New Filipino caregivers to get ‘substantial financial benefits’ in Israel

Marje Pelayo   •   July 10, 2019   •   1363

Filipino migrant workers welcome President Rodrigo Duterte during his state visit to Israel on Sept 03, 2018 | Courtesy: RTVM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Israel finally completed all legal procedures for the implementation of a labor agreement for the protection of Filipino home-based caregivers who wish to work in the state.

In a press release, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced that both countries have recently ratified the “Agreement on the Temporary Employment of Filipino Home-Based Caregivers between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the State of Israel.”

According to Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial, the implementation of the agreement is expected within this year.

“The agreement is a product of difficult and lengthy negotiations by several government agencies. After ratification, we now move to ensure the speedy implementation of the agreement within the year,” he said.

In the Instrument of Ratification he signed on June 13, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said the agreement will eliminate “the charging and payment of illegal fees throughout the process of recruitment and employment” for applying Filipino caregivers as they will be protected under the government to government labor arrangement without any intervention from private recruitment agencies in the Philippines.

Once implemented, new Filipino caregivers who wish to work in Israel will gain ‘substantial financial benefits’ by saving between $8,000 to $10,000 in illegal fees, according to Ambassador Imperial.

“Given current employment protections, our caregivers stand to gain, over a ten-year period, an unprecedented windfall of about $200 to $300 million that would have otherwise gone to unscrupulous private recruitment agencies,” the Ambassador noted.

Both countries agreed to form a Joint Committee to oversee the overall implementation of the agreement, set to hold its first meeting in August in Israel.  

The agreement was signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Machluf Deri during the President’s visit to Israel in September 2018.

Like Pac-Man, innovative Israeli coronavirus mask gobbles food

UNTV News   •   May 19, 2020

Israeli inventors have developed a coronavirus mask that allows diners to eat food without taking it off, a device that could make a visit to a restaurant less risky.

A squeeze of a lever, much like a cyclist operates a handbrake, opens a slot in the front of the mask so that food can pass through.

The process could get messy with ice cream or sauces, but more solid morsels can be gobbled up in a flash in the style of Pac-Man in the iconic video game.

“The mask will be opened mechanically by hand remote or automatically when the fork is coming to the mask,” said Asaf Gitelis, vice president of Avtipus Patents and Inventions, who demonstrated the device at its offices near Tel Aviv.

“Then you can eat, enjoy, drink and you take out the fork and it will be closed, and you’re protected against the virus and other people sitting with you.”

The company said it plans to start manufacturing the mask within months and had already submitted a patent. It said it would likely sell at a 3 to 10 shekel ($0.85 to $2.85) premium above the price of the simple pale blue medical masks many Israelis wear.

Outside a juice bar in Tel Aviv, Reuters showed a cellphone video of the mask in action. Opinion was divided.

“I think this mask that enables me to eat while I’m still wearing it, it’s a must have,” said Ofir Hameiri, a 32-year-old graduate student.

But maskless and eating an ice cream cone, Ron Silberstein, a 29-year-old musician, said: “I don’t think this mask could hold this kind of ice cream – it’s dripping all over. I wouldn’t want to wear it afterward”.

Israel has largely reopened its economy after a dramatic drop in cases of the novel coronavirus. But restaurants are open only for takeout for the time being. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berlzon, Rami Amichai, Rinat Harash, Jeffrey Heller)

Israel’s Supreme Court clears Netanyahu to form government despite corruption charges

UNTV News   •   May 7, 2020

Photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Blue and White party Benny Gantz signing an agreement to form an emergency coalition government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel’s top court said late on Wednesday (May 6), paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power.

In its ruling against opposition petitioners, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu’s unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

The ruling removes a critical legal hurdle to the coalition government the right-wing Netanyahu and centrist Gantz plan to swear in next week, following three inconclusive elections in the past year.

It also moves the country closer to ending its political deadlock as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

Netanyahu was indicted in January on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies any wrongdoing in all three cases. (Reuters)

(Production: Eli Berklzon, Rami Amichay, Lee Marzel)

Israeli firm treats COVID-19 patient using placenta therapy

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2020

An Israeli regenerative medicine company that is developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products has announced that they were able to treat their first coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient in New Jersey, USA under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also known as a compassionate use program.

In a statement, Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. said the treatment is “part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

Pluristem said the patient was administered a treatment called Placental expanded (PLX) cell therapy.

The company added that the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) prior to the PLX treatment.

The patient was also under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay said they are now focusing on the initiation of a multinational clinical study.

“In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries,” he said. AAC

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