Good News Friday

This is another in my Good News Friday series, even though the news this week has not been good at all.  However I don’t like to leave you with a bad feeling before Shabbat, so here are some heartening items.

In a flying pig moment, an Israeli lawyer has been appointed to a top position in the UN as legal coordinator for the executive directorate of the U.N. Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee.

Dr. David Scharia, 43, a former senior official in the attorney-general’s office, has been appointed legal coordinator for the executive directorate of the U.N. Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee, making him the only Israeli in a senior security position within the U.N. Secretariat.

According to The Washington Post, the appointment is newsworthy because it is rare for Israelis to rise through the ranks of the U.N. “The organization helped give birth to Israel, but the recent history between the country and the U.N. has been contentious,” The Washington Post reported.


In the past, Scharia represented counterterrorism cases on behalf of the state before the Israeli Supreme Court. He has been working at the U.N. since September 2005.

David Scharia will oversee a team of 12 international legal experts who advise the 15-nation Security Council on its counterterrorism efforts.

I love his name – so suitable to the post. :-). I’m sure we all wish him lots of success, both in the personal capacity in his new job and as a representative of Israel in the UN.

In news completely unrelated to Israel, but of interest to everyone, the Jerusalem Post reports that an international team of scientists based in Korea have discovered that the common barnyard chicken could provide some very un-common clues for fighting off diseases and might even offer new ways to attack cancer.

Judging by the amount of chicken consumed by the average Israeli this can only be good news – although not for the chickens of course.

Dr. Daniel Teper of Immune Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Daniel Teper of Immune Pharmaceuticals

And the final piece of good news is yet another invention by Israeli bio-scientists; this time it is a drug delivery system that “puts thousands of toxic pharmaceutical molecules inside a targeted missile which goes off only when it reaches cancerous tissue.”

“Monoclonal antibodies” may sound like a great name for a heavy-metal band, but actually they’re the basis of best-selling pharmaceuticals raking in about $50 billion dollars a year.

The two-year-old Israeli company Immune Pharmaceuticals is fast emerging as a leader in developing new ways to use these antibodies, which are found in drugs such as Herceptin for breast cancer, Remicade to treat autoimmune diseases and Erbitux for head, neck and colorectal cancer.


Today’s monoclonal antibody drugs must be administered together with chemotherapy, which often is effective but can cause significant collateral damage.

At the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the buzz was about new drugs combining the power of anti-cancer drugs with the targeting abilities of antibodies. The first generation of those drugs, antibody drug conjugates, is now being approved for resistant cases of Hodgkin’s disease and breast cancer.

Immune is going one step further, using nanotechnology and biotechnology to deliver existing and new cancer drugs more safely and effectively.

While currently only a few chemo pharmaceuticals can be attached to each antibody, Immune’s “guided missile” system “puts thousands of toxic drug molecules inside a nanoparticle like a spaceship, so it’s imprisoned until it gets to the cancerous tissue,” says Teper.

There’s much more in the article. Read it all and shep nachas from our inventive scientists.

Shabbat shalom everyone. May the coming week bring better news.

Please note: Next week there will not be a “Good News Friday” post since it will be erev Tisha B’Av – unless Mashiach comes before then of course.

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10 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Elliott E Alhadeff says:

    Gives new meaning to “Sharia’s law.” Stay tuned to when the arabs find out it’s not what they think it is,

    • anneinpt says:

      LOL. I had thought of that. :-). James Taranto at the WSJ has a feature in his Best of the Web column called “it’s the eponymy, stupid”. I was thinking of sending this to him.

  2. reality says:

    I think his name is the main reason he was chosen! Does this mean that any new law will be called Scharia law!! Hee hee hee ! the best of British ;sorry Israeli; luck to him :))

  3. tzfonit rechoka says:

    his name is actually Dudi Zecharia )דודי זכריה)
    Look inHa’aretz online-He’s mentioned there.
    Sorry to ruin all the good jokes!

    • anneinpt says:

      Oof! You’ve gone and ruined it all! 🙂

      It had actually occurred to me that his name would be something like Zecharia or Secharia in Hebrew but I couldn’t find a Hebrew story anywhere when I posted this article. You’ve got to admit it’s a funny way to spell his name in English.

      Oh well, the joke’s on us this time.

  4. Philip says:

    This is completely irrelevant to the topic, but I remembered a while ago I left a comment mentioning in passing Avi Shlaim. I don’t want to get into an argument about his work, but I think you said he was an anti-Zionist or words to that effect. Then I read today via Normblog that Jonathan Freedland had written a post trying to ‘reclaim’ the word Zionism, or explain why it’s better not to use the terms Zionism or anti-Zionism. You can read it here:

    Would be interested in your thoughts / a post on this.

    • anneinpt says:

      Philip, thanks for the link (which I read incidentally yesterday). I really don’t want to go into the subject in depth because I simply don’t have the time. Suffice to say that I agree whole-heartedly with Normblog’s description of Freedland’s depiction of Zionism thus:

      a clear and succinct definition of how most Zionists use the term: not in an expansionist sense but as affirming ‘the more modest claim that there should be a Jewish national home within historic Palestine’. The basic Zionist proposition, he also says, is ‘that the Jews, like every other people, have a right to self-determination in the historic land of their birth’.

      I haven’t read Freedland’s New Statesman article but from Normblog’s short quote I feel I will be disagreeing with him.

    • anneinpt says:

      Phillip, I still haven’t read Freedland’s article (partly becasue I detest the New Statesman. It is an antisemitic rag), but Richard Millett has, and he has an excellent critique of the article in The cowardly Zionism of Jonathan Freedland. It’s as bad as I imagined.

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