I'm not 100% sure about 'semi dry' starter. It is probably some of the culture, with a small amount of moisture still in it, to make it activate faster, kinda like a 'yeast cake' rather than dry yeast, as used in baking.
I did grow an entire mushroom from just Kombucha tea that had culture in it. So I'm sure it will work fine, just take a few days longer.
(I made a batch of Kombucha with a 'scoby' mushroom and then bottled the tea. After tasing the vinegary taste, I tossed the Scoby...
Then I felt guilty, and made fresh black tea, added more sugar to improve the taste for me, and poured a bottle and a half (beer bottle size) of the Kombucha tea into it to innoculate it with the culture again. I let it 'brew' for 7 days and a new healthy Scoby grew....and it's been making babies ever since!) /whew!
So I'm sure some 'semi dry' culture would be a safe and effective way to ship it. I'm just not sure of the details....gee, now I need to go search for ways to 'semi dry' the culture to ship!!
I'm just glad your friend can get one for WAY cheaper! Maybe she could then register and become a 'source' in Israel for others!