On the other hand

December 8, 2018 by Michael Kuttner
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We are in the midst of commemorating Chanukah when we remember the miracles which occurred during the liberation of Judea and the rededication of the Temple in our Capital of Jerusalem.

These days those of us privileged to live in Israel can witness continuing daily miracles of innovative progress as the country faces challenges on all fronts.

ANOTHER MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH

An Israeli university team says it has developed “a toolbox for scientists” by coming up with a way to select and study complex organic molecules.

Researchers at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa said their new technique should let scientists create and study any organic molecule at will, regardless of complexity. In organic chemistry, the ability to selectively create and investigate each molecule is of crucial importance, because molecules with at least one carbon atom and four different substituents have a mirror image with different properties.

One mirror image can turn out to be a cure and the other a poison, as was famously discovered in the devastating story of thalidomide, the morning sickness drug that caused 10,000 people to be born with birth defects.

What has been developed is a new methodology, or a toolbox, that will benefit the global scientific community. Scientists can now use this method to build on and further expand their research across many different applications.

 

THREE TIMES THREE EQUALS NINE

 The Sheba Medical Center’s delivery room in Tel Aviv was hopping recently as three sets of triplets were born. The babies, who weighed between 32 ounces (900 grams) to 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms), were whisked immediately into the premature infants’ ward, with two who were in more serious condition put on ventilators in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Expenses for diapers, formula and clothes can be staggering in such cases, of course, but the Israeli government helps out quite a bit, especially in the beginning.

A “birth grant” is about NIS 13,000, and according to Israeli Social Security, when a couple has triplets, they will also receive about NIS 120,000 in child support over the first 20 months.

The monthly allotments gradually decrease from NIS 11,000 at birth to NIS 3,000 by the time the child is a year old. Maternity leave, which is currently 14 weeks long, stretches to 20 weeks – three extra weeks for each additional child.

Last year 77 women in Israel gave birth to triplets.

ISRAELI GAS TO EUROPE

Following two years of negotiations, Israel has signed an agreement with Italy, Greece, and Cyprus to lay the longest gas pipeline in history.

The pipeline will traverse a distance of 1,242 miles and lie at a depth of between 1.8-to-3 miles. It will provide gas to Europe from Israel’s offshore fields.

The EastMed Pipeline Project is projected to begin in a few months’ time, starting about 170 km off Cyprus’ southern coast and reaching Otranto, Italy via Crete and the Greek mainland.

Up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas is expected to flow to Europe annually, thereby diversifying its supply of this energy source, which is now heavily dependent on Russia.

FOREIGN DIPLOMATS RUN IN JERUSALEM

Is this a case of voting with your feet? Despite most countries refusing to recognize Israel’s Capital foreign diplomats turned out in force to take part in a fun run in Jerusalem. Perhaps it is an optimistic omen for future developments.

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