24 February 2020 - 30 Shevat 5780 - ל' שבט ה' אלפים תש"פ
Israeli smart mobility research gives rise to historical award E-mail

Dr Tali Dekel received the prestigious Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels and Smart Mobility the first lady to earn it since the award’s inception in 2013 in Israel.

Dr Dekel – a senior research scientist for tech giant Google in Cambridge, Massachusettsis one of four award recipients this year who will be sharing US$1 million, which stands as the world’s largest monetary award in their fields.

She received the prize under the new category of Researcher Recruitment, which is given to leading global researchers who will be committed to becoming full faculty members in the Israeli academia for at least four years; Dr Dekel has been recruited to join the mathematics and computer science department at the Weizmann Institute of Israel next year.

The other recipient of the prize under the same category is Professor Leonard J. Shulman, who will be taking his knowledge of algorithms, coding, and quantum computation to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Both recipients are expected in the coming years to contribute to research in the areas of smart mobility and alternative fuels, two such fields considered important to Israel’s growth.

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Thailand’s navy purchases Israeli counter-drone system Print E-mail

Thailand’s navy has recently acquired a counter-drone system from Israel-based Skylock Systems; although financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, according to Calcalist the deal could be valued at US$4.29 million.

The Thai Navy will receive the counter-drone system within the next eight months, dictates the agreement.

Skylock, founded in 2018 by the Avnon Group and based in central Israeli town of Petah Tikva, enables security teams to locate and capture unauthorised drones once one has been detected.

The specific system acquired by the Thai navy is designed to protect naval ports and has an operating range of 10 kilometres.

This is not the first time Thailand has turned to Israel for counter-drone systems; in January 2018, Calcalist reported that a short-range drone defence system developed by Israeli arms manufacturer IMI Systems Ltd. (Israeli Military Industries) was used for the first time by the Thai Air Force.

(Issue Dec 2019/ Jan 2020)

Technion students develop artificial honey E-mail

A team of Israeli students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won a gold medal in a prestigious, international science competition in Boston, US, for their development of bee-free honey.

The Technion team has been working on the honey for the past year, according to the University, and won a gold medal for its efforts at the iGem competition (International Genetically Engineered Machine).

Established in 2003 by MIT, the contest gives students the opportunity to experiment with aspects of scientific and applied research in synthetic biology.

One of the requirements of the competition is to develop a scientific-technological idea alongside a real business enterprise. The team’s synthetic honey is made with the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, which “learns” to mimic the honey following reprogramming in the lab, the Technion said.

Also known as hay bacillus or grass bacillus, Bacillus subtilis is found in soil and vegetation and is also present in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans.

“The bacteria can independently control the production of enzymes, eventually achieving a product with the same sugar profile as real honeyand the same health benefits,” the team’s entry on the competition’s website explains.

The development, Technion says, is important within the context of the sharp decline in bee populations in many parts of the world. It provides a starting point for potential future endeavours of manufacturers, allowing them to determine practical factors including how it would taste. The product would be considered vegan, as no animals will have been used in the process of making the synthetic honey. If the artificial honey becomes available commercially, it will have tapped into a vegan food market worth over US$20 billion worldwide by 2026.

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Israel-China exports showing mixed returns Print E-mail

A report released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics shows Israeli-Chinese exports rose by 14.3% in the third quarter of 2019, a sizeable surge when compared to third-quarter growth in 2018.

According to the data, Israeli exports to China totaled US$2.32 billion in July-September period this year, compared to US$2.03 billion in the same period in 2018. However, Israel’s overall exports to China from the beginning of 2019 fell by 15.3% year on year, from US$7.14 billion in January-September 2018 to US$6.05 billion in those months in 2019.

Conversely, Israeli imports from China during January-September 2019 totaled US$6.59 billiona decrease of 2.4% granted import values of US$6.75 billion in the first 9 months of 2018.

(Issue Dec 2019/ Jan 2020)

Business efficacy in Israel continues to attract international acclaim E-mail

Israel jumped 14 places to be ranked 35th among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, published by the Washington financial institution in October.

The annual report, which also saw Israel rise from 54th to 49th place worldwide last year, evaluates regulations enhancing or constraining domestic business activity for small and medium-size enterprises over a 12-month period.

Focusing on the largest business cities of each economy, the report evaluated ease of business in Tel-Aviv, and is based on regulations affecting ten key aspects in the life of a business.

Israel’s significant rise in the rankings, the report stated, was due to regulatory improvements in starting a business, credit acquisition, timely tax payments, and cross-border trading ability.

New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong were ranked as the three leading economies for ease of business.

At the other end of the spectrum, Somalia, Eritrea, and Venezuela were found to be the most difficult locations for business activity.

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