Israel 3D-Prints Human Heart, Iranian Chess Whiz Forfeits to Israel

Weekly Israel News Recap (Without the Rhetoric)


Israel NewsApr 22, 2019

Israel NewsApr 22, 2019


A team of Israeli scientists has created the first complete, 3D-printed heart. (Image source: Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman/Twitter).

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Israeli scientists print first-ever human heart complete with blood vessels, tissue, and cells. Plus, Iran’s anti-Israel laws force chess champion to forfeit the match to Israeli, the weekly Gaza report, and climactic weather in Israel over Pesach.

Israeli Scientists Print 3D Human Heart

Israeli Scientists have created the world’s first 3D printed human heart made with human tissue cells and blood vessels

Scientists have been able to print the model of a human heart before, but never to the level of complexity produced by the researchers at Tel Aviv University. The product was created using live tissues from a patient to make a personalized “ink” that was used to construct the muscular organ, according to the Times of Israel.

Though the current process produced only a rabbit-sized heart, the scientists say the same technology can be used to create a large human heart, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process, these materials serve as the bio-inks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models,” explained Prof. Tal Dvir, the lead researcher on the study. “People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future.

There are still years of development and testing in store before this technology will likely be available for organ transplant use, but once it is perfected the potential is tremendous. Printing hearts and potentially other organs from the patient’s own tissue then transplanting the printed organ should keep the autoimmune system from rejecting the new heart.

The need for such practical technology is as great as its potential. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and ranks highly around the world. The next step on the path to organ printers in hospitals around the world, the team says, is teaching the hearts how to pump blood and behave as a normal human heart would. The hope is that within “10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,” Dvir said.

Iranian Chess Whiz Forfeits to Israel

Iranian chess prodigy Alireza Firouzja was on a roll after two straight wins at the GRENKE Chess Classic, an elite chess tournament in Germany, but when the third round began his seat was empty.

Why? Because his opponent, Or Bronstein, is Israeli. Firouzja’s absence counted as a forfeit, and the game was awarded to Bronstein, according to ChessBase.com. Firouzja’s forfeiture cost him dearly in the tournament, not only in points but reportedly in his composure in the next match. But the decision to face Bronstein or not face Bronstein was hardly a choice for Firouzja. Iranian law forbids their athletes and competitors from playing against Israelis. If they do so, they face stiff penalties and sanctions. Had he played, Firouzja would likely have been banned by the Iranian Chess Federation from playing international events.

These aren’t empty threats. The Jerusalem Post reports that in 2017, the Iran Chess Federation banned fourteen-year-old Iranian chess player Borna Derakhshani for life for playing against an Israeli.

Iran’s ban on competition with Israelis is across the board. Iran banned its players from facing Israelis in the Olympics and any other international tournaments. According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the state-owned news outlet, Iran’s sports minister said the decision was made because Iran “does not recognize the legitimacy of the forged Zionist regime.”

These kinds of boycotts and bans are not unique to Iran. In 2017, Iraq’s “Miss Iraq” was forced to flee the country with her life after taking a selfie with “Miss Israel.” Israel does not have any bans on those with whom their athletes compete.

Weekly Gaza Report

Strikes from Israeli planes and artillery destroyed two Hamas outposts last weekend after shots were fired at Israeli troops guarding the border as around 6,000 Gazans protested and rioted at the weekly Gaza border protest.

No injuries were reported from the strikes, but Ha’aretz reports that forty-eight Palestinians were wounded in clashes with soldiers at the border, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

On Saturday afternoon, A rocket fired from Gaza toward Israel fell short and detonated within the Strip, according to the Negev Regional Council. Then on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported that IDF soldiers arrested two Palestinians armed with knives near the perimeter fence in the northern Gaza Strip Sunday.

This month, at least twelve Palestinians have been apprehended attempting to cross the border, two of them as young as eight years old. Despite these attempts, the weekly violent clashes have relatively cooled in recent weeks as long-term Egyptian-brokered negotiations continue, though sudden flares in violence are possible at any moment.

Rough Weather Does Not Pass Over Israel

As the Festival of Pesach settled on Israel over the weekend, so did unseasonable thunderstorms, hail, tumultuous rain and even snow in some areas.

For the first time in twenty-two years, snow fell on Mount Hermon during Passover, and the Nature and Parks Authority said many outdoor holiday activities had been canceled due to the weather, including a horse show at the Caesarea Hippodrome, according to Times of Israel.

Ha’aretz reports that this kind of weather puts the southern regions at risk of flash floods in the Jordan Valley, the Judean desert, and at the Dead Sea.

The Jerusalem Post reports that water authorities noted that the extra rain is helpful to rejuvenate the Sea of Galilee after years of drought, but that a few more winters of heavy and consistent rainfall are needed.

Israel isn’t the only region in the Middle East hit by extreme weather this week. Authorities in Iran evacuated villages threatened by flooding on Sunday as forecasters predicted more of the heavy rains that have killed at least forty-five people this week, according to state media.

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