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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Beer Sheva’

Negev Loses Airport Night Trains

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Residents of southern Israel – particularly those living in the periphery communities in the Negev – will no longer have the option of taking the train to and from the airport after 11:00 p.m.

A spokesperson for Israel Railways told The Jewish Press on Thursday morning the service just didn’t pay for itself. “The government and the railway company made the decision together,” said the spokesperson, who added the figures totaled only an average of five or six riders per night on the line. “It wasn’t cost effective.”

Instead, it was decided the Metropoline Bus Service will take over the route, she said. Bus #469 will begin at the Arlozorov station in Tel Aviv and then make a stop at the airport, travel to Kiryat Gat and then go to the central bus station in Be’er Sheva.

That’s a solution for folks who live in the city of Be’er Sheva itself, perhaps – but what about those who live in the small periphery towns where bus service doesn’t exist overnight?

“Tough luck, baby,” said one consumer. “We’re stuck with paying hundreds of shekels for travel after 11 pm, just like we always have – and that after first spending hours traveling to the other cities just to get a little closer. Instead of paying NIS 600 to get home, I end up paying NIS 300 from Be’er Sheva, but spend three more hours after a 12-hour flight and another hour or more in baggage claims. Forget it.”

The Negev region comprises 60 percent of the nation’s land mass – but its travel network has yet to be developed to the point that even half of its communities have any access to railway service at all.

When asked why there is still no railway branch route to Arad, for example — while Dimona, a city of similar size and population, has had one for several years – the spokesperson for Israel Railways could not find a reason. Arad, a ‘clean air’ resort town located about 45 minutes east of Be’er Sheva and 25 minutes west of the Dead Sea, is in the midst of a major development boom due to the expansion of Route 31, which runs between the two points.

The Nevatim air base is located near Route 31 – described in Hebrew media as ‘death road’ due to the high number of motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred along the highway — as is the Nahal army base at Tel Arad.

A Lifetime of Achievement, From New York to Beer Sheva

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Israel looked quite a bit different the first time Seymour Glick visited from his home in New York. The year was 1954, the population of Israel stood at just 1.7 million people and Glick had decided to use the summer between his third and fourth years of medical school to get to know the country that had been born just six years earlier. 

“I was 22 years old and I saw one of the truly great historic events – creating a new country after 2000 years, reviving a language, reclaiming the desert – taking place, right before my eyes,” Glick told The Jewish Press this week. “It was an amazing time, and I kept thinking about what I would be able to tell my grandchildren when they asked ‘what did you contribute to this.

Sixty years later, it’s a question Prof. Dr. Shimon Glick shouldn’t have too much trouble answering. Under his tutelage, the medical school at Ben Gurion University of the Negev has become a leading teaching hospital and research facility, as well as a backbone of medical support for the city of Beer Sheva. Before the age of 30 his research lab made a major breakthrough in the field of hormone isolation; that discovery, as well as his subsequent endocrinology research, has been cited in medical journals hundreds of times. 

In addition, Dr Glick used his platform as dean of the medical school to develop a curriculum in Jewish medical ethics, a field he says simply did not exist when he began his career. His insistence that top-flight medical researchers also have a responsibility to display compassionate bedside manner has made the school one of Israel’s most celebrated institutions. 

Oh yeah, and then there’s his family, well over 100 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all living in Israel. The family is represented in nearly all communities of Israel: One son teaches in a Haredi yeshiva. Another, also a doctor, doubles as the head of an emergency room in Cleveland, Ohio and of the Efrat Emergency Medical Center, halfway between Jerusalem and Hebron. The centre has won accolades for providing quality medical care to local Jews and Arabs alike. Another son is an active member in the political struggle to force the government to protect Jews’ religious freedom on the Temple Mount. 

Nor has his involvement in Israeli society and the Jewish world been limited to the field of medicine. In the 1970s and 80s, Glick visited the Soviet Union multiple times, with a clear message to Soviet leaders and Jews alike: The world has not forgotten you. Since moving to Beer Sheva in 1974, his adopted hometown has recognised his volunteer activity in the city twice. He’s a perennial candidate for the Israel Prize. 

And yet, when meeting with Dr Glick there is little to indicate that one is speaking with an internationally renowned researcher or the emeritus dean of a prestigious medical school. In contrast to the heads of many university institutes or administrators, there are no leather chairs in his office, no large desk, no corner office with a view of the city.

Instead, Glick maintains a simple, spare office no larger than the researchers and doctors he has overseen since he founded the medical school in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War. Most of the space in the room is occupied by bookshelves, packed dense with medical volumes – Jews & Medicine, Jewish & Catholic Bioethics, Pioneers in Jewish Medical Ethics. Ring binders hold research articles. 

As Glick prepared to accept the Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Tzion Award for Lifetime Achievement on Thursday, Jewish Press reporter Avi Tuchmayer met with him for an exclusive interview about his career, Israel, the medical profession and more. 

AT: You were 42 years old at top of your profession, recognised as one of the top doctors in the United States. What inspired you to drop it all and move to Israel? 

I first came to Israel as a medical student in 1954, for the summer between my third and fourth year in medical school. Spent a summer here, at Tel Hashomer, I don’t even remember coming through beer sheva.

Anyway, the Jewish Agency had a program that brought doctors to Israel, but they’d cancelled it for that year. So I contacted individual hospitals, Tel Hashomer said “come,” they gave me a room.  That’s when I decided to make Aliya. 

At that point, decided to make Aliya. It took another 20 years,but eventually we made it. 

What took 20 years?

Ah, there was always something coming up – a new job, a new research grant. I had to finish medical school, then an internship and a residency. 

In 1967 I came to volunteer after the Six Day War. At that time I was offered a job at Shaarei Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, to take over for the outgoing medical director, Prof. Dr. Shlezinger. It’s probably a smart thing I didn’t take it – I’m not sure I was ready at that time to run an Israeli hospital. It’s not easy now, with all I know. I knew I wasn’t ready to come yet.

So what happened that finally pushed the envelope and caused you to make the move? 

I heard that Ben Gurion University wanted to open a medical school – it would have been 1971 or 1972. I wrote to Professor Moshe Pryves, who was then head of the university and head of the medical school. Interestingly enough, Dr Pryves had written to me independently at the same time. Our letters crossed. He’d heard of me from a colleague.

Anyway, I received his invitation, came to look it over, and here I am. 

That was a tough time to make Aliya. Not too many people were interested in throwing their lot with Israel after the trauma of the Yom Kippur War.

Yes, it was a tough time to make aliya. Looking back, I don’t know how they opened the medical school at that time. There were money problems, half the students were in long-dan long-term miluim. But somehow we did it, I really don’t know how. But that’s why Israel works. If you don’t grab opportunity, then things simply don’t happen. 

Tell me about Israel in 1974.

Well, to start with, Beer Sheva then had 70,000 people. We’ve now got 200,000.

And how did the family adapt to Israel? 

What can I tell you, we were very well received. Financially, we were very fortunate: the Health Fund took care of us very well. For instance, There was an apartment building going up in town for the medical school, but the apartments there were not big enough for our family of six kids. So the Fund offered to give me 2 apartments; they broke down the wall between them and redesigned the inside to suit our family. That’s where we still live.

I also have to say that if you go to shul, you’re already at home, no matter where you are. You can drop into a shul in Milan, in Hong Kong, in South America, and people welcome you in. You get invited out, and you’re part of a community. People who come here without that sort of support network don’t understand that.  They go to absorption centres, but it isn’t the same. 

What was it like building a new medical school from scratch? 

Well, I came to new institution, so I could set a lot of the ground rules. We did a lot of things that simply weren’t done in traditional med schools – we introduced students to patients in their first year, for instance. That was as unheard of. Our admission procedure placed greater emphasis on our impressions of the applicant from our personal interview, rather than grades. 

We also administered the physician’s oath when a new class entered the school, rather than when they finished school. So there were a lot of unique factors about the school. What does it mean that the school is “community oriented”?

Be’er Sheva Prepares to Be the New Israeli Silicon Valley

Monday, January 27th, 2014

The launching of the CyberSpark national cyber complex in Be’er Sheva this week prepares the way for what the “capital of the Negev” hopes will turn the city into Israel’s next Silicon Valley.

Lockheed Martin and IBM formally announced that they will set up their research activities in the park, joining Deutsche Telekom and EMC.

More than 450 heads of industry and cyber security agencies from around the world attended Tel Aviv’s Cybertech 2014, where the announcements of CyberSpark were made. Among those attending were 50 people from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, and top officials from Checkpoint, IBM, Cisco, EMC and Kaspersky.

“Beer-Sheva will not only be the cyber capital of Israel but one of the most important places in the cyber security field in the world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at the opening of the conference.

CyberSpark is being billed as the only complex of its kind in the world that includes industry leaders, academic research, leading security agencies, educational facilities and human capital specializing in cyber security and national government agencies.

Their goal is to produce a complete eco-system which will contain all the components needed to create a global leader in the cyber field by the pooling of resources, shared technology infrastructure construction and synergy of specialists, researchers and students.

Arab MK Tibi Makes a Storm Out of Cup of Tea Thrown at Him

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

A Be’er Sheva area man threw a lukewarm cup of hot tea in the face of MK Ahmed Tibi on Thursday during the legislator’s appearance at a protest against the Prawer Plan that calls for legalizing thousands of Bedouin structures on state land and moving thousands of Bedouin to other communities and cities.

Police arrested the man who threw the cup of tea at Tibi, who several months ago spilled a cup of water on a copy of the bill as he spoke from the podium of the Knesset. He later was fined for damaging the microphone system. Israeli media, sprucing up its news at the expense of the truth, said the man threw “hot” tea at Tibi, but  police later said it was closer to lukewarm.

Nevertheless, MK Tibi created a storm from the tea cup. “There is no doubt that the right-wing’s incitement against Arab MKs has an effect… The attack on me is the result of rising racism and inciting against Arab MKs specifically because of the Prawer affair,” Tibi was quoted as saying by the He brew-language Yediot Acharonot. “I don’t fear death threats, spit, or hot tea,” he added.

Those are interesting quotes for a man who has used the Knesset podium to spout off pure racism and incitement against Jews.  Among other comments, MK Tibi has stated in the past, “Overall, it pays to be racist in Israel because you don’t pay a price for it and you can always explain it away by a security need and a self-defense mechanism… Racists have a long time ago moved from the street to government benches. Every anti-Arab phenomenon is accepted with understanding within Israeli society.”

Police Put an End to Protest by Illegal African Infiltrators

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Immigration police, backed up by Border Police, broke up an unauthorized protest by illegal African infiltrators in front of the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday and put them on buses that took them back to a new administrative detention facility near Be’er Sheva.

The infiltrators were demonstrating against last week’s law passed by the Knesset that allows holding them for one year without trial. The Supreme Court earlier this year struck down a Knesset law that provided for their detention for up to three years, but the judges said they might consider permitting a shorter time period.

If investigations determine that the infiltrators are not refugees and simply entered Israel to seek a better life, they can be deported.

Left-wing volunteers have been assisting the Africans to claim to win international sympathy based on the claim that they are refugees. Most of the infiltrators are from Sudan and Eritrea.

Precipitation in Jerusalem 50% of Annual Amount

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Torrential rains and the “snowstorm of the century” last week have left Jerusalem with 51 percent of its annual amount of precipitation, according to observations by the Israeli Meteorological Service, and the winter has barely begun.

Be’er Sheva, where many areas still are flooded, now has accumulated 63 percent of is annual rainfall and more than double the amount for this time of year.

Rainfall so this year in metropolitan Tel Aviv is 44-50 percent of its annual average, and Tiberias, which borders the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), has received 131 percent of the usual rainfall for this time of year and one-third of its annual average.

Most of Israel’s precipitation usually falls from late December to early March. No more rain is in sight until early next week.

Trains Grounded, Gush Etzion Highway Closed

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Jerusalem still is digging out of the “snowstorm of the century,” and the main highway from Tel Aviv was closed temporarily Sunday evening to allow workers to move freely to restore electricity to hundreds of families without electricity for more than two days.

Schools will be closed in the capital on Monday.

The road to Jerusalem from Gush Etzion, which was buried under more than two feet of snow, remains closed.

Train service in the country also has been grounded because of the collapse of a retaining wall, knocking out rail service to Modi’in and Ben Gurion Airport. Flooding on tracks has knocked out train service to Be’er Sheva, Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Jerusalem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tel-aviv-jerusalem-highway-closed-trains-grounded/2013/12/15/

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