Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category

Sound the Alarm: Israeli’s Finest Are Moving To Greener Pastures

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Sound the Alarm: Israeli’s Finest Are Moving To Greener Pastures

As reported recently by, 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.

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Featured press release: Diane Israel of Chicago

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.

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Israeli Entrepreneurs Hack the Holocaust?

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Israeli Entrepreneurs Hack the Holocaust?

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, 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.

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How it all began. Original press release by Diane Israel of Chicago.

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.

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It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

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It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

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

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.

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Female Visionaries Converge On Israel for Forbes Global Women Summit

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Female Visionaries Converge On Israel for Forbes Global Women Summit

This year’s Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit, saw participation from thirty-nine countries , in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The following excerpts were originally reported by

Hundreds of young, inspiring and influential entrepreneurs, disruptors, visionaries, change-makers and investors from 39 countries are in Israel this week to take part in the inaugural Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit. The summit is taking place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

It brings together some of the most powerful female leaders from around the world, comprised of honorees from Forbes’ Under 30 lists and mentors who will provide leadership, guidance and insights.

“We’re bringing together 500 visionaries from around the world- US, Europe and Asia, the Middle East and Africa and of course, Israel. Supporting the future aspirations of female leaders and breaking down systemic barriers to achieve those aspirations is critical to achieving greater economic vitality around the world and driving greater prosperity not just for women, but for everyone,” Moira Forbes, EVP Forbes and President of Forbes Women, said at the opening of trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday.

“Our signature Under 30 Summit brings together the most inspired minds around the world, whose actions create change throughout all levels of society,” said Randall Lane, Chief Content Officer at Forbes. “Because we bring together the most impressive minds in entrepreneurism today, we are in a unique position to activate a worldwide community of leaders who can raise our collective consciousness and bring about meaningful social change that benefits women everywhere.”

On Monday, delegates congregated at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa to hear talks by their counterparts on women making a difference the world over. Navigating from failure to success, being authentic, the importance of philanthropy, changing government laws, and innovating in the tech space were just a handful of the topics on the agenda at this international gathering.

One of the panels to draw interest was the Israeli alumni group of elite IDF intelligence Unit 8200, which included Galit Zuckerman Stark, CEO and founder of Medasense, Mor Chen, 8200 EISP Managing Director and Noa Shafir, Co-founder; Chief Product Officer at Odo Security.

It was noted that Unit 8200 has a 55 percent majority of women in the army but after age 30, the ratio of men to women changes drastically.

“It starts in education. We need to spread the word about women’s achievements and successes in tech and science. Young women need a role model and someone to be like,” said Chen. “We need to ensure that we have the right mentoring. When you have the right mentor and see she has done it. We need to encourage equality at home, too. This is one of the things that will increase the numbers.”

After the panel, Zuckerman Stark told NoCamels that she doesn’t usually label herself according to her gender: she’s a CEO, not a woman CEO. But she also takes her role as a mentor for younger women entrepreneurs seriously.

“Statistically, in my career I was the minority. The minority in my class, in my army service, in the job titles I held. And it didn’t necessarily have to be like that. When I was in my army course we were less than a third women. Today, I am a mentor and I want the statistic to just be about men and women, no difference,” she said, noting she’s a mentor with the Woman2Woman( initiative.

The Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit is presented in partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Paul Singer Foundation, Startup Nation Central, the Pratt Foundation and the One8 Foundation. The Presenting Sponsor of the summit is J.P. Morgan.

American philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, the co-founder and chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and founder of several other philanthropic initiatives, was the special keynote speaker for Monday’s event. She spoke about the need for belief in one’s self.

“The future belongs to each and every one of you today. You have the technology and access to education that you need to succeed,” Schusterman told the audience. She also said that when she first began, she “had to bring men to the table with me at first. No one took me seriously.”

Lane, Chief Content Officer at Forbes, told NoCamels that the summit currently underway is a “big idea event” meant to show women that when they work together, they can take the lead, bring change, build bridges, discuss challenges and set goals of establishing new standards for women.

“The idea of bringing young women entrepreneurs to one place, from around the world, across industries to create bonds and partnerships… can they find solutions? We all know that the world will be a better place if we had more women leaders,” he said.

Amanda Nguyen, the founder and CEO of Rise, an American non-governmental organization aimed to protect the civil rights of sexual assault and rape survivors, drew a standing ovation from the crowd for her talk on reforming thelawsfor survivors of sexual assault in the US.

Nguyen, who has been nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, told NoCamels that the Israel-sponsored UN resolution preventing and eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace – and which was co-sponsored by other countries – is an inspiration for her NGO in their bid for a UN Resolution for Sexual Assault Survivors.

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“One of the things that inspired us was Israel’s leadership on this resolution to tell the world that sexual harassment is not something that will be taken lightly,” Nguyen told NoCamels during the lunch break. “No matter where you are from, no matter who you are and no matter where you come from, equality should not depend on geography.”

Indeed, Maggie McGrath, Editor of ForbesWomen, opened the Monday sessions in calling for the need to break through barriers across all facets of society around the world and repair the pay gap, the funding gap. “Sitting in this room are aspiring prime ministers, unicorn founders and everyone here is doing something to lift up the generation behind us,” this is just the start of our movement to move forward,” said McGrath.

The international group of women and men taking part in the summit were also given a taste of Israeli culture – tours of food markets, a visit to the beach, and samples of the vibrant nightlife.

“Israel is also a wonderful place to eat and celebrate food and that is core to our lives and our business. It’s been really inspiring to explore the cooking scene,” Sierra Tishgart, co-founder of Great Jones, told NoCamels, adding that she and her co-founder Maddy Moelis, were taking home, “spices, halva, tahini, and all kinds of things.”

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

Over a thousand visitors from forty-five countries converged on Tel Aviv for CannaTech, the medical Cannabis (marijuana) conference. Participants from the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medicine were all ears (and eyes) at what appears to be the world’s largest medical cannabis conference, giving Israel yet another designation of Cannabis Nation.

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According to Kaye, the Israeli government’s inhibition of cannabis business in the past, which he says was due to fear of the negative image associated with exporting “guns, cannabis, and other drugs,” made medical cannabis a “heavily illegitimate market.” Despite earlier government backlash, however, continuous pressure and a greater number of resources devoted to medical cannabis research have allowed for CannaTech’s consistent growth since its inception in 2015.

As perhaps the chief representative of the Israeli medical cannabis market, CannaTech’s development signifies Israel’s quick emergence as a global industry leader.

“We’re uniquely placed in innovation, ag-tech, water tech, and now canna-tech in order to propel us into what is the next massive industry […] When you add in the culture of funding startups, and the ability to both black market test and sell your product to an audience, that creates an environment that’s fantastic for a growing ecosystem,” Kaye states.

He also cites Israel’s advanced hospitals, universities and claim to the highest number of PHDs per capita as additional contributors to the country’s potential for sustained success in the industry and the world’s primary innovator and producer of medical cannabis.

“Patients who need medicine now have to get it from somewhere – they can get it from Canada or they can get it from Israel. Those are your options in the world. Canada’s leading and Israel will catch up.”

In January, Israel’s Ministry of Health gave its long-awaited approval for the medical cannabis export law, paving the way for the country to become a leading medical cannabis exporter, and participant in the global cannabis sector. Although law enforcement officials have not yet established a framework through which new international cannabis trade will be executed, the market has already begun to feel the law’s effects. “We are talking about a $2 billion industry next year that, last year, was also a $2 billion industry, it just wasn’t legal,” Kaye says.

By 2029, the global cannabis industry is expected to soar to $33 billion, which Kaye believes is necessarily an underestimate: “It’s the fastest growing industry in the world with more consumers than we know about because they have all been in the closet. So, we don’t really know the size, but it’s way bigger than whatever we think it’s going to be.”

Despite the growing support for medical cannabis within Israel and beyond, there are those who still doubt the plant’s positive potential, arguing that it may decrease societal productivity. Kaye urges doubters to reject “uneducated stigma that they’ve been taught for 60 years” and to instead, turn to cannabis research.

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Google Tel Avis Rolls Out AI-Powered Flood Forecasting

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Google Tel Avis Rolls Out AI-Powered Flood Forecasting

As Climate Changes becomes more difficult to deny with each passing day — 95+ percent of scientists are already convinced — severe weather is becoming commonplace. Even in areas where it is common, it’s becoming more extreme and costly, both in terms of lives lost as well as the negative impact on the economy. In response to the growing urgency of the problem, Google Tel Avis has just rolled out an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered flood forecasting for flood stricken areas of India.

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Google is harnessing artificial intelligence tech to create forecasting models that can better predict when and where floods will occur, and it has partnered with India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) to roll out early warnings in Google Search in the subcontinent, Google VP of engineering and the managing director of Google’s R&D Center in Tel Aviv, Yossi Matias, announced this week.

Deadly floods are common in some parts of India, especially during monsoon season, which runs from July to September every year. In August, India’s southern state of Kerala experienced the worst flood in the region in nearly 100 years, with over 400 killed and more than a million people displaced. A number of other areas in India have seen more devastating floods over the past decade, with death tolls running into the thousands. The 2004 tsunami is still the worst water-related natural disaster to have occurred in the country, with over 10,000 lives claimed in India alone.

“Floods are devastating natural disasters worldwide — it’s estimated that every year, 250 million people around the world are affected by floods, also costing billions of dollars in damages,” Matias wrote in a blog post. Existing warning systems can be inaccurate and uninformative while being wholly unavailable in some areas, “resulting in far too many people being underprepared and unaware before a flood happens,” he added

Google is now “using AI and significant computational power to create better forecasting models that predict when and where floods will occur, and incorporating that information into Google Public Alerts,” to help improve preparedness for impending floods, he wrote.

The tech giant feeds a number of elements – past events, river readings, elevation calculations – into its models to generate maps and “run up to hundreds of thousands of simulations in each location,” Matias explained.

“With this information, we’ve created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well,” he said.

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The partnership with India’s CWC was first announced in June by the agency. Under the terms of the agreement, the CWC would use “state-of-the-art advances made by Google in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and geospatial mapping for effective management of water resources particularly in the field of flood forecasting and dissemination of flood-related information to the masses widely using the dissemination platforms developed by Google.”

The CWC said in a statement that until recently, it was disseminating flood levels with maximum lead time of one day, but the cooperation with Google would allow for a lead time of up to three days.

The collaborative arrangement, the CWC said, is likely to save millions of rupees “which otherwise would have to be spent by the government on acquiring high-resolution DEM [digital elevation models], high-end computational resources and developing dissemination platforms widely used by the masses.”

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Cars Running On Water. It’s No Conspiracy Theory

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Cars Running On Water. It’s No Conspiracy Theory

First. A little background from our good friends at Wikipedia: Renewable electricity can however be used to power the conversion of water into hydrogen: Integrated wind-to-hydrogen (power-to-gas) plants, using electrolysis of water, are exploring technologies to deliver costs low enough, and quantities great enough, to compete with hydrogen production using natural gas. The drawbacks of hydrogen use are high carbon emissions intensity when produced from natural gas, capital cost burden, low energy content per unit volume at ambient conditions, production and compression of hydrogen, and the investment required in filling stations to dispense hydrogen.

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Water could be the source for hydrogen-fueled cars one day in the near future, thanks to continued scientific breakthroughs such as a recent one by Israeli scientists.

Researchers led by Dr. Arik Yochelis and Dr. Iris Visoly-Fisher of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Prof. Avner Rothschild of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, say they have identified a missing mechanism for an environmentally friendly way to split water molecules in order to produce energy without the need for an outside catalyst.

“It is a conceptual change in research and this can provide a new perspective in how technology in the future can be approached,” Yochelis, of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Alexandre Yersin Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at Ben-Gurion, tells NoCamels.

Although it’s been well-known for decades that production of hydrogen that does not emit greenhouse gases requires the splitting of water molecules (H2O) into the elements from which they are composed (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom), that process has always demanded more energy than was gained back at the end of the process. As such, it has never been commercially viable.

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Yochelis tells NoCamels that he and his fellow researchers believed there was “something missing” in how to go about splitting the water molecules in an energetically favorable way.

“In water splitting literature, people assumed they sufficiently well understood chemical reactions and mechanisms,” explains Yochelis. Much is indeed known but the knowledge is incomplete and sometimes the “devil is in the details,” he says.

From left: Dr. Arik Yochelis, Dr. Iris Visoly-Fisher, both of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and Prof. Avner Rothschild of the Technion. Courtesy

After years of separate experiments, the research teams in BGU and Technion joined forces, hoping that three research teams were better than one. It proved a winning move.

The researchers were the first team to successfully reveal the fundamental chemical reaction present in solar power that could form the missing link to generate the electricity necessary to accomplish this process. That would allow the process to unfold naturally instead of relying on large amounts of man-made energy sources or precious metals to catalyze the reaction.

“Beyond the scientific breakthrough, we have shown that the photo-electrochemical reaction mechanism belongs to a family of chemical reactions for which Prof. Gerhard Ertl was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, about a decade ago. Our discovery opens new strategies for photochemical processes,” says Yochelis.

But Yochelis won’t say whether this finding is a watershed moment for energy just yet. For one, he wants the science community to test and retest their mechanism to ascertain that their finding is correct.

“It is still too early to know the science community’s reaction” to the new finding, says Yochelis. “We need to give it a year to allow people to learn.”

Yet, the discovery could have a significant impact on efforts to replace carbon-based fuels with more environmentally friendly hydrogen fuels.

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Israel Partners With Canada For Cannabis Tech Innitiative

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Israel Partners With Canada For Cannabis Tech Innitiative

As more states move to legalize recreational use of marijuana — there are nine now, plus the District of Columbia — and dozens more who now allow medical use (with a doctor’s prescription), tech innovators are not waiting for the law to catch up with public sentiment. One of the more notables is the launching of CIF (Can Innovation Finder), a new Canadian-Israeli-American initiative that aspires to be the virtual R&D hub for all-things pot. If it’s better quality, higher yield, and packaging you’re looking for, CIF hopes to be the dominant source in filling those needs.

Right now, the United States is playing a secondary role as it continues to lag behind Canada in market maturity, including industry standards, the emergence of trade associations and other institutions commonplace in any industry’s ecosystem. So essentially, the partnership’s muscle is between Canada and Israel with Canada supplying the product and an already viable market, and Israel focused on R&D like most any other industry for which it is a global force.

“There are incredible partnership opportunities for companies on both sides, and Canadian Licensed Producers can gain a huge market advantage by tapping into Israel’s tech ecosystem,” says CIF CEO Sarah Tahor. “Our role is to highlight opportunities that the market may not know about and provide the platform to enable new partnerships and business ventures. With contracts in place with the LPs to introduce them to multiple Israeli companies, we save them time and ensure they have access to top Israeli cannatech (cannabis tech), agri-tech and biotech innovation.”

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Indeed, Israel is a sought-after partner in the cannabis industry thanks to its renowned scientific innovation and tech expertise to grow consistent, high-quality, and varied strains of cannabis.

“There are tons of companies that deal specifically with technologies focused on growing and agriculture; some are focused on soil quality and climate control of greenhouses while others are focused on humidity and lighting,” Oren Todoros, CEO of CannaImpact branding firm, tells NoCamels. He says there are between 70-100 cannabis-related ventures in Israel. “Despite the fact that there is no external export, there’s a lot of growing technologies being produced here for the global cannabis market.”

On the US front, agreements have been inked with Massachusetts-based holding company MariMed, to cultivate, manufacture and sell the Israeli company’s MMJ products in seven US states.

As for the rest, the partnerships are almost exclusively between Canada and Israel. But despite its slowness to market, driven by a host of statewide legal hurdles, don’t expect this mainly bilateral arrangement to stay that way for long.

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Never Easier To Do Business With Israel Says World Bank

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Never Easier To Do Business With Israel Says World Bank

Israel may be the Startup Nation, with the highest number of startups per capita in the world, first among 141 economies in entrepreneurial risk, companies’ innovative growth and R&D expenditure, but the red tape in this country is notoriously convoluted. From trying to get simple things done, like changing your address at the bank, to opening a business, Israeli bureaucracy can be a trip down a rabbit hole.

But a new World Bank report ranking 190 economies on how they have tackled burdensome regulation showed that Israel has markedly improved since last year, jumping 14 spots from 49th to 35th in the “Ease of Doing Business” ranking as part of the latest “Doing Business 2020” report. Israel’s ranking rests below Azerbaijan but above Switzerland.

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The annual report looks at regulation in 12 areas of business activity including the processes for incorporating a business, getting a building permit, obtaining an electricity connection, transferring property, getting access to credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, engaging in international trade, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, employing workers, and contracting with the government.

According to the report, Israel improved in four key areas: starting a business, access to credit, paying taxes, and easing export requirements. Israel made starting a business easier “by allowing joint registration of corporate tax and value-added tax, reads the report”; it “improved access to credit information by reporting both positive and negative data on individual borrowers”; it made paying taxes easier by “implementing an electronic system for filing and paying value-added tax and social security contributions” and less costly by “reducing the corporate income tax rate”; and it made exporting easier by “eliminating the certificate of origin requirement, thereby decreasing the time and cost of export documentary compliance.”

This summer, Netanyahu presented his cabinet with an internal report detailing ministry-wide efforts to lower Israel’s regulatory burden. The report is an annual update on the Israeli government’s five-year regulation reduction initiative and detailed 58 different plans enacted by various government ministries to reduce procedures in the market and that have saved the economy approximately NIS 1.5 billion (approximately $42 million) since last year, the Prime Minister said in a July statement.

The report included plans formulated by 12 government ministries and three authorities (the Tax Authority, the Consumer Protection Authority and the Competitiveness Authority) to cancel or reduce over 50 requirements that would prohibit employment and work, such as the cancellation of the demand for a license and test to become a real estate broker, the cancellation of the requirement for a minimum number of vehicles to receive a license to operate a vehicle leasing company, and the cancellation of structural requirements for small pastry bakeries. The plan also detailed over 50 government processes that have been digitized (such as the transition to online licensing examinations, tax payment receipts, etc.)

Netanyahu said the improvement was seen in the latest OECD Product Market Regulation index, published every five years, which saw Israel jump 16 spots from the next-to-last place between Turkey and Mexico in the 2013 index to 18th place in the 2018 index.

The 2013 index essentially prompted Netanyahu to establish a ministerial committee to cut regulation and bureaucracy. “Five years have passed and the OECD issued a new report …. We were almost last and now we have jumped 16 places. This is unheard of,” he said.

But, he went on, “I want another jump forward. I want to be above the average; in the middle is not a good place. I want to be one of the least bureaucratic countries, least regulated countries, in the world, because this means money in consumers’ pockets.”

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Israeli Space Vest Heading To International Space Station

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Israeli Space Vest Heading To International Space Station

The AstroRad, an Israeli antiradiation vest for outer space developed by the US-Israeli startup StemRad, is set to be launched onto the International Space Station (ISS) along with an assortment of science-related supplies this weekend.

The Tel Aviv-based company in collaboration with the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) at the Ministry of Science and Technology said that a prototype of the vest would be launched on Saturday, November 2nd at 9:59 am EST time (3:59 am Israeli time.)The International Space Station photographed in 2010 by an STS-132 crew member on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation.

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The International Space Station photographed in 2010 by an STS-132 crew member on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation. The AstroRad vest, a suit designed to help protect astronauts from radiation and mitigate its damaging effects, is made out of high-density polyethylene, a thermoplastic polymer, which is thicker around the more sensitive organs.

Three American astronauts will wear the suit during routine activities and under the space station’s gravity conditions for varying periods of time. The vest will be used to gather feedback from astronauts on ergonomics, range of motion, experience, and overall comfort level in the environment.

The vest protects the bone marrow, lungs, chest, stomach, colon, and the ovaries among women, organs that are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation.

This will be the first time in history that the Israeli flag, mounted on the AstroRad vest, will be displayed at the International Space Station, a low-orbit space station that serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory between five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

NASA joined forces with ISA in April 2018 to tap into StemRad’s cutting-edge technology. The ISA, along with the company that developed the wearable radiation protection solution, announced in July 2018 that the vest was ready for launch.

At the time, the ISA, which was sponsoring StemRad’s space activity, signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin to launch the vest for advanced ergonomic studies in microgravity.

Dr. Oren Milstein, CEO of StemRad, said in a statement that the success of the AstroRad trial is “a critical contribution by the State of Israel to NASA’s most ambitious research program since landing on the moon.”

“The Israeli Space Agency and StemRad are proud to work with NASA, Lockheed Martin, and our other partners in developing critical safety equipment to protect space astronauts’ lives, thus advancing a new era of deep space research,” said Avi Blasberger, director of the Israeli Space Agency, in the statement.

The vest is part of some 4,600 pounds (2086kg) worth of equipment to be delivered to the station aboard a Cygnus Northrop Grumman (Cygnus NG-12) spacecraft. The Cygnus NG-12 is the 13th planned flight of the robotic resupply spacecraft and its 12th flight to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. It will be launched from the NASA flight facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

Other experiments that will be on the spacecraft include space mice, robotic avatars, and recycling polymers for 3D printers. Analog-1, a study led by the European Space Agency that will head to the space station with this launch, will explore how humans can best operate and communicate with robots in space. Also, Zero-G Oven will be used by astronauts to bake cookies in space for the first time.

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