I will continue last week’s theme where I ridiculed UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon’s speech, blaming Israel for the stagnation of the Arab World. Last week we saw Israel’s neighbors continuing to self-destruct and PA Chairman Abbas extending his obstructive preconditions for restarting peace talks. In contrast, Israel was busy pushing ahead with its technological advances to make the world a better place.
Even at walking pace, Israel is making giant strides. Israeli start-up SensoGo has developed a device that, when strapped to a patient’s leg, performs medical gait analysis. It records and uploads data about factors such as the patient’s gait, speed, and style of walking. Doctors can diagnose a patient more quickly and efficiently than from current video methods. Next, here is a news update about the ReWalk exoskeleton from Israel’s Argo Medical that allows paraplegics to walk upright. Version 2 of ReWalk has just been released to help them walk even better. New software programs make the device easier to use. Also one device can now be resized to fit and help train different users.
When aging bones are too fragile for fast walking, Israel’s Bonus Biogroup can generate new bones from a patients’ own fat cells. Hospitals in Tzrifin and Afula, have agreed to trial the implanting of engineered bones back into patients. Meanwhile, Weizmann Institute researchers have solved a major piece of the puzzle as to why one in 4000 babies is born with DiGeorge syndrome, the cause of various abnormalities in the heart and face.
The top medical story of the week really emphasizes the message that we must never stand still and become self-complacent. Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center screened 1,000 apparently healthy Israelis for 11 of the most common cancers. 2.4 percent (24) were diagnosed with early stage malignancies and then treated successfully – potentially saving their lives. And don’t stick with the notion that a fatty diet is always bad for you. A five-year study at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital says that for the elderly, higher levels of cholesterol mean a longer life, not a shorter one. Patients of average age 82 with higher cholesterol levels (including high LDL) lived longer than those with lower levels.
Israel’s Council for Higher Education continues to invest in building research institutions that will make tomorrow’s breakthroughs. It has added 11 more research centers into its ICORE research excellence program, to reinforce Israel’s intellectual capacities and promote synergy among Israel’s leading research centers at universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutes. And in the Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin, NASA’s administrator Charles Bolden, participated in the launching of the Moona science, environment and space center. Also in the Arab sector, the Wadi Attir eco-village project completed its “preparation phase” with the inauguration of the Arab Bedouin village of Hura in the northeast Negev desert. Ironically, one of the village’s main sponsors is KKL-JNF - a current target of anti-Israel BDS campaigners.
Israel keeps stimulating innovation by investing in start-up companies. To get a feel for how funding works, read this excellent article in TechWeekEurope, which described how the Tel Aviv Time Incubator brings the Israeli government and venture capitalists together to maintain the momentum of the country’s technological advances. And should you be worth several million dollars and have the odd $10,000 available to invest, you may be interested in joining OurCrowd. Israeli entrepreneur Jon Medved has founded this exclusive club to fund and grow Israeli start-ups into global giants. Over at one of Israel’s flagship companies, Strauss Coffee, the caffeine buzz may have been responsible for the company’s rapid rise to become the world's fourth largest coffee company, even prior to their recent Russian acquisition.
Israelis, of course, are also pushing the boundaries in the International arena. A team of eight scientists from the Hebrew University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Tel Aviv University are participating in the Human Brain Project, chosen by the European Commission as one of its flagship projects. And Israeli professor Jonathan Rabinowitz, of Bar-Ilan University has been appointed to the European Medicines Agency’s Advisory Group. He will also co-chair of the Program Committee for the Biennial Schizophrenia International Research Society Conference to take place in Florence, Italy.
Visitors to Jerusalem from June 13-14 will witness the fastest race ever around the timeless city. Herod’s chariot races are long gone – to be replaced for two days, by sleek Formula 1 cars screaming past the Old City walls, going through Mamila, and buzzing by the King David hotel.
Finally, he could have submitted to his fate, sat back and simply received an honorable discharge, but Captain Ziv Shilon was not going to give in to the Gaza terrorists who planted the bomb that blew off his arm in October. Today, the Givati brigade IDF officer is back with his soldiers, and in in a special ceremony he presented them with their combat soldier pins.
Israelis can never accept “no” for an answer!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.