By NICKY BLACKBURN (ISRAEL21c)
When Israel was founded 64 years ago, it was a barren country with no natural resources, little water, and more than half of its land mass desert. The only thing the new country had going for it was the natural creativity of its people.
More than six decades later, the Israelis have turned their country into an oasis of technology and innovation. With the most startups per capita worldwide, and the third highest number of patents per head, Israel has become one of the leading players in the world of high-tech innovation, attracting international giants to its shores.
From health breakthroughs to technology, agriculture, the environment and the arts, the country’s innovations are transforming and enriching lives everywhere. Israel today is playing a significant role in some of the most important challenges facing our planet.
Not bad for a country the size of New Jersey.
To celebrate Israel’s birthday, we give you a list of the country’s top 64 innovations. Enjoy!
The Disk-on-Key was developed by M-Systems, a company founded by three Israelis. The data storage device was launched in September 2000, and since then has become almost as ubiquitous worldwide as the paper clip.
In 2005, PC World called the device one of the world’s top 10 gadgets in the last 50 years. M-Systems was purchased by the US corporation SanDisk in 2006 for $1.6 billion.
Founded by Dr. Gavriel Meron in 1998, Yokneam-based Given Imaging revolutionized the world of gastrointestinal diagnosis by developing a miniature camera in a pill, called the PillCam, to visualize and detect disorders of the GI tract.
The PillCam is now the gold standard for intestinal visualization and is sold in more than 60 countries around the world.
In December last year, TIME magazine called InSightec’s FDA-approved MR Guided Focused Ultrasound one of the best 50 inventions of the year.
The 13-year-old Haifa company has developed a futuristic technology called ExAblate, a non-invasive, magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery system that thermally ablates, or destroys, tumors inside the body. The device has huge potential to address a wide variety of medical problems, including many diseases that currently have no treatment.
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) was originally developed by a doctor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and is now the world’s top-selling treatment for multiple sclerosis.
The drug is marketed by Petah Tikvah-based Teva Pharmaceuticals, and received FDA approval in 1996. Teva, which has 46,000 employees worldwide, is one of the top 15 pharmaceutical companies in the world and the largest generic pharmaceutical manufacturer.
For many people, the first line of defense against flu is Sambucol, an elderberry extract concocted by Israeli virologist Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu.
Elderberry has long been used as a folk remedy. Mumcuoglu studied it intensively, and after identifying the key active ingredient turned it into a natural formula that has become one of the most popular homeopathic treatments for flu on the market today.
Laboratory studies show that Sambucol is effective against human, swine and avian influenza strains. It is sold throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.
Everyone remembers when paraplegic Artie Abrams got up and walked for the first time in the popular TV program Glee. The incredible transition from wheelchair to walking was made with the help of a very real product, the ReWalk robotic exoskeleton developed by Yokneam-based Argo Medical Technologies.
ReWalk is the brainchild of Israeli electrical engineer Dr. Amit Goffer, who was left quadriplegic after an accident.The device includes leg braces with motorized joints and a backpack battery system, enabling paraplegics to walk and climb stairs without assistance for up to 12 hours a day.
Herzliya-based Itamar Medical developed a miniature sleep lab that can be worn on the wrist and one finger to diagnose and identify the source of sleep problems.
WatchPAT, which allows patients to be diagnosed at home in their own beds rather than at hospital sleep clinics, was named one of the 10 best medical innovations for 2010 by the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic.
Sleep experts suspect that sleep disorders are at the root of many work- and automobile-related accidents, sexual dysfunction and depression.
Imagine a no-pain vaccination or other infusion of a drug that’s normally injected. TransPharma Medical, based in Lod, spent close to a decade perfecting a way to do just that. Its ViaDerm drug delivery system uses a no-fail, painless applicator loaded with pre-measured drug patches. The battery-operated applicator allows the medication to diffuse through the skin and into the bloodstream.
In cooperation with major pharmaceutical companies, ViaDerm is being tested clinically in several countries with the expectation of developing a welcome alternative for patients who must take daily medications prescribed for conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis.
Itamar Medical also created EndoPAT, a heart-smart device that uses a fingertip test to measure cardiac health, and can even predict whether the patient will suffer a heart attack in the next seven years.
The device, which uses two small probes that hook up to each index finger, has received a seal of approval from the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
Jerusalem-based Brainswaydeveloped a revolutionary painless, non-invasive deep electromagnetic stimulation device for the brain that can ease addiction, depression, autism and a range of other brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
During the 15-minute treatment, patients wear a helmet with an electromagnetic energy-emitting coil positioned according to the area of the brain that needs stimulation. Trials are taking place successfully throughout Europe, North America and Israel.
Award-winning research by Prof. Michal Schwartz at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, has led to the development of promising new therapies for acute spinal-cord injuries.
The late actor Christopher Reeve visited Proneuron Biotechnologies, the Israeli biotech company set up to commercialize these technologies, and described Israel as the world center for research on paralysis treatment.
In 2007, Proneuron began developing a therapy for Parkinson’s disease with support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Babysense is a no-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. Developed by Israeli company HiSense and released to the market in 1992, the device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep.
An auditory and visual alarm is activated if breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds or if the breathing rate slows to less than 10 breaths per minute. It is sold across Europe, the United States and Asia.
Some 200 million people suffer from the progressive lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and many face hospitalization several times a year.
Or Akiva-based Deep Breeze has developed an innovative medical device that will allow COPD patients to be monitored remotely from home. It can also image, diagnose and monitor patients suffering from asthma, congestive heart failure and other conditions affecting the lungs.
This is the second generation of the hospital-based Deep Breeze vibration-response imaging technology, approved by the FDA in 2007 and in use throughout the world.
The Emergency Bandage was designed by an Israeli military medic, Bernard Bar-Natan, who noticed that bandages hadn’t advanced for decades. It can be applied with one hand and is used to stop bleeding from hemorrhaging wounds caused by traumatic injuries in the field.
Manufactured by First Care Products in Lod, it was first used for saving lives during a NATO peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and is now used by the armies and special forces of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.
In January 2011 the Emergency Bandage was reportedly instrumental in saving the life of US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others wounded in a Tucson shooting.
A 91-year-old Hebrew University professor, Prof. Nathan Citri, recently invented a simple new diagnosis kit for antibiotic-resistant superbugs that can identify the type of bug in minutes rather than the current five days.
With superbugs now one of the top killers in US and European hospitals, Citri’s medical kit puts Israel way out front in the worldwide fight against these dangerous new bacteria. The kit is now being commercialized by BioConnections, a British company.
Lite Touch dental laser
Today some 12 percent of dentists worldwide have ditched the unpleasant drill and replaced it with lasers to shape teeth and gums. The wired optic fibers that deliver the laser beam, however, are unwieldy and difficult to focus precisely.
Yokneam-based Syneron Dental Lasers is changing all that with the LiteTouch dental laser, which does away with accompanying wires and connections. On sale since 2007, the device is popular in Europe and Asia.
Israeli company Cupron uses copper oxide in fabrics to provide a range of innovative products, from an antimicrobial mask and latex gloves to use as protection from flu germs and bacteria, to socks that don’t get smelly — even if you don’t wash them — and pillowcases that help reduce wrinkles while you sleep.
Jeff Gabbai, founder and CEO of the company, calls Cupron’s product “the fabric that fights back.” Treated material is capable of destroying any bacteria, fungi and viruses that come into contact with it, according to the company.
Microsoft’s NT and XP
Microsoft’s two most popular operating systems, NT and XP, were developed primarily in Israel. Microsoft has had a strong presence in Israel for many years, and has two R&D centers in Herzliya that employ 600 people.
In 2008, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the American software giant is as much Israeli as it is American. Last year, Microsoft Israel announced that 13 new products are being developed at its offices, while in March, Microsoft announced that it is setting up its first-ever startup incubator in Israel.
Checkpoint Software Technologies was founded in 1993 in a small Ramat Gan apartment by 25-year-old Gil Shwed and two of his friends. They created the modern commercial computer network Firewall, offering vital protection to computers worldwide from the dangers of cyberspace.
Today the company is one of the world’s leading providers of IT security solutions, with some 100,000 customers, and 2,300 employees worldwide.
In Israel, everyone remembers the story of ICQ, the instant messaging computer program developed by five young computer geeks from Israel.
The entrepreneurs, including the son of Internet guru Yossi Vardi, released the first version of their program free of charge in 1996. The first Internet-wide instant messaging service took the world by storm.
Two years later the company was acquired for $407 million by AOL. At that time, it was the highest price ever paid to purchase an Israeli technology company. AOL later sold ICQ to Digital Sky Technologies in April 2010 for $187.5 million.
Semiconductor chip maker Intel was one of the first multinationals to come to Israel. It set up a small chip design center in Haifa in 1974 — Intel’s first outside of the United States.
Today Intel Israel employs 7,800 people, and is the corporation’s headquarters for global R&D for wireless technology. The 8088 processor was designed and developed here, as was the Centrino and the SandyBridge, powering millions of laptops worldwide.
In March, Intel Israel’s general manager, Maxine Fassberg, announced that the SandyBridge processor accounts for 40 percent of the chip giant’s revenue. In 2011, Intel Israel’s exports totaled $2.2 billion.
The cellular phone would still look like an oversized brick if it weren’t for Israeli know-how in mobile technologies. It was at Motorola’s Israel R&D center that Israeli engineers first developed original cell-phone technology.
Most of the technology in your mobile phone can be traced back to Israeli engineering. From the tool that guards your mobile identity to a new keyboard solution, Israeli expertise keeps your phone from getting bigger yet staying cutting edge.
The Java platform inside Amazon’s best-selling Kindle was developed in Israel. Some four years ago, Amazon contacted Sun, later acquired by Oracle, and asked the company to develop a customized platform to run the software in a new e-book reader device under design.
Sun handed the project on to its Israeli R&D office in Herzliya, and it was designed and developed there. After several years, a prototype was created to Amazon’s satisfaction, and manufacturing began. Amazon is now the undisputed leader in the e-reader category.
Israeli inventor Benny Landa revolutionized the world of digital printing when his Rehovot company, Indigo, launched the E-Print 1000 in 1993. It was a turning point for the printing industry, enabling printers to print directly from a computer file.
Hewlett Packard (HP) acquired Indigo in 2001 for $650 million. Now HP Indigo has become the world leader in digital commercial presses, and is ranked number one in the US high volume digital press market.
Landa, who has more than 500 patents to his name worldwide, is expected to unveil a new development, nanography digital printing, in May.
PrimeSense revolutionized interaction with digital devices by allowing them to “see” in 3D and transfer control from remote controls and joysticks to hands and body.
Today the seven-year-old Tel Aviv company is the leading business provider of low-cost, high-performance 3D machine vision technologies for the consumer market and makes the core component in Microsoft’s Xbox and Kinect gaming systems.
Israeli flash memory developer Anobit has developed a chip that significantly improves the endurance, performance and cost of flash storage products and systems. The chips can already be found in Apple’s iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, as well as in several Samsung devices.
Apple purchased the six-year-old Herzliya company, which has a portfolio of 65 patents, for a reported $390 million in January this year.
We all have questions, and one of the best ways to get them answered these days is to turn to the online Q&A site Answers.com.
The Jerusalem- and New York-based company was founded in 1999 by Bob Rosenschein. It’s now one of the most popular Internet sites in the world — with about 50 million unique visitors a month in the US alone, and 75 million worldwide — making it one of the top 30 websites globally.
The NASDAQ-traded company includes WikiAnswers and ReferenceAnswers, and was recently purchased by equity investor Summit Partners for $127m.
Israeli startup Waze has developed a mobile smartphone app that can determine where traffic is flowing or slowing, based on user-generated data from the phone’s GPS. If the GPS tracking is standing still, Waze assumes the car is, too. Waze, founded in 2008, is popular in big US cities — Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Washington, DC — as well as Israel, Italy, France, Sweden; Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and Mexico.
ABC-TV used Waze when LA’s largest highway closed down last July, helping viewers avoid traffic chaos. The news channel is now rolling out the same partnership in other US cities.
It may be a global world, but we still don’t all speak the same language. Babylon.com has stepped in as the world’s official online translator.
Founded in 1997, the company provides online users with a dictionary, translation software, language learning solutions and English writing enhancement.
The company has more than 100 million desktop installations in some 231 countries and is available in 75 languages. Every day, 40 million unique visitors come to the site.
Shaker has developed an award-winning virtual bar application that takes Facebook to the next level. The Facebook app recreates social experiences online, allowing people to socialize and meet around mutual friends with shared interests.
In the last six months, the company — which was founded by five students from the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) — has raised more than $17 million in financing from investors including Motorola Mobility Ventures, Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund, Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors and Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter.
In September last year the company won the prestigious Startup Battlefield contest at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. In February the company teamed with the NBA to host fans in the basketball league’s first-ever online arena.
The Quicktionary is a portable electronic pen that can scan printed text and immediately translate it word for word into other languages. The translation is displayed on an LCD screen and kept in the memory so that it can be transferred to a computer.
The device was developed by Wizcom Technologies, which was originally based in Jerusalem but moved to Massachusetts.
If you’re fed up with all those power cables running under your desk or around your kitchen, Powermat offers a better way. The Jerusalem-based company lets you embed a power grid in just about anything — a desk, a kitchen counter, airport seats or the inside of a car. All you have to do is position electronic devices on a power hotspot.
Powermat is available through Homedics in the United States, and has signed significant deals with Duracell and with American auto maker General Motors. GM invested $5 million in the company and plans to build in Powermat chargers between the seats of its hybrid electric Chevy Volt.
We all hate taking off our shoes at airport security, but now — thanks to IDO Security — we won’t have to. The company’s Magshoe Shoe Scanning Device screens the lower body and feet with a simple step-on device that takes just seconds. The device, already in use in airports around the world, maximizes security, and minimizes queues — to the great relief of air travelers.
Israeli 3D printer company Objet recently announced a merger with American 3D printer maker Stratasys that will create a $1.4 billion company with dual headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel.
Objet was founded in 1998 by veteran Israeli printing engineers. The company has about 440 employees, more than half of whom work in Israel. Under the corporate name Stratasys, it will continue to develop a broad range of exciting 3D print applications to customers worldwide.
Circuit technology engineers at the IBM Haifa Development Lab played an integral role in developing the cell broadband engine chip controller that powers the Sony Playstation3 introduced in late 2006.
The idea for the powerful chip came from Sony-Toshiba-IBM and was turned into an actual product through the collective efforts of 30 researchers working in Israel. The Playstation3 sold 197,000 units on the first day of its debut on the market, and one million within the first six weeks.
IBM R&D Labs in Israel was established in 1950 and now encompasses about 1,000 employees at the Haifa Research Lab, the IBM Israel Systems and Technology Group Lab and the IBM Israel Software Lab. Locations include Haifa, Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Rehovot and Jerusalem.
Ten years after Israeli engineer Rafi Yoeli began developing a flying car, the concept still sounds futuristic. The car, called the X-Hawk, and a smaller unmanned version called the AirMule, are designed for use in search-and-rescue operations where a helicopter would be useless or dangerous — evacuating people from burning buildings, say, or extracting people from confined spaces.
The X-Hawk is a vertical take-off and landing aircraft with no exposed rotors. Built by Yoeli’s company, Urban Aeronautics, the flying car is sparking a great deal of interest around the world.
Amazing to think that the huge worldwide industry of modern drip irrigation all began when Israeli engineer Simcha Blass noticed a tree growing bigger than its neighbors in the Israeli desert, and found that it was fed by a leaking water pipe.
Today, Netafim, the company founded in 1965 to commercialize his idea, is recognized as the worldwide pioneer in smart drip- and micro-irrigation. It has revolutionized the agricultural industry, operating systems in 112 countries with 13 factories throughout the world and 2,400 employees.
The modern cherry tomato, with its long shelf life, abundant growth, disease resistance and robust appearance and taste, is based on Israeli breakthroughs in the early 1970s.
Botanists at the Agriculture School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were the first to develop tomato hybrids that took all the best aspects of existing plants and combined them for a better product.
Continuing improvements to the cherry tomato have been made over the years in Israel by BonTom, a world-renowned tomato-breeding group under the university’s Yissum Research Development technology transfer company; and by Hishtil, a global market leader in the field of advanced horticultural nurseries.
Thirty-five-year-old Kibbutz Afikim’s company AfiMilk is the global leader in computerized systems for dairy farm and herd management. The company, which was founded by a member of the kibbutz, introduced the world’s first electronic milk meter in 1977, and since then continues to develop cutting-edge solutions for the milking parlor.
To date, the company has installed more than 1,600 computerized management systems, 110,000 milk meters and one million ID tags in more than 50 countries worldwide. It owns about one-third of the US market. The company is also helping transform the dairy industry in developing markets such as China (http://www.israel21c.org/environment/israel-helps-transform-chinas-dairy-industry).
With food resources becoming increasingly scarce, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Professor David Levy developed new strains of potato that can be grown in hot, dry climates and irrigated by saline water sources.
His development will have a huge impact on potato production in hot desert regions of the world, enabling many countries to improve their food production and their economies.
Grow Fish Anywhere
With overfishing becoming a serious issue worldwide, the Israeli company Grow Fish Anywhere Advanced Systems has discovered a way to raise fish on land, without any of the usual pollution problems.
The fish are grown in tanks whose water is treated by biological filters and specially developed bacteria, so fresh water is only added when it evaporates. There is no dangerous waste to pollute the environment. The system can be set up to raise saltwater fish anywhere in the world, even in the desert.
The company has a plant operating in New York, and supplies about 100 tons of sea fish a year to the US market.
Israel’s IDE Technologies is the leading company worldwide in desalination — the process of turning seawater into drinking water — with 400 desalination plants in 40 countries producing 2,000,000 cubic meters of water a day.
IDE Technologies operates the world’s two largest desalination plants in Israel and is now building China’s largest and greenest desalination plant. The new plant uses runoff steam from a power plant to help run the desalination machinery — producing water for the power plant, drinking water for the community and salt to sell.
Ironically for a country based in the boiling Middle East, IDE also boasts technological breakthroughs in snowmaking. The company has developed the Vacuum Ice Maker technology, which is used in a range of all-weather snowmaking and refrigeration applications.
IDE products are used to cool the world’s deepest gold mine in South Africa, and to provide snow to ski resorts in Austria and Switzerland.
When a German economist asked delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2005 “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?,” Israeli native Shai Agassi — a prominent executive at SAP — took the question seriously.
Better Place was his answer. The Israeli-American company he founded and now leads has developed the vital infrastructure to support electric cars. Deployments have already been announced in Israel, Denmark, Hawaii, Australia, Ontario, Oregon and California, though none has yet progressed beyond demonstration stage.
Better Place’s primary R&D facility is located in Tel Aviv, and in January this year, the first production Renault Fluence ZE was delivered to Israel and allocated to company employees. Retail sales are just beginning.
In 2010, US President Barack Obama called Israel’s BrightSource Energy a “revolutionary new type of solar power plant.”
The company, which is based in Jerusalem and has a development center in the Negev, was founded by solar energy pioneer Arnold Goldman.
In recent years, BrightSource has signed the two largest solar power agreements in the world — to produce 1,300 megawatts for Southern California Edison, and 1,310 megawatts for Pacific Gas & Electric Company, creating solar energy that will power up to 140,000 US homes..
Pythagoras Solar has developed the world’s first solar window, which can generate power, reduce energy consumption and let in daylight.
The transparent photovoltaic glass window promises a green revolution to the construction industry. It can be easily integrated into conventional building design, allowing existing office blocks to be retrofitted with the new material instead of energy-seeping glass windows.
Gas turbine solar thermal power
Israeli company AORA has constructed the world’s first gas turbine solar thermal power station in the desert near Eilat and has now built another demo power plant in Spain.
The small-scale system uses giant yellow tulip-shaped solar receivers fitted with 100-kilowatt gas turbines, which heat air to about 1,000 degrees Celsius using the sun’s energy, directing the heated air to a turbine that then converts thermal energy to electric energy.
Biofuel from algae
Israel’s Seambiotic is turning harmful carbon dioxide emitted by power plants into fuel and nutraceuticals with the help of algae.
The Tel Aviv company connects a power plant flue to a series of algae-munching ponds. Aside from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the algae also produce a valuable nutraceutical especially popular in Asia.
Seambiotic already has business deals in the United States, Italy and China, and is working with NASA to develop a commercially feasible biofuel variety from algae.
Friendly Robotics was founded in 1995 in Pardesiya in Israel by Udi Peless and Shai Abramson with the goal of creating robots that would do mundane tasks around the home.
In 1998, they released the Robomow, an automatic lawnmower. It was later followed by a robotic vacuum cleaner. The “green” products, which have zero emissions, are sold in the United States, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. There are also plans to create snow removers, floor polishers and even an automatic mop.
The game Rummikub was invented by Ephraim Hertzano, a Romanian Jew who immigrated to pre-state Israel in the 1930s. He hand-made the sets and sold them door to door. Gradually the game took off and become Israel’s number one exported game. In 1977 it was the bestselling game in the United States.
When an Israeli dog-owner got fined for failing to pick up after his pooch, he contacted Hebrew University biotech professor Oded Shoseyov and asked him to invent a better solution.
Shoseyov’s AshPoopie scoops up the droppings and turns them into odorless, sterile ash within seconds. The device is being developed in Israel by Paulee CleanTec, which is now finalizing the design ahead of a US launch this year.
Founded in 1999, Mobileye is today the global leader in the vehicle safety market, with an advanced driver-assistance system that can warn you of an impending accident in enough time to avert a collision.
Vehicles fitted with the system see a 40-50% drop in the number of accidents, according to the Jerusalem-based company. The technology, which can even stop a car if a driver doesn’t react quickly enough, is now becoming a standard feature in new models made by BMW, General Motors, Volvo, Hyundai, Ford and Citroen. Coca-Cola is now installing the systems in its European vehicle fleet.
When the Epilady was launched in 1986, it revolutionized the hair-removal market. The original Epilady epilator had a rotating spring that worked by catching hair and pulling it out. Current versions use a tweezing action — thought to be less painful.
Epilady may have pioneered the market, but Israeli and other international brands quickly caught up and overtook it. However, the company’s brand name is still the generic name for electric hair removers, and over its 24-year history almost 30 million Epilady units have been sold.
International company SodaClub, maker of home carbonation machines, was struggling when it was taken over in 2007 by Israeli entrepreneur Daniel Birnbaum. After more than 100 years, the fizz had gone out of the business.
Birnbaum rebranded the company SodaStream, headquartered it in Israel and turned the company around. Today its machines are sold in 40,000 stores in 41 countries, and about four million households own a SodaStream machine.
Israeli chain Max Brenner, a specialist in all things chocolate, is now a popular name worldwide with chocolate shops and restaurants in Britain, the United States, Australia, the Philippines, Israel and Singapore.
The brand was established in 1995 by Oded Brenner and Max Fichtman, who were inspired by Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka character and whimsically marketed it as Chocolate by the Bald Man. It is now owned by the Strauss Group, after it was acquired by Elite in 2001.
It was the surprise hit of 2009 and it was made by an Israeli games programmer. Oren Peli’s supernatural horror movie “Paranormal Activity” was filmed over a seven-day period in Peli’s suburban US home with a crew of three, including his girlfriend and another Israeli friend.
The low-budget movie, which reportedly cost just $15,000 to make, earned over $100 million in the United States alone. Some reviewers called it the scariest film ever made.
It was picked up by Paramount Pictures and though Peli is no longer involved, it has become a successful franchise. In its opening weekend last year, “Paranormal Activity 3” earned $53 million. Not surprisingly, Paramount confirmed that there will be a “Paranormal Activity 4” coming soon.
What child doesn’t know the TV show “Power Rangers”? But what most audiences don’t realize is that the man who brought this long-running entertainment franchise to US televisions and cinemas is Israeli Haim Saban.
What child doesn’t know the TV show “Power Rangers”? But what most audiences don’t realize is that the man who brought this long-running entertainment franchise to US televisions and cinemas is Israeli Haim Saban.
The children’s series, which features costumed heroes leaping around like ninjas, was first produced by his company Saban Entertainment and was an instant success when it debuted in 1993. Saban later sold the franchise, but repurchased it in 2010.
As of 2011, the show had morphed into 19 television seasons of 16 different series, plus two movies.
Hollywood has discovered Israel. In recent years, a slew of Israeli television series have been picked up in the United States and turned into some of the world’s most popular TV programs.
“Homeland,” the internationally acclaimed Showtime television series that won a Golden Globe last year, is based on the Israeli hit series “Hatufim” (). HBO’s award-winning show “In Treatment” is based on Israel’s “BeTipul,” while Fox has debuted “Traffic Light” based on the Israeli comedy “Ramzor.” US dra-medy “The Ex List” is based on the Israeli series “The Mythological X.”
In March, it was announced that the popular Israeli series “Danny Hollywood” will be remade in the United States as “Joey Dakota”.
Founded in 1964 by Martha Graham and Baroness Batsheva DeRothschild, Batsheva is Israel’s leading dance company. Based in Tel Aviv, the troupe is internationally acclaimed.
The company’s artistic director is Ohad Naharin, founder of the widely popular dance technique Gaga.
Israeli dancer and choreographer Ilan Azriel was in a hardware store one day when some small aluminum tubing fell to the floor. He pushed his hand through the tube and was captivated by the movement.
He turned this inspiration into a full-length dance performance, “Aluminum,” which combines movement and visual theater. The show has toured the world to great critical success.
With their white-powdered faces and red lips, the Voca People are hard to miss. This internationally acclaimed ensemble of eight musician-actors has wowed millions around the world and is renowned for its a cappella singing and self-made musical effects.
Israeli producers Lior Kalfo and Shai Fishman created the theatrical troupe in Tel Aviv. The premise is that the singers are from a planet known as Voca and they’ve crashed onto Earth. The Voca People has three troupes on the go — in Israel, Europe and the United States. The American ensemble recently found a new home at off-Broadway’s New World Stages.
Krav Maga is an eclectic self-defense system originally developed by Imi Sde-Or, a boxer who lived in Bratislava during the 1930s, in an effort to protect Jewish communities from growing anti-Semitism.
He immigrated to Israel and in 1948 when Israel was founded and the Israel Defense Forces born, he became the chief instructor for Krav Maga at the IDF School for Combat Fitness. Over the next 20 years he developed and refined the system for both civilian and military use.
Today is it used widely in Israel by the IDF, the Mossad and Shin Bet, and its popularity is growing worldwide. The CIA, FBI, US marshals, US police departments and SWAT teams all use the system. There are Krav Maga schools across the United States, Europe, Australia and South America.
Israeli pet-lovers have created the first-ever US cable channel for dogs. DogTV is a new Israeli production being test-marketed on pets in San Diego, ahead of a US rollout by Time Warner and Cox Communications.
The new channel is scientifically programmed to keep dogs happy, stimulated and comforted when they’re home alone.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Israel-based Applied Cognitive Engineering (ACE) developed IntelliGym — software-based training tools to significantly improve the performance of competitive sport players, security personnel, fighter pilots, medical staff, traders and student test-takers.
Today the company is focused solely on the sports market, with the Basketball IntelliGym — one version used by NCAA Division 1 teams and another by consumers — and the Hockey IntelliGym, first used by US national teams with unprecedented results (nine gold medals out of 12 international tournaments over a period of two years) and later adopted by the NHL, collegiate and junior players all the way down to the Pewee level.