Good News Friday

Pesach is over and with it the mad rush to clean and cook and prepare and eat and… well, you get the picture. So it’s about time I posted another Good News Friday post. 🙂

This week’s installment consists of several interesting items I found on Facebook. First is an amazing archeological discovery underneath the streets of the City of David in Jerusalem:

ASTOUNDING! Archeologists have discovered several incredible artifacts during the excavation of the City of David’s Herodian Road Aqueduct in Jerusalem.
Biblical treasures like the etching of a menorah and a golden bell are not only echoes of a time long ago, but reminders of the ancient and indomitable Jewish spirit and culture.

You’ll have to watch it for yourself!



From the ancient to the brand new, crossing a few centuries along the way, last week Tel Aviv celebrated its 106th anniversary! I will translate from this Facebook post:

Exactly 106 years ago from yesterday (11th April) 66 crazy people stood in the middle of a sand dune with two boxes of shells and raffled off pieces of desert to each family.

They called it Tel Aviv and dreamed of the first Hebrew city.

But even the craziest one among them could not have dreamed that this sand dune, within only 3 to 4 generations, would be able to stand next to New York, London or Paris – and look down at them.

Happy Birthday my dear one. You’re the best. 🙂

From Wiki:

The official date of the founding of Tel Aviv was 20th Nissan 5669 (11th April 1909), the 5th day of Hol Hamo’ed (the intermediate days) of Pesach.  On this day the group of founders met on the sands north of Jaffa to raffle off amongst them the location of the building plots that they owned.

Mazal tov Tel Aviv!

I second that Mazal Tov. With all the complaints that we have about Tel Aviv’s traffic, its crowded streets, its huge buildings, it is astounding what the founding fathers and then the city’s mayors and residents managed to create under the very difficult circumstances of war, mass immigration, poverty, and political and diplomatic adversity. The city is a huge, bustling, lively business, cultural, economic and hi-tech powerhouse, and all Israelis can be extremely proud of their “second city” which in many ways serves as its first.

Another Facebook story, which I could not find anywhere else on the web strangely enough, is the wonderful victory of Israel’s Olympic artistic gymnastics team who won the gold medal at the Gymnastics World Cup in Pesaro for their ribbons exercise (h/t Debi Z):

What pride!
What a joy!
Israel‘s women’s team gymnastics in the World Cup in Pesaro won the gold medal a few minutes with their ribbons exercise with a score of 16.900 points.
The Ukraine national team won the silver medal with 16.850 points and the bronze medal went to the Bulgarian team with 16.800 points.
Later the team will compete with the combined exercise.
We wish you many more medals to add to your collection!

Indeed, this is a fantastic achievement. May the team go on to much more success.

Some interesting scientific and medical breakthroughs have been taking place in recent days in Israel too.

The solar field on top of the Knesset building

The Knesset building itself has now become the “greenest” parliament in the world:

On March 29, the Knesset unveiled a 4,560-square-meter (50,000 square feet) solar field on its roof and those of surrounding buildings. Although the 1,500 solar panels are the highlight and the most obvious aspect of the greening of the Knesset, they are by far not the only way in which the Knesset is conserving energy. The Green Knesset Project, launched in January 2014, involves 13 different ecologically conscious projects at a cost of NIS 7 million ($1.8 million).

“Today is the closure of a circle. Eight years ago, we had a dream of making the Knesset a green parliament,” MK Dov Khenin of the Joint Arab List, chair of the Knesset environmental caucus, told a group of reporters he met in a Knesset hallway on his way to the solar-field unveiling ceremony.

There are many other energy-saving green developments that have been implemented in the Knesset – though if the developers would only use all the hot air that comes out of the politicians’ mouths, they could probably fuel the entire State of Israel for years! 😀

On the medical front, an Israeli team has found two proteins that can suppress cancer:

A team of Israeli researchers at the Technion has discovered two proteins that can suppress cancer and control the cells’ growth and development.

The study was conducted in the laboratory of Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli Nobel-prize winner in chemistry, and led by Dr. Yelena Kravtsova-Ivantsiv. The team included research students and physicians from the Rambam, Carmel and Hadassah Medical Centers.

In a paper published in the journal Cell last week, the researchers showed how the proteins could repress cancerous tissues and detailed how a high concentration of a protein called KPC1 and another called p50 in the tissue can protect it from cancerous tumors.

The research also detailed how the ubiquitin process — a cell system responsible for breaking down damaged proteins that can harm cells and tissues and co-discovered by Ciechanover, for which he won the Nobel — has a role in the mechanism.

The study is still in its initial stages but what a wonderful development this would be! Kol hakavod to the whole research team and to Prof. Ciechanover who once again has justified his Nobel Prize.

Another fantastic invention is a nano-bullet to fight brain cancer:

The worst form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is considered largely incurable by doctors. Victims generally die within a year and a half of being diagnosed with the tumors. It’s such a devastating disease that the National Academy of Sciences calls it “the Terminator.” But an innovative nanotech-based “end-run” around cancer cells by Tel Aviv University researchers could provide doctors with a new way to treat – or even cure – GBM and other malignant killer cancers.

The technique, developed by Prof. Dan Peer of TAU’s Department of Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Scientific Director of TAU’s Center for NanoMedicine, has proven itself in the past: It’s based on the “cancer bullet” system Peer and other TAU researchers developed that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, using bioadhesive liposomes (BALs), consisting of regular liposomes reduced to nano-sized particles that attach themselves to the cancerous cells. Peer and Prof. Rimona Margalit, with whom he developed the method, have published several studies showing its effectiveness.

That research was done on ovarian cancer tumors, and it proved to be effective – but that wasn’t the case when it came to GBM, Prof. Zvi R. Cohen, Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Unit and Vice Chair at the Neurosurgical Department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel, contacted Peer to discuss whether anything could be done for individuals suffering from the aggressive and fatal form of brain cancer.

With the same methods he and Margalit used to target ovarian cancer cells, Peer delivered RNA genetic interference (RNAi) material to human brain cancer cells transplanted into mice. The material was delivered directly to the tumor site using lipid-based nanoparticles coated with the polysugar hyaluronan (HA) that binds to a receptor expressed specifically on glioma cells, comparing the results with a control group that was treated with standard chemotherapy methods.

The results, said Peer, were “astonishing,” with the RNAi material hitting the cancer cells directly and extending the life of the test group versus the control group by a significant factor.

Kol hakavod to Professors Dan Peer, Zvi Cohen and to all the researchers involved in this development. Once again we see Israeli scientists and medical professional working to improve the lives of all humans. Just don’t let on to the BDS – I’m sure they’ll want to avoid such “Zionist-tainted” treatment!

And with this uplifting news I wish you all Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov for the new month of Iyar starting this coming week.

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13 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    What a wonderful post. Kol hakavod to all those clever doctors,gymnasts and archaeologists!Mazal Tov Tel Aviv.With that wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom,Chodesh Tov,and an early Mazal Tov to Israel on her upcoming”birthday”this week. May G-d continue to protect her and all those who reside in her.

  2. Aridog says:

    Anne said …
    …though if the developers would only use all the hot air that comes out of the politicians’ mouths, they could probably fuel the entire State of Israel for years!

    Heck, if that was applied in the US of A we could fuel the world forever. 🙂

    We have a Presidential election coming in 1.5 years….so why do I find that almost depressing?

    • anneinpt says:

      Aridog LOL! Politicians are the same all over the world. 😀

      I think you should find your presidential elections encouraging. Whoever comes next can’t possibly be as bad as Obama. The only way is up surely?

      • Aridog says:

        That the next man or woman just has to be better than Obama is not settled. If Hilliary Clinton should win it can very well be much worse. I don’t believe she can win so long as the opposition (Republicans) don’t self-destruct fighting among themselves. I’ll not bet 10 cents on the potential outcome either way, however. I am now; old, tired of all this nonsense, and cranky. Who knew, eh?

        If Carly Fiorina should get the Republican nomination it would take away the single “grievance” issue that Hillary Clinton has…being a woman…which she already mentioned in a “pre-campaign” speech as a good reason to nominate and elect her highness. Other than that identity politics there is no there there. The issue of whether hormone changes in women might make them unqualified (a really dumb position)….Carly Fiorina put it to rest with het comment that men in the office of the President have had some hormonal issues, and literallyin the Oval Office to boot…e.g., Mrs. Clinton’s husband’s tawdry affair with an intern. I am growing to like Ms Fiorina more each day….that was a quick catch and a good retort. That and she actually has executive experience…and not in government. I give Ms Fiorina points for being a woman, which I am aware is “identity” politics itself…but I am also trying to take a “realpolitik” view point, because the opposition will…e.g., I want to win and every “edge” counts. Firoina with Rubio as VP would be a winner IMO…at least as far as I know now. I doubt many agree with me…yet.

        • Aridog says:

          All that said about the ultra amoral shape shifting Hillary Clinton, now if Israel were to begin making gigantic donations the the Clinton Foundation, ole Hillary might find you all very attractive and be very supportive of Israel no matter how adverse she’s been in the past. Money talks with the Clinton family … any Clinton.

          • Aridog says:

            The problem for most of us ordinary citizens here is that we literally cannot afford her price. No money in large numbers to persuade a politician and you are simply not heard. Never mind that when money takes over the politics of a nation it is never a good outcome for Joe Sixpack like me and most that I know. Regrettably, we are already “there” vis a vis money as power in Washington DC….not certain we can stop it now.

          • Aridog says:

            Of course another approach might be for Israel to send over a couple pretty and bright girls (and well off otherwise) to be interns with Hillary, along with the gigantic donations…like the Saudi’s did with Huma Abdin. I’ll skip the obvious implications regarding Hillary’s pseudo concerns about women’s rights in the middle east generally.

            • anneinpt says:

              Hmm. Money we could probably manage. Girls? I’m not sure about that…

              I think we ought to take our chances with the Republicans.

              • Aridog says:

                I’m a old cranky dude….but if Republicans can win this let it be the young, fresh, and bold. No more old guard, not even as advisors, period. If I could I’d make that a law. Yee G-d…some of the still ever present Washington insiders date from Nixon’s west wing, or prior ….who attach themselves to whomever is in power du jour. If Hillary wins it…I quit. Period.

        • anneinpt says:

          Carly Fiorina is osmeone we haven’t heard much about. She sound most intriguing and gives us cause for optimism. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also seem like good solid candidates. Let’s hope the American right doesn’t self-destruct like last time.

  3. Pete says:

    HAHAHA!!

    Those people standing on a sand dune on Tel Aviv beach.
    what an amazing photo that is!!
    it made me smile. that photo stayed in my head all day.
    it is absolutely remarkable how much the world has changed … so quickly!!
    who could believe it??!!

    THANK YOU!!

    Pete, USA

    • anneinpt says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the Tel Aviv story Pete. 🙂

      But isn’t it amazing how they managed to build such a huge successful metropolis, famed around the world for its food, culture, science and Mediterranean atmosphere, within such a relatively short time and all while facing such hostility from our neighbours.

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