INDEPENDENCE DAY: TECHNOLOGIES MAKING ISRAEL PROUD IN 2021: As Israel celebrates 73 years of independence, the country has cemented its place as a tech powerhouse, with more than 60 privately-held ‘unicorns’ valued at more than $1 billion, more than 80 Israeli publicly-traded companies listed in the United States, and some of the most innovative ideas and technologies in the world. Here are two tech innovations from the past year.
Corona Test – A new Israeli COVID test developed at Sheba Medical Center can detect coronavirus in a fluid sample in just 20 seconds. The handheld SpectraLIT machine received EU approval just two weeks ago and is expected to help Europe return to international air travel. The test is inexpensive and more accurate than the fast antigen tests that are beginning to be used in some airports.
Cornea Implant – In January, a 78-year old blind man got his sight back with the implant of an artificial cornea, the first such operation in the world. The artificial cornea, designed by Ra’anana-based CorNeat Vision, was implanted in surgery performed at Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva. Upon removal of bandages, the patient was immediately able to read text and recognize family members.The test was the first of a clinical trial which will hopefully lead to a new medical process that can rehabilitate the vision of corneally blind patients with a relatively simple implantation procedure. (JPost / VFI News)
IRAN TO BEGIN ENRICHING URANIUM TO 60%: Iran said it will begin enriching uranium to 60 percent, to its highest ever level, moving the country a step closer to the 90 percent threshold needed for military use.
It comes two days after an explosion, which Iran blamed on Israel, damaged its enrichment plant in Natanz. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed it had received a letter from the foreign minister’s political deputy Abbas Araghchi announcing Iran’s plan to start 60 percent enrichment. The letter did not state when the process is due to begin. Iranian state television’s English-language arm, Press TV, said Araghchi claimed Iran would also be introducing another 1,000 centrifuges at Natanz, without elaborating. Iran had been enriching up to 20 percent but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had threatened to go to 60 percent enrichment in February if the country needed. Enriching uranium to 60 percent purity will be the highest the program ever has done before – though still short of weapons-grade. (DM / VFI News)
FRANCE, BRITAIN AND GERMANY: CONCERNED BY IRAN’S MOVES TO ENRICH URANIUM: The European powers party to the Iran nuclear deal told Tehran on Wednesday that its decision to enrich uranium at 60% purity and install a further 1,000 centrifuges at its Natanz site were contrary to efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
Talks between world powers, Iran and the United States are due to resume in Vienna on Thursday, but in a joint statement Britain, France and Germany said Tehran’s decision to enrich at 60 percent was not based on credible civilian reasons and constituted an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon. “Iran’s announcements are particularly regrettable given they come at a time when all JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) participants and the United States have started substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a rapid diplomatic solution to revitalize and restore the JCPoA,” the three countries said. (JPost / VFI News)
NATANZ ATTACK HIT 50 METERS UNDERGROUND, DESTROYED MOST OF THE FACILITY: The alleged Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility targeted an electrical substation located 40 to 50 meters underground and damaged “thousands of centrifuges,” Iranian officials revealed in recent days.
Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, told Iranian media on Monday that the attack hit an electrical substation located deep underground and managed to damage both the power distribution system and the cable leading to the centrifuges in order to cut power to them. The Iranian official stressed that such an operation takes years, saying “the design of the enemy was very beautiful.” Davani added that the substation was built underground in order to protect it from air and missile strikes and that the attack was carried out either via cyber, sabotaged equipment, or sabotage committed by agents. (JPost / VFI News)
FEWEST SERIOUSLY ILL COVID PATIENTS SINCE JULY 2020: A total of 199 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed across Israel Tuesday, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday morning.
Just 0.3% of tests conducted Tuesday came back positive, down from 0.4% of tests carried out Monday. That is the lowest level recorded since May 21st last year when the percentage of tests coming back positive hit 0.3%. There are now just 3,209 known active cases of the virus in Israel, down from 3,264 on Tuesday, of which 362 are being treated in hospitals. Of those 362 hospitalizations, 221 patients are in serious condition. That is down from 236 seriously ill patients on Monday and marks the lowest number since July 17th of last year, when there were 220 patients in serious condition. (INN / VFI News)
MICHIGAN STATE U JEWISH STUDENTS WITHDRAW ANTI-SEMITISM BILL: Under intense pressure from anti-Israel campus groups, Jewish students at Michigan State University withdrew a bill to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism after it had already been passed by the student association general assembly.
On March 18, the Associated Students of Michigan State University general assembly passed the resolution by 81 percent, stated Michigan State Hillel. Shortly, therefore, due to intense pressure by campus anti-Israel groups, student representatives started to withdraw their support for the bill claiming they hadn’t read the resolution before passing it. The student assembly then released a statement attacking the IHRA definition as “silencing political thought surrounding the occupation of historic Palestine.” They recommended adopting the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, a definition created by those who oppose the IHRA definition. (INN / VFI News)
800-YEAR-OLD TOILET REVEALS: BRITISH JEWS ATE HERRING, CHICKEN, NO PIG: Jews in 13th century England enjoyed herring and chicken, did not eat pig, did not eat the hind part of cattle, and kept separate pots for meat and dairy, all as Jewish dietary laws (kashrut) require, an archaeological excavation in Oxford has revealed.
Just a few years before the expulsion of all Jews from England in 1290, a Jewish man named Jacob, son of the revered scholar Rabbi Moses of London, owned an imposing property in Oxford, known as Jacob’s Hall. Eight centuries later, the discovery of the building’s latrine has offered an incredible glimpse into Jewish life of the time. Which, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not seem to differ much from that of today – at least regarding food. (JPost / VFI News)
The suggestions, opinions and scripture references made by VFI writers and editors are based on the best information received.
Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff