- Written by Economy and Industry Ministry Spokesperson
.An Israeli government delegation visited Chad between 5-7 August 2019 at the initiative of the National Security Council. It will be noted that relations were resumed with Chad, which has a Muslim majority, this past January after an almost 50-year break. Following the resumption of relations, Chad President Idriss Deby asked the Israeli government to send representatives to evaluate the advancement of bilateral economic cooperation and the transfer of information on – inter alia – agriculture, water management, and education.
The delegation was led by Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration Export Policy Director Dr. Itai Melchior; among the other participants were Regional Cooperation Ministry, Director-General Dr. Joseph Draznin, ASHRA Director of Marketing Alex Averbuch, Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Center for International Agricultural Development Corporation Special Projects Director Daniel Werner and Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute Deputy Director-General for International Business Affairs Sabine Segal.
The delegation met with ministers and director generals from the ministries of Economy, Finance, Agriculture, Water, Energy, Mines, Communications, Education and Health. Meetings were also held with international elements such as representatives from the World Bank and the US Embassy, in order to consider increased foreign investments in Chad.
The local chamber of commerce invited the delegation to meet with leading local business people in order to consider cooperation with the Israeli business sector. The government mining company briefed the delegation on the relevant economic potential of Chad.
Chad, most of the GDP of which stems from the export of petroleum and cattle, is interested in attracting foreign investments in the mining sector, which they believe to be of great potential, in upgrading local physical and social infrastructures and in diversifying the national economy.
It was agreed – inter alia – that senior Chadian officials – including the Minister of Agriculture and Mines, and from the business sector, would visit Israel.
Economy and Industry Ministry Foreign Trade Administration Export Policy Director Dr. Itai Melchior noted that members of the delegation were impressed by the desire of the Chadian government, and of the private sector, to cooperate with Israel. "After an intensive two days of meetings, I can say with certainty that there is definitely room for cooperation with both the government and the business sector. I assume that we will see Chadian visits to Israel soon in order to continue the dialogue," he said.
Regional Cooperation Ministry Director-General Dr. Joseph Draznin: "The developing ties between Chad and Israel are part of the fabric of Israel's relations with countries in the region. This fabric combines both bilateral and regional cooperation between Israel and African, Mediterranean and Persian Gulf countries in energy, water, agriculture and technology."
Photo credit: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
- Written by Silvia
THE FIFTH WORLD HOLOCAUST FORUM: World Leaders will Gather in Jerusalem to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz and International Holocaust Remembrance Day
World Holocaust Forum Foundation President Dr. Moshe Kantor:
“This event will provide a unique opportunity for world leaders to stand up and declare ‘enough’ to antisemitism”
(Wednesday, 14 August 2019, Jerusalem) – Heads of State from Europe, North American and Australia have been invited to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum, taking place on 23 January 2020, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
The event, titled “Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism,” is being organized by the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, headed by Dr. Moshe Kantor, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin.
As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the message will be clear that antisemitism has no place in our global society.
The President of France, H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of Germany, H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Italy, H.E. Mr. Sergio Mattarella and President of Austria, H.E. Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen are among the leaders who have so far confirmed their attendance of this historic event.
Founded in 2005 by Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, the World Holocaust Forum Foundation is an international organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and its important lessons for all of humanity, including fighting rising antisemitism. Past World Holocaust Forum events have taken place at Auschwitz, Babi Yar and Terezin, in cooperation with Yad Vashem, with the highest-level political and diplomatic representation.
The event takes place against the background of the rise in hateful and violent expressions of antisemitism, especially in Europe. Given this alarming situation, efforts to educate about the dangers of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia and foster Holocaust commemoration and research have made this event more crucial and relevant than ever.
“This conference takes place at a very important historical moment – seventy-five years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and with the voices of Holocaust denial and antisemitism once again rising,” President of the State of Israel Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin said. “We will never support those who falsify the truth or those who try to ensure the Holocaust is forgotten. Not individuals and not organizations; not leaders of political parties and not heads of states.”
“I invited world leaders to join us at this sacred moment of memory and commitment, and I am delighted by the number of responses, that is growing every day. We will make every effort to ensure that the event will be meaningful and will leave a real mark on the struggle against antisemitism and for the education of the next generation.”
“This event is especially important because as the Holocaust recedes further into the past, some of its memory is being forgotten and its lessons are no longer being learned,” World Holocaust Forum Foundation President Dr. Moshe Kantor said. “’Never Again’ is an action plan, one that we must reclaim as a call to protect the future while remembering the past.”
“This event will provide a unique opportunity for world leaders to stand up and declare 'enough' to antisemitism, intolerance and racism and stop the hate. The World Holocaust Forum Foundation is uniquely positioned to be able to provide an opportunity for our leaders to turn the knowledge and awareness of the Holocaust into action in a collaborative effort to eradicate antisemitism and all other forms of hatred.”
"The Holocaust, aimed at the total annihilation of all Jews everywhere, and the eradication of their civilization, was fueled by extreme racist antisemitism," Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said. "In the aftermath of the Second World War, the international community enacted universal principles and instituted international organizations with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity. The ways in which antisemitism has persisted and proliferated over recent years must be identified, studied and understood. We must all be alert to antisemitism's current manifestations and remain resolute in combatting it where it appears. It is the responsibility of all humanity, and especially the leaders that will gather here at Yad Vashem, to work to fight antisemitism, racism and xenophobia."
Additional information and details regarding the World Holocaust Forum will be forthcoming.
About Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953. Located on Jerusalem's Mount of Remembrance, it is dedicated to Holocaust commemoration, documentation, research and education. Since its inception, Yad Vashem has dedicated itself to perpetuating the memory of the Jewish men, women and children who were murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, and to passing on the legacy of the survivors. Its state-of-the-art museums, world-class research and education centers, and expansive archives and libraries provide an unparalleled venue for inter-generational learning and contemplation, reflected also in its comprehensive online resources utilized by millions of people around the globe. Drawing on the memories of the past, Yad Vashem seeks to meaningfully impart the legacy of the Shoah for generations to come.
Photo From left: Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev, President of The State of Israel Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, World Holocaust Forum Foundation President Dr. Moshe Kantor and Special Advisor to Yad Vashem Chairman Arie Zuckerman. (Credit: the President’s office)
- Written by Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office
The Carmel Program: The Directorate of Defense Research and Development at the Ministry of Defense Reveals the Technology that will be Used in the Combat Vehicle of the Future
The combat vehicle of the future will be upgraded with artificial intelligence, autonomous and automatic capabilities. It will be compact, agile, effective, survivable, maintainable and affordable and will be operated by only two combat soldiers. Three defense industries (Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael), have reached the final phase of development. Today upon the completion of a month of trials, three major technological concepts have been presented, among others. These advanced platforms will be integrated into the IDF’s current and future armored vehicles - both manned and autonomous.
Today (04.08.19), the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Israel Ministry of Defense, and the Office of the Head of the Armored Corps in the IDF, completed a demo event to reveal the platforms developed within the framework of the Carmel Program. The program does not produce a new vehicle, but rather a breakthrough vision for combat, based on advanced technology. The program focuses on autonomous and automatic maneuvering, artificial intelligence and more. The event was held in the presence of the Ministry of Defense Director General, IDF Deputy Chief of General Staff, Commander of the Ground Forces, Head of the Directorate of Defense Research and Development in IMOD, and senior officials from the IDF and defense establishment.
The Carmel Program was launched three years ago as a multi-year program for the development of advanced technology to upgrade the IDF’s combat vehicles – producing an agile, effective, innovative, compact, easy-to-maneuver vehicle with relatively low costs. The purpose of the program was to develop the technology necessary for the “combat field of the future,” maintaining operational superiority via technological superiority.
During the first phase of the Carmel Program, a significant challenge was presented to the three major defense industries in Israel: to prove the feasibility of an AFV that is operated by only two combat soldiers, with a closed hatch. Following a lengthy evaluation process, the Ministry of Defense selected three Israeli defense industries to continue the development program: Rafael, IAI, and Elbit Systems.
Each industry was asked to develop its own technological concept, that would transform and upgrade the interior part of the IDF’s combat vehicles to an advanced cockpit (much like a fighter jet’s cockpit). The challenge: proving the feasibility of two soldiers conducting closed hatch operations and integrating technological capabilities that would enhance mission efficiency for the IDF’s maneuver forces. The advanced cockpit integrates autonomous capabilities (maneuvering, detecting targets, defense, etc.). In addition, the combat soldier enjoys multi-sensor fusion and 360-degree surround vision, high connectivity, and situational awareness. Ultimately, the soldiers are only required to make decisions that the mechanism cannot (yet) make by itself.
The industries took the challenge head on, employing experts in the field and introducing advanced technological infrastructure in the process. Each industry tested its solution throughout a period of a week, within a series of complex operational scenarios. A team of experts from the DDR&D evaluated the three concepts in accordance with predetermined criteria. The technological platforms proposed for the future AFV, employ a combination of advanced sensors, VR and AR mechanisms, AI technology to process information, and more.
Elbit Systems: Elbit Systems developed a technological concept for combat soldiers in the future AFV, operated by the Iron Vision “See-Through” Helmet Mounted Display (HMD). This is based on the technology that the industry developed for the F-35 fighter jet. The concept is underpinned by applying autonomous capabilities and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to accelerate decision making and facilitate target engagement with dramatically increased rapidity and accuracy. Using a Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) a crew of two combat soldiers operates the AFV under closed hatches, further enhancing capabilities and survivability. The AFV successfully demonstrated its capacity to function as an independent high fire-power strike cell, as a networked station for multi-spectral sensing and information fusion, as well as a base platform for operating additional unmanned systems.
Rafael: RAFAEL’s solution for the future combat fighting vehicle enables two crew members to perform their mission, in a fully protected closed hatch vehicle, with a breakthrough transparent cockpit design, enabling 360 degree situational awareness, using augmented reality for real-time battlefield information and data. This includes targets, Blue Forces, and other Points Of Interest (POI’s), as well as an autonomous mission support system, for autonomous mission planning, driving, and simultaneous operation of all vehicle weapon systems, all based on combat artificial intelligence capabilities.
IAI: IAI presented a platform based on the company’s family of autonomous systems and robotic tools, which are currently in wide operational use in Israel and around the world. The Carmel platform proposed by IAI, combines a panoramic display, individual control screens, and a control stick similar to a gaming console or “Xbox Joystick”. The autonomous capabilities in the combat vehicle are operated by a central, autonomous system, which integrates the various components in the platform and assists the human operator in processing information, focusing on critical threats, and making effective real-time decisions. The platform is based on AI technology to detect threats, enabling effective target engagement and weapon system management as well as autonomous driving in various terrains.
In addition to the aforementioned platforms, the DDR&D led a program to develop technological solutions that were not presented in the demo today. These platforms integrate the following capabilities: hybrid propulsion, cyber defense, active camouflage, multi-task radar, a system to identify troops, and more. The platforms that have reached an advanced stage in the development process, are already being integrated in the AFVs that the IMOD Tank and APC Directorate is developing and producing today.
The Carmel Program is based on breakthrough and innovative technologies on a global scale and the platforms developed by Israeli industries are garnering international interest. The technological capabilities tested in the Carmel Program have never before, been integrated into combat systems. The Carmel Program at the Ministry of Defense places the State of Israel at the forefront of the worldwide effort to develop advanced combat vehicles. This is made possible by the creativity and innovative capabilities of Israel’s defense industries. The results of the Carmel Program will serve as the technological and engineering infrastructure of both the manned and autonomous defense and combat tools of the future.
Photo Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office
- Written by Tel Aviv University Spokesperson
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a novel nano-vaccine for melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer. Their innovative approach has so far proven effective in preventing the development of melanoma in mouse models and in treating primary tumors and metastases that result from melanoma.
The focus of the research is a nanoparticle that serves as the basis for the new vaccine. The study was led by Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Head of the Laboratory for Cancer Research and Nanomedicine at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and Prof. Helena Florindo of the University of Lisbon while on sabbatical at the Satchi-Fainaro lab at TAU; it was conducted by Dr. Anna Scomparin of Prof. Satchi-Fainaro’s TAU lab and postdoctoral fellow Dr. João Conniot.
The results were published on 5 August 2019 in Nature Nanotechnology .
Melanoma develops in the skin cells that produce melanin or skin pigment. "The war against cancer in general, and melanoma in particular, has advanced over the years through a variety of treatment modalities, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy; but the vaccine approach, which has proven so effective against various viral diseases, has not materialized yet against cancer," says Prof. Satchi-Fainaro. "In our study, we have shown that it is possible to produce an effective nano-vaccine against melanoma and to sensitize the immune system to immunotherapies."
The researchers harnessed tiny particles, about 170 nanometers in size, made of a biodegradable polymer. Within each particle, they “packed” two peptides — short chains of amino acids, which are expressed in melanoma cells. They then injected the nanoparticles (or "nano-vaccines") into a mouse model bearing melanoma.
"The nanoparticles acted just like known vaccines for viral-borne diseases," Prof. Satchi-Fainaro explains. "They stimulated the immune system of the mice, and the immune cells learned to identify and attack cells containing the two peptides — that is, the melanoma cells. This meant that, from now on, the immune system of the immunized mice will attack melanoma cells if and when they appear in the body.”
The researchers then examined the effectiveness of the vaccine under three different conditions.
First, the vaccine proved to have prophylactic effects. The vaccine was injected into healthy mice, and an injection of melanoma cells followed. “The result was that the mice did not get sick, meaning that the vaccine prevented the disease,” says Prof. Satchi-Fainaro.
Second, the nanoparticle was used to treat a primary tumor: A combination of the innovative vaccine and immunotherapy treatments was tested on melanoma model mice. The synergistic treatment significantly delayed the progression of the disease and greatly extended the lives of all treated mice.
Finally, the researchers validated their approach on tissues taken from patients with melanoma brain metastases. This suggested that the nano-vaccine can be used to treat brain metastases as well. Mouse models with late-stage melanoma brain metastases had already been established following excision of the primary melanoma lesion, mimicking the clinical setting. Research on image-guided surgery of primary melanoma using smart probes was published last year by Prof. Satchi-Fainaro’s lab.
"Our research opens the door to a completely new approach — the vaccine approach — for effective treatment of melanoma, even in the most advanced stages of the disease," concludes Prof. Satchi-Fainaro. "We believe that our platform may also be suitable for other types of cancer and that our work is a solid foundation for the development of other cancer nano-vaccines."
This project was funded by EuroNanoMed-II, the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator and Advanced Awards, the Saban Family Foundation – Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) Team Science Award and the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF).
Photo 1:The research team (from left): Prof. Helena Florindo, Dr João Conniot, Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Dr Anna Scomparin.
Photo: Galia Tiram.
Illustration: Maayan Harel.
Photo 3:Nano-vaccine internalizes into immune cells, activating the immune system to attack cancer.
Illustration: Galia Tiram.
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin yesterday, Monday 28 July 2019 / 25 Tammuz, hosted representatives of Accessibility Israel to mark the 20th anniversary of its establishment. Accessibility Israel works to change the perception of the public space and improve accessibility for people with disabilities. The president received a report summarizing 20 years the organization’s activities. Founder and president Yuval Wagner, and CEO Michal Rimon spoke at the event, which concluded with Orel Palomba singing the song ‘Ani VeAta / You and I’, accompanied by sign language and realizing her dream of singing at Beit HaNasi. She even received a presidential escort, as the president walked her, hand in hand, from her seat to where she sang for the people in the hall.
The meeting was the closing of a circle for the founder of the association, Yuval, who was injured in the course of his service as an Air Force pilot and wrote a letter to then-President Ezer Weizman explaining how difficult it was to move about in public spaces. 20 years ago, he was invited by Beit HaNasi to establish Accessibility Israel. Yuval, an Israeli Air Force pilot was injured in the course of his service in 1987, and remains paralyzed from the neck down and is a wheelchair user.
In preparation for the meeting, attended by guests with various disabilities, the Beit Hanassi security department underwent training with Accessibility Israel with the aim of adapting security checks and assistance for visitors with disabilities.
The resident opened the meeting by expressing his deep appreciation for Accessibility Israel and its founders, who made the vision of accessibility in Israel a basic and fundamental social duty. He spoke about how, when he was an MK, he met MK Ilan Gilon, who in one of his speeches coined the phrase ‘a society that does not care those who need help is unworthy of being called a society.’
"I was deeply impressed by his words, and since then quote this statement often," said the president, adding, "It is our duty to make an effort and to take care of all those who have physical or other disabilities. Accessibility should be taken for granted. It is not enough to legislate regarding accessibility, there must be regulations that are enforced.”
Yuval Wagner, founder, and president of the organization thanked the president and said, "It is unbelievable how a letter to the president created 20 years of activity to promote accessibility for people with disabilities. It is nothing less than a revolution. From a country that was absolutely not accessible – not physically, not socially and not in terms of services, to a state with legislated equality of rights and accessibility. 20 years on, Israel is much more accessible and allows those with disabilities to live better despite their limitations.”
Photo credit: Mark Neiman, GPO