Historic Israeli Mini-Satellite to be Launched with French Cooperation: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017— Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2.
China is Increasingly Becoming Key for Israel's High-Tech Industry: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, July 18, 2017— China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry.
How Israeli Technologies Improve Water, Food Security In India: Amanda Ngo, NoCamels, July 03, 2017— Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit.
Israel’s Tech Startups are Giving Silicon Valley a Run for its Money: Ed Zwirn, New York Post, May 28, 2017 — Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing?
Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017
Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017
Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017
The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017
Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017
Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis called the upcoming launch an “important national event.” Israel, he said, is “known around the world for its boldness and innovation, which are expressed also in the technological developments of ‘Venus.’ We are so proud to see how work of many years of our best engineers and researchers at the head of the Israel Space Agency, along with CNES, will reach its peak at the launching.”
Environmental satellites have become very important in recent years because of problems on Earth resulting from population increase, declining space for agriculture, pollution and natural disasters. The Venus, the world’s smallest satellite of its kind, was built in the last few years by Israel Aerospace Industries. It will observe fields and nature from space for environmental research, monitoring land conditions, forestry, agriculture, the quality of water sources and more.
The mini-satellite is equipped with a special camera that can visualize details on Earth that are invisible to the naked eye. It will take photos of set locations in Israel and around the world and provide researchers with scores of images daily, each of which will cover 760 square kilometers. The Venus will revolve around the Earth 29 times each 48 hours and repeat exact photo angles, making it possible to note differences in conditions – characteristics that make the satellite unique, the Science and Technology Ministry said.
The Venus satellite weighs only 265 kilograms. It will be launched along with an Italian satellite and reach its position 720 kilometers above Earth within 37 minutes and 18 seconds. The first confirmation of proper position and function should be received on the ground after five-and-a-half hours from launch time, but the initial images will arrive a week later. Processed images will be sent to users three months after launch. The Venus is due to remain in operation for four-and-a-half years, after which time it will be shifted to a lower trajectory. Some 110 different set research areas around the world will be photographed. When the satellite passes over Israel, the Venus will photograph three swaths in the Galilee, the coastal area and the Negev Desert, where most national parks, forests, ecological stations and nature areas exist. The photos will also benefit university, government and state research institutes.
Venus will transmit data to a reception station in northern Sweden. From there, the data will be processed initially by the French Space Agency, which will be led by French researcher Gerard Didiot. The images of Israel will arrive at the research center at the Sde Boker campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, headed by Prof. Arnon Karnieli. The research center is an operational arm of the Science and Technology Ministry. One of the first research projects to be used by the satellite simulations – funded by an investment of NIS 500,000 from the Israel Space Agency – will be one designed by high school pupils from Rishon Lezion and Rehovot.
Venus is also the first innovative technological mission of its kind to test the feasibility of a plasma-based electric propulsion system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, using an electric propulsion system that saves fuel and satellite weight to increase the weight of the equipment for research purposes. Although the Venus is a joint project of Israel and France, all of the satellite’s hardware components were developed in Israel’s space industries. In addition to IAI, which built the satellite and integrated the components, Elbit developed the unique camera, and Rafael developed the propulsion system, resulting in the entire satellite being the product of Israeli construction and development.
Meanwhile, IAI president and CEO Yossi Weiss said that the Italian and the Israeli-French satellites are “the glory of Israeli technology and reflect Israel’s international activities in space and the extraordinary cooperation with Italy and France. The stateof-the-art observation satellites program enables the development and production of local needs and exports, and is supported by clear government policy in the field.” He added, “On the eve of the launch, I call upon the Israel government to make the necessary decisions regarding the future of Israeli media satellites. Since the loss of Amos-6 about 10 months ago, no decision has been made regarding the future of the field, which will eventually lead to the loss of knowledge and accumulated technological capabilities. We are approaching the point of no return that could lead to the elimination of Israel’s capabilities in the field of communications satellites.”
CNBC, July 18, 2017
China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry. The first IPO (initial public offering) of an Israeli high-tech company on a Chinese stock exchange, Hong Kong, is expected within the year and Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech venture capital approached $1 billion in 2016, industry experts say.
"The Chinese stock exchange market will become another very viable option for Israeli companies looking for public funding," if the first IPO goes off successfully, Eli Tidhar of Deloitte Israel, told CNBC. Tidhar heads what Deloitte calls its "Israel-China corridor". Israel has laid out the welcoming mat to Chinese companies and investors who may face more troublesome regulations and scrutiny elsewhere.
Hardly a day goes by without another Israel-China initiative being announced, whether it's a new Israeli tech incubator in China, new investments, joint ventures, trade conferences or delegations. In May this year, another audit firm PwC led a delegation of Israeli companies to Hong Kong to explore the possibilities of listing on the stock exchange. Deloitte's Tidhar says that a sea change is taking place among Israeli companies looking for funding. Israeli high-tech VC (venture capital) companies raised $500 million from Chinese investors in 2014 and $700 million in 2015 and the amount keeps growing, according to Tidhar.
"In the past, Israel used to look mostly at the U.S. and Europe as our source for investment, especially in high tech," he said. But now, "It becomes less and less awkward that a company that would like to raise money would pursue this investment from China." This view is echoed Dorian Barak, who heads the Israeli arm of Kuang Chi, one of the few Chinese conglomerates that has so far actually set up a permanent local representation. Israel's venture capital landscape and its exits were until now largely a matter of Western money, Barak said. But that's about to change. "The rise of China and China's adoption of an outward looking policy of investments and cooperation has the opportunity to have as much of an impact on the local economy as did the massive capital influx from chiefly the United States in the (1990s) and the first decade of the 21st century," Barak said in a telephone interview.
Kuang Chi last year set up a $300 million fund, particularly for smart city investments in Israel. It has so far, among other companies, invested in machine vision company eyesight Technologies. Large chunks of Israel's infrastructure projects, including ports, railway lines and tunnels, are being carried out by Chinese companies these days. And some flagship Israeli companies have been acquired by Chinese conglomerates, such as ChemChina's acquisition of Adama and Bright Food's takeover of Tnuva. Reuters earlier this year reported that in 2016 total Chinese investments in Israel jumped to $16.5 billion.
But in the high-tech sector, this has not yet translated to the same massive presence of Chinese conglomerates that Western companies have in Israel, whether in R&D (research and development) centers, production or representative offices. Kuang Chi's Barak said that Chinese companies are very slowly coming to the realization that there's an added value to a local presence. He's getting constant inquiries from Chinese local government and private investors.
"When you see Chinese names on the sides of buildings in Herzliya Pituah (near Tel Aviv) as you currently see American names, you'll know the Chinese investors have really arrived and the Chinese strategics have arrived en masse. There's a long way to go," said Barak. But it's getting there, is the consensus. One company that has seen Chinese investment is intelligent search company Twiggle. It's received backing from the likes of e-commerce giant Alibaba and MizMaa – a fund specializing in Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech.
CEO and co-founder Amir Konigsberg, said that for Twiggle, as for many other Israeli companies, the ties with China are not merely about getting finance. Help with market access is of much greater importance. "Not disregarding the growth in other markets, such as the U.S. and Europe, in terms of e-commerce China and Asia are very dominant markets," he said.
Israeli start-ups had been used to working with U.S. and European investors, he said: "The collaboration and the synergy with the China market and the big Chinese companies is more recent. The adaptation to that has been gradual and the Israeli companies like ourselves are learning to work better with the Chinese companies." One potential adaptation to be made was in the differences of expectations that sometimes occurs, said Denes Ban, managing partner at Israeli high-tech crowdfunding firm OurCrowd. Those expectations center around the tension between getting funding and getting access to Chinese markets.
"If you look at the term sheet, there's no such thing as free Chinese money," said Ban. Many Israeli companies, who are far from naive, initially misjudge the intentions of the Chinese investors: "What often happens is, 'OK we invest but actually the amount we invest doesn't go into the headquarters in Israel, actually it will only go to a joint venture in China and we own 51 percent of it', so basically they control it. We have seen this."
For OurCrowd, Ban is very excited about the emerging interest of large Asian, including Chinese, financial institutions in getting their clients a piece of the pie in the Israeli VC market. "We signed a deal in Singapore with UOB, Shanghai Commercial Bank, Reliance India, these are some of the biggest institutions that are looking to offer these venture capital products to their clients," said Ban. He, like others interviewed by CNBC, sees one crucial Israeli advantage to attracting Chinese investment, apart from Israel's start-up nation image: an openness to Chinese investors where the U.S. and Europe are getting pickier. Deloitte's Tidhar puts it simply: "The restrictions, limitations, barriers that Chinese companies face in other markets, they don't face in Israel."
NoCamels, July 03, 2017
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit. This trip marks the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has travelled to Israel, and will strengthen what is already a flourishing relationship between the two nations. India’s demand for Israeli tech, particularly water and agricultural technologies, as well as a shared desire to invest money in innovation, research and development, continue to drive the partnership to new heights.
Modi’s delegation is expected to include 100 entrepreneurs, including executives from some of India’s biggest companies. He will engage in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the goal of promoting strategic partnerships in the areas of water conservation, food security, space technology, defense, and others.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, Israel and India have seen trade between the two countries jump from $200 million in 1992 to $4.167 billion in 2016 (not including defense agreements), according to Israel’s Ministry of Economy. An Israeli-Indian Free Trade Agreement has been in the pipeline since 2010, with observers speculating that this upcoming visit could add momentum to the process…
A glance at the strengths and needs of both India and Israel reveals why the partnership has been so successful thus far. With a burgeoning population (currently at 1.3 billion), India is experiencing difficulties with water conservation and purification, and food security. According to the World Bank, around 21 percent of infectious diseases in India are related to unsafe water. Agriculture, too, is a significant part of the Indian economy, representing 17 percent of the GDP and depended upon by 50 percent of the population.
Israel is known worldwide for its strengths in water and agricultural technology. For years, Israel has been providing India with world-leading expertise and technology to help the larger nation combat these issues. In return for capitalizing on Israel’s technological expertise, India provides Israel with a huge market opportunity, and endless avenues for business investment. With the second largest population in the world, and a GDP of around $2 trillion (according to the World Bank), the Indian market offers the kind of scale that Israeli businesses need.
Over the 25 years of diplomatic relations, the shared initiatives have been wide-ranging. Since 2008, the nations have strengthened their relationship through the joint establishment of ‘Centers of Excellence’ in India, as part of the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project. Present across nine Indian states, the 26 centers provide Israeli technology and expertise to Indian farmers. They have been highly successful, and there is suggestion that Modi’s upcoming visit will lead to an expansion of this plan.
One of the leading Israeli startups making waves in India is Aqwise. A water tech firm, Aqwise has built a water treatment plant that supplies drinking water to the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. Using an innovative technique of releasing polyethylene biofilm carriers into the water supply, the company provides around 2 million inhabitants and tourists with clean, potable water. Israeli company IDE has also done impressive work in the water conservation industry in India, implementing desalinization methods that have saved millions of dollars and thousands of millions meters cubed units of water. Israel’s Netafim has been implementing drip irrigation technologies that help Indian farmers conserve precious water.
WaterGen, an Israeli air-to-water technology company, is a global leader in water purification. By extracting moisture from air, WaterGen is able to generate water that is safe to drink. Earlier this year, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the India solar engineering firm, Vikram Solar. The deal, which is estimated to be worth at least $100 million, will help the company expand in the Indian market.
Indian companies have shown an unbridled eagerness to tap into the Israeli tech scene. Aditya Birla, the third-largest conglomerate in India valued at $41 billion, has been targeting Israel to find new investments since 2016. Focusing on clean-tech, cyber security, financial technology, and water tech, the company has reviewed hundreds of startups. Infosys, an Indian conglomerate, bought Israeli cloud tech firm Panaya for $200 million in 2014. In 2007, Indian company Jain Irrigation acquired Israeli firm NaanDan, forming NaanDanJain Irrigation Ltd. The company is headquartered in Israel, and now serves farmers in over 100 countries.
Significant amounts of money continue to be channeled into joint initiatives by both governments. In the very near future, the Israeli government is set to approve a proposal to further economic cooperation with India by investing NIS 280 into water and agricultural technology, among other strategies. NIS 140 of that budget will go into an Israeli-Indian fund aimed at encouraging innovation and R&D for Israeli and Indian companies.
Indian and Israeli companies have shown a shared desire to foster innovation. Earlier this year, Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd and Indian private sector company Reliance Industries, together with American data communications company Motorola, set up an incubator in Jerusalem aimed at encouraging innovation in hi-tech in Israel. The incubator will focus on up-and-coming areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, FinTech, IoT, and computer vision. OurCrowd has also formed a partnership with LetsVenture, the largest marketplace for startup funding in India. The partnership will give exposure to Indian startups, and offer deals to Indian investors.
India is also an ardent supporter of Israeli defense technology: Earlier this year, Israeli Aerospace Industries revealed its plan to provide India with missile defense systems in what will be the organization’s biggest security contract ever. The contracts amount to almost $2 billion, and will deliver advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles to the Indian Army. India is currently the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
New York Post, May 28, 2017
Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing? Israel’s answer to Silicon Valley is Silicon Wadi, an area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain with a heavy concentration of high-tech industries that rivals the San Francisco Bay Area’s cluster of innovative firms. There are about 4,300 startups operating in Israel, with about 2,900 of these located within a 10-mile radius, a rate of development second in intensity to only Silicon Valley itself. Even as President Trump was meeting with the Israeli political elite on the Jerusalem leg of his first foreign trip, a huge slice of that country’s brain trust was gathered in Midtown Manhattan to explore the reasons behind this tech wave and showcase some of the developments that have enabled this small country to punch above its weight.
Or maybe jumping would be a more apt metaphor. “The cat flea has the ability to jump almost 200 times its height,” Oded Shoseyov, a professor of protein engineering and nano biotechnology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the crowd at Nexus: Israel, a gathering sponsored by the American Friends of Hebrew University. Shoseyov, who has his name on more than 50 patents and has served as the scientific founder of 10 companies specializing in everything from nanotechnology to production of medical cannabis, says one of the most exciting scientific quests is understanding the jumping power of the flea. That and other marvels of nature are helping spark solutions to real-world challenges faced by humans.
CollPlant, one of the companies he helped found, is attempting to bioengineer solutions to these problems by cloning human DNA onto tobacco plants. “I have no doubt that we’ll be able to produce a human heart in the laboratory,” he says. “This heart is not going to be the same as a human heart, it’s going to be better.”
One of the more established players in both Silicon Valley and its Middle Eastern rival is Intel Corp., which set up a research and production operation in Israel in 1972. Intel Israel has since grown to the point where it has become Israel’s largest private employer, with more than 10,200 workers on its payroll as of last year. According to Maxine Fassberg, executive in residence and vice president of Intel Capital, the company exported $3.35 billion of chips and other products from Israel last year, accounting for 1 percent to 2 percent of the country’s GDP.
In addition to the tech developments fostered by Intel, Fassberg credits both Israel’s defense sector and its academia for propelling this development. “The bottom line is the people and the quality of the education there,” she says. For his part, Dr. Yaron Daniely, chief executive of Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer arm, and himself the driving force behind many Israeli developments in medical technology, credits the amazing performance of Israeli R&D to “chutzpah,” shown in the willingness of the country’s scientists and entrepreneurs to take on risk. “Exceptional people exist everywhere who are more creative than others, but that doesn’t guarantee success,” he points out. “We were arrogant Israelis. We didn’t think that we were stupid.”
Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017— In this day and age, getting a high-quality job is difficult. Since “the internship” has become a prerequisite for being in the race for a good job, the competition for finding one that builds your resume while providing you real-world experience, has only made the process more difficult.
Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017— The visit by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi caused many Jerusalemites, like me, a lot of traffic delays. In retrospect, it was definitely a price worth paying.
Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017— From the 1920s until the establishment of official bilateral relations in 1992, Indian-Israeli ties were dictated by the views of Indian Muslims and moves by Pakistan.
The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017— Israel’s alliance of periphery was formed in the 1950s in order to end the newly established state’s regional and global isolation, which was a result of its conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors.