Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Imagine an entirely flat and modular platform in which the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems, and electronics are all integrated into the vehicle’s wheels. All components previously found under the hood of the car would now be incorporated into the vehicle base, and the inner wheel space would contain electric motors and a miniature gearbox, with this revolutionary design.
Cars have come a long way since they first emerged at the dawn of the 20th century. The first “modern motorcar” was the 1901 Mercedes, which could reach a peak speed of 53 miles (85 km/h) per hour. In 1908, American automaker Ford introduced the Ford Model T, the first affordable automobile credited with revolutionizing modern transportation.
The automobile granted individuals greater independence and mobility and spurred the growth of outdoor recreation, tourism, and construction. Although car ownership is virtually universal in the developed world today, the automotive industry is anything but static – autonomous vehicles, electric and hybrid cars, electrification of infrastructure, connected cars, and shared transport are all megatrends now remaking the auto industry.
Israel is a leading player in the transforming auto industry, with some 500 startups and companies in the auto tech arena. These companies’ efforts range from detecting sleepy drivers to creating digital cockpits, developing electrified infrastructure that can charge electric vehicles while in full motion over smart roads, intelligent transport systems, vehicle cybersecurity, and satellite navigation technologies.
Tel Aviv-based company REE has emerged from stealth mode this month after six years of development to introduce its unprecedented approach to vehicle design and functions, specifically for the electric vehicle (EV) market. This market, which includes both hybrid and electric battery-operated vehicles, is especially promising but still relatively small with just over two million units sold in 2018. The two main challenges it faces are cost and logistics. Battery packs are cumbersome and expensive, even as costs are falling, and charging infrastructure requires major investment.
REE sought to flip the script on these gaps and developed an entirely flat and modular platform in which the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, brakes, thermal systems, and electronics are all integrated into the vehicle’s wheels. All components previously found under the hood of the car would now be incorporated into the vehicle base, and the inner wheel space would contain electric motors and a miniature gearbox, with REE’s design.
The goal, REE said in a statement this month, was to “fundamentally change[s] the way electric vehicles are built to power widespread vehicle electrification.”
This design is a crucial addition to the electric and autonomous vehicle revolution and can be adapted to the use of SUVs, trucks and personal and shared vehicle models.
REE says the design’s low center of gravity maximizes efficiency and supports agility and stability and the integrated wheel offers manufacturers freedom for body configurations. The flat platform would reduce the weight of the vehicle by 33 percent, allowing for a higher load per ride while also freeing up space by 67 percent, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, according to the company.
REE co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel told Interesting Engineering in an exclusive interview this month ahead of the launch that “the single biggest expenditure for an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] auto manufacturer is the platform…it costs billions, it takes years, and each OEM has between two and six platforms at any given moment, and two or three in development. We went in and said ‘what if you might need only one? That might be worth something.”
Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), an emergency medical care and disaster response provider, announced that it inaugurated its new ‘Sea-Bulance’ service to assist people in need of critical medical treatment and rescue while at sea.
The Sea-Bulance currently operates in the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake in northern Israel known in Hebrew as the Kinneret. MDA said the boat, a whale r500 professional, can reach speeds of up to 35 knots (more than 60 km / h) and can travel from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other in just 10 minutes.
It is equipped with advanced medical tools including a defibrillator, ventilation equipment, and a stretcher, and can carry up to six people, MDA said.
The Sea-Bulance enables the paramedics to arrive “with advanced medical equipment to patients while they are still in the waters of Lake Kinneret, thus saving critical minutes, versus cases where the injured person receives medical treatment only when he reaches the shore.”
MDA said that last summer, its medics treated over 160 people rescued from the waters around the country, including seven who drowned on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
“MDA did not wait for the next event and launched the Sea-Bulance in order to save lives,” the organization said in a statement.
“The boat is designed to provide medical assistance to all those who need us on the beach and especially in the water, including people who drowned, who are on a boat and feel bad, or those who were injured in a vessel accident,” explained the head of MDA Immediate Response Force, Yossi Halabi in the statement. “The bow of the boat opens and allows a quick and easy bringing the victim to the boat, within the water area.”
MDA said the Sea-Bulance has already been used in a number of occasions over the past week to treat a man who suffered a severe allergic reaction, a man who felt unwell while in the waters, a windsurfer who was in distress, and a young woman who was injured during a cruise. The boat also helped in the rescue of a man and his grandchildren who were stuck miles from shore due to their boat’s technical malfunction, and in the search of a man who was feared to be drowning in the waters, the organization added.
Magen David Adom Director-General Eli Bin said in the statement that the organization was “constantly thinking about saving lives, and with the Sea-Bulance we can provide medical treatment in water, in cases where every minute is critical.”
The boat was purchased with a donation. Note: This article originally appeared on NoCamels.com
Israel will not attempt a second mission to the moon after all, Israeli non-profit SpaceIL, the organization behind Israel’s historic initiative to land a spacecraft on the moon, said this week. This despite a previous and much-publicized announcement that it would launch a second spacecraft, just days after its first one, Beresheet, crash-landed on the lunar surface.
The crash on April 11 dashed Israel’s hopes of becoming the fourth country in the world (after Russia, China, and the US) to complete a controlled lunar landing.
Instead of another moon mission, SpaceIL said it would seek out “another, significant objective for Beresheet 2.0.” The details of the endeavor were not yet known.
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“Beresheet’s journey to the moon, despite its difficult landing, is etched into our consciousness in Israel and the world as successful, ground-breaking and significant to the nature of future mission by humans to the moon,” SpaceIL said (Hebrew) on its social media channels.
SpaceIL said the feedback received over the past months from global space experts point to the mission being perceived as a “resounding success that broke many world records” including that it was the smallest spacecraft built on a shoestring budget (estimated $100 million) in the world to have made it to the moon, traveling the largest distance there. It was also the only moon mission to have been largely privately funded.
“Embarking on a similar journey would not set the bar required for ground-breaking missions. Therefore, it’s been decided to seek another significant challenge,” SpaceIL said.
Details of the new mission will follow, the organization said.
Last month, NASA released a photo of the crash site of Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander. The photo was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) 11 days after the spacecraft crashed into the moon’s surface. NASA has partnered with SpaceIL on key aspects of the mission.
Left: Beresheet crash site, M1310536929R. Right: Ratio of after/before images enhancing subtle changes to brightness of the surface, M1310536929R/M1098722768L, scale bar is 100 meters, north is up, both panels are 490 meters wide. (NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)
The mission was launched on February 22 (Israel time), riding piggyback on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Beresheet had orbited the Earth and then the moon, traveling 6.5 million km before attempting its landing.
Initial data gathered by the engineering teams of SpaceIL and IAI suggested that at just mere meters from the lunar surface, a technical glitch triggered a chain of events that caused the main engine of the spacecraft to malfunction, making it impossible to stop Beresheet’s velocity. Beresheet overcame the issue by restarting the engine, but it was too late and the spacecraft crashed.
National Geographic recently added Beresheet to its moon map exploring 50 years of lunar visits. Its first such map was created in 1969 as the Apollo 11 mission closed in on its goal.
The new version of the map “uses a mosaic of some 15,000 images and detailed height measurements from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has surveyed the entire surface,” National Geographic wrote.
Israeli insurance startup Voom now offers insurance for drones, small private planes, small boats, motorcycles or e-scooters, and on an individual per-use basis.
In 2018, more than 1,500 people were injured in e-scooter related accidents across the US, according to a recent study. In Israel alone, the number of deaths that involved personal electric vehicles rose from seven in 2017 to 19 in the following year, just when e-scooters pioneered the local market.
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Despite the risk, adequate insurance coverage for e-scooters and other personal transportation devices is missing. Enter Voom, an Israeli insurance platform for specialized mobility, that is developing an on-demand, telematics-based solution for “everything you can ride, fly or sail”.
“In all of these markets that are considered a ‘niche’, although they are accounting for billions of dollars in premiums, insurance is really lagging behind,” CEO Tomer Kashi tells NoCamels. Insurance companies currently do not differentiate between customer’s individual risk profiles. “It is like going to the supermarket and everyone pays the same for their shopping cart, no matter what they are buying – it’s not a great idea,” Kashi points out.
To solve this problem, Voom’s solution will include two pillars: an on-demand and per-use basis combined with an individual AI-risk analysis.
“For many modes of mobility the insurance product already exists. However, the entire underwriting and risk profiling is very primitive,” Kashi explains. “Let’s say I have a jetski. One person is using it almost every day, and another one uses it only twice a year. There is no reason that they should pay the same.”
Bill Ford, executive chairman of US automaker Ford Motor Company, officially opened the Ford Research Center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to tap into Israel’s vast wealth of innovative mobility startups.
The new center, located in southern Tel Aviv, will serve as a research incubator that will “work with Ford’s research and development teams around the world to enhance the capabilities of Ford’s products by identifying technologies and startups in connectivity, sensors, vehicle interior monitoring and cyber protection,” the company said.S
The center will include a vehicle lab that will support programming tests and be available to Ford’s Israeli subsidiary SAIPS to continue its work in the automotive field.
Portions of this article were originally published in NoCamels.comS
“Opening the center is really important for us because young companies, young entrepreneurs don’t know how to access a company like Ford,” Ford told the crowd of industry insiders and startups in the research center located at the Adgar 360 tower. “By opening the center, we hope to alleviate those positions and make it easier for Israeli entrepreneurs not only to find us, but also to get to know us.”
Ford noted that it was the Israeli tech community’s ability to adapt to the rapidly changing automotive industry that really sold him on Israel.
“The ecosystem of startups I’ve seen here is just remarkable,” he added.
“No company can do it alone. No company should try to do it alone. We need partnerships,” he continued.
“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” said Ford in a statement prior to the event. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”
The center will work closely with SAIPS, the Israel-based computerized computing and vision imaging company, led by CEO and founder Udi Danino, who will also serve as the technical director of the new center. Ford acquired the company in 2016.
“The new research center in Israel will strengthen Ford’s effort to leverage the automotive expertise and technology accumulated in the company to develop solutions to present and future mobility challenges,” Danino said in a statement marking the launch. “Expanding Ford’s presence in Israel will enable us to identify quality technologies and collaborate with leading companies more quickly.”
The research center joins Ford’s other global research centers in Aachen, Germany, Nanjing, capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, and Dearborn, Michigan.
Tel-Aviv based startup Orca Security received $6.5 million in seed funding from American-Israeli venture capital firm YL Ventures.
Founded by former Check Point executives Avi Shua and Gil Geron, Orca Security developed a cybersecurity solution that provides full-stack visibility into all organizational assets, including cloud infrastructure, operating systems, applications, and data.
Portions of this article were original published on NoCamels.com
Orca Security said in a statement that the funding will help the company in “its mission to provide organizations with seamless full-stack visibility into their complete cloud infrastructure footprint, all without complex and costly per-asset integration.
The company says its patent-pending SideScanning technology delivers comprehensive visibility into the security posture of an organization’s complete cloud footprint “in a matter of minutes.”
The acceleration of cloud infrastructures as a way to hold data storage and sensitive information has caused security teams to fall short, “struggling with last generation tools to achieve the visibility they need to manage risk,” the company said.
“When Avi and Gil introduced us to Orca’s unique approach and innovative solution, we knew it did something new and exceptional that traditional vulnerability managers and existing cloud security posture managers simply can’t; deliver true, deep and near instantaneous full stack visibility at a forensic level of detail,” said Yoav Leitersdorf, managing partner at YL Ventures.
“Organizations shouldn’t be forced to choose between slowing down innovation and accepting unseen and unmanaged risks,” Avi Shua, Orca CEO and co-founder said. “With Orca, IT and security operations teams gain unprecedented visibility over their entire cloud footprint allowing them…to be partners in innovation rather than putting the brakes on it.”
The Orca Cloud Visibility Platform is currently available in limited quantities to qualified customers. General availability will be in late 2019.
Coral reefs around the world have been slowly dying due to the effects of climate change and rising sea temperatures, as well as growing local pressures such as pollution, fishing practices, and physical harm.
However, the northern Red Sea between Africa and Asia has acted as a “thermal refugia” that protect marine life from this imminent destruction, showing resistance to rising temperatures and stress induced by global warming, according to scientists. The phenomenon has piqued the interest of regional researchers – led by Israel – who are partnering for a unique trans-national collaboration on the study, monitoring, and protection of the Red Sea coral reef ecosystems.
The research partnership is the brainchild of Professor Maoz Fine, a marine biologist from the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. Dubbed the Red Sea Transnational Research Center, it will include partners from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti. Since Israel does not have formal ties with a majority of these countries – save Jordan and Egypt with which it has peace treaties – the center will be led by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Bar-Ilan University said in a statement.
[This article was originally published by NoCamels.com]
In March, the Swiss foreign minister inaugurated the center in Bern surrounded by diplomats and researchers from throughout the region. Prof. Fine believes that the idea of collaboration between these historically adverse nations through science is what motivated the Swiss government to participate, highlighting the idea of “diplomacy for science, and science for diplomacy,” he tells NoCamels.
“Reefs recognize no borders and are affected by any neighboring country. So, we have to take action and coordinate in order to solve the complex geopolitical situation in the region,” he says in a phone interview.
The center will unite scientists from a wide range of disciplines including oceanography, biology, genetics, ecology, geology, nature conservancy, civil and environmental engineering, the university said, and will make direct use of already existing research platforms such as the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat and the Jordanian Marine Station in the Gulf of Aqaba. New monitoring stations will also be created.
As reported recently by NoCamels.com, Israel’s most educated population is leaving the country at a pace that should “ring alarm bells in all of the corridors that determine Israel’s national priorities,” according to a new report released this month by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research headed by Professor Dan Ben-David, a leading Israeli economist at Tel Aviv University.
In the detailed study named “Leaving the Promised Land: A Look at Israel’s Emigration Challenge,” Ben-David shows that as Israel has become more integrated into the developed world, a rising share of its college graduates has been emigrating, particularly those with advanced degrees in exact sciences and engineering – who make up the foundation of Israel’s high-tech sector – physicians, and academic researchers.
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While nine million people live in Israel, “it is an exceptionally small number of Israelis – less than 130,000 persons – that is keeping the economy, the healthcare system, and their underlying university bedrock near the pinnacle of the developed world,” the report reads.
According to the research based on figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, just 2.7 percent of all employee positions in Israel are in high-tech manufacturing fields, which accounted for a staggering 40.1 percent of Israel’s total exports in 2015. Meanwhile, the total number of research faculty in Israel’s eight universities (regardless of research fields) is just 0.1 percent of Israel’s population 25 years old and up, and physicians account for just 0.6 percent of all persons ages 25 and up.
“What we tried to do is look at a smaller group that makes up the primary engines of the Israeli economy: those who provide healthcare, those who teach everybody, and those in high-tech,” Prof. Ben-David tells NoCamels in a phone interview.
“It’s a small group, but these people play a major part in what makes Israel a first-world country; they are keeping Israel in the modern world,” he adds.
Emigration by a critical mass of the total, even if it numbers in the tens of thousands, “could generate catastrophic consequences for the entire country,” the report he authored notes.
Ben-David wrote that “the extent of emigration, the direction of the trend, and the direction that all of Israel – a country that needs to remain sufficiently attractive to those who are very sought after by other countries – is headed should ring alarm bells in all of the corridors that determine Israel’s national priorities.”
The study shows that of the nearly 600,000 Israelis who earned their academic degrees between 1980 and 2010, 5.8 percent with BA degrees have been living abroad for at least three consecutive years in 2017, while 4.5 percent of those with MAs have been doing the same. Of those with PhDs, over 11 percent moved abroad.
And while some return, in 2017 the ratio of persons with an academic degree leaving Israel for each who returned was 4.5, up from 2.6 in 2014, according to the research.
The highest rate of emigrants from Israel are graduates of research universities with degrees in exact sciences and engineering which stands at 9.2 percent, according to the study.
Israel’s economic engine is fueled by the technical fields, which highlights the challenge created by emigration rates among these graduates, the report says.
“In the high-tech sector, the markets are already abroad,” says Ben-David in reference to the industry’s global outlook as the country’s local market is small and limited. “There’s pressure to relocate already in these fields, and then there’s the issue of labor productivity: Israel has very low labor productivity and you can’t get high wages if there’s no productivity, so there’s a growing gap between what they can earn here and what they can earn abroad,” he explains.
In the medical field, the numbers are also alarming. The study shows that over the past decade, the number of Israelis earning their medical degrees abroad went from 37 percent (of the total number of Israelis receiving their medical degrees in Israel) in 2008 to 52 percent in 2017, owing to a lack of national resources bring out into educating physicians.
“When so many Israelis study medicine abroad, it should not come as a surprise that many also choose to live and practice abroad afterward. The number of Israeli physicians in the United States, for example, is the fourth highest among all source countries,” the report reads. The share of Israeli physicians working abroad rose from 9.8 percent in 2006 (of the total share of physicians working in Israel) to 14 percent in 2016, according to the report, and while the number of foreign-trained non-Israeli doctors living in Israel had been increasing until 2003, the outflow has surpassed the inflow.
In the academic field, the study focused on tenured or tenure-track positions in the top 40 American academic departments across a number of different fields, excluding adjunct, clinical and other semi-permanent positions, as well as visiting Israeli professors and tenured faculty who also hold positions in Israel. The share of Israeli faculty in US universities has risen sharply in the fields of philosophy, chemistry, physics, economics, computer science, and business.
Israel needs “a uniform core curriculum, for all kids of all communities, we need teacher training and better compensation for them, better screening, and we need to overhaul the Education Ministry which just swallows up money and is very inefficient,” he tells NoCamels.
At the moment, Israel operates “like an engine that’s not using all its cylinders,” Ben-David says, calling for urgent attention to the matter.
“We have to do something about this tomorrow morning. A third-world economy cannot support a first-world army, and we can still fix it,” Ben-David tells NoCamels, suggesting the direction the country is headed in will have a detrimental impact on its security situation.
Israel’s politicians, meanwhile, who set the national agenda, “are arguing about chairs on the deck of the Titanic,” he says.
A bunch of Israeli entrepreneurs has come together to find creative solutions to address misinformation about the Holocaust, to promote Holocaust education and to support Holocaust survivors.
As reported by NoCamels.com, the 30-hour hackathon at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will see participants take part in the creation of various applications and tech products focused on benefiting survivors. They will cooperate with a number of non-profit NGOs and organizations that work with Holocaust survivors, including the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, as well as about 20 mentors from companies like Microsoft, EY and NICE Systems.
The Spark Hackathon was established by TLV Starters, an organization that is also behind the “Startup Guide Tel Aviv.” The event is significant for TLV Starters for a number of reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to use the products created at the event as a tool to teach young people about the Holocaust.
“In five to 10 years, no [Holocaust survivors] will be left. Someone needs to take care of the day after tomorrow,” TLV Starters co-founder Erez Gavish tells NoCamels, “What’s going to happen when history repeats itself? We are just doing our humble part with providing a platform which enables people to create a solution with applications that can help. They will not replace the survivors but will be another means to an end that people will not be forgotten. This is the power of technology.”
Gavish’s concerns are well-founded. Recent studies point to rising levels of Holocaust denial and ignorance, combined with rising anti-Semitism.
Earlier this month when Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, to honor the six million Jews killed in World War II, Tel Aviv University released an annual report on the state of antisemitism worldwide – and the results were alarming. The report by the Kantor Center, headed by European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor, noted a 13 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 and cited an “increasing sense of emergency” in parts of North America and Europe where Jews once felt safe.
The Kantor Center suggested a number of reasons for the increase including a strengthened presence of classical anti-Semitism due to religiously-based conflicts, and the rise of right-wing parties and extreme right movements. The primary reason, however, was a growing ignorance among younger generations regarding the Holocaust.
The report highlighted a 2018 CNN poll showing that one out of five people between the ages of 18 and 34 in France had said they’d never heard of the Holocaust. In Austria, 12 percent of young people said the same.
According to another 2018 report, a third of American millennials (born between early 1980s and early 2000s) did not know what Auschwitz was and 22 percent had not heard of the Holocaust or were not sure if they had. In the UK, 45 percent of people polled in a separate report said they did not know how many people were killed in the Holocaust. One in five believed fewer than two million Jews were murdered.
Meanwhile, the generation that survived the Holocaust is departing fast and with them, the stories and testimonials some of them have yet to record.
In Israel, a Central Bureau of Statistics report released this year found that at the end of 2017, there were only approximately 200,000 Holocaust survivors still living in the country. Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, CBS estimated there would only about 26,200 Holocaust survivors living in the country by 2035.
Concerned by these developments, Gavish and four other Israeli entrepreneurs – Natan Leibzon, Anat Greemland, Talia Savchenko and Alon Rapaport – set up the first Spark Hackathon last year in an effort to harness the power of technology to promote Holocaust education as well as to help solve some of the difficulties facing Holocaust survivors.
The hackathon gathered 120 participants, resulting in 23 projects created during the event. The winning initiative, called Momento, won for its use of virtual reality and augmented reality to create a visual experience of Jewish sites before and during the Holocaust, offering an authentic reconstruction of buildings, streets, ghettos, concentration camps, and extermination. Second place went to “Hilf” (meaning help in Yiddish), a mobile app that creates an online community to help Holocaust survivors, the elderly and the disabled. The team that developed this app is currently conducting a pilot with emergency medical service United Hatzalah, Gavish said.
A team of Israeli archeologists, microbiologists, and brew experts, recently brewed a beer so old it would have been drunk by Pharaohs some 5,000 years ago. The yeast was discovered in ancient pottery from that era.
Portions of this article were originally reported by NoCamels.com
In the study, authored by over a dozen scientists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University, and the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, the researchers wrote that they “developed a pipeline of yeast isolation from clay vessels and screened for yeast cells in beverage-related and non-beverage-related ancient vessels and sediments from several archaeological sites,” finding that “yeast cells could be successfully isolated specifically from clay containers of fermented beverages.”
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The scientists say that a majority of previous studies of ancient organisms were based mainly on the analysis of ancient DNA, and that attempts to recreate ancient beer and wine were made using “modern ingredients combined with modern domesticated commercial yeast (predominantly Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and not with the actual microorganisms that might have been used in the production of these fermented beverages.”
These results, they wrote, “open new and exciting avenues in the study of domesticated microorganisms and contribute significantly to the fields of bio- and experimental archaeology that aim to reconstruct ancient artifacts and products.”
The team was led by Dr. Ronen Hazan and Dr. Michael Klutstein, microbiologists from the School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University, and Dr. Yitzhak Paz from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Paz called the study a “real breakthrough,” asserting that “this is the first time we succeeded in producing ancient alcohol from ancient yeast… This has never been done before.”
In all, the scientists isolated six yeast strains from 21 beer-and mead-related ancient vessels dating back to the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Narmer (roughly 3000 BCE), Aramean King Hazael (800 BCE) and to Prophet Nehemiah (400 BCE) who, according to the bible, governed Judea under Persian rule.