Israel is many things, but one thing it is never, is dull. There are always so many amazing and positive things to report on, and at ISRAEL21c we make sure to bring you the best of them.

Here, in reverse order – your favorite stories of the year.

10. 8 exciting gadgets hitting the market in 2018

TReGo’s towing cart kit for your bicycle. Photo: courtesy

A toilet-cleaning robot, selfie-stick phone case, ultra-slim charger, bike trolley… these were among eight Israeli consumer products we featured that were supposed to hit stores this year.

As is so often the way with new technologies, some of them made it and some didn’t. Among the products that did are the Stikbox smartphone case, with a full-length telescoping selfie stick built in; the juiced-up paper plane from Powerup Dart, and the Trego Trolley – a towing cart for your bike.
Others still only available for preorder: the Kado Wallet, a wall charger you can carry in your wallet; and the Toibot toilet-cleaning robot.

9. 7 huge new tourism projects planned in Israel

Illustration of proposed Jerusalem cable car. Photo: screenshot

Tourism to Israel was higher than ever in 2018, breaking new records. The growth is expected to continue into 2019, as new airline operators continue to move into the country, and the new Ilan Ramon Airport in Eilat is scheduled to open.

With all these new visitors in mind, several large infrastructure projects are now in the works to make touring Israel even more memorable. We took a look at the top seven of these, including a cable car in Jerusalem’s Old City, the fast rail link between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a Jewish theme park in Dimona, a Crusader wall promenade in Caesarea and a new ecological beach in Eilat.

8. Migraine relief from an Israeli neuro-modulation device

Neurolief’s device under development for banishing severe headache pain. Photo: courtesy

With some 14 percent of American adults suffering from migraines, and the number rising to 23% among women aged 18 to 44, it’s no surprise that interest in this new Israeli neuro-modulation technology by Neurolief was so high when we published the story early this month.

The noninvasive device is portable and wearable and can offer an over-the-counter alternative to pills or surgery. It stimulates six different nerve branches in the brain that regulate pain and mood, offering relief from pain symptoms.

One study of the product conducted last year demonstrated an average 80% reduction in pain symptoms. That’s double the rate for implanted devices and far more than a couple of Tylenols can achieve.

But don’t head to your local pharmacy just yet. Neurolief still has trials ahead, and the product will not be available until sometime next year.

7. 7 Israeli buildings that will make you stop and stare

House on the Boardwalk at 2 Trumpeldor Street, Tel Aviv. Photo via happyintlv.net

Israel may be famous for its extraordinary collection of simple, classic and functional Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv, but it’s also home to some rather more unusual architectural structures as well.

ISRAEL21c took a look at some of these unforgettable architectural eye-poppers including the fluid feng shui-inspired Bubble House in Neve Daniel, the hectic Beehive apartments in Ramot Polin, the Spiral House in Ramat Gan, and the House on the Boardwalk in Tel Aviv – a building that was actually never supposed to make it off the sketchpad.

These buildings definitely show the quirky side of Israeli creative genius – and remember; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

6. 70 years of Israeli achievement

A Timeline of 70 Years of Israeli Achievement

A car equipped with Mobileye technology. Photo courtesy Mobileye

To celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, ISRAEL21c created a timeline of the country’s biggest accomplishments since it was founded on May 14, 1948.

Most timelines about Israel today focus on war and terror; we took an entirely different tack and focused on the incredible innovations and scientific and cultural developments that have turned Israel into one of the most creative and inventive countries in the world.

It’s an impressive list and one that our readers turned to again and again through the year. You should also watch the popular film we created to go with it. See below.

5. Rescuers turn to Israeli technology to help save trapped Thai boys

Personnel in the entrance chamber of Tham Luang cave during the rescue operations. Screen capture from NBT news report

Who wasn’t gripped by this story last summer? The whole world was united in a shared desire to see these 12 boys and their soccer coach saved from the 10-kilometer cave network in which they got trapped after monsoon rains cut off their escape.

One of the main problems facing rescuers was that there was no way to communicate in the deep cave system. That’s where Maxtech Networks came in. The Israeli company donated 17 units of its advanced emergency mobile communications Max-Mesh radio units, and taught navy divers at the scene how to use it. It was just one part of an extraordinary global effort to save the kids. And saved they were. After 17 days, they were finally brought out safe and sound.

4. 8 of the most anticipated hotels opening in Israel in 2018

Photo courtesy of The Vera

With tourism to Israel growing rapidly, it’s no surprise that hoteliers are moving into the country and setting up new hotels. Early in 2018 we featured the best of the new hotels opening their doors in Israel in the year ahead. These included two long-anticipated new luxury hotels in Jaffa, The Setai and The Jaffa, both of which have opened. Also The Vera, The Drisco, and Dave Gordon in Tel Aviv. The Sea of Galilee hotel on the shores of Lake Kinneret opens officially this Thursday, January 3.

3. One drug for Alzheimer’s, MS, Crohn’s and rheumatoid arthritis

Prof. David Naor at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Prof. David Naor, a professor in Jerusalem, is developing a special peptide that could be used to treat a variety of incurable inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Naor has spent 10 years researching the synthetic protein which he believes could significantly reverse the damaging effects of inflammatory diseases and Alzheimer’s.

It’s an exciting development – and our readers let us know this, but there’s a long way still to go. Only in animal tests now, it’s going to take several million dollars and another few years to begin clinical trials.

2. Implanted organs that won’t be rejected

Regenerative medicine illustration by Valentina Kru via Shutterstock.com

Israeli researchers have invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, engineered from a patient’s own materials and cells. The new technology makes it possible to engineer any kind of tissue implant — for the spinal cord to the heart or brain — from one small fatty tissue biopsy.
Like Naor’s research, this is still very early stage, but the potential is clear and interest in the development continues to grow.

1.Israelis unite in Jerusalem for ‘One Love’

Participants in the Koolulam social music project at the Tower of David Museum. Photo by Ricky Rachman

At five minutes to midnight on June 14, about 800 people waited to enter Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum. Jews, Muslims and Christians, young and old, most of them strangers to one another, they gave up a night’s sleep for the chance to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in three languages and three-part harmony as a show of unity from Israel.

It was a beautiful event, made a wonderful video, and was also an extraordinary example of harmony and accord in a country too often riven by tension.