Category Archives: Israel & Zionism

Israel’s New 24-hour English News Television Station – Please spread the word. Israel has a new 24 hour internet news channel broadcasting in English(also French and Arabic) from Tel Aviv. This is the link: It is a 24 hour news feed (from the Israeli perspective) and is intended to rival CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC, etc. and it covers world news but also has a specific Israel news section. So many people don’t know about it, but let’s not keep it a secret! Many hits from across the Arab world, they are also watching. Endorsed by Israel and Zionism Committee of the UMJCA. Submitted by Mehran Bassali.



ISRAEL21c wishes a Happy Hanukkah to all our readers!
The top eight things to do in Israel on the eight days of Hanukkah
Israeli chefs share their favorite Hanukkah recipes
Eight fun facts about Hanukkah
The festival of lights, Jerusalem style (video)
The magnificent Maccabee mansion found under a home
Eight days of Donut madness (video)
Spin a dreidel from an elderly artisan
ISRAEL21c chooses this year’s top eight Hanukkah videos

Promise of psoriasis cure on the horizon

Promise of psoriasis cure on the horizon

Lead Israeli researcher seeks a partner for further research, and investigates how the new pre-clinical trials approach could heal other autoimmune diseases.

By Abigail Klein Leichman August 26, 2013,



Prof. Amir Aharoni at work in his lab. Photo by Dani Machlis/BGU

About four million Americans suffer from psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin disease that causes patches of inflamed, silvery-white scabs. There is no cure for the condition, but Israeli researchers believe they may be on the road to formulating a groundbreaking drug candidate that could finally do the job.

As described in the journal Chemistry and Biology by the team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), their study in collaboration with Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries showed that inhibiting the immune system protein Interleukin 17 (IL-17) could be the key to controlling the skin disease.

“Psoriasis is mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines,” explains lead researcher Prof. Amir Aharoni. “One of the main cytokines that plays a role in this and other autoimmune diseases is IL-17. Our goal was to inhibit IL-17’s action and slow the progression of several of these diseases.”

Once they mastered the methodology using animal models, they looked for the best indication on which to test it. They zeroed in on psoriasis because previous studies showed IL-17 to be particularly important in its progression.Two and a half years of work proved that their engineered receptor, IL-17RA, is highly effective in eliminating acute human psoriasis introduced to mice. No human trials have taken place yet.

“Now we are working in two directions: finding a suitable partner for research, and using a similar approach to target other diseases,” Aharoni tells ISRAEL21c.

Promise for Crohn’s and colitis, too

No longer financed by Teva, his lab team is successfully inhibiting other cytokines that play a major role in Crohn’s disease and colitis, two common auto-immune disorders affecting the digestive tract.

“We’re searching for other big pharma investors to promote the project, because now it requires quite a substantial investment,” Aharoni says.

The Israelis’ application of “directed evolution,” or protein engineering for the development of better therapeutics, is relatively rare and used mainly for antibodies.

“Some of the features of the system are unique to us. No competitors are doing exactly the same thing,” claims Aharoni, whose collaborators included Marianna Zaretsky and Itay Levin of BGU.

“Since the directed evolution method can be applied to other receptors involved in autoimmune diseases and cancer, I believe that we are just starting to unravel the potential of this approach,” he adds.

In 2009, the global market for psoriasis therapies alone was valued at $3.5 billion, with systemic therapies such as the BGU approach accounting for $2.6 billion of the total. In the future, the engineered IL-17RA may serve as an alternative or complementary treatment to IL-17A antibodies and other biological treatments.

Accordingly, interest in this unique psoriasis drug candidate is high. However, Aharoni stresses that it is only in the first and essential stage of development.

“We are proud to have a drug candidate that can be tested in mice and humans, but phases of clinical trials are very long,” he cautions.


New Fields of Gold: Israel’s Quest for Energy Independence

New Fields of Gold: Israel’s Quest for Energy Independence

August 14, 2013

Israel  long  existed  as  an  energy-less  island — a country  wholly  dependent  on energy imports to power its grid, move its vehicles and underwrite its economy. The Jewish state is completely isolated from its  energy-rich  neighbors who  continuously use energy  as  a weapon and a foreign policy tool to promote anti-Israeli campaigns throughout the world.

Today, however, Israel is swiftly shaking off its foreign dependencies and charting a course toward energy independence. This mission runs parallel to American efforts to ratchet up domestic  production  of  oil  and  gas . Both countries’  shared  interest  in  strengthening energy security and enhancing energy independence can manifest itself in a new strategic energy partnership—including joint research-and-development initiatives to unlock new resources , industrial  and  commercial  cooperation , academic  partnerships  ,  strategic dialogue and more.

In  December  2010 ,  exploratory  drilling  off  Israel’s  northern  coast  uncovered  a  major natural gas field named ‘Leviathan,’ containing at least 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to  power  Israel  for  over 100 years .  This find came on the heels of discovering the ‘Tamar’ field, which is already providing the Jewish state with much-needed  energy relief . In addition to  holding  tremendous  market value , these  finds  also  offer the potential for Israel to become a net energy exporter to a region starved for gas, where alternate sources are Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Russia.