Israeli economy grows by 2.5% in 2015
Central Bureau of Statistics: Growth rate in 2015 the lowest in six years • GDP up 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015 • High-tech exits, development of natural gas fields create record surplus of $13.8 billion in Israel's balance of payments.
The Israeli economy grew by 2.5% in 2015, a slight downturn from recent years, the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed over the weekend.
The report found that while the economy grew by 3.3% in 2013 and by 2.6% in 2014, growth rates in 2015 were the lowest in six years.
Nevertheless, Israel's growth rate was relatively higher than in other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development states, which averaged 2%.
Overall, Israel's gross domestic product marked an annualized increase of 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015. The GDP rose 2.5% in the first quarter of 2015, followed by 0.3% growth in the second quarter, and a 2.4% increase in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The report said that the GDP per capita, used to gauge the standard of living, added only 0.5% in 2015, compared to 0.6% in 2014 and 1.3% in 2013. GDP per capita in terms of purchasing power parity was 85.3% the average per capita GDP in other OECD countries.
In terms of GDP-to-price levels, the ratio of purchase power to exchange rates in Israel was 116% of the prices noted in other OECD states.
The CBS further noted that overall, Israel's available resources increased by 2% in 2015, a drop from 2.7% in 2014.
There was a 4.9% increase in private consumption expenditure in 2015, as well as a 3.1% increase in public consumption, a 1.3% decrease in the exports of goods and services, and a 1.4% decrease in investment in fixed assets.
Real domestic income, however, rose by 4.8%, which the report attributed to improvement in trade and commerce terms.
The business sector's output, the economy's main growth engine, rose by 2.3% in 2015 -- the lowest improvement rate since 2003.
The government sector's deficit in 2015 came to 16.4 billion shekels ($4.23 billion), or 1.4% of GDP -- an improvement from a deficit of 18.5 billion shekels ($4.77 billion), or 1.7% of GDP in 2014, and of 23.7 billion shekels ($6.11 billion), or 2.2% of GDP, in 2013.
Exports of goods and services dropped by 1.3% in 2015, after rising 1.5% in 2014, while diamond exports fell by 20.4%. The imports of goods and services increased by 0.6% in 2015, following a 3% increase in 2014, while diamond imports fell by 14.8%.
According to the CBS, the large number of exits in the high-tech industry and the acceleration in the development of the Tamar offshore gas field have created a record surplus of $13.8 billion in Israel's current balance of payments.
The overall surplus in the balance of payments over the past three years -- $33.5 billion -- means more dollars are flowing into the Israeli economy than out of it, translating into a low shekel-dollar exchange rate, which averaged 3.9 shekels in 2015.
This trend has seen the Bank of Israel purchased billions of dollars over the past three years, to offset low shekel-dollar exchange rates
Zeev Klein and Israel Hayom Staff
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articles from Broaderview.org April2016
• 21 injured in Jerusalem bus bombing; Hamas claims responsibility
• Israel finds & destroys new terror tunnel from Gaza into Israel
• Saudi Arabia commits to upholding peace treaty with Israel in islands transferred from Egypt
• Prime Minister Netanyahu visits Moscow, receives assurances over Syrian threat
• Jewish extremists arrested for praying on Temple Mount
• IsraAID teams deliver earthquake relief in Japan and Ecuador
• Israeli government reaffirms sovereignty over (but not annexation of) Golan Heights
• The UN Human Rights Council on voted to establish blacklist of companies “profiting from settlements”; UN Commission on the Status of Women condemned only Israel for violating women’s rights; UNESCO denies Jewish connection to Temple Mount
• U.S. Universities Debating Association national championship features anti-Israel debate topic
• Francisco Partners Buys Israeli Company SintecMedia, for $400 million; Oracle buys Israeli big-data company Crosswise for $50M; China’s Fosun to buy Israeli skin-care company Ahava for $77M; other acquisitions include Genome Compiler, cybersecurity company NorthBit, and mobile-ad startup Inneractive; overall, 81 Israeli startups raised $1 billion in the first quarter of 2016; pharma giant Bayer to invest $10 million in Israeli agriculture tech fund
• Professors sue American Studies Association over Israel boycott
• Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, sent Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II a happy birthday video message telling her that “life begins at 90.”
• 83% of U.S. Senators sign letter to President Obama supporting increased military assistance to Israel
• Boycott resolutions approved by City Univ. of NY doctoral students, graduate students at NYU (rejected by the university president and notable alumni) and Univ. of Massachusetts–Amherst, and University of Chicago undergraduate student government; rejected by Univ. of Michigan-Dearborn Faculty Senate and Univ. of Minnesota student government
• Statements supporting Israel and opposing anti-Israel boycotts recently issued by U.S. Senator Cory Booker, British Justice Minister Michael Gove, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, and the Iowa state legislature
• Israel strengthens ties with Russia
• Israelis win international awards and honors in rhythmic gymnastics (again), tennis, judo (again), wrestling, car racing, wine, digital diplomacy, universities (6 of the world’s top 100), political campaign TV ads, water technology, agricultural machinery, and best places to raise a family (#4)
• Israeli innovations show promise in preventing diabetes and treating asthma, leukemia, and prostate cancer
• Recent visitors to Israel include U.S. House of Representative Speaker Paul Ryan, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (with a 60-member delegation), Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine, San Francisco mayor Ed Lee, Austrian far-right political leader Heinz-Christian Strache, energy expert (and Donald Trump foreign-policy advisor) George Papadopoulos, 600 young innovators, nanotech scientists, entrepreneur Elon Musk, actor Kevin Costner, Scottish musician Donovan, British R&B star Craig David, singer and TV star Pat Boone, 20 Eurovision contestants, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Monica Lewinsky, Forbes’ under-30 leaders, robotics experts, an Iraqi former diplomat, the brother of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (treated for cancer at a Tel Aviv hospital), a Syrian bone-marrow donor, and thousands of Egyptian Coptic Christian pilgrims.
The Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal: I am proud to be the first Saudi hono
15 April 2016
Fri, 15 Apr 2016 (Jerusalem) —- According to al-Okaz –a Saudi Arabian daily newspaper– the Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal was welcomed warmly by Israeli officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to become the first Saudi honorary ambassador to Israel.
"We are so delighted today to see that Arab mentality changes and the Arab states do not consider Israel as their enemy anymore. We must work diligently to expunge past's bitter memories and help the Arab nations to develop and embrace democracy," Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs told AFP on Thursday.
"I am indeed proud to be the first Saudi ambassador to this beautiful country. Israel is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world and I can express my appreciation of lofty ethics which Israel's founding fathers built this country upon," Turkish Anadolu News Agency quoted the Saudi multi-millionaire media tycoon as saying. Today, we laid the ground for a peaceful Middle-East, added Prince bin Talal, where the next generations can live in wonderful harmony and absolute religious tolerance.
The Saudi Prince also referred to 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut and the Saudi peace initiative ,saying the Saudi monarch will recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish nation according to the two-state solution, adding, the only obstacle to this bright future is obdurate Iran which doesn't conceal its dangerous agenda,— to purge Israel from the political map.
The Saudi Arabia has bought a sumptuous three-story building in David Flusser St 14, in the vicinity of U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Saudi Prince shall begin his task after an official banquet, inviting President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu and eminent members in Israeli Knesset (parliament).
Google gives $700K to Israeli disabilities technology initiative
Thursday, 14 April 20
Google will grant $700,000 to an Israel-based initiative aimed at producing technology to help people with disabilities. The search engine giant’s grant to Tikkun Olam Makers, or TOM, was announced Tuesday as part of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities campaign.
Google’s funding will “underwrite TOM’s plans to support a global movement of innovators creating extremely affordable solutions to neglected needs of people with disabilities, with the goal of improving the lives of 250,000,000 within a decade,” according to a statement from The Reut Group, the Tel Aviv-based nonprofit think tank that started the initiative.
Jay Leno raises $50K in one minute for Israeli EMS service
Tells United Hatzalah: "I have 117 motorcycles in my collection but none of my motorcycles save lives." Then donates money for an ambucycle.
Jay Leno may have broken a record when he raised $50,000 for Israeli EMS organization, United Hatzalah, in just one minute. The former Tonight Show host also donated $36,000 out of his own pocket to buy a fully equipped ambucycle for the organization to use to save lives in Israel.
Leno’s latest philanthropic pursuits came about at a special concert fundraiser for United Hatzalah at the Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York on Sunday.
Leno performed a comedy set at the event. He then called Eli Beer, founder and president of United Hatzalah, to the stage.
“What you guys are doing is so special I am so proud to be here and be part of it,” Leno told Beer. “I have 117 motorcycles in my collection but none of my motorcycles save lives. I want to donate an ambucycle with all of the trappings.”
The organization says it will put Leno’s name on the new ambucycle. United Hatzalah has a fleet of over 400 ambucylces used by the volunteer EMS organization to provide free treatment to anyone who needs it. Leno also challenged the audience to join him in supporting lifesaving activities in Israel by donating on the spot to the organization. He said anyone who donated at least $1,000 would receive a free tour of his rare car and motorcycle collection. An additional $50,000 was raised in one minute.
“People want to do good deeds,” said Beer. “So, for those who cannot physically come to Israel . . . but still want to help, the concert was a golden opportunity to come out and support the country while performing one of the greatest gifts of loving kindness that there is, saving lives. What Jay Leno, Lipa, 8th Day and the audience did here tonight is an act of charity that keeps on giving for generations and generations to come.”
In 2013, Beer and Arab-Israeli United Hatzalah-East Jerusalem leader Murad Alyan were chosen to receive the Victor J. Goldberg IIE Prize for Peace in the Middle East from the New York-based Institute of International Education.
At the end of his set, Leno told the crowd, “See you next year in Jerusalem.” Whether he was just saying the Jewish refrain or actually hinting at another visit will only be known when his plane touches down at Ben-Gurion airport once again.
Aqwise dedicates wastewater plant in Mexico
Israeli provider of advanced water and wastewater treatment solutions inaugurates new $3 million facility in Durango.
By Viva Sarah Press APRIL 10, 2016, 9:00 AM
Aqwise, a global provider of advanced water and wastewater treatment solutions for the industrial and municipal markets, has officially dedicated its new wastewater treatment facility in Durango, Northern Mexico.
Plans for the $3 million Turn-Key wastewater treatment project were signed in 2013, during an official visit by then President Shimon Peres to Mexico. The presidential visit came after Mexico turned to Israel’s water experts for help in improving their water. The Durango plant will employ Aqwise’s AGAR (Attached Growth Airlift Reactor) technology solutions — a proprietary process that “utilizes biofilm grown on carrier media which aerobically degrade soluble organic pollutants in wastewater.”
“This is an important project for Aqwise, and it expands our activities in Mexico where we already have numerous water treatment facilities in place,” said Elad Frenkel, Chief Executive Officer of Aqwise. “We’re happy to dedicate this treatment facility, which came about on the presidential visit, and we hope the relationship between Israel and Mexico will continue to strengthen – economically and culturally.” Aqwise has over 400 municipal and industrial installations in 35 countries. The company was founded in 2000, has headquarters in Israel, and has regional offices in Latin America, as well as commercial representation in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
New radar gives Gaza-area residents 15 seconds to take shelter from shells
BY TAMAR PILEGGI April 11, 2016, 10:05 am 3
The Home Front Command has reportedly finished work on a new radar that will improve the warning system for residents of southern communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip of incoming mortar shells. The system will shorten the time between the launch of a shell and when warning sirens are triggered, giving residents of communities adjacent to the Palestinian enclave a full 15-second warning of incoming shells, Army Radio reported Monday.
Though Israel’s current alert, based on the Iron Dome radar, warns of incoming rockets and gives communities about 15 seconds to reach shelters, it has proved less effective against short-range shells, often leaving residents little to no warning of attacks. Alon Schuster, the head of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, welcomed the new warning system, saying the improvements could save lives “Those 15 seconds are important. They improve the response time for anyone who needs to find shelter,” he told Army Radio.
“People come to live here because they know that Israel does whatever it can to protect its citizens from existential threats, whether they come from the sky or from underground,” Schuster said, alluding to Hamas efforts to tunnel under the border.
Development of the system began in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas in 2014, when the Gaza-based terror organization lobbed hundreds of rockets and mortars at Israeli cities and towns. During the 50-day conflict, mortars proved to be one of the deadliest means of attack, claiming the lives of 10 IDF soldiers in a single week, three Israeli civilians and a Thai national. Although the area has been relatively calm since the end of the war, sporadic rocket fire and attacks on IDF patrols have often originated in areas adjacent to the Sha’ar Hanegev region. The project which cost an estimated at NIS 500 million ($132 million) according to the Haaretz daily, was due to be completed in 2015, but was delayed due to budget constraints.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
Ethiopian aliyah to restart in June
April 7, 2016 3:27pm
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 1,300 Ethiopians who claim Jewish descent will begin arriving in Israel in June, with 9,000 coming over the next five years, under a new Israeli government agreement.
The agreement to find money in the budget for the aliyah of the Ethiopians was signed Thursday, avoiding a government crisis.
Two Likud Party lawmakers had boycotted voting in the Knesset for the past two months over the dispute, leading to the failure of a party-sponsored bill. The coalition government has a one-vote majority in the Knesset.
The Knesset unanimously approved a plan in November 2015 to bring the remaining 9,000 Ethiopians who claim Jewish heritage following a public campaign launched by the Ethiopian community in Israel and volunteer organizations. The plan did not deal with the finances.
In February it was announced that the government approval to bring over the 9,000 Ethiopians, known as Falash Mura, would be on hold indefinitely until the nearly $1 billion needed to fund the immigration was found in the budget.
Falash Mura are Ethiopians who claim links to descendants of Jews who converted to Christianity generations ago but now seek to return to Judaism and immigrate to Israel. Their permanent entry into Israel will be dependent on completing the conversion process.
About 135,000 Jews of Ethiopian descent are living in Israel. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1992.
Israel announced in August 2013 that it had brought the last of the eligible Falash Mura to the country after a steady trickle of approximately 200 Ethiopian immigrants per month had been coming to Israel since 2010, when Israel launched Operation Wings of a Dove after checking the aliyah eligibility of an additional 8,000 Ethiopians. Many of those remaining have family who are already in Israel.
Saving water - in the Israel Navy
International Water Day 22 Mar 2016
In honor of International Water Day, the Israel Navy presents its water-saving projects, most notably water desalination aboard naval vessels, even for generators and batteries that require filtered water.
Israeli navy vessels use water desalinated on board
Copyright: IDF Spokesperson
On March 22, the world marks International Water Day, addressing primarily the importance of water conservation. The IDF has in recent years attached great importance to saving water and the optimal green use of this scarce resource.
As part of this effort, the Israeli Navy has launched several projects, most notably water desalination aboard naval vessels - an important project that saves of thousands of gallons per day per vessel. "Today, all large naval vessels carry out desalination for various uses, including drinking water and showers," said Lt. Commander Gideon Ayeach, Head of Sales and Economics Field for the Israel Navy, responsible among other things for renewable energy, efficiency and water conservation.
This project is yet another example of the high capabilities of Israel in the field of water desalination. Several large desalination plants have been established in recent years in Israel, using the most innovative technologies, which may in the future transform Israel from an arid country to a water exporter.
The Navy also uses advanced technologies of desalination for generators and batteries that require filtered water. "Until recently, we would buy filtered water from an external supplier," said Ayeach. "But we invested money and developed our capabilities, and today we produce desalinated water that can be used for all batteries and generators."
The Navy recently launched another groundbreaking project designed to make optimum use of fuel residues and oil remaining in the bottom of tanks. In the past, the IDF would have hired a company to remove the dirty residue that collected at the bottom of its tanks and ships. Today, the Navy applies technology that allows it to pump out the dirty fuel, which is cleaned and filtered for reuse on its ships.
In addition, the Navy treats the gray water after use board and returns it to the sea after a process that includes bacteria as a cleansing agent. "This way we help keep Haifa Bay clean and try to reduce pollution," said Ayeach.
The Navy's concern with the environment is not limited to its water-saving projects. It has increasingly replaced electric boilers with use cost effective solar water heaters - also based on Israeli technology.
Investment in increased efficiency of the Navy, including the water-saving projects, has in recent years amounted to a savings of over NIS 200 million. In some cases, technologies developed in Israel were adapted for use by the military.
Haim Saban to invest $100 million in Israeli startups
Saban Ventures fund to invest in mobile, social networks, e-commerce and digital media.
By Viva Sarah Press MARCH 2, 2016, 10:00 AM
Expat Israeli billionaire Haim Saban has announced a new fund – Saban Ventures – to invest $100 million in Israeli startups.
According to a Globes report, the fund will invest primarily in mobile, social networks, ecommerce and digital media startups, with a side interest in cloud computing and fintech.
Saban, known for the Power Rangers franchise, is said to be worth $3.5 billion.
The 71-year-old business magnate has previously invested in Israeli companies like PlayBuzz, Elbit Systems, Everysight, and others. He also counts Partner Communications among his holdings.
Reports cite Barak Pridor, former CEO of the Tel Aviv-based Thomson Reuters tech subsidiary ClearForest, as the new manager of the fund.
StandWithUs Commends Florida for Overwhelmingly Passing Nation's Strongest
StandWithUs Commends Florida for Overwhelmingly Passing Nation's Strongest Anti-Boycott Legislation to Date on February 24, 2016
(Tallahassee, FL - February 24, 2016) -- StandWithUs commends the Florida legislature for passing anti-boycott/anti-discrimination legislation SB-86 on February 24 and urges Governor Rick Scott to sign it. The bill passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 112-2.
Through the bipartisan efforts of Senator Joe Negron (R- 32) , Representative Ritch Workman (R-52), Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-52) and Representative Kevin Rader (D-81), and overwhelming grassroots support of Florida's citizens, the state is set to have a new law to defend itself against the bigotry and discrimination of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement, and the economic harm it causes.
Roz Rothstein, CEO StandWithUs, commented, “The (BDS) movement is a dangerous front in the war against Israel. It is a propaganda campaign that is designed to erode support for Israel, isolate it as a pariah of nations, and marshal international forces to deligimitize and eventually eliminate the Jewish state. The movement, while being anti-Israel is not pro-peace or even pro-Palestinian. Its goals, if achieved, would leave Palestinians impoverished. We welcome the fact that Florida is joining Illinois and South Carolina in rejecting the boycott campaign.”
While the law makes clear that the State of Florida will not engage in commerce with boycotters, it does not infringe on the 1st Amendment right to free speech. This law does not say a group cannot boycott Israel or advocate for boycotting Israel. It does not penalize any private party's exercise of free speech. What this law does say is that the legislature controls taxpayer money, and it decides where to invest it and where to spend it. Florida is exercising its financial discretion to support public policy and the basic ethical standards of government. As there is overwhelming documentation that the BDS movement is thinly veiled anti-Semitism, with this law, Florida makes clear that anti-Semitism is against its public policy.
Israel Allies Foundation Deputy Director Joseph Sabag stated: “Florida's new anti-discrimination/boycott law is good as a matter of economic policy, public policy and foreign policy. This is a great accomplishment for the pro-Israel community, and a resounding defeat for the BDS Movement. We want to thank our friends at StandWithUs for helping to lead the way with terrific community engagement in this effort.”
Sara Gold Rafel, director, StandWithUs Southeast added, "We urge Governor Scott to sign the legislation immediately and put Florida on the map as a leader against ethnic and religious discrimination."
StandWithUs (SWU) is a fourteen year-old, international, non-profit Israel education organization that supports people around the world who want to educate their campuses and communities about Israel. SWU educates through social media, videos, hosts speakers, programs and conferences in cities around the world, offers website resources and creates materials about Israel in different languages and on a variety of topics that are distributed globally.
Based in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters throughout the U.S., in Israel, the UK and Canada, including Florida.
www.standwithus.com and https://www.facebook.com/standwithussoutheast/?fref=ts
http://www.facebook.com/StandWithUs and http://www.twitter.com/standwithus
Israel creating first ever sculpture in outer space
The project will take a digital representation of human laughter and beam it up to space, where it will be created on a specially designed 3D printer that works in zero gravity.
In space, nobody can hear you scream, but in 2016 they will be able to see you laugh.
Israeli concept artist Eyal Gever is working with NASA on a project called #Laugh, which will be the first art piece created in space.
The project will take a digital representation of human laughter and beam it up to space, where it will be created on a specially designed 3D printer that works in zero gravity, made by US-based firm Made in Space. The company was created in 2010 “with the idea that people should be living in space now,” according to its CTO Jason Dunn.
The project, Gever said at the IMTM tourist conference on Wednesday, is part of a wider effort by NASA to use 3D printing to help create a more self-sustaining environment for astronauts in space.
Instead of launching hardware or parts from earth, they would be able to simply upload and 3D print them.
“One of the areas that we are excited a lot about is art and how we can design new types of art that maybe we can’t even bring back to earth, because we’re building a sculpture that wouldn’t even survive in gravity,” said Dunn in a video promoting the project.
The concept of creating a sculpture representing laughter, Gever said, was an attempt to showcase something fundamentally human that is absent in space, where sound cannot travel.
“I realized, you know, maybe I shouldn’t even think about using a person or a certain language that has a political connotation or culture or time or race, and then a friend of mine said, ‘Why don’t you do a human laughter?’” he said.
The project will also have a crowdsourcing element. People around the world will be invited to record and submit their laughter online, and then vote on which clip should be represented in the sculpture.
The project is somewhat reminiscent of the NASA voyager Golden Records in 1977, cultural artifacts sent into space that included sounds and scenes from earth, which other advanced societies could potentially interpret. The spectrograph of the laugh, says Gever, could be read and recreated into sound in the future.
Gever’s other work revolves around realistic digital representations, some of which he prints in 3D for effect. Among them: a video of a watery dancer with a constant stream shimmying off its body, a square of uber-realistic ocean surface, and a waterfall 3D printed in a surreal shiny plastic.
According to Gever, the project, which will be featured in a VICE documentary, will come to fruition at some point in 2016.
Israeli Research Into Zika Virus Contradicts World Health Organization Find
By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS
Haifa University has conducted a preliminary study that has identified a correlation between the exceptionally hot and dry winter of northeast Brazil and the recent outbreak of the Zika virus which has led to numerous of birth defects.
The study was led by Dr. Shlomit Paz of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa and Professor Jan Semenza of the Stockholm-based European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The main findings of the provisional research contradict the conclusions drawn by the World Health Organization (WHO), which declared a state of emergency last week over the outbreak of the virus.
According to the WHO, the virus is associated with heavy rains in parts of Central and South America as a result of El Nino, a phenomenon that involves a substantial increase in Pacific Ocean water temperatures.
Preliminary research led by Haifa University, however, indicates that the relevant factor associated with the virus is in fact the wave of exceptionally hot and dry conditions, which have reached record levels in the latter half of 2015 in northeastern Brazil where the Zika virus has broken out.
The research argues that the outbreak is not attributable to heavy rains rather it can be attributable to another factor involving climate change and global warming patterns that have affected the planet over recent decades.
“It is very preliminary research, but we found a linkage and overlap between regions in northeastern Brazil with extreme climatic conditions such as record-level extreme temperatures and a severe drop in water levels,” Dr. Paz told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
She added that it is well known that the high temperatures encourage the growth rates of the Aedes mosquito population through which the Zika virus is transmitted. The dry conditions, however, deprive the mosquitoes of the water they need for survival. In turn, the mosquitoes swarm around water containers left in the open by local residents.
She also explained why the findings of her research undermine those of the WHO. “The WHO’s conclusions are a mistake. They talk about a linkage with El Nino and about extreme rainfalls, etc. We found, however, that the main regions of the Zika outbreak were characterized by a severe drop in water levels.”
While Paz acknowledged that mosquitoes are known to prevail under conditions of intense rainfall as suggested by the WHO, she cited previous studies that demonstrate the correlation between dry conditions and the risk of an upsurge in mosquito populations.
“People don’t know it, but by putting all their water in open containers, they prepare very comfortable conditions for the mosquitoes,” she said.
The Zika virus has been known to researchers for several decades, but the reason for the sudden severe outbreak has not yet been found. “It is very important to highlight that the reasons are multifactorial and the climate is only one of the factors that may have an impact and that is very important. But it is not the only factor,” Paz said.
She concluded that further research would take significant periods of time and that the University of Haifa is currently continuing its research through the collection and analysis of related data on a broader scale.
About the Author: TPS - The Tazpit News Agency provides news from Israel.
Cyber unicorn: ForeScout hits billion-dollar mark
Israel-US agentless cybersecurity company, ForeScout, raises $76 million; mPrest and TravelersBox also announce million-dollar funding rounds.
By Viva Sarah Press JANUARY 25, 2016, 10:38 AM
A cyber unicorn (a private company valued at $1 billion or more) announced in Israel this week and two companies reeling in big bucks in the IoT sphere.
ForeScout Technologies, the US-Israeli pioneer in agentless cybersecurity, has announced $76 million in additional financing to push its value to $1 billion. The additional capital will be used to expand global field operations, build a world-class support organization and increase R&D efforts to accelerate leadership in the underserved Internet of Things (IoT) security space, according to a company statement.
ForeScout is headquartered in California and has a development center in Tel Aviv. The company – which boasts award-winning technology that provides the unique ability to see and control the rapidly growing population of unsecured and dark devices — was founded in 2000 by Chairman Prof. Hezy Yeshurun from Tel Aviv’s Faculty of Computer Science, CTO Oded Comay, and senior manager Doron Shikmoni.
“It took 25 years for the world to get to five billion connected devices, but with the explosion of the IoT we’ll see around 30 billion by 2020—an entirely new approach to security is required,” said Michael DeCesare, ForeScout CEO & President. “Device proliferation and IoT deployments are easy entrances for cyber criminals if not detected and protected. With agentless visibility, intuitive automated controls and a commitment to integrating with leading security and IT management solutions, ForeScout is well-positioned to own the burgeoning IoT security market.”
In related news, mPrest, a global provider of mission-critical monitoring and control software for the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced a $20 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by GE Ventures, the venture arm of GE, and OurCrowd, one of the world’s leading equity crowdfunding platforms.
mPrest will use the investment to expand its international presence in the industrial and commercial markets and rapidly scale to meet the soaring needs of the IoT world.
“mPrest is an exciting company with significant revenues, a real track record and a very promising future,” said Jon Medved, OurCrowd CEO. “Just as its Iron Dome technology has played an invaluable role in protecting millions of citizens, we are confident that mPrest’s real-time platform will deliver enormous value to its large industrial customers for years to come.”
And Israeli startup TravelersBox, which offers a solution allowing travelers in airports to convert leftover foreign currency into usable digital currency, has announced a successful Series A funding round to the tune of $10 million. The company has raised $15.5 million to date.
“There are more than three billion international travelers every year, and our mission is to provide an easy way for those travelers to regain the lost value of their unused foreign currency,” Tomer Zussman, founder and CEO of TravelersBox said in a statement.
TravelersBox was founded in 2012. It has its headquarters in Gibraltar and an R&D center in Kadima.
Illustration of unicorn by Shutterstock.com
Honda Turns to Israel for Help in Building Safer Vehicles
Honda Turns to Israel for Help in Building Safer Vehicles
World leaders, experts heading to CyberTech
Israel enjoys cyber superpower status as startups sell at least $3 billion of cyber security products and services in 2015.
By Viva Sarah Press JANUARY 18, 2016, 4:12 PM
Israeli cyber startups notched a very profitable year in 2015 and this upcoming year’s cyber arena looks ripe for even further growth. According to a new report, Israel exported at least $3 billion worth of products and services last year.
Israel Export Institute figures show that Israel is a cyber superpower. New cyber technology startups – being formed and making exits – proves the country’s stronghold in the global cyber arena.
In fact, state leaders and international cyber experts are heading over to Israel for the January 26-27 CyberTech in Israel convention.
Hundreds of delegations from across the globe will attend CyberTech — the second largest exhibition of cyber technologies worldwide — including a large delegation from Japan, a US delegation led by the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, a delegation from developing countries organized by the World Bank, as well as a Canadian delegation comprising senior executives of Canada’s central banks.
Also on the guest list: delegations from Germany, the UK, Italy, Holland, France, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Kenya, South Africa, Ecuador, Panama, Guatemala, Colombia, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Albania, Estonia, the EU and NATO.
The delegation from Japan includes a group looking for suitable technologies to secure the Tokyo Olympics 2020 from potential cyber threats.
Israel Aerospace is leading a consortium of Israeli cyber security companies – including Check Point Software Technologies, Verint Systems, Bynet, ClearSky, CyberX, and ECI Telecom – that are hoping to attract Japanese interest with a special exhibit at CyberTech.
The CyberTech event will allow B2B, startups, investors, government officials, military personnel, ambassadors and exhibition visitors to focus on networking, strengthening existing alliances, and forming new ones.
CyberTech presents problem solving strategies and solutions to challenges in a wide range of sectors including finance, defense, transportation, utilities, R&D, energy, manufacturing, service sectors, health, media, and government.
13-Year-Old Israeli Girl Develops Satellite System for Producing Oxygen in
Author: Ruthie Blum
A 13-year-old Israeli girl has invented a system for the production of oxygen in space, the Hebrew youth paper Ma’ariv L’Noar reported on Thursday, along with an interview with the budding tween scientist from Ramat Hasharon.
The recent winner of the “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency, Roni Oron developed BioSat “to solve a problem for astronauts trying to prove that life on Mars is possible.”
Oron said her satellite is “built like a large bubble on one side of which there is a mirror and the other is transparent, enabling the penetration of sunlight. In the middle there is a capsule, which will be made of a membrane through which air can pass but water cannot. Inside of it there will be water and algae, and outside there will be carbon dioxide. Through a process of photosynthesis, the satellite will produce oxygen. There will be additional mirrors inside the satellite that will enable sunlight to reach the capsule, but not by direct radiation, which would harm the algae.”
Oron told Ma’ariv L’Noar about her parents’ support.
“My father, an orthopedist, was very happy when I began my research,” she said. “From my mother I learned the wisdom of looking at life creatively.”
#BDS_Fail: Spanish government makes forced donation to Ariel University
After banning Samaria's Ariel University from a competition that it would have won, the government of Spain has been forced to contribute more than $100,000 to the university's coffers.
Spain refused to allow Ariel University students to take part in a competition to design "green" environmentally-friendly buildings, which was meant to be open to students from all universities worldwide.
Ariel University students reached the finals of the competition with their design, according to Yedioth Aharonoth.
Their design, entitled "Abraham's Tent," garnered great international interest, but the boycott movement began working overtime to have the students banned from the competition for the simple fact that they study in Samaria.
Eventually the anti-Israel activists succeeded, and even though the Israeli students had arrived in Spain in order to take part in the finals, they were informed by the Spanish construction ministry that funded the competition that they were being banned.
The University responded by petitioning the decision via an attorney in Spain, suing the Spanish government for compensation and demanding that the students be allowed to return to the competition.
The Spanish construction ministry reportedly tried to fight the petition, but after realizing they were going to lose embarrassingly, they decided to admit that they had discriminated against the students and the university and offered to pay 430,000 shekels in compensation. That amount was recently transferred to the university
nuary 06, 2016 israelmatza.blogspot.com
New Israeli Treatment For Fibromyalgia Helped 100% Of Sufferers In New Stud
A clinical trial involving women diagnosed with fibromyalgia showed the painful condition improved in every one of the 48 who completed two months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Brain scans of the women before and after treatment gave credence to the theory that abnormal conditions in pain-related areas of the brain may be responsible for the syndrome.
Above: The interior of a hyperbaric chamber at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, used to treat patients with fibromyalgia in a recent trial. Courtesy of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicineand Research
The interior of a hyperbaric chamber at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, used to treat patients with fibromyalgia in a recent trial. Courtesy of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research – See more at: http://news.rice.edu/2015/06/02/hyperbaric-hope-for-fibromyalgia-sufferers-2/#sthash.yinyQ3dt.dpuf
Hyperbaric Hope For Fibromyalgia Sufferers
Mike Williams • Rice University
Rice University part of Israel study to test novel treatment for little-understood condition
Women who suffer from fibromyalgia benefit from a treatment regimen in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, according to researchers at Rice University and institutes in Israel.
A clinical trial involving women diagnosed with fibromyalgia showed the painful condition improved in every one of the 48 who completed two months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Brain scans of the women before and after treatment gave credence to the theory that abnormal conditions in pain-related areas of the brain may be responsible for the syndrome.
Results of the study appear in the open-access journal PLOS One.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that can be accompanied by – and perhaps related to – other physical and mental conditions that include fatigue, cognitive impairment, irritable bowel syndrome and sleep disturbance.
More than 90 percent of those diagnosed with the syndrome are women, said Eshel Ben-Jacob, a lead author of the proof-of-concept study who developed the analytical method used to show the association between patients’ improvement and changes in their brains. He is an adjunct professor of biosciences at Rice University, a senior investigator at Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics and a professor of physics and member of the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University.
“Symptoms in about 70 percent of the women who took part have to do with the interpretation of pain in their brains,” Ben-Jacob said. “They’re the ones who showed the most improvement with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. We found significant changes in their brain activity.”
Scientists have not pinned down the syndrome’s cause, although another recent PLOS One study identified a possible RNA-based biomarker for its diagnosis. A variety of treatments from drugs to lifestyle changes have been tried to relieve patients’ suffering, with limited success, Ben-Jacob said.
“Most people have never heard of fibromyalgia,” he said. “And many who have, including some medical doctors, don’t admit that this is a real disorder. I learned from my M.D. friends that this is not the only case in which disorders that target mainly women raise skepticism in the medical community as to whether they’re real or not. However, these days there are increasing efforts to understand the effect of gender on body disorders.”
your medical guide
ApiFix® Reports “Substantial Reduction” of Scoliosis Curvature at One-to-Th
July 13, 2015 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
CHARLESTON, S.C. & MISGAV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ApiFix® Ltd. announced today that the company’s ApiFix® system, which has now been used to correct scoliosis in 50 adolescents since the system was approved for marketing in Europe, continues to demonstrate impressive results at one-to-three years of follow-up with 25 of these patients.
“Scoliosis curve correction at one-to-three years follow-up is substantial for these adolescents. Equally important, patients are pain-free and happy with their new back shape. No implant failure has been observed,” said Prof. Yizhar Floman, M.D., principal investigator for the ApiFix® clinical study. ApiFix® is a commercial-stage company that has developed the CE-marked ApiFix® System — a non-fusion minimally invasive treatment alternative for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). Scoliosis surgery is the most invasive procedure in spine. The average procedure fuses 10 vertebrae together using 20 screws, resulting in significant and permanent loss of spine mobility.
“There is a dire need for an alternative to today’s standard for scoliosis correction in adolescents 12 to 18 years old, the age when rapid growth typically occurs,” said Uri Arnin, CEO, headquartered in Misgav, Israel. “In 80 percent of these children, the cause of their scoliosis is ‘idiopathic’, or unknown. While the reduction in spine mobility is certainly a difficult consequence of long spinal fusions, which are the gold standard of treating scoliosis today, other critically important negative consequences include high chance for back pain and additional spine surgery during the first 20 years post-original surgery.”
“Now, there’s the ApiFix system,” added Ted Bird, Chairman, based in Charleston, S.C., USA. “It is approved for sale in Europe. We are currently raising funding in order to fast-forward our sales-and-marketing efforts to launch a device that is designed to be a new standard for correcting scoliosis in adolescents.”
A clinical study of The ApiFix® System led by Prof. Yizhar Floman, M.D. past President of the Israel Spine Society, published this year in the peer-reviewed medical journal Scoliosis concluded that “there are many drawbacks to the current gold standard of AIS surgery, which are almost nonexistent with the use of ApiFix: considerable blood loss leading to blood transfusions, neurologic deficit including spinal cord lesions, late infections, pseudoarthrosis, limitation of spinal motion also affecting non-fused levels, back pain and disc degeneration in the non-fused spinal segments. Almost all of these complications can be avoided by the use of Apifix.”
Ronald Trahan Associates
Ronald Trahan, APR, +1 508-359-4005, x108
Israel Ranks In Top Ten
Israel is the sixth-healthiest country in the world and is the only Middle Eastern country in the top 10, according to recent world health rankings by media outlet Bloomberg and reported in British newspaper The Independent.
The rankings, which compiled data from the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, placed Singapore in first place of 145 countries, with a "health grade" of 89.45 percent.
Italy came in second, followed by Australia, Switzerland and Japan. After Israel came Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany.
The United Kingdom ranked 21st and the United States 33rd. The U.S. came in after Costa Rica (No. 24), Denmark (26), Cuba (28) and the United Arab Emirates (30). Russia was in 97th place and Iraq in 98th.
In last place was Swaziland, with a health grade of only 0.26 percent.
The rankings were determined using a points system for positive and negative indicators of health, including life expectancy from birth, smoking rates among young people, and immunization rates.
Israeli health innovation startups wow at medical device conference in San
By Viva Sarah Press | October 20, 2015, 2:39 pm
MobileODT, the company that uses mobile phones to detect cancer and other diseases, is this year’s winner of the 2015 MedTech Innovator competition. The Israeli startup beat out 300 early medtech startups from around the world and took home the cash prize of $200,000.
The MedTech winners were announced recently at the AdvaMed 2015 conference in San Diego, tipped as one the leading gatherings of medical technology professionals in North America.
Briteseed, an American medical diagnostic imaging company, won second place and a $50,000 cash prize. MedAware, the Israeli company that leverages big data and sophisticated algorithms to stop prescription errors, and uBiome, the San Francisco-based company behind a self-sampling microbiome testing service, were runners up in the contest.
The four finalists presented their companies and the winner was selected by live audience vote.
High-pressure oxygen for fibromyalgia
Israeli study finds new treatment for pain syndrome reduces or eliminates need for medication.
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.
“It means that brain repair, including neuronal regeneration, is possible even for chronic, long-lasting pain syndromes.”
Efrati and his team exposed study participants to two months of hyberbaric oxygen therapy. They found significant changes in the brain activity and symptoms of 70 percent of participants.
The trial involved 60 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at least two years earlier. Half of the 48 patients who completed the therapy received 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments — 90-minute treatments exposing patients to pure oxygen at twice the atmospheric pressure, five days a week over the course of two months.
Not just treating symptoms
The successful treatment enabled patients to drastically reduce or even eliminate their use of pain medications. “The intake of the drugs eased the pain but did not reverse the condition. But hyperbaric oxygen treatments did reverse the condition,” said Efrati, who added that the findings are significant enough to warrant further study.
“Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are designed to address the actual cause of fibromyalgia — the brain pathology responsible for the syndrome,” he said. “It means that brain repair, including neuronal regeneration, is possible even for chronic, long-lasting pain syndromes, and we can and should aim for that in any future treatment development.”
The researchers did find some discrepancies among patients depending on the origin of the condition. When fibromyalgia was triggered by a traumatic brain injury, for example, they witnessed a complete resolution without any need for further treatment. But when the trigger was attributed to other causes, such as fever-related diseases, patients required periodic maintenance therapy.
The researchers are continuing to conduct comprehensive studies on the renewal of brain tissue under hyperbaric conditions.
A previous study led by Efrati and the late Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob, published in the same journal in 2013, showed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy increased neuronal activity in post-stroke patients and may be effective in treating and preventing many other brain disorders.
The current study was carried out by Efrati, Ben-Jacob and scientists affiliated with TAU, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University, Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Ashkelon Academic College, Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot and Rice University in Texas.
Israeli Researcher Makes Key Breakthrough In Combating Antibiotic Resistanc
By NoCamels Team June 09, 2015 0 Comments
At its annual assembly in Geneva last week, the World Health Organization approved a radical and far-reaching plan to slow the rapid, extensive spread of antibiotic resistance around the world. The plan hopes to curb the rise caused by an unchecked use of antibiotics and lack of new antibiotics on the market.
Now Tel Aviv University research published in PNAS introduces a promising new tool: a two-pronged system to combat this dangerous situation. The system wipes out antibiotic resistance in selected bacteria, and renders other bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics. The research, led by Prof. Udi Qimron is based on bacterial viruses called “phages”, which transfer “edited” DNA into resistant bacteria to kill off resistant strains and make others more sensitive to antibiotics. According to the researchers, the system, if ultimately applied to pathogens on hospital surfaces or medical personnel’s hands, could turn the tide on untreatable, often lethal bacterial infections. “Since there are only a few pathogens in hospitals that cause most of the antibiotic-resistance infections, we wish to specifically design appropriate sensitization treatments for each one of them,” Prof. Qimron says. “We will have to choose suitable combinations of DNA-delivering phages that would deliver the DNA into pathogens, and the suitable combination of ‘killing’ phages that could select the re-sensitized pathogens.”
“Antibiotic-resistant pathogens constitute an increasing threat because antibiotics are designed to select resistant pathogens over sensitive ones,” Prof. Qimron says. “The injected DNA does two things: It eliminates the genes that cause resistance to antibiotics, and it confers protection against lethal phages. “We managed to devise a way to restore antibiotic sensitivity to drug-resistant bacteria, and also prevent the transfer of genes that create that resistance among bacteria,” he continues.
Earlier research by Prof. Qimron revealed that bacteria could be sensitized to certain antibiotics — and that specific chemical agents could “choose” those bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics. His strategy harnesses the CRISPR-Cas system — a bacterial DNA-reprogramming system Prof. Qimron pioneered — as a tool to expand on established principles. According to the researchers, “selective pressure” exerted by antibiotics renders most bacteria resistant to them — hence the epidemic of lethal resistant infections in hospitals. No counter-selection pressure for sensitization of antibiotics is currently available. Prof. Qimron’s strategy actually combats this pressure — selecting for the population of pathogens exhibiting antibiotic sensitivity. “We believe that this strategy, in addition to disinfection, could significantly render infections once again treatable by antibiotics,” said Prof. Qimron. Prof. Qimron and his team are now poised to apply the CRISPR/phage system onpseudomonas aeruginosa — one of the world’s most prevalent antibiotic-resistant pathogens involved in hospital-acquired infections — and to test whether bacterial sensitization works in a more complex microbial environment: the mouse cage. Prof. Qimron is a member of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine.
Researchers at Israel's Weitzman Institute First
To Grow Immune System Cells In Lab
by ISRAEL21c | 05.21.15 5:55 pm
The global science community is looking to Rehovot, where a team of Israeli scientists at the Weizmann Institute managed to grow lymphatic cells in the lab for the first time ever.
For over a century, scientists have debated the origins of the lymphatic system—a parallel system to the blood vessels that serves as a conduit for everything from immune cells to fat molecules to cancer cells. This issue has now been resolved by Dr. Karina Yaniv of the Weizmann Institute’s Biological Regulation Department. In a study reported in Nature, Yaniv and her team revealed how the lymphatic system develops in the embryo.
In the initial stages of the research project, Yaniv’s team members Julian Nicenboim and Dr. Guy Malkinson obtained images of developing zebrafish embryos, whose transparent bodies make it possible to document embryonic development in real time over several days. The scientists then played the movies backward, to identify the point at which the lymphatic system began to form.
To their surprise, they discovered that the cells that give rise to lymphatic vessels always originated in the same part of the embryo’s major vein. In that spot, the scientists found a niche of angioblasts, the same cells that a hundred years earlier were thought to be the source of lymph vessels, but were later neglected by researchers.
An in-depth genetic analysis, performed with the participation of graduate students Tal Lupo and Lihee Asaf, pointed to a gene called WNT5B, which was revealed to be the factor prompting stem cells to differentiate into lymphatic cells. When postdoctoral fellow Dr. Yogev Sela added WNT5B to human embryonic stem cells, these cells indeed differentiated into lymphatic cells—the first time such cells had been grown in the lab.
“We started out by imaging zebrafish, and ended up finding a factor that makes it possible to create lymphatic cells,” said Yaniv. “That’s the beauty of research in developmental biology: The embryo holds the answers, and all we have to do is watch and learn.”
The new research not only answers a longstanding question of how the lymph system arises, but can also provide important insights into disease, from metastasis to the abnormal accumulation of lymph fluids, particularly in the wake of surgery to remove cancerous tumors.
The research was performed in collaboration with the laboratories of Prof. Itai Yanai from the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Dr. Jacob Hanna of Weizmann’s Molecular Genetics Department, and Prof. Nathan Lawson of the University of Massachusetts.
BDS SUPPORTERS USE ISRAELI & JEWISH MEDICAL DISCOVERIES AND SERVICES
The BDS supporters do not hesitate to make use of the medical discoveries and services of Israeli and other Jewish doctors and institutions. Following is a very abbreviated list:
Blood group identification for blood transfusion,
Diphtheria & Tetanus Antitoxin,
Warfarin (prevention of heart attacks & strokes),
Breaking the genetic code,
Nuclear magnetic resonance,
Lasik eye surgery,
Controlled chlorination of drinking water supplies,
Medical treatment at Israeli hospitals:
Over 1500 wounded Syrians,
Treated daughter of a high Hamas leader,
Treated niece of Ayatollah Khomeini for reproductive issues and many more.
It has been estimated that, depending on the assumptions used, the number of lives saved by Israeli and other Jewish discoveries has been 2.8-4.3 BILLION!!
For more information, see www.jinfo.org/Life_Savers.html.
Israel’s Exelon inventor sees an end to Alzheimer’s
BY DAVID SHAMAH April 22, 2015, 5:08 pm 9
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. 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 many ways, Exelon, and its inventor, paved new paths in Israeli medicine, and Israeli society. Weinstock-Rosin, who is Orthodox, was born in Vienna and fled with her family to Britain in 1939, narrowly escaping from the Nazis. She came to Israel with her family in 1969, and became a professor at Hebrew University in 1981. In 1983, she became head of the Pharmacology department at the Hebrew University (now part of the Institute for Drug Research) in the Faculty of Medicine.Weinstock-Rosin’s drug Rivastigmine was incorporated by Novartis into the Exelon Patch, the first and only FDA-approved skin patch for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, in which many researchers believe the cognitive decline results from a loss a brain neural transmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is necessary for communication between nerve cells. Rivastigmine prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine by an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. Weinstock-Rosin’s research showed that by so doing it can slow the progress of memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.As there currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s, Exelon is considered one of the more effective treatments for the disease. Used by patients either twice a day in capsules or once a day in patch form, Novartis sold more than $1 billion worth of Exelon in 2013.Novartis acquired Exelon from the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, Yissum, which since 1964 has established numerous companies based on research done by Hebrew U scientists, including road safety innovator Mobileye. Altogether, products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum generate $2 billion in annual sales. Weinstock-Rosin’s current research involves a drug called Ladostigil, originally developed together with Prof. Moussa Youdim of the Technion and Teva pharmaceuticals to treat Alzheimers like rivastigmine. Weinstock-Rosin discovered that at a much lower dose it can prevent the deterioration of memory in aging rats by a different mechanism of action and may also be able to do this in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. The drug is now undergoing a three-year Phase II clinical trial in Israel and Europe in subjects with MCI for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.For doctors, researching diseases of the brain is the next great challenge, said Weinstock-Rosin. “We have done a great deal to keep people alive longer, but now we have to help them live better-quality lives by discovering ways to slow down or even prevent mental deterioration. What good will it be to live to be 150 but without mental faculties?”
Israeli-American Team Unveils Revolutionary Drug in Fight Against Skin Canc
Team member Jacob Schachter of Sheba Medical Center believes the new treatment 'will turn melanoma into a treatable chronic disease.'
Nechama Duek Published: 06.08.14, 16:32 / Israel Culture
A groundbreaking biological treatment for cancer jointly developed by Israeli and American researchers has been presented at an international conference on cancer research in Chicago. "This medicine is a miracle cure - it's a real breakthrough," says Prof. Jacob Schachter, head of research and treatment of melanoma and skin cancer at Sheba Medical Center, who is part of the international research team for the medicine.
The new treatment comes from the field of immunotherapy, which helps the immune system fight cancer, unlike chemotherapy, which attacks the tumor itself. There are various types of cancerous tumors, such as melanoma, that use a "shield" to protect themselves from being identified by the immune system. The new medicine paralyzes this type of screening mechanism, so the immune system can recognize the cancer and attack it.
The results of the international research suggest that using the medicine Pembrolizumab, also known as MK-3475, yields impressive survival rates in patients with advanced cancer, with 69 percent surviving one year and 63 percent surviving 18 months. Without this treatment, patients with metastatic melanoma die from the disease within 4-5 months, after reaching stage four cancer. The research tested 41,818 patients, 1,800 of them in Israel. The research took place over a decade, while the clinical stage took four years.
The new medicine, which belongs to a new generation of biological drugs, yielded extraordinary results to the point that the FDA approved it for "compassionate use" (the use of an investigational drug outside a clinical trial by patients with life-threatening conditions) and it will be given for free to terminally ill patients. It is also be fast tracked for approval, which is expected by October.
"One of my patients who suffered metastatic melanoma in very critical condition entered the trial, and within six weeks his body was completely clean of cancer," said Schachter. He stressed that because of the biological nature of the drug; its side effects are minimal and allows patients optimal quality of life.
Merck, the American company that developed the drug, has a department in Israel called MSD, which operates a research division working in tandem with medical centers in Israel."We are on our way to turn melanoma a treatable chronic disease," said Schachter. "We are also seeing positive results in other types of cancer such as the urinary bladder, head neck and lungs". Prof. Alise Reicin, who heads the American team that developed the drug, termed it "definitely a breakthrough in the war against cancer". Thousands of doctors and researchers from around the world attended the conference of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, an annual event focusing on the latest medicine and research in cancer treatment. A significant number of this year's lectures were dedicated to research in biological medicine and immunotherapy, which are seen as the new generation of cancer treatment
Successful Kosher Food & Wine Experience in US, Europe, and Israel "Getting the Message Out" Says Kedem
The 9th annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience sponsored by Kedem (Royal Wine Corporation)takes place this evening at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. More than 1,000 bottles of wines and spirits from the US, France , Israel, and other fine wine regions around the world will be sampled. Initially held only in New York, the event has expanded to such cities as Miami, Paris, Tel Aviv and London.
Nathan Herzog, the Executive Vice President for Royal Wines says that “ each event has its own flavor and we always make sure to get kosher winemakers from all over the globe so people can talk directly with them”. He adds “it’s the best vehicle to get the message directly to the consumers of the great kosher wines available today”. The KFWE in New York is divided into two parts, the first for trade and professionals and the second for some 1800 food connoisseurs who in addition to the wines can taste great foods from some of the New York region’s finest restaurants and caterers. Last week, more than 800 people attended a similar event in London.
Wines from Israel are very much in demand - there is a lot of interest, many new wines and vintages, and a lot of growth and movement, states Jay Buchsbaum, VP marketing and Director of Wine Education, the Royal Wine Corporation /Kedem. “The single strongest growth area in the kosher wine world is Israel, hands down. We almost can’t bring it in fast enough and some of the wineries can’t produce enough volume to satisfy the U.S demand”. To date Royal Wine offers more than 20 different Israeli wineries in its portfolio. Kosher wine in America is big business – upwards of $28 million in sales, according to estimates made several years ago.
New Jersey Rabbi develops app to support Israeli products
A free application for those who want to support Israel by helping Israeli made products is now downloadable for all major smart phones. The new app, Am Yisrael Buy was created by Rabbi Daniel M. Cohen, spiritual leader of Temple Sharey Tefilo- – Israel in South Orange New Jersey. “There is an international movement called BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – aimed at boycotting Israel and its products” said Cohen. “The movement demonizes Israel and has, as some of its leading proponents, anti—Semites whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the State of Israel. When I learned there are BDS apps that make it easier to boycott Israeli products and goods and spread their hatred, and then found there was no commensurate Pro – Israel app, I just had to act. That was the impetus for creating Am Yisrael Buy.”
Initially Rabbi Cohen turned to some of his colleagues in the rabbinic community to see if they would join him in helping to promote an app for Israel. Once they agreed, he contacted a developer to help him create the app. The developer had some good ideas but was moving too slowly, so Rabbi Cohen decided to create it himself using a template – driven app development software tool. He taught himself to use the interface and Am Yisrael Buy was born.
The app offers a list of Israeli made products, and where to buy them, as well as additional ways to support Israel. “As I was putting together the list I realized there were other ways to support Israel, so I added a section with some of the media outlets that cover Israel, outlets that help expose media bias against Israel, and included a number of ways people can donate to Pro – Israel organizations.” Added Cohen
Jewish Advocate 10/10/14
Online Gift Stores Fight Boycott of Israel
With the continued growth of online shopping, Israeli online gift stores are spending more and promoting their products abroad in an effort to encourage Jews and non-Jews around the world to support Israel's economy - and challenge the BDS campaign against Israel. They are marking their products with "Made in Israel" in a clear sign for buyers to know of the Israeli designers. While much of the cheaper products are manufactured in China, many of the fine arts and crafts are produced in Israel.
IsraelGiftStore - Shop Now
The BDS boycott, divesture and sanctions campaign waged against Israel has steadily advanced around the world. However, in the past 3 years, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reports there has been an increase in exports each year between 3-6%. This is good news for the online stores which are targeting new markets.
The focus of these Israeli web stores has been moving to markets beyond the Jewish community including the Christian supporters, and countries in Latin America and Asia which have strong economies. For these, the emphasis tends to be more with products from the Holy land, but not necessarily religious items. Many Jewish and Christian organizations and individuals are vocally advocating for Israel, but most still shop in their local communities (where much is imported from Asia) or online for the best price. The online stores are suggesting that the priority should be "buying blue and white".
One such company, www.IsraelGiftStore.com carries only products that are designed and manufactured in Israel, including the packaging. It brands its products as higher quality with lower margins and quick service to encourage the online shopping experience.
IsraelGiftStore - Shop Now
"We started the Israel Gift Store after seeing the force of the BDS campaign and the growing divestures of companies doing business with Israel. We felt we needed to take a proactive stance to show the amazing creativity, diversity and culture of our country. We do this through beautiful products, and through our promotions," said Tali Omer, founder of the Israel Gift Store.
"It's a whole new ballgame with the social media promotions, and not any less expensive than operating a physical store. But the rewards for promoting Israel abroad are so much greater," Tali explains.
The international reach of the online stores has the added advantage of fewer peaks and valleys in sales. Holidays and special events in other countries and cultures occur regularly, to create a more even ordering for manufacturers. With the statistics proving positive, the advantages of the online gift stores work both for the economy, the producers and the consumers.
We appreciate your business and your support of Israel.
Israel Gift Store
Christians United For Israel
Dear Friend ,
Christians United for Israel (CUFI) is the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over one million members and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world. We have only 25 staff, but serve over one million members and conduct over 40 pro-Israel events every month.
Statement of Purpose
The purpose of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) is to provide a national association through which every pro-Israel church, parachurch organization, ministry or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to Biblical issues.
BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) is the latest effort to attack the Jewish people and delegitimize the Jewish State. The people promoting BDS are Israel haters who are trying to treat Israel like apartheid South Africa. They're hoping you'll forget that Israel is one of the most racially diverse countries in the world. They're hoping you'll not know that the freest Arabs in the Middle East are the Arab citizens of the Jewish State of Israel. They're hoping you won't see in their boycott of Jewish products and scholars a parallel to the Nazi boycott of Jewish merchants and academics decades ago.
We are pushing back against the boycott of Israeli goods by purchasing Israeli goods. That's why our CUFI Christmas ornament is made in Israel! For your gift of $20 or more you receive a silver made in Israel CUFI Christmas Ornament. Or for your gift of $35 or more you will receive both the silver and gold made in Israel CUFI Christmas ornaments.
May God Bless You and Those that You Love,
Pastor John Hagee David Brog
Chairman Executive Director
Stand with Israel - Donate now! firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of Israel
Nov 11th, 2:14pm
If you've never heard of us before: Hello from Sussex Friends of Israel!
We are a group who have just started up in response to intense and aggressive demonstrations in our town, by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement outside shops that sell Israeli produce. Upset and disturbed by weekly harassment, chanting and shouting of lies and hatred by these activists outside these shops, members of the Jewish and Christian community of Brighton began a counter-protest, forming the group which is now known as Sussex Friends of Israel.
We've just passed our second anniversary since we first started counter-protesting against the BDS, giving out pro-Israel leaflets, holding our own rallies, talking and engaging the public and giving them another narrative and another side to the story. Members from all religions and backgrounds have thanked us for being a presence in Brighton, UK,, not only because they have also experienced harassment by the BDS and other groups, but because they feel marginalised and threatened by such a divisive, loud and aggressive movement on their streets. Would you visit and Like (or/and Share?) our page and thus support our small but ever growing online community which aims to promote and share the truth about Israel and the wider Jewish Community? Here is Sussex Friends of Israel’s link!
How Can You Help Israel?
During these difficult times, when we can give less to help others, the Israeli organizations that rely on U.S. donations are struggling like never before. The drop in the value of the U.S. dollar means charitable donations buy far less than in the recent past. And with food prices soaring worldwide, the numbers of truly poor, keep rising. The ripple effect from the U.S. financial crisis is devastating to charities and businesses in Israel.
Israel's economy has recovered admirably, but there is still suffering and crushing poverty in much of the country. Self defense is expensive. Rebuilding war-ravaged lives, homes and businesses requires support. Most social services have been reduced drastically. Over 1.6 million people in Israel live below the poverty line. One in every three Israeli children is growing up poor- without enough food, without dental care, or shoes that fit. This store is our small attempt to make a difference. Our goal is to make high quality Israeli products easier to find and purchase for U.S. consumers. We urge our customers to support both America and Israel by purchasing MADE IN U.S.A. and MADE IN ISRAEL products whenever possible.
Conscious spending for everyday needs in this way helps good people keep their jobs. It is a simple way to help counter the economic damage done by terrorists.
Our warehouse is in Baltimore, so you wont have to wait weeks or pay exhorbitant shipping rates to buy MADE IN ISRAEL items. Please browse through our wonderful selection of THOUSANDS of useful, affordable and beautiful items, with favorite brands like Ahava, Dr. Fischer, Elite, Osem, Halutza, Neca 7, Ayala Bar, Yair Emanuel, Natural Formula, Safed Candles, and with hard-to-find items from small manufacturers and artists too.
100% of net profits from our internet sales are donated to Israeli charities. Israelproducts.com
ISRAELI BEER COMES TO THE U.S.
Malka Beer has become the first brand of Israeli craft beer to become available in the United States, and Illinois is now one of the first US markets to support it, distributed by Chicago owned and operated Louis Glunz Beer and imported by Sublime Imports.
Located in the upper Galilee town of Yehiam (pronounced YEH-HEE-YAHM), at the foot of the 12th century Montfort Castle, Malka is one of the first micro-breweries in Israel. Malka maintains a tradition of hand-crafting small batches of beer, specializing in traditional Belgian, German, and English styles while imparting a local Israeli twist-using natural water from the Gaï¿½aton Springs and local flavors.
You can discover more about Malka Beer via their website: http://malkabeer.co.il/en/
Questions about where to find Malka Beer can be directed to your favorite local craft beer retailer and/or their distributor:
Louis Glunz Beer via phone or email: (847) 676-9500 and email@example.com
American Business Thrives in Israel
Amazon announced during a visit to Israel in October ,"We are setting up in Israel to support our cloud activity". Amazon's service and sales center, to open in 2014, will also service the Middle East and Africa. General Motors' Israel R&D facility is working on a self driving, self parking car that decreases the number of auto accidents. Asurion Corporation, a provider of technical support to the wireless phone industry, brought Israeli high-tech startup Soluto for$130 million. (Assaf Glad, Al-Monitor; David Shamah, Times of Israel; Orr Hirschauge, Ha'aretz)
VIEW BLOG AND SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS
In many product categories - especially food, wine, cosmetics HBA, and women's apparel - the BLOG feature provides information, product suggestions, and the opportunity for visitors to submit their comments, recommendatons, and suggestions. Tell us which foods, wines and other products you particularly like. Email us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must be reviewed before publicaton to prevent vandalism of this site.