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Israeli Exports to Asia Grow Threefold, From $5.8 Billion in 2004 to $16.7 Billion in 2014


[JERUSALEM. May 31st, 2015] – The Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, through its Singapore Trade Mission and in cooperation with the Israel Export Institute, are facilitating the Israeli national booth at the CommunicAsia communications expo, one of the flagship mobile communications exhibitions in Asia. Representatives from 20 Israeli companies will be presenting their technologies at the booth, representing the wide range of technological solutions Israel offers in leading mobile fields such as optimization for networks, digital TV solutions and IOT.


Some 40,000 participants from all over Southeast Asia are expected to attend the expo, which takes place in the first week of June. Trade missions of the Israeli Ministry of Economy across Asia have coordinated hundreds of meetings for representatives of the Israeli companies with decision makers from different countries, primarily Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The expo is unique in the opportunities it offers for companies to create ties in new and remote markets like Indonesia, from where 30% of the visitors to the expo arrive.


Ron Snir, Head of Trade Mission for the Israeli Ministry of Economy in Singapore said: "For many years, the Israeli trade mission in Singapore has been active in the largest telecommunications event of its kind in Asia, and like in past years, is facilitating a booth at the exhibition. We see great interest in Israeli technologies and companies from firms and other bodies throughout Asia in recent years, especially in light of significant exits. A basket of products has been developed for the different and changing needs of the markets in the region with attractive prices compared with similar companies from other Western nations."


Ilan Rosenberg, of the Hi-Tech Division at the Israel Export Institute, said: "The expo provides a unique platform for Israeli companies and serves as an excellent meeting grounds for partners and clients from all over Southeast Asia. This year, in addition to the traditional visitors coming to the expo like cellular operators, device manufacturers and integration companies, we also expect to see senior representatives from financial companies (banks), smart infrastructure, cyber-security and more. The Israeli companies will present a range of technologies at the expo, including: a solution for compressing and sending 4K video clips, long-distance optimization and updating, a platform for smart TV and solutions for cloud services (NFV/SDN), MEDIA & OTT and IOT: smart transportation, payment solutions and more."


Among the companies represented at the booth: RAD, MER Telecom,One Smart Star,Fibrolan, Alvarion, Vidmind, MRV, IPGallery, Friendly Technologies, cVidya, Latto, Office Core, Cellmining, mce Systems, Kaltura, Foxcom, SURF Solutions, Appnext, Viaccess-Orca and Allot.


Ahead of the expo, the Israeli companies will visit Vietnam and meet with representatives of the three largest cellular operators in the country, senior officials in the Vietnamese Communications Ministry as well as with local distributors.


Head of Trade Mission to Vietnam from the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Tzafrir Asaf, said: "90 million Vietnamese own more than 130 million mobile devices, and content and Value Added Services on mobile devices is consistently on the rise. It is therefore understandable that there is a growing market here that has become more and more significant for Israeli companies active in this field."


According to the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, over the last decade, Israeli exports to Asia trebled, from $5.8 billion in 2004, to $16.7 billion in 2014. Trade with ASEAN countries (the trade union of Southeast Asian countries, not including India and China) also trebled over the past decade - from $1 billion in 2004 to $3 billion in 2014.


Singapore is Israel's largest trade partner in Southeast Asia, with trade between the countries standing in recent years at $1.6 billion, divided roughly evenly between Israeli and Singaporean exports, with communications equipment making up 10% of trade between the two countries.


The economy of Singapore is based significantly on exporting goods and services, mainly electronic consumer products, IT systems, pharma products and significant sectors of exported services. Singapore enjoys a modern infrastructure which is a permanent catalyst of growth, including an efficient sea port (almost all global shipping and trade from the East to the West stops at the Singapore port). In the middle of 2010, the Singaporean Ministry of Industry published impressive data showing 14.5% growth (an additional 5% was noted in 2011), data which puts Singapore in the top tier of developed countries worldwide. Since then Singapore is growing at an average rate of 4.5% annually, and reached a GDP of $67,000 per capita.


Singapore succeeds in drawing many foreign investments in different sectors and excels in encouraging foreign companies and multinationals which choose to locate their regional management HQs there and thus contribute to local development and knowhow. The Singaporean economy is dynamic, competitive and efficient and is based on excellent physical infrastructure and a leading academic infrastructure which develops technological and professional human resources. Most banks, insurance companies and global investment houses have centers in Singapore and give the country an excellent business and financial base for the operation of multinationals, manufacturing industries, businesses and corporations which are active there or in other southeastern Asian countries with Singapore as a base. The mobile market in Singapore is an active market with much interest in innovation and in groundbreaking products and can be viewed as the entry gate to the rest of Asia. The prices of mobile devices and services in Singapore are the lowest in the world compared to average income, with mobile market penetration rate estimated at 165%.








Texas and Israel’s Technion team up to build water system


California could learn a thing or two about innovative water technologies from university researchers in Israel and Texas, whose joint desalination project won the Honorable Mention award in a USAID competition. A prize of $125,000 grant will be used in the near future to build a groundwater treatment plant in Jordan.


Driven perhaps by a common pioneering spirit or the aridness of their land, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel and the University of North Texas teamed up to enter the competition held by USAID— the United States Agency for International Development. The competition’s goal was to develop innovative technology for producing food and potable water in the Third World, using sustainable alternative energy. "By 2050, global water demand is expected to increase by 55%, and 70% of global water use occurs in food production,” said Christian Holmes, USAID Global Water Coordinator.


Researchers at the Technion’s Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute joined the competition at the request of researchers from the electrical engineering department at the University of North Texas. The American researchers, who focused on developing a solution to the alternative energy aspect of the competition, asked Prof. Carlos Dosoretz and Prof. Ori Lahav, researchers from the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to design a solution for the desalination aspect, and to submit a joint proposal. Other researchers from universities in Jordan, Nepal and Brazil also participated in this project.


“Hundreds of proposals from around the world were submitted in this competition,” explains Prof. Ori Lahav, who heads the Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute, where the desalination system was designed. “At the end of 2014 our proposal advanced to the semi-final stage, along with the proposals of seven other groups.” Six groups participated in the final round, which was held last month in the deserts of New Mexico. The participating teams were given two days to set up a complete, fully operational pilot system, and operate it autonomously for 48 hours to demonstrate its effectiveness in the field.


“The water treatment process was based on an innovative combination of three technologies – reverse osmosis, ion exchange and nano- filtration,” explains Prof. Lahav. “The challenge was to find a solution for problematic water characterized by particularly high concentrations of dissolved calcium and sulfate.” University of North Texas researchers used a combination of wind and solar energy to power the system.


The group in which the Technion participated included the engineer Ran Nahir and Dr. Liat Birnhack, of the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The group was placed among the top three winners, making it eligible for $125,000 in financing for the implementation of innovative technologies in the Third World. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), jointly with Jain Irrigation Systems, won first place.


USAID is a division of the U.S. State Department with financial aid from Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.



Photo caption: The desalination system built for the competition, which includes a wind turbine and solar panel.  Copyright Technion










A Cocktail Reception was hosted by His Excellency, the Ambassador Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the State of Israel, and Mrs. Jean Murphy in the new EU Residence in Herzliya Pituach on 11 May 2015. This reception took place on the occasion of Israel National Science Day in 2015, and in order to stress the scientific cooperation between EU and Israel.


Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen opened his speech by expressing his great pleasure to welcome the distinguished guests to the EU reception in honour of Israel's National Science Day in which we celebrate one of the strongest bonds between the EU and Israel – cooperation in the field of scientific and technological research


He continued with the following remarks:


· Our cooperation in science and technology is a model for the type of close relations we hope will continue and which we would like to see in more fields in the future


· It is also proof that it is ludicrous to talk about an EU boycott of Israel


· Israel has been associated to the EU's Framework Programmes for R&D since 1996 and is the only non-European country to be associated


· As you are probably, with a budget of close to 80 million EURO, the current Framework Programme Horizon 2020 is the biggest research programme in the world. We hope that Israel will be as successful in this programme as it was in the previous one -FP7 - which saw Israel researchers participating in over 1,600 projects.


· The EU's cooperation with Israel in the field of science and technology is a thus win-win situation for both of us. We both have a great deal to learn and benefit from each other. It is beyond an issue of numbers – the exposure for both our academia and industry to cutting edge research, the links to leading institutions and to key actors in the private sector are invaluable contributions to both our research worlds and economies


· We will be hearing later on from Professor Hossem Haick of the Technion whose work on the "electronic nose" has been supported by the gamut of Framework Programme actions from the Marie Curie fellowship through the prestigious European Research Council grant to the collaborative research grant


· But our cooperation starts at an even earlier stage than that of post-doc. We will be hearing from high school student Avner Okun who will be speaking on behalf of the six winners of the Israeli Competition for Young Scientists and Developers who will be going on to participate in the EU Competition for Young Scientists that will take place this September in Milan. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best of luck
I would like to conclude by mentioning a few more examples of our cooperation


· Both in Israel and in the European Union, we share a common problem: how to ensure that future generations of young people take an interest in science and decide to take up a career in research

Every year Israel, supported by the Framework Programmes, organizes Researchers Night, an event mirrored all over Europe whose purpose, like that of Israel Science Day, is to bring science to the general public and to instill a passion for science in young people.


· For the fifth year, the EU Delegation is organising the annual EU-Israel Innovation Seminar which brings together innovation experts to exchange ideas and forge the basis for future collaboration. Last year, the seminar was attended by close to 130 participants including 50 from 13 EU countries


Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen ended his speech by wishing all the guests an enjoyable evening and continued excellent cooperation.


The reception continued with a recorded video with greetings from the European Commissioner Carlos Moedas in charge of Research, Science and Innovation.


Then, Mr Ido Sharir, Director General, Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, greeted His Excellency Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen, Head of the EU Delegation to the State of Israel, and the distinguished guests. He thanked the Delegation of the EU for organizing this event on the occasion of Israel's National Science Day and pointed out the following remarks:


· Science and Technology are an imperative part of our lives; from the moment we open our eyes in the morning and throughout every second of our day.


· All our experiences, starting with what we see and do in our daily behavior, continuing to the instruments and devices we use on a daily basis and ending in the explanation of physiological and sociological phenomena – all are connected to Science and Technology.


· Israel's National Science Day enables us to present and promote the contribution of science to our life and society.


· The National Science Day will be celebrated tomorrow (May 12th) in over a 100 events all over Israel. (We usually mark the Science Day around March 14th - Albert Einstein's birthday, but this year we postponed it due to the general elections held at mid-March.)


· These events include interactive activities for the entire family and are open to the public.


· They will be held at the universities, at science museums, at community centers, at Regional Research and development Center, etc.

The events will showcase the importance of science in our life and aim to encourage the involvement of youth in the field.


· The Ministry of Science, Technology and Space has put on its agenda to reach out to the general public.


· We are conducting training activities for youth, women, orthodox communities and ethnic minorities to bring them closer to science and scientific activities.


· We believe that science is a bridge to minimize gaps in the society.


· Practicing science can allow every man and woman to fulfill their goals and to contribute to society regardless of gender, economic background, or religion.


· The scientific cooperation with the EU, particularly with the R&D Framework Programs, has proven to be one of the most important tools to promote academic - scientific research in Israel in the past decade.


· We are glad to be part of Horizon 2020 and encourage Israeli scientists to take part in this important European Program.


· I hope and know that through the scientific cooperation, all side will benefit and our bilateral ties will bloom.


Mr Ido Sharir ended his speech by thanking Mr. Lars Faaborg-Andersen for his hospitality and wishing all the guests a good evening.


The reception continued with presentations of the following distinguished scientists:


· Professor Hossem Haick, Department of Chemical Engineering and Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute, Technion Israel Institute of Technology.


· Mrs Maya Halevy – Director, Bloomfield Science Museum.


· Mr Avner Okun, Young Scientist, Himmelfarb Yeshiva High School, Jerusalem


The important EU Reception on 11 May 2015 is part of a series of events that took place in different sites in Israel along a week in order to commemorate Israel's National Science Day.



 Photo Silvia Golan










The Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at Rambam has joined forces with the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCHMC) in Ohio on a collaborative agreement related to prenatal testing for oral and maxillofacial deformities. The agreement follows a similar one made between Rambam and the University of North Carolina two years ago.


The prestigious US hospital, ranked third in its field in the USA, maintains widespread professional ties with different Israeli bodies, but this is the first time the Cincinnati facility has collaborated with a medical/academic institution in Northern Israel. The agreement further cements Rambam’s formal collaborations in academia, clinical work, and research with prestigious institutions in the US.


The signing ceremony was held last week. Attending were Rambam representatives Prof. Karl Skorecki, Director of Medical and Research Development; Prof. Adi Rachmiel, Head of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dr. Omri Emudi, Senior Department Physician; as well as Dr. John van Aalst, Director of the Division of Plastic Surgery at CCHMC.


Rambam has extensive experience in the surgical treatment of oral and maxillofacial deformities, which has a particularly high incidence in Northern Israel. Hence, the percentage of children with facial defects here is higher than in central Israel. An interdisciplinary surgical team at Rambam specializes in treating maxillofacial and oral deformities, bringing together experts the Departments of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Plastic Surgery.


The new collaboration between Rambam’s children’s hospital and CCHMC will benefit the people of Northern Israel through the exchange of research and advanced medical training.


Photo description: : (R-L) Dr. Omri Emudi, Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dr. John van Aalst, and Prof. Adi Rachmiel at the signing ceremony

Photo credit: Pioter Fliter




Breakthrough in Cancer Research

The ubiquitin system produces a protein that greatly restricts the development of cancerous tumors


A new study by researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology could hold one key to control cancer cell growth and development. In a paper published in the April 9, 2015 edition of CELL. The team reports on the discovery of two cancer-suppressing proteins.


The research was conducted in the laboratory of Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover, of the Technion Rappaport Faculty of Medicine. The team was led by research associate Dr. Yelena Kravtsova-Ivantsiv and , included additional research students and colleagues, as well as physicians from the Rambam, Carmel and Hadassah Medical Centers, who are studying tumors and their treatment.


The heretofore-undiscovered proteins were found during ongoing research on the ubiquitin system, an important and vital pathway in the life of the cell, which is responsible for the degradation of defective proteins that could damage the cell if not removed. The ubiquitin system tags these proteins and sends them for destruction in the cellular complex known as the proteasome. The system also removes functional and healthy proteins that are not needed anymore, thereby regulating the processes that these proteins control.


Usually, the proteins that reach the proteasome are completely broken down, but there are some exceptions, and the current line of research examined p105, a long precursor of a key regulator in the cell called NF-κB. It turns out that p105 can be broken down completely in certain cases following its tagging by ubiquitin, but in other cases it is only cut and shortened and becomes a protein called p50.


NF-κB has been identified as a link between inflammation and cancer. The hypothesis of the connection between inflammatory processes and cancer was first suggested in 1863 by German pathologist Rudolph Virchow, and has been confirmed over the years in a long series of studies. Ever since the discovery (nearly 30 years ago) of NF-κB, numerous articles have been published linking it to malignant transformation. It is involved in tumors of various organs (prostate, breast, lung, head and neck, large intestine, brain, etc.) in several parallel ways, including: inhibition of apoptosis (programmed cell death) normally eliminates transformed cells; acceleration of uncontrolled division of cancer cells; formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), which are vital to tumor growth; and increased resistance of cancerous cells to irradiation and chemotherapy.


As noted, the precursor p105 is “handled” by the ubiquitin system in one of two parallel and equally prevalent ways. It is either destroyed completely, or shortened and transformed to p50. The current research deciphers the decision-making mechanism that determines which process will be applied to the protein: when a ubiquitin system component called KPC1 is involved in the process and attaches ubiquitin to p105, the protein is shortened to become p50. When ubiquitination is mediated by another component of the system (and without KPC1), p105 is degraded.


The decision between these two options has significant implications on the cell, as the presence of high levels of KPC1 (which generates p50) and p50 (the product of the process) – with the accompanying disruption of the normal ratios between the processes – suppresses the malignant growth and apparently protects the healthy tissue. The current research was conducted on models of human tumors grown in mice, as well as on samples of human tumors, and a strong connection was discovered between the suppression of malignancy and the level of the two proteins, clearly indicating that the increased presence of KPC1 and/or p50 in the tissue can protect it from cancerous tumors.


Professor Ciechanover, who is also the president of the Israel Cancer Society, notes that many more years are required “to establish the research and gain a solid understanding of the mechanisms behind the suppression of the tumors. The development of a drug based on this discovery is a possibility, although not a certainty, and the road to such a drug is long and far from simple.”


Professor Ciechanover won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2004 (jointly with Professors Avram Hershko – also from the Technion – and Irwin Rose, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center) for the discovery of the ubiquitin system. The current line of research is a continuation of that discovery.


Photo captions:

Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover. Photographer: Dan Porges.