City Notes: Throngs inundate Galilee and Golan tourist sites over Rosh Hashana

BGU of the Negev announces that 10 of its undergraduate students will represent Israel in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition for genetic engineering.

A team picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv's basketball team. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
A team picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv's basketball team.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hundreds of thousands of day-trippers filled the tourist sites in the Galilee and Golan Heights over the Rosh Hashana holiday. Ma’ariv Hashavua quoted Meir Levi, CEO of the Economic Company of the Upper Galilee Regional Council and CEO of the Gonen Holiday Village, as saying that Israelis flooded the sites, holiday villages and hotels after they had been left deserted during Operation Protective Edge.
CEO of Merom Golan Tourism Sheffi Mor said that the northern Golan Heights were peaceful over the holiday, the hotels were full, and there was a lively movement of travelers, with thousands of families enjoying ATV trips and horseback riding in the vineyards and apple orchards, which are at the peak of harvest season.
Children enjoyed creative workshops, baked honey cakes and took part in a range of other activities and shows at the Tel Hai Museum and the Tefen Open Museum.
Hundreds of thousands of families also had a sweet start to the New Year at visitors’ centers participating in the Honey Council’s Honey Festival, which ran activities to acquaint people with the world of bees and honey, including tasting various types of honey.
The Kinneret Rivers and Drainage Authority reported that more than 50,000 vacationers visited the shores of the Kinneret Towns Association during Rosh Hashana. Over the holiday, Ma’ariv Hashavua reported that 45 tons of garbage were collected from the shores of the Kinneret, and the beaches were closed intermittently due to full occupancy.
Haifa medical center treats dozens of children from home and abroad
Dozens of children suffering from intestinal motility disorders and Hirschsprung disease (HD), from both Israel and abroad, are receiving treatment at Haifa’s Bnei Zion Hospital’s surgery department. According to the Local website, the department provides innovative and surgical treatment for children suffering from HD and motility disorders, without having to open the abdomen, through the use of laparoscopy.
According to the head of the department, Prof. Igor Sohotnik, “If the disease is not diagnosed, children may suffer severe symptoms such as intestinal infections, intestinal wall damage and leakage into the abdominal cavity, which can be life-threatening.”
The professor added, “There are different types of these diseases, and each type is treated differently. For rare types, we consult with leading experts in the field from around the world before making any decision.”
Cyclist killed in accident on Highway 4
A cyclist was killed on Highway 4 last weekend in an accident near the Pardesiya Junction. Police launched an investigation into the incident.
Givat Shmuel to become a ‘smart city’ with free Wi-Fi
The Givat Shmuel Municipality announced Sunday that it had completed a project for distributing free Wi-Fi throughout the streets. In 22 sites around the city, one can connect to the Internet. A map of the locations can be found on the municipality’s website.
Each Wi-Fi point can provide Internet for 150 web surfers at one time. The points are located mainly in neighborhood parks, around public institutions and shopping centers. The Wi-Fi zones are clearly marked with signs.
Commenting on the launch of the new service, Mayor Yossi Brodni said, “Givat Shmuel continues to see the importance of technological advancement, in schools with smart classrooms, the googale project in kindergartens (a computer education project), smart bus stops, sending information to residents through direct mail and text messages, and now a free Wi-Fi system around the city. We are constantly coming up with ideas to benefit the residents.”
Schneider opens children’s healthcare branches in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Holon
The Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel in Petah Tikva is opening branches in children’s healthcare centers in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam and Holon as part of a joint venture with Clalit Health Services in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa District. Specialists from Schneider will be integrated into Clalit children’s healthcare centers and will provide diagnostic and consultation services in various areas, such as gastroenterology, neurology, nephrology, orthopedics and ENT.
According to the medical center, the integration of specialists from hospitals fits in with the global trend of relocating medical services from hospitals to community frameworks, with the aim of expanding and improving accessibility while maintaining continuity of children’s treatments and strengthening the relationship between the community and the hospital.
The Schneider center provides advanced pediatrics and is a leader in various pediatric fields. Operating branches in Clalit clinics will allow many additional children and youth in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa district of Clalit to receive Schneider’s medical services and specialist consultations close to home.
Cooperation between the Schneider center and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa district began in 2006 with the establishment of the first branch of the Schneider community in Holon. Since 2008, an additional branch has been operating in Ashdod.
Maccabi TA and FIDF pay tribute to Israeli soldiers, southern families at NY event
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Maccabi USA, Maccabi World Union and Maccabi Tel Aviv will host a VIP reception before the Brooklyn Nets face Maccabi Tel Aviv in their first pre-season game on Tuesday. The VIP reception will pay special tribute to Israeli soldiers wounded in the recent Operation Protective Edge, as well as to the guest of honor, NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, 86, the only Jewish player to be selected as one of the 50 all-time NBA best.
All proceeds from the pre-game event will go towards well-being programs for wounded IDF soldiers, lone soldiers, bereaved families and children from the south of Israel.
Also expected to attend the event are former Maccabi Tel Aviv legends Tal Brody, Mickey Berkowitz and Doron Jamchy, as well as Danny Schayes, Dolph’s son, who played in the NBA for 18 seasons.
FIDF has arranged for 12 IDF soldiers wounded in the latest Gaza operation to take part in the event, along with 2012 Paralympics gold-medal winner in wheelchair tennis, Noam Gershoni, a former IAF helicopter pilot who was wounded in the Second Lebanon War.
BGU students developing genetic treatment for obesity and diabetes
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced this week that 10 of its undergraduate students will represent Israel in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition for genetic engineering at MIT, where they will compete against 250 other student teams from the top universities worldwide. The competition will be held from November 1 to 3 in Boston.
BGU said that the team, under the supervision of Prof. Smadar Cohen from the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, is developing a customized treatment for metabolic syndrome. The syndrome is diagnosed in one out of four people in the world’s population. It includes symptoms such as diabetes and obesity, which are a significant catalyst for life-threatening heart disease.
According to BGU, most of the traditional drugs used today against the syndrome have unwanted side effects and treat only the symptoms. The team is working on developing “smart” drugs that are able to respond to body signals post-injection and transform their operations in real time. These methods are expected to reduce side effects and improve the efficacy of treatment significantly.
The treatment is carried out using biological and engineering methods that are based on personalized treatment.
The team’s vision, they say, is “to create a world in which synthetic biology and genetic engineering will be an integral part of medical treatment for everyone.”
The team is also working on integrating a healthy lifestyle (sports nutrition) and science, hoping to generate global awareness with an emphasis on technology and innovative research.
To bring their vision to fruition, the team organized a medical experts panel to present their project and biological research. The speakers included diabetes specialists, personal-medicine physicians and nutritionists. The panel presentation took place during the largest entrepreneurial conference in Israel, Innovation 2014, which was attended by more than 2,000 hi-tech personnel, entrepreneurs, CEOs and other public figures.
Last weekend, the team organized a seminar day for 50 Beduin students in medical professions, with the aim of providing them with the tools to become “diabetes ambassadors” to their communities.
The event was sponsored by the Bengis Center for Entrepreneurship and Hi-Tech Management in collaboration with Dr. Yunis Abu-Rabia, a senior physician at Soroka University Medical Center who is an expert on diabetes and was the first Beduin doctor in the Negev. They are planning to organize other educational activities on synthetic biology and healthy living for the community.
The project is supported by BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi, Rector of the University Prof. Zvi Hacohen, deans of the relevant faculties, the Science and Technology Ministry, the Health Ministry and many companies.