Sunday, March 30, 2014. It’s another Good News Day for Israel!

S&P: Israel now a ‘high-income’ country

The Times of Israel reports: Strong growth, low inflation, and a stable security situation are all good signs for the Israeli economy, the ratings agency says. In its ratings statement, S&P said that with a per capita annual income of over $38,000, “we now view Israel as a high-income economy, with trend growth at the higher end of its peer income group.”  Even better news for Israelis: S&P expects that per capita income figure to grow to almost $42,000 by 2017. Just five years ago, per capita income was about $28,000.  This is due, S&P said, to Israel’s “prosperous and diverse economy,” with a good mix of manufacturing and high-tech, and also to the benefits the economy will realize as the country’s natural gas production comes online. In its statement, S&P affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings for Israel at A+/A-1.

‘Happy days’ for Israeli trade as delegation comes to Downing Street

The Jewish Chronicle, UK reports:  A 30-strong group of Israeli companies specialising in retail and water technology were welcomed to Downing Street last week, in a ground-breaking bid to strengthen trade ties with the UK. Heads of British corporations, from Marks and Spencer to Tesco and ASOS, were full of praise after attending events from Downing Street to the BT Tower and Science Museum. Daniel Saunders, who led the delegation visit co-organised by the Israeli Embassy in London and British Embassy’s Tech Hub in Tel Aviv, said both sides could benefit from Israel’s tech-prowess and Britain’s strong market outreach. “The UK is a great platform for Israeli companies; while revolutionary Israeli technology will help British companies better engage with their customers,” said Mr Saunders.

The best country for women in the Middle East

Jewish Business News reports:  The latest World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap survey ranked Israel the best country in the Middle East for women’s rights and freedoms.  Israel also received the “Reducing the Gender Gap” prize in 2013 from the European Parliament for championing women’s rights. In addition, Thomson-Reuters noted recently that several Middle Eastern countries – Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and others –  have a poor track record for violence against women, reproductive rights, as well as the treatment and role of women. Egypt bottomed out the list.

New treatment for pancreatic cancer?

Israel 21C reports: Cutting-edge research by scientists at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, is pointing towards development of new treatment for pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly and difficult cancers to manage successfully.  Whereas other cancers that have seen a reduction in incidence thanks to therapeutic advances and early detection, rates of pancreatic cancer have been slowly going up over the past 10 years…   The research team, led by Dr. Ziv Gil, Head of the Applied Cancer Research Laboratory at Rambam, is investigating the mechanism that triggers nerve invasion in pancreatic cancer and identifying specific targets for drugs that can effectively reduce it.

Israel debuts the World’s First Self-Cleaning Solar Farm

Inhabitat, USA reports: One of the challenges with solar power is keeping the panels clean, since dust and dirt drastically reduce the efficiency of photovoltaics. That’s particularly challenging for large solar parks, and especially ones that are located in the desert, where there is little water. Israeli company Eccopia has addressed that challenge with a clever robot that cleans the solar panels every day, increasing efficiency by up to 35 percent. This week the Kibbutz Ketura solar park installed Eccopia’s robots, making it the world’s first self-cleaning photovoltaic array.

Israel’s Project RAY Creates Advanced Smartphone And Apps For The Blind

No Camels, Israeli Innovation News reports: In 2012, NoCamels covered Project RAY, an ambitious Israeli company trying to bring the world of smartphones to the visually impaired. Since then the Project RAY smartphone has come a long way, introducing a world of apps designed specifically for the visually impaired, including a public transportation navigation system; an emergency orientation system and audio reading app. The menu and controls in the RAY Operating System, created by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, were designed to be as simple as possible in order to cater to the blind, but the innovation behind the phone’s OS is far from basic. Project RAY’s Huawei smartphone is characterized by a unique feature that automatically aligns the phone’s menu to any point on the screen where the user makes contact, giving the user accurate orientation without the guesswork of figuring out if they have placed their finger in the right location.

Nazareth high-tech draws international investors

Israel Advanced Technology Industries reports: A day after Axis Innovation completed its two-day summit in Tel Aviv, where investors from around the world heard Israeli start-ups pitch their ideas, it did something it had never done before. It loaded the investors onto a bus and took them to Nazareth to meet Israeli-Arab start-ups. “We saw that there were good companies, enough to attract people to come up North,” said Ed Frank, who founded Axis (which he spun-off of Bootcamp Ventures). At the event, local entrepreneurs pitched their companies to investors from places as varied as India and Luxembourg. Nazareth has been the target of numerous efforts to help integrate Israel’s Arab community into the hi-tech world, a goal that has both macroeconomic and social justice justification.  Nazareth is also home to Galil Software, the largest employer of Arab engineers in Israel. “We see huge potential largely because the community is increasingly well-educated,” said Galil founder Jimmy Levy, who runs Al-Bawader, a venture capital fund investing in Arab start-ups. “It’s developing slowly, but the point is that there is progress and that’s undeniable.”

Deutsche Telekom: Israel and Germany are a good cultural fit

YNet News, Israel reports: Israel and Germany are a good cultural fit, says Guy Horowitz, the head of the German communications giant Deutsche Telekom’s Israel venturing office, and that makes the two nations good business partners…  After Silicon Valley in the US, Israel is the number two country in terms of innovation, venture capital investment and the number of startups, Horowitz says. His company, one of the biggest European telecommunication companies, has been doing business with Israel for more than 20 years…  “There is no doubt that there is innovation happening in Silicon Valley,” Guy Horowitz says, but getting Americans to care about Europe, Germany and Telekom is a challenge. In contrast, Israeli companies care more about doing business with Germany, he says. “We need to be here and have a strong presence.”

Start-ups hope to boost Israel-NZ trade

3News, New Zealand reports: A dozen hi-tech Israeli companies are visiting New Zealand in the hope of boosting trade between our two countries. One of the companies has developed a system to prevent cars colliding, and another is helping the disabled to walk. Radi Kiof has been in a wheelchair for 20 years, but he is walking again. “It is amazing, to come back and walk,” he says. The ReWalk exoskeleton was developed by Argo Medical Technologies. It uses powered leg attachments so paraplegics can stand up, walk and climb stairs. “My daughters, three years old, come and visit me at the company,” says Mr Kiof. “They say, ‘Father, you are tall.’ They have never seen me stand.” Israel has so many tech companies that it has become known as the start-up nation, with companies like Mobileye, which develops collision-avoidance systems.

Ormat, partners sign $1.17b Indonesian project financing

The Times of Israel reported earlier this week: Efrat’s Yitzchak Glick believes empathetic health care can go a long way in building bridges of peace. Doctor Yitzchak Glick was greeted like a king as he drove through the windy streets of Wadi Nis in his minivan. The previous day, the 800-resident hamlet had unexpectedly defeated Hebron in a soccer game 2-1, winning the Palestinian national cup. Glick decided to drive over from his home in the neighboring settlement of Efrat and congratulate his friends. . . “He’s a blessing,” said the elderly man before warmly embracing the American oleh.

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