Here’s the latest installment in my Good News Friday series.
It has not been a particularly good week this week, but nevertheless, there is always some good news to be found if one just pays attention.
The first excellent piece of news is that the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Jewish owners of “Peace House” in Hevron did indeed purchase it legally, and that the house must be returned to its Jewish owners.
The Jerusalem District Court ruled Thursday that the Peace House in Hevron must be handed back to the Jewish company that owns it.
Judge Moshe Baram ruled that the company, Tal Ltd., which acted on behalf of the Jewish community of Hevron, has the right to receive the property, which was temporarily handed over to the state until the dispute over the rights of ownership was decided.
Now that the Jewish ownership has been established, he ruled, the state must hand over the property within 30 days. The Arabs who claimed ownership of the property will pay court expenses as well as NIS 50,000 in legal fees.
Sadly, it’s not a complete victory yet:
This does not mean, however, that the Jewish families that lived in the building will be allowed to return to it. That depends on permission from Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, and such permission is not likely to be granted.
Barak ordered the eviction of the Jewish residents on the pretext that their presence in the house was a security risk. The eviction was carried out in a violent action in December of 2008.
The affair began in March of 2007 when Jewish settlers moved into the so-called “house of contention,” located on the main road linking Kiryat Arba to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. In response Faizi Rajabi, the seller, filed a police complaint saying he was the owner and that the purchase agreement was never finalized.
Following a lengthy legal battle, security forces removed the settlers from the house, also known as “Beit HaShalom,” in December 2008. The eviction led to a series of violent clashes between settlers and security forces. Following the eviction, it was determined that the house would remain in the State’s hands until the court rules on the settlers’ ownership claims.
On Thursday Judge Baram ordered the State to prepare to turn the house over to the settlers within a month. However, the judge stressed that he is not ordering the Civil Administration to pursue legal measures that would allow the settlers to live in the house. Jews who purchase a home in the territories cannot move into it without the Civil Administration’s authorization.
In response to the ruling, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to “instruct the Civil Administration to authorize the deal and allow the Jewish families to move into the house.
“The defense minister’s decision (to evacuate the home) was reckless and was aimed at fanning the flames. Jews have always lived in Hebron, and they will continue to do so,” the minister added.
Yesha Council head Danny Dayan urged Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “uphold the court’s decision and not try to thwart it using various tricks.”
One can but live in hope.
The next item of good news comes from Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI), whose new executive jet has just received the American FAA certification:
Israel Aerospace Industries’ new executive jet, G280, has received a civil licensing certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the Israel Civil Aviation Authority, the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation announced last week.
The aircraft is being manufactured for the American company, which is designing and accessorizing the jet according to its customers’ needs.
According to available information, the IAI has received orders for dozens of such jets, with the cost of an accessorized aircraft ranging from $16 million to $24 million.
The G280 belongs to the super-midsize executive jet category. The plane offers impressive performance and advanced technologies, and features a spacious passenger compartment fitted for 10 people in two seating areas, and a flying range of 3,600 miles (6,667 kilometers).
It is the only executive jet in the category that can fly from London to New York without making any stops.
According to IAI CEO Yossi Weiss, the certification serves as further proof of the Aerospace Industries’ technological ability to develop, plan, produce, and license of advanced executive jets
Kol hakavod to Israel’s outstanding engineers and aircraft designers, both for their design and for the boost to the Israeli economy. May you go from strength to strength.
There’s the West Nile Virus forging a deadly path in North America, and a new round of Ebola in Africa. Then there’s bird flu, SARS and a handful of other rampant and unusually evil viruses circling the globe. Any new super virus out of control could be far worse than the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, which killed 40 million people in just two years, says Israeli biologist Erez Livneh, CEO and founder of a new biotech company Vecoy Nanomedicines.
“Viruses are one of the biggest threats to humankind,” Livneh tells ISRAEL21c. “A viral pandemic could be more damaging than global warming or the Iranian nuclear program.”
Vecoy offers a cunning new way to disarm viruses by luring them to attack microscopic, cell-like decoys. Once inside these traps, the viruses effectively commit suicide.
Livneh presented his invention to colleagues in 2010, when he represented Israel at the multinational program of the Singularity University, based at NASA’s Ames Research base in California. He explained that Vecoy technology can capture and neutralize a wide range of deadly viruses, including resistant strains for which there are no vaccinations or cures.
“Viruses are one of the most polymorphic and resilient organisms out there,” says Livneh. “They are rapidly changing, and can change anything in their genome, either by changing their exterior so our immune system wouldn’t recognize them or by changing their enzymes so that the handful of drugs we have won’t affect them anymore.”
Yet all viruses, he notes, have one unchangeable Achilles heel: their cell host recognition site. Vecoy uses nanotechnology to give the virus two choices: either latch on to the Vecoy host trap or mutate in such a way that it cannot penetrate real host cells. In both scenarios, the end result is bad news for the virus.
“That is why, in theory, a virus cannot develop adaptive resistance to our traps,” says Livneh.
With an international patent pending and secured angel investments, the company now seeks several million dollars to begin studies on mammals, the next step before clinical trials in human beings.
While the road is long –– at least four or five years to start clinical trials –– it is a path worth taking if these Israeli-made virus decoys can do the job.
If Livneh succeeds on his quest he will no doubt go down in the history books along with Louis Pasteur (for pasteurization), Sir Alexander Fleming (for penicillin) and Jonas Salk (polio vaccine).
And once again, huge kudos to Israel’s brilliant scientists and entrepeneurs, putting their knowledge to use for the betterment of mankind.
I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.