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March 25, 2012

Israel in the News for the Week of March 25th

by City of Ariel
einstein1

Einstein archive goes online

Hebrew University of Jerusalem is publishing 80,000 of the world-famous physicist’s documents on a new internet archive.

(Times of Israel – 3/19/12) – All 80,000 items in Albert Einstein’s archives, including personal correspondence with half a dozen lovers and a poignant postcard to his ailing mother, are going online.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which owns the Einstein collection, is slowly uploading high resolution photographs of scientific papers, letters on social issues including nuclear disarmament and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and other texts.

The collection includes more than 40,000 of Albert Einstein’s personal papers and over 30,000 additional Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered since the 1980s by the archive’s staff and the editors of “The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein.”

Most have been locked in storage at the university and only half of the collection appears online.

Archivists said Monday’s launch of the online repository will give scholars around the world direct access to Einstein’s papers.

The expanded site will initially feature about 2,000 selected documents related to Einstein’s scientific work, public activities and private life up to the year 1921.

The university has also published a complete inventory of all 80,000 items in the Einstein collection.

Albert Einstein was a founder of the Hebrew University and one of its most loyal supporters. In his will he bequeathed all of his writings and intellectual heritage to the Hebrew University, including the rights to the use of his image.

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Broadcom acquires sixth Israeli company in three years

Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor (left) and vice president Shlomo Markel

(Times of Israel – 3/23/12) – As promised by its CEO when he visited here several weeks earlier, a top global semiconductor company has bought another Israeli start-up – its tenth in a decade

Just days after saying that the company was planning more Israeli acquisitions, international semiconductor company Broadcom announced that it was buying embedded processor developer Broadlight. The deal is worth about $195 million, Broadcom said in a statement.

Broadlight and Broadcom have actually been working together for several years, and with the acquisition Broadcom can fully integrate Broadlight’s fast processors, designed to move data along fiber optic networks. Those networks, which allow much higher transmission speeds, are becoming important to service providers, who are trying to build content delivery systems — particularly TV and movies — over the Internet, in order to compete with cable and satellite operators.  (more >>>)

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Israel helps transform China’s dairy industry

As demand for dairy products in China increases rapidly, Chinese dairies turn to Israel for farm management technology and training.

A Chinese dairy farm worker using AfiMilk equipment.

(Israel21c.org – 3/15/12) – Cow milk is a fairly recent addition to the Chinese diet. But demand for milk products has grown so quickly that existing farms can barely meet it. So Chinese dairy companies are turning to the acknowledged authority on the milking business: Israel.

Eight Chinese dairy farm manager trainees recently completed an 11-week course in Israel organized by AfiMilk, a world leader in computerized systems for dairy farm and herd management.

The six men and two women were sent by their employer to get acquainted with AfiMilk’s software, visit productive Israeli farms and milking parlors, and learn about advanced animal welfare and operating procedures.

The course, held at the Galilee International Management Institute from November 6 to January 20, garnered such positive feedback that a second Chinese dairy company sent a team for training in February and March.

“Israeli dairy farming is highly considered all over the world for its high production per cow,” says Pinhas Gur, head of professional services at AfiMilk.

The kibbutz-based company’s staff of 15 in Beijing has helped plan and equip 105 milking parlors in China. Compared to the average Chinese milk yield per cow of 5,000 to 6,000 liters per year, farms using AfiMilk technologies average 11,500 liters per year.

Caring for the cows

The Chinese trainees learned about bovine nutrition from Israeli experts.

It all began with a demonstration dairy farm set up near Beijing in 2001 by Israel’s MASHAV agency for international development to show off the latest Israeli technology.

Now on par with Israel’s most efficient dairy farms, the demo site serves as a training center for thousands of dairy producers in China and from neighboring countries.

A former dairyman himself, the New York-born Gur knows that boosting milk production has everything to do with cow care — what they eat and how they’re handled. He devised the syllabus for the first Chinese training session with that focus in mind.

“About two-thirds of the lectures were given by our people, and we also brought in a lot of top Israeli experts to talk about [bovine] diseases and nutrition. So they got training in our system and gained good animal husbandry knowledge as well,” he tells ISRAEL21c.  (more >>>)

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New Film Presents Israelis – from Pioneers to Entrapenuers

Israel beyond the conflict.

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Israeli universities net top honors in global rankings

Two key indices of academic achievement place Israeli institutions of higher learning among the world’s most important

Students participate a mass chemistry experiment in Tel Aviv University

(Times of Israe – 3/19/12) – Israeli universities, according to several ranking and rating services, are among the best in the world. On Friday, the UK’s Times Higher Education (THE) weekly magazine released its list of the top 400 universities in the world, and four Israeli universities — Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, the Technion, and Bar-Ilan University — made the list. Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University are listed among the top 200, at numbers 121 and 166 respectively.

In addition, both Hebrew U and TAU made it to the top 100 of the weekly’s best Universities by Reputation index, listed in the 61-70 ranking level and the 81-90 ranking level respectively. The only other university in the region to make this list was Middle East Technical University in Turkey. The report noted that the differentials between schools in the 51-100 ranking levels were “minimal.”

The index of World University Rankings evaluates schools based on a number of criteria, including quality of teaching, the amount of research done at institutions, the number of times that research is cited in academic or scientific journals, “international outlook” (examining the interconnectedness of the institution to the international academic and scientific community) and the innovations developed as a result of work done at the schools. The Reputation index examines how the institutions rank on the quality of teaching and research in a worldwide poll of academics, administrators, and scientists. This year’s poll, the indices’ publishers said, included some 30,000 respondents from 149 countries.

In the top universities index, Hebrew University received a 50.4 rating (with 100 the maximum score), the 13th best in Asia, where the leader was the University of Tokyo, with a 74.3 score. Out of the five main criteria, Hebrew U’s best characteristic was the quality of its research. Tel Aviv University came in 17th in Asia, with a 45.4 overall score; the school scored very high on research, among the top ten of all universities in Asia.

According to the magazine, the rankings are “the gold standard in international university performance comparisons,” adding that the rankings “are based on criteria and weightings that were carefully selected after extensive consultation.” There has been criticism in the US of the rankings published annually by U.S. News and World Report, with some members of the academic community saying that those rankings do not give an accurate picture of the overall education a student can expect.

The top five schools in the ranking are the California Institute of Technology, Harvard, Stanford, University of Oxford, and Princeton.

Besides high rankings on the index, two Israeli institutions — Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University — were ranked among the 500 top patent-filing institutions by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which supervises intellectual property matters for the United Nations. Hebrew University filed 52 patents in 2011, putting it 23rd world-wide among educational institutions, while Tel Aviv University, with 43 patents in 2011, was 33rd on the list of educational institutions filing patents. (more >>>)

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Sony seeks to invest in Israeli medical technologies

The company plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Israeli companies and is mulling setting up a development center.

(Globes – 3/19/12) – Sources inform ”Globes” that Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE; TSE: 6758) is actively seeking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Israeli medical technologies. The company has established a team to review the Israeli market to seek out companies for investment or acquisition. The team has already held intensive meetings with Israeli venture capital funds and companies. This is the first time that Sony has operated in such a manner and if the process is successful, the company’s acquired or in the investment portfolio may form the basis for a Sony development center in Israel.

The link between the Japanese consumer electronics giant and medical technologies is not as astonishing as may first appear. The company is already active in the field, it offers technologies for documentation, storage, and specialized cameras for imaging and devices for recording the images, high-resolutions screens for displaying images and medical information, and printers. It is also interested in batteries for medical devices, which must be more reliable than regular batteries.

The boundaries between consumer electronics and medical devices has been blurring. Home medical devices, such as for measuring blood pressure or glucose levels, must store data, send them to doctors, and present them to patients. Smartphones and tablets have healthcare and sports activities applications. Home electronics devices can double as reliable medical monitors.

Companies from across the field are competing for this business, such as medical devices giants like Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), Boston Scientific Inc. (NYSE: BSX), and Medtronics Inc. (NYSE: MDT); monitor manufacturers such as GE Healthcare, Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; DAX: SIE), and Royal Philips Electronics NV (Euronext: PHIA, NYSE: PHG); and information companies like Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Facebook Inc. Smartphone makers, such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KSX: 5930; LSE: SMSN, SMSD), have been mentioned as being very interested in the field as well.

The vision of cooperation goes even farther, such as physical training or physiotherapy via gaming programs on TV, including locating the patient, checking his or her vital signs, and customizing the body movements. Another example is to carry out blood tests via devices linked to smartphones, storing the data, and sending the results immediately to the doctor. (more >>>)

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Intel Israel produces 40% of Intel revenue

Intel Israel’s general manager also says that the company will hire 600 employees in 2012.

(Globes – 3/18/12) – Intel Israel Ltd. accounts for 40% of Intel Corporation’s (Nasdaq: INTC) revenue, said Intel Israel general manager Maxine Fassberg at the company’s annual press conference at its Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat today. She added that the company would hire 600 employees in 2012. Intel Israel currently has 7,800 employees, and hired 700 new employees in 2011.

“Intel Israel’s exports totaled $22.4 billion in 1999-2011,” said Fassberg. The company’s exports totaled $2.2 billion in 2011.

Fassberg said that Intel had invested $9.4 billion in Israel to date, including $1.3 billion in government grants. Intel Israel made $628 million in reciprocal procurements from Israeli companies and estimates its contribution to the Israeli economy at $4.1 billion.

Commenting on his controversial appointment as Intel Israel president alongside Fassberg, Mooly Eden said, “The appointment as president and CEO should be seen as a compliment. It’s Intel’s recognition of the importance of its Israeli operations. I returned to Israel to increase the size of the pie and expand operations. The appointment as president, alongside the general manager, is accepted practice in the world, such as in China, and I hope that the whole team will lead Intel to do more than before.”

Fassberg also noted Intel’s latest product, Ivy Bridge, which was developed in Israel, and will be produced at Fab 28 for the commercial market. Last year, Fab 28 upgraded to 22-nanometer technology. She said that the fab’s upgrade included the purchase of machinery developed in Rehovot and Migdal Ha’Emek for $364 million. “We think that Intel is a school for Israeli enterprise,” she said.

Intel Israel’s operations have led to the founding of 230 companies that have hired 250 employees a year since 2006. “When we’re asked what is Intel’s added value to the Israeli economy, I think that this is a nice example, on top of the export numbers,” said Fassberg.”

Eden added, “Intel has invested in 64 Israeli companies since 1998. I have no doubt that, in terms of innovation, we’ll look at start-ups and invest in and acquire them. I also believe that we’ll also help start-ups that do not work directly with Intel.”

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Ambassador Oren: Israel only place in Mideast Christians aren’t endangered

Ambassador Oren: As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, Christians are forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries.

Tourists in the Nativity Church

(Arutz Sheva – 3/19/12) – Israel has become the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, Ambassador to the United State Michael Oren wrote in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

“As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they’ve inhabited for centuries,” Ambassador Oren stated, comparing the expulsion of Jews in the twentieth century with the Arab countries’ current treatment of their Christian minorities.

Oren explained that the population of Christians in the Middle East has significantly decreased, dropping from 20 percent a century ago to less than 5 percent today, with the numbers still diminishing.

“In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer,” Oren explained.

He noted that while Christians are granted full rights and privileges within Israel’s borders, the treatment they receive by the ‘Palestinian’ population is quite different, noting that  “[s]ince the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled.”

“Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors,” Oren said. He then went on to give the example of Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, who was murdered and whose “store [was] reduced to ashes.

“The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%,” Oren affirmed.

“Christians are prominent in all aspects of Israeli life, serving in the Knesset, the Foreign Ministry and on the Supreme Court,” he continued.  (more >>>)

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Dolphin therapy helps mute Israeli teen speak again

Flipper to the rescue!

(Nocamels – March 6) – In September 2007, Morad Azva, a 16-year-old charismatic and popular boy, was brutally attacked by peers from high school in his village of Kalansua, Israel. The attack left him wounded not only physically, but mentally as well.

Morad became mute, closed off to the outside world and showed strong signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Morad’s parents sent him to be treated by Dr. Ilan Kutz, one of Israel’s leading psychiatrist in the field of post-trauma and the former director of the Psychiatric Services at Meir General Hospital in Kfar Saba. But the treatment, which consisted of both medication and psychiatric therapy, showed no signs of success.

“I haven’t seen that degree of severe [mutism],” said Dr. Kutz. “It usually lasts a few hours at most; never anything this long.” With zero progress, Kutz saw no purpose in continuing with therapy. In a medical report he suggested sending Morad to be hospitalized in a mental institution. Morad’s father, unwilling to give up on his son’s liberty, asked for another solution.

That’s when Dr. Kutz suggested an alternative medical treatment: dolphin therapy.

The aim of the therapy, according to The Henry Spink Foundation that assists children with severe disabilities, is to “increase sensory activity” through the interaction with dolphins. Children are asked to swim, touch, feed, or pat the dolphins, known to be fond of human interaction. They are also known to be intelligent animals with a special sense for distress, the foundation says.

During the past few decades, dolphin therapy has become a popular alternative treatment, especially for children. Some of the patients treated with dolphin therapy include people with cancer, autism or cerebral palsy, and trauma victims such as Morad. Dolphin therapy was introduced as a medical treatment after the American anthropologist Dr. Betsy Smith saw the therapeutic effects of dolphins on her disabled brother.

Although the therapy does not ensure a full medical recovery, research found that after swimming with dolphins, blood samples included more endorphins.  According to Dr. Kutz, these changes are also reflected in the immune system. “The positive experience of their therapy is able to counter the state of stress prior to the treatment,” he explains.  (more >>>)

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* Thanks to www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com for a number of stories.

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