20 November 2019 - 23 Heshvan 5780 - כ"ג חשון ה' אלפים תש"פ
Israel receives three bidders for huge desalination plant E-mail

As reported by Reuters, Israel has received bids from three groups interested in building and operating a desalination plant that will supply more than a fifth of the country’s household water, and help battle shortages that could arise from climate change.

Israel issued the tender last November when it said five years of low rainfall had overtaxed its system. The head of Israel’s water authority said the addition will help ensure Israel’s “ability to supply water in light of climate changes that are impacting our region.”

The facility will produce about 200 million cubic metres of water a year in the area of Sorek, central Israel. IDE Technologies currently operates a desalination plant in the area. Once online, 85% of total household and municipal water will come from desalination.

The plant will be the biggest in the world to use reverse osmosis technology, Israel’s Finance Ministry said on 16 May, and will join an unrivaled array of five desalination plants that already dot the country’s Mediterranean coast. Bids were received from Israel’s IDE Technology, Hutchison Water, whose main investor is Hong Kong’s CK Hutchison Holdings, and a partnership of Afcon, Acciona and Allied Investments.

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IsCham opens a Tel-Aviv Office E-mail

Israel Chamber of Commerce in China (IsCham), a nonprofit organisation launched in 2008 in Beijing to promote trade relations between China and Israel, has established an office in Israel.

Ariel Briskin, the General Manager of IsCham, spoke at the inauguration ceremony in Tel-Aviv in April. The two countries had established diplomatic and trade relations 25 years ago, including mutual investments, infrastructure projects, and export and import agreements.

However, the relationship holds greater potential, he said.

“The opening of the TelAviv office represents a new dawn for the relationship between China and Israel,” Nechemia Peres claimed at the event, a co-founding partner at Israel-based venture capital firm Pitango Venture Capital.

His father, the late Israeli President Shimon Peres, launched IsCham over a decade ago in an effort to nurture the academic and commercial collaborations between the countries, Peres said.

“Israelis tend to think of the US as the main market for growth,” said Tal Badt, former director of business development for startup incubator X-Lab, operated by Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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Airline traffic surge on ChinaIsrael flights E-mail

The number of passengers passing through Israel’s BenGurion International Airport on flights from China to Israel and vice versa rose in the first quarter of 2019 by 30.3% compared to the first quarter of 2018, the Israel Airports Authority (IAA) reported.

According to the IAA report, 122,162 passengers flew between the two nations in the first quarter of 2019, compared with 93,772 in the same period last year. Last March, there were 47,519 passengers on flights between Israel and China, an increase of 25.6% compared with 37,842 in March 2018.

Of the passengers flying between Israel and China in both directions, 39,191 flew with China’s Hainan Airlines in the first quarter, up 36.3% from the same period last year (28,747 passengers). In March, 14,695 passengers travelled in the route with Hainan Airlines, up 25.9% from March 2018 (11,676 passengers). A total of 4.49 million international flight passengers travelled through Ben Gurion Airport in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 5.58% compared to the same period last year.

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Aleph Farms secures funding led by Singapore’s VVNP E-mail

Israeli slaughter-free meat start-up Aleph Farms Ltd announced on 14 May that it has raised US$12 million in Series A investments.

These are led by Singapore’s VisVires New Protein (VVNP), Cargill Protein, and M-Industry – the industrial group of Migros. Existing investors included the Strauss Group, Peregrine Ventures, CPT Capital, Jesselson investments, New Crop Capital, and Technion Investment Opportunity Fund.

Aleph Farms, previously Meat-the-Future, was co-founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen, a part of the Strauss Group, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The start-up produces real meat from cow cells, “providing the same meat – same experience, same taste – but without killing animals, without using antibiotics, and potentially causing less foodborne illness risk.”

In December, the company unveiled the first prototype of lab-grown steak in the world. The company said it will use the new funds to “accelerate product development of its slaughter-free meat” and to transform its prototype into a commercial product. Its cultured meat will grow in large, bio-farm facilities.

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Indian navy successfully tests live fire missile developed by IAI E-mail

The Indian Navy has conducted for the first time a successful live firing test of a medium-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM), which has been developed with Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI).

The Indian Navy said that it had “achieved a significant milestone in enhancing its anti-air warfare capability with the maiden cooperative engagement firing of the SAM. The firing was undertaken last month on the Western Seaboard by Indian Naval ships Kochi and Chennai, wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges.”

The SAM system is based on IAI’s Barak 8, an operational advanced missile defense system used by Israel’s navy as well as by India’s navy, air, and land forces. It provides broad aerial and point-defense against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, sea, or land. The system integrates several advanced state-of-the-art systems, such as digital radar, command and control, launchers, and system-wide connectivity.

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