first pilot project of its kind in an industrial cowshed in Israel — and will not separate female calves from their mothers right after birth.

The project will be run at a relatively new cowshed at Moshav Idan in the southern Israeli Arava desert, Zman Israel, the Times of Israel’s Hebrew language sister site, reported.

The widely practiced separation of calves from their mothers within an hour of birth has attracted increasing criticism both from within the dairy industry and among animal rights activists. It creates severe distress for mother and calf and is seen as aggressive and cruel.

(8) Teaching entrepreneurship

Could The Israeli Defense Forces Be The Best Training Ground For Entrepreneurs?, by Carrie Rubinstein, Forbes, January 13, 2020. Excerpt:

Israel produces more startups per capita than any other nation in the world except the U.S.. Its unique startup culture thrives in part thanks to Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) and especially the elite Unit 8200, which specializes in signal intelligence, code decryption and tech-enabled weapons.

There may be an advantage in the fact that due to mandatory military service, Israel’s best and brightest students do not go straight on to Ivy League colleges upon graduating from high school. For example, Unit 8200 can recruit the nation’s most brilliant minds and introduce them to the realm of innovation. “Unit 8200 indeed drafts Israel’s promising young men and women and then trains them so that they become experts in important fields of technological advancement,” says Pavel Gurvich, CEO and cofounder of Guardicore, a startup that protects any environment for simplified cloud and data center security. He served for 12 years in the IDF as a cybersecurity expert. “As a by-product of this training, these capable young people get the opportunity to develop unique skills that can later serve them well as entrepreneurs.”

(9) Public safety

Israeli Intelligence Continues to Help Thwart Terrorist Attacks Abroad, by IPT News, December 26, 2019. Excerpt:

Denmark’s security authorities foiled several jihadist terrorist attacks earlier this month after arresting 20 suspects in raids throughout the country. That same week, two brothers were sentenced to long prison terms in Australia after planning to down a commercial airplane on behalf of the Islamic State group in 2017. These developments point to a rising trend in thwarted jihadist terror plots.

But the two cases also share another commonality: Israel’s intelligence services reportedly played an integral role in stifling the mass-casualty plots. Denmark and Australia join a long list of countries that relied on Israeli intelligence to prevent serious violence around the world.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, information from Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service helped Danish authorities prevent attacks shortly before they were to be executed. Prosecutors allege that two of the suspects tried to purchase guns and ammunition “to be used in connection with one or several terror attacks in Denmark or abroad.” The Copenhagen City Court also ordered two other suspects remain imprisoned for allegedly attempting to build several explosive devices.

Mossad foiled 50 ISIS terror attacks in 20 countries, including Turkey, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2019. Excerpt:

The Mossad and the IDF Intelligence branch prevented 50 terror attacks by ISIS and Iran in the past three years, many of them in Tukey, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Twelve of the attacks were prevented in Turkey itself, which succeeded in foiling them thanks to Israeli-provided information to Turkish security services.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been tense since 2010, when the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara attempted to break the blockade on Gaza and were intercepted by IDF forces in a violent incident that led to the death of nine of activists on board. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an outspoken critic of Israel, and hasn’t left out an opportunity to display his dismay of the Jewish State.

Nevertheless, according to the report, the Turkish government received the necessary intel by Israel’s security service to ensure that terror attacks could be prevented on its soil.

Mossad agents snuck nuclear files out of Iran with authorities ‘on their tails, Times of Israel, May 2, 2018. Excerpt:

TV reports say Israel utilized expansive operational infrastructure on Iranian soil; PM’s exposé said aimed chiefly at IAEA; unconfirmed report of mass arrests in Iran after breach.

Agents of Israel’s spy agency Mossad smuggled hundreds of kilograms of paper and digital files on Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program out of the Islamic Republic with Iranian agents “on their tails,” Hadashot television news reported Tuesday night, based on briefings by Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the operation Monday as he displayed the trove of documents in a presentation aimed at proving that Iran has lied about its covert atomic weapons program.

The operation required an expansive operational infrastructure within Iranian territory, Hadashot reported.

The warehouse storing the files was located in the Shorabad suburb in southern Tehran, in an industrial area. Mossad discovered the warehouse in February 2016, and had had the building under surveillance since then. Before arriving at the site, the secret archives had been moved by Iranian authorities several times in a bid to keep their whereabouts a secret.

Safes inside a warehouse in Shorabad, south Tehran, where Mossad agents discovered and extracted tens of thousands of secret files pertaining to Iran’s nuclear weapons program (Prime Minister’s Office)

Israelis invent date rape drug detector, by Sammy Hudes, YNet, November 8, 2011. Excerpt:

Tel Aviv University researchers say personal sensor they developed is 100% accurate.

Two Tel Aviv University researchers say that they have developed a personal sensor that can detect the presence of the most common date rape drugs in beverages, 100% of the time.

Date rape drugs, also known as club drugs, have sedative and/or amnesiac effects that facilitate sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are teens and young adults at trance parties, clubs and bars.

Data published by the US Department of Justice suggest that approximately 200,000 women were raped in the United States with the aid of date rape drugs in 2007 alone. However, only 16% of the victims reported the incidents to the proper authorities. Experts believe that around half a million women per year may currently be suffering from date rape.

According to Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry, the sensor can tell someone, in real-time, whether or not their drink has been altered. The next stage of the project is to miniaturize the system for mass production.

The two developers created the system, which is based on optical signal changes. The device sucks up a tiny drop of the suspect beverage and puts it in contact with a patented chemical formula.

If a drug is present, it will react with the chemical formula, causing it to change from a clear state to a dirtier one. When a ray of light comes into contact with a beverage spiked with a date rape drug, a signal change occurs and the system will alert the user.

Have a safe flight, thanks to Israel’s XSight, by Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21C, August 1, 2012. Excerpt:

Runway debris costs about $14 billion in damages yearly. That’s why the FAA likes an Israeli system to detect birds and metal fragments 24/7.

Lots of people complain about airplane food, but what about FOD?

That acronym, which stands for “foreign object debris,” refers to stuff on the runway – birds, small animals and fragments that break off planes – causing far more dangerous problems than rubbery rolls on your dinner tray.

The Israeli company XSight Systems has swooped in to prevent harm in a unique way that’s already been adopted at international airports in Boston, Paris, Bangkok and Tel Aviv.

Using integrated radar and electro-optical sensors in a fixed installation on the runway, XSight’s FODetect system “was able to detect the objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces and perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions,” according to a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report issued in June.

XSight’s FODetector at work on the runway.


(10) Agriculture & environmental science & technology

Quick facts:



Israeli researchers discover plants emit an ultrasonic ‘scream’ when stems are cut or if species are not watered enough, by Michael Thomsen, Daily Mail (UK), December 9, 2019. Excerpt:

A team of scientists at Tel Aviv University have discovered that some plants emit a high frequency distress sound when they undergo environmental stress.

The researchers tested tomato plants and tobacco plants by depriving them of water and by cutting their stems and then recording their response with a microphone placed ten centimeters away.

In both cases, they found the plants began to emit ultrasonic sounds between 20 and 100 kilohertz, which they believed could convey their distress to other plants and organisms in the immediate vicinity.

Israeli students find pesticide-free way to kill mosquitos; by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, December 8, 2019. Excerpt:

Ben Gurion University biologists have discovered that a bacteria in the gut of the mosquito can be activated to poison the larvae

Mosquitos aren’t only pesky insects that suck your blood and make you scratch. They are airborne carriers of serious diseases from malaria to Zika.

Because mosquitos congregate around water, and spraying water sources with pesticides is not possible, eradication is difficult.

Student biologists from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have found a genetically engineered solution – have the males transfer to the females a specific type of bacteria that poisons mosquito larvae.

This novel solution was found as part of the recent iGEM Competition, an international team competition to promote synthetic biology. BGU’s team, dubbed FlyGEM, found that previous BGU research had discovered bacteria in the mosquito’s gut called BTI. When activated, BTI produces a poison that only kills mosquito larvae.

The FlyGEM team, from left first row: Prof. Lital Alfonta, Eden Ozer, Reut Rahamim Molgan with baby Yedidya (born during the project), Hen Zinger, Ofir Hurvitz, Nofar Cohen, Hadar Buium, Mor Pasi; second row: Dror Aizik, Yoav Dagmi, Mey Tal Banar, Assaf Vital, Dr. Ramon Birnbaum. Photo by Dani Machlis/BGU

In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂, by Sue Surkes, Times of Israel, November 28, 2019. Excerpt:

n a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced a genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.

The extraordinary leap — reported Wednesday in Cell, and quickly picked up by prestigious publications such as Nature — could lead to the low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels or food that would also help to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, where it is helping to drive global warming.

Plants and ocean-living cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis, taking the energy from light to transform CO₂ into a form of organic carbon that can be used to build DNA, proteins and fats.

As these photosynthesizers can be difficult to moderate genetically, the Weizmann team, under Prof. Ron Milo, took E. coli bacteria — more commonly associated with food poisoning — and spent ten years weaning them off sugar and training them to “eat” carbon dioxide instead.

Through genetic engineering, they enabled the bacteria to convert CO₂ into organic carbon, substituting the energy of the sun — a vital ingredient in the photosynthesis process — with a substance called formate, which is also attracting attention as a potential generator of clean electricity.

Prof Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences.

The top 12 ways Israel is feeding the world, by Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel 21C, May 21, 2019. Excerpt:

From drip irrigation to hardier seeds, Israeli innovations help fill hungry bellies everywhere, particularly in the developing world.

Food security is a critical concern as the global population expands and natural resources dwindle. Smart solutions for more efficient farming, hardier crops, alternative sources of nutrition, and safer food packaging and storage are essential.

No other single country – certainly not one as young and as tiny as Israel – has contributed more breakthroughs to this area than Israel.

Since the 1950s, Israelis have not only been finding miraculous ways to green their own desert but have shared their discoveries far and wide.

Here are 12 major ways Israel helps feed the world.

(1) Drip irrigation

While the concept of drip irrigation existed well before Israeli statehood, it was revolutionized by Israeli water engineer Simcha Blass in the 1960s and continues to transform farming across the globe.

Blass’s slow-release tubing formed the basis of the world-renowned Netafim company (sold for $1.5 billion to Mexichem in 2017) and other Israeli drip-irrigation and micro-irrigation businesses whose solutions are used worldwide.

One example of how Israeli drip irrigation has impacted food supply in foreign countries is Tipa (Drop), a kit that enables gravity to irrigate when there is no water pressure in rural areas. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has provided Tipa kits to hundreds of famers in Senegal, Kenya, South Africa, Benin and Niger.

An average of 70% of the world’s water goes toward irrigation, partly because some areas still use wasteful flood irrigation. Israeli ag-tech companies such as CropX, SaturasManna and SupPlant help customers across the world implement efficient drip irrigation programs to use less water and produce more and better crops.

Innovation in drip irrigation is constantly evolving. In February 2019, Netafim signed a three-year research collaboration agreement with Bayer and Ben-Gurion University’s tech-transfer company regarding soil research, digital prediction tools and state-of-the-art Netafim technology to establish best practices for using drip irrigation as a precise root-delivery system.

Drip Irrigation Company Netafim Wins $100 Million Irrigation Contract in India, by Navit Zomer, CTech (via The Algemeiner), March 12, 2019. Excerpt:

Israel-based drip-irrigation company Netafim announced Monday it has secured a $100 million irrigation contract in India. Considered a pioneer in smart irrigation, Netafim will install precision irrigation systems in 100 villages across India as part of four large community irrigation projects.

Netafim was founded in southern Israeli Kibbutz Hatzerim in 1965. The company has made a name for itself developing water-efficient irrigation systems that deliver water directly to the plant instead of the soil. Today, Netafim employs over 4,500 people in 17 manufacturing plants and operates in over 110 markets through 29 subsidiaries. Netafim itself is a subsidiary of Mexico-based pipes and chemicals company Mexichem SAB de CV, which bought an 80 percent stake in the company in February 2018 at a $1.9 billion company valuation.

Israeli drip irrigation technology. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

How Israeli Agricultural Technology is Transforming India, by Vijeta Uniyal, Legal Insurrection, May 30, 2017. Excerpt:

Away from the media limelight, away from the centre-stage of international diplomacy — a revolution is taking place. Today, Israeli agricultural technology is transforming the way millions of farmers across India cultivate and harvest.

Almost 25 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, agricultural cooperation has undoubtedly emerged as the cornerstone of India-Israel ties. In 2008, Israel launched the India-Israel Agriculture Project (IIAP) aimed at setting up specialised agriculture centres across India. Today, 15 such Centres of Excellence (CoE) are operational in India, being jointly run by MASHAV, Israel’s agency for international development and India’s Ministry of Agriculture. Additionally, 12 more centres are expected to be launched in coming years, taking their number to 27.

In one such centre, located in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan, experts have come up with 24 new varieties of oranges created by combining the traits of selected Israeli and Indian varieties, promising high yield and longer shelf life.

Israel offers its expertise in renewable energy and drinking water to Cameroon, by Business in Camaroon, July 19, 2016. Excerpt:

During an audience granted to him by the Cameroonian Minister of Energy and Water, Basile Atangana Kouna, the Israeli ambassador in Cameroon, Ran Rigor, offered to the government his country’s expertise in the management of drinking water supply and renewable energy development projects.

Emphasising particularly on the difficulties in accessing drinking water noted in Cameroon, Ran Rigor compared Israel to the northern part of the country, facing the threat of desertification. But, he specified, Israel was able to overcome these climate and natural obstacles and turn into a country exporting water. An example which, he claims, could be duplicated I Cameroon.

The Israeli diplomat particularly specified that his country is ready to launch some projects in the two above-mentioned sectors. “The ball is in the Cameroonian camp now”, he said.

“HomeBiogas” Makes Fertilizer and Cooking Gas, by Mila Luleva, GreenOptimistic, November 25, 2015. Excerpt:

This compact biogas unit, developed by a promising Israeli startup, can turn your organic waste into both garden fertilizer and cooking gas.

If your household generates large quantities of organic waste, but not enough to make you follow our tutorial on how to build your own biogas plant, this new invention might be the right choice for you.

Developed by HomeBiogas, a start-up based in Israel, this home-sized biogas unit promises to take care of all your organic waste, including meat, dairy and animal manure. The unit produces both rich fertilizer and cooking gas, and requires relatively little space in your garden. It measures 123cm x 165cm x 100cm (48” x 65” x 39.4”) and weighs just under 40 kg (88lb).

Israel’s drip irrigation pioneer says his tech feeds a billion people, by David Shamah, Times of Israel, April 21, 2015. Excerpt:

As his firm prepares to unveil world’s biggest project in India, Rafi Mehudar, one of this year’s Independence Day torch-lighters, says the battle against famine is far from over.

As the world’s population grows, governments around the world are questioning how the billions of new mouths will be fed. The answer, according to Israeli inventor Rafi Mehudar, is right under their feet – in the drip irrigation technology he perfected for water tech firm Netafim.

Now found in farms around the world, Netafim’s irrigation and watering technology is already helping feed hundreds of millions, and, according to Mehudar, “it’s the only technology that has been proven to significantly increase the supply of food. We are already saving large parts of humanity from starving, and this is just the beginning.”

Over forty years after Netafim acquired the rights to the pressure regulator, his first drip irrigation invention, Mehudar is being feted for his accomplishments with one of the greatest honors bestowed by the state – the lighting of one of the twelve ceremonial torches that inaugurate Independence Day in Israel on Wednesday night. The torches are usually lit by individuals who have made a significant contribution to Israeli life, with the theme this year focusing on individuals who have made “breakthrough innovations” in science, technology, business, and culture.

Israel is a small country, but Netafim, with which Mehudar has been working since 1972, is a company that operates on a world-wide scale. “Netafim has sold over 150 billon drip irrigation devices, which cuts down water use by up to 90%, allowing farmers to spend less on water and more efficiently use their resources,” Mehudar told the Times of Israel in an interview.

An aerial view of Alicante, Spain, where a Netafim system recycles wastewater and distributes it via a drip-irrigation system, watering all public areas in the southern Spanish town. (Courtesy Netafim)

Israeli experts develop grapes that grow all year round, by Amir Ben-David and Akiva Novick, YNet, April 4, 2015. Excerpt:

Researchers successfully grow existing variety of seedless grape during winter months, while other scientists develop method to limit height of towering date palms.

Grapes in the winter? Apparently so. Using special pruning techniques and plastic sheeting to cover the vineyards, Israeli agriculturalists have come up with a way to “convince” grapes to ripen in the cold season too.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, researchers in the south of Israel have successfully grown an existing variety of seedless grape, Early Sweet, during the winter months. Currently, Early Sweet grapes are marketed in the summer, but Agriculture Ministry officials now say that the new method will allow farmers to grow and sell the particular variety from January through to April too.

If farmers adopt the new growing method, Israelis will be able to enjoy grapes pretty much all-year round, and at reasonable prices too.

Vineyard in the Galilee

Tel Aviv’s Hiriya “trash mountain” transformed into Israel’s “Central Park, by Chris Tackett, TreeHugger, November 18, 2013. Excerpt:

For most of the 20th century, Tel Aviv, Israel’s garbage went to a massive open landfill that eventually contained more than 25 million tons of waste and became known as Hiriya Mountain or “sh!t mountain” as locals call it. The sight and smell was horrible, it leached toxic runoff into two streams that ran adjacent to the pile causing damage to the ecosystem and thousands of birds attracted to the garbage created safety hazards to planes flying to nearby airports.

Now Israel is in the midst of the long process to transform this man-made environmental disaster into a national treasure, known as Ariel Sharon Park. The project will include more than 2,000 acres of land surrounding the mountain for ponds, recreation areas, bike and walking trails, wildlife areas, etc, making it the largest park in Israel and one of the largest urban parks in the world.

This promo video shows a digitally-produced illustration of what the park may eventually look like:

(11) Israel’s love of dogs

Quick facts:

  • Israel has more dogs, per-capita, than any nation in the world
  • This is especially notable given the anti-dog indoctrination that is prevalent, and the horrific way that dogs are abused & killed, throughout the Middle East
  • Israel has developed science showing dogs’ unique ability to smell cancer in human patients, long before the best technical devices can

Video: Renny Grinshpan: “Renny unleashes the funny side of Tel Aviv’s dog devotion”

More: Learn about, and donate to the SOS Pets dog shelter that Renny mentioned in English and Hebrew.

(12) About the Jewish people

Documentary: “What’s With The Jews?” Excerpt:

Their contribution to humanity is enormous, unique and exceedingly difficult to explain. From Moses to Maimonides, to Mahler, Marx, Freud, Einstein and some 197 Nobel Prize laureates, the stunning social, scientific and artistic accomplishments of the Jews raise an obvious question. How do they do it?

The story of huge overrepresentation at the top is the same wherever you look. How does 1/500th of the world’s population produce so many prominent musicians, architects, lawyers, doctors, journalists, comedians and directors? A third of the medical faculty at Harvard is Jewish, as are nearly 40 per cent of history’s world chess champions.

In 1954, New York State school tests revealed 28 students with IQs over 170. Astonishingly, 24 of them were Jewish.

“The numbers are bizarre. They make no sense at all,” says Montreal rabbi Reuben Poupko. For Harvard professor Steven Pinker “Jewish achievement is obvious; only the explanation is unclear.”

Learn more here.

Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

Book description:

START-UP NATION addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel– a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?

With the savvy of foreign policy insiders, Senor and Singer examine the lessons of the country’s adversity-driven culture, which flattens hierarchy and elevates informality– all backed up by government policies focused on innovation. In a world where economies as diverse as Ireland, Singapore and Dubai have tried to re-create the “Israel effect”, there are entrepreneurial lessons well worth noting. As America reboots its own economy and can-do spirit, there’s never been a better time to look at this remarkable and resilient nation for some impressive, surprising clues.

“Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World” – book


Thou Shalt Innovate profiles wondrous Israeli innovations that are collectively changing the lives of billions of people around the world and explores why Israeli innovators of all faiths feel compelled to make the world better. This is the story of how Israelis are helping to feed the hungry, cure the sick, protect the defenseless, and make the desert bloom. Israel is playing a disproportionate role in helping solve some of the world s biggest challenges by tapping into the nation’s soul: the spirit of tikkun olam the Jewish concept of repairing the world.

Following Start-Up Nation’s account of Israel’s incredibly prolific start-up scene, Thou Shalt Innovate tells the story of how Israeli innovation is making the whole world a better place. Israel has extraordinary innovators who are bound together by their desire to save lives and find higher purpose. In a part of the world that has more than its share of darkness, these stories are rays of light.

Review: In spirit of Jewish tradition, Israeli tech casts global ‘rays of light’
From Iron Dome to medical marijuana, ‘Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World’ says sabra hardheadedness has helped foster ‘a kinder, gentler world’, by Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, April 4, 2018.




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