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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion University’

Israel Arab Mayor Complains: Terror Chasing Away Jews

Monday, October 12th, 2015

The Arab mayor of the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth has raised his voice against the recent wave of terror that he says is ruining his city by chasing away Jews.

Mayor Ali Salaam told Globes:

I’ve been knee-deep in trouble. On an ordinary Saturday, 20,000-30,000 Jews visit Nazareth, and there wasn’t a Jew in the city yesterday.

They [Arab businessmen] make millions on Friday and Saturday, at least NIS 10 million [$2.6 million], and they didn’t make a cent yesterday. Restaurants were closed, businesses were closed. They came to me in the municipality and wept. We have to work several months in order to bring back commerce back to the city.

The recent escalation in Palestinian Authority violence has spread to the heart of urban areas in Israel, including Kiryat Gat, home to a giant Intel factory and a normally quiet city north of Be’er Sheva, Afula in the north and metropolitan Tel Aviv.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas for stoking the coals of terror, Arab Knesset Members have been openly inciting Arabs with Israeli citizenship. The Prime Minister has targeted MK Haneen Zoabi for investigation for violating laws, but there is no shortage of other openly anti-Jewish and anti-Israel Arab MKs.

The most vocal of them is Jamal Zahalka, who has preached against any connection between Jews and the Temple Mount, called Israel an Aparthied state and who has illegally visited the enemy states of Lebanon and Syria without being indicted.

Salam said of Arab MKs:

They staged a parade, and after the parade, they left the young people, who started throwing stones and burning things….. Each time, somebody else is responsible for the destruction. We can’t have everyone coming to make a parade in Nazareth. The business owners want to demonstrate against what’s happening.

Most of the MKs want to come for the publicity, to be seen and photographed. I’m sick and tired of them. Let them do something for the benefit of the people who voted for them.

I told [MK] Ayman Udeh, ‘Get out of here. I don’t want you to come to Nazareth. You’ve destroyed my city.’

The mayor said that the violence is not only bad for his city but also “is not good for the country.”

A Ben Gurion University professor from Umm el-Fahm, the northern Israeli city that is the home to the northern branch of the radical Islamic Movement, told Israel Radio (Reshet Bet) Monday that “95 percent of the people” are against the violence.

Unlike Israeli Jews, the Arab sector is not prone to public discussion, especially when it comes to voicing different opinions and attitudes towards Israel.

Radical Islamists have filled the vacuum and have monopolized public platforms.

The JewishPress.com previously has reported that even in the Palestinian Authority, the rank and file Arabs are interested in making a living more than being part of a new Arab country where they know that corrupt leaders will treat them as third-class citizens.

However, the Palestinian Authority agenda of preaching hate and incitement against Jews for more than 20 years has nurtured an entire generation that knows nothing of the stark improvement of the quality of life after the Jordanian occupation, and as well as the Egyptian rule over Gaza, ended with the Six-Day War in 1967.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Monday that efforts are being made to define as illegal the Islamic Movement, which in the past several years has recruited tens of thousands of Bedouin in the Negev.

Ben Gurion U. Students’ Cancer Therapy Wins Boston Competition

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

The student team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has won the Best Health and Medicine Project category in the prestigious 12th annual iGEM 2015 Giant Jamboree competition with their cutting-edge biological cancer therapy called “Boomerang.”

IGEM is considered one of the most important ventures in the global sphere of science. Nearly 4,600 students competed in this year’s event in Boston.

The BGU project Boomerang is based on advanced methods of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. It has many applications that rely on the special characteristics of cancer cells to identify and alter cells as well as treat the disease at the molecular level.

The name “Boomerang” mirrors the actions in which the synthetic system uses cancer cells’ own genetic alterations against them.

As a cancer therapy, Boomerang works as a modular system. It can cause disruption of genes essential for cancer survival or activate suicide genes so that the cancer or tumor kills itself. Boomerang can also produce color proteins for cancer cell detection so that the edges of a tumor are visible to ensure complete surgical removal.

In addition to winning the grand prize in the Best Health and Medicine Project in the “Overgraduate” category (graduate level), the BGU team was a first runner-up in the overall competition, the first Israeli team to reach this level in iGEM.

The BGU team also won the Best New Basic Part Award for developing and submitting the best new functional DNA sequence to this year’s competition.

Israeli Researchers Develop Method to Profile Potential ‘School Shooters’

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Ben-Gurion University (BGU) researchers have developed a personality profiling technique that automates the identification of potential school shooters by analyzing personality traits that appear in their writings.

“School shooters present a challenge to both forensic psychiatry and law enforcement agencies,” explains Prof. Yair Neuman, a member of the BGU Homeland Security Institute.

He said in an article published in Frontiers in Forensic Psychiatry:

There is currently no clear consensus or clinical diagnosis that can be used for screening shooters. Finding a single shooter in a large population, as well as a lack of clinical diagnosis before an occurrence adds to the complexity.

The study details the text-based computational personality-profiling tool, which uses “vector semantics.” This involves constructing a number of vectors representing personality dimensions and disorders, which are analyzed automatically by computer to measure the similarity with texts written by the human subject.

“For example, an investigator may want to measure the extent in which narcissism is manifested in a text,” Neuman explains. “First, we define a vector of words representing this personality such as ‘arrogant,’ ‘manipulative,’ ‘egocentric,’ and ‘insensitive.’ The computer measures the distance between the vector of words comprising our target text and those representing narcissism in a high-dimensional semantic space. The closer the vectors appear, the higher the writer’s narcissistic ranking.”

In this study, BGU researchers selected writings by six shooters involved in a number of high-profile scenarios worldwide, including the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007. Then they analyzed and compared these with writings by 6,000 bloggers and tasked the computer to identify the shooters.

Although pinpointing a single person wasn’t the goal, the tool was able to significantly reduce the pool of suspects to only three percent of the original sample, which included the writings of all six shooters. This shows that using intelligent technology can significantly reduce the effort needed to identify shooters or even solo terrorists.

The methodology is automatic, which also enables screening a massive number of texts in a short time, which could aid in detection.

“While ethical considerations are inevitable, we can definitely imagine a situation in which parents give the school permission to scan their teenagers’ social media pages under certain limitations. In this context, using our automatic screening procedure, a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist who is trained may automatically get red flag warnings for students whose texts express a high level of potential danger,” explains Neuman.

He added:

The proposed methodology does not pretend to solve the enormous difficulties in profiling and identifying school shooters, but modestly adds another tool to the tool kit of forensic psychiatry and law enforcement agencies.
We believe our methodology can gain more validity with the ranking/prioritization process of suspects, similar to the automatic identification of sexual predators created to prioritize an investigation.

Israeli Scientists Reach Breakthrough in HIV Research

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Israeli scientists have made a breakthrough in researching the HIV virus, Ben Gurion University of the Negev has announced.

Dr. Ran Taube of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics says that his team has found similarities between HIV and leukemia.

The study aims to wipe out AIDS, which is caused by the HIV virus, and also to slow down the development of leukemia as well. The study is aiming specifically at the rare mixed -lineage leukemia (MLL) that occurs mostly in children and hinders the development of cells in the blood.

Taube and his team worked in collaboration with Dr. Uri Rubio, of Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.

The researchers said the discovery will lead to a “revolutionary diagnosis and the key to the clinical solution that will prevent infection with HIV and will destroy the deadly virus.”

Ryanair Flying to Israel with Big Boost to Negev

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The European low-fare Ryanair Airlines announced Tuesday it is launching its first Israel flights with three new routes between Ovda Airport, northwest of Eilat and Budapest, Kaunas and Krakow.

The new service will begin in November, with two flights a week to each of the three European cities.

Ryanair also said that it “will continue to negotiate with the Israeli authorities over future routes.”

The Irish-based company’s chief commercial officer David O’Brien said:

We will strengthen our presence in Israel as time goes by. Eilat is a very unique tourist destination like Morocco and the Canary Islands and we are certain that we will fill the planes.

Negotiations between Israel and Ryanair have been taking place for several years.

The Negev is undergoing a boom with a massive transfer of IDF forces and bases to the southern Israel, the fast-growing change in Be’er Sheva’s becoming a high-tech center, and the extension of the high-speed north-south Kvish 6 (Highway 6) to Be’er Sheva.

Several major corporations, including Boeing, are investing in the new high-tech park next to Ben Gurion University, and Ryanair’s service will be convenient for soldiers and businessmen traveling to Europe.



New Diagnostic for Pro Football Players Suffering from Mild ‘Unreported’ Concussions

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

According to a Ben Gurion University of the Negev research group, professional football players for the first time have been found to have brain damage from mild “unreported” concussions. Published in the current issue of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Neurology, the Ben Gurion study could improve decision-making about when an athlete should “return to play.”

The new, enhanced MRI diagnostic approach was, for the first time, able to identify significant damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) of professional football players following “unreported” trauma or mild concussions.

Dr. Alon Friedman at the Ben-Gurion University Brain Imaging Research Center discovered the new diagnostic approach. “Until now, there wasn’t a diagnostic capability to identify mild brain injury early after the trauma,” he said.

“In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts,” he added.

The paper describing the new diagnostic was published by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center. It details using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for detection and localization of vascular pathology and blood-brain barrier breakdown in football players. 

“The goal of our study was to use our new method to visualize the extent and location of BBB dysfunction in football players using Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) on a Phillips 3-T Ingenia. Specifically, it generates more detailed brain maps showing brain regions with abnormal vasculature, or a ‘leaky BBB,’ ” said Dr. Friedman.

Study participants included 16 football players from Israel’s professional football team, Black Swarm, as well as 13 track and field athletes from Ben-Gurion University who served as controls. All underwent the newly developed MRI-based diagnostic.

“The group of 29 volunteers was clearly differentiated into an intact-BBB group and a pathological-BBB group,” Friedman explains. “This showed a clear association between football and increased risk for BBB pathology that we couldn’t see before. In addition, high-BBB permeability was found in six players and in only one athlete from the control group.”

Friedman also indicated that repeated, mild concussive events might impact some players differently than others. This level of diagnosis of individual players can provide the basis of more rational decision-making on “return to play” for professionals as well as amateurs of any age, he pointed out. 

“Generally, players return to the game long before the brain’s physical healing is complete, which could exacerbate the possibility of brain damage later in life,” says Friedman.

A decade of research in the BGU Laboratory for Experimental Neurosurgery has shown that vascular pathology, and specifically dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), plays a key role in brain dysfunction and degeneration, and may be an underlying cause of neurodegenerative complications after brain injuries.  

The BBB is a highly selective permeable membrane that separates circulating blood from extracellular fluid. It protects the brain by preventing many dangerous substances from penetrating, and therefore is not meant to be damaged.

Medical researchers, including Friedman’s group at BGU, are working to discover ways to find drugs that will target the BBB and facilitate its repair, ultimately allowing for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-related diseases.

The Ben Gurion University study was supported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program and the Israel Science Foundation.

Ben Gurion U Develops New Personality Profiling Method to Utilize Against Hamas

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, August 4, 2014 – The ability to understand the minds of political leaders is an important aspect of strategic intelligence. In this context, personality profiling is a common practice that has traditionally relied on the expertise and intuition of human psychologists, according to researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

However, BGU professors of psychology, Yair Neuman, Golan Shahar and programmer Yochai Cohen are introducing a novel computer-supported methodology for personality profiling which will be published in the American Intelligence Journal. The methodology aims to help stakeholders better understand strategic competitors and allies for both rationally and for psychologically managing their policy. The professors cited the current conflict with Hamas as a prime example.

“If we characterize Khaled Mashal as someone with a psychopathic personality, then we would expect him to feel omnipotent, fearless, to perceive others (particularly Israel) as weak and vulnerable, and that his relationships revolve around games of ‘predator-prey.’ A man like that won’t be significantly affected by injury to innocent citizens or the destruction of infrastructure because he lacks the ability to empathize. He will manipulate and defraud in the pursuit of his own personal interest. In this case, any attempt to simulate empathy, or to try and appeal to his emotions is a strategy doomed to fail,” explained Professor Neuman.

“These insights are highly important in understanding the personality and planning a campaign against it,” added Neuman.

Mashal is one Hamas leader-turned tycoon who has amassed a fortune worth $2.6 billion, among other Hamas leaders who have made millions from the flourishing tunnel industry and fundraising as the unemployment rate in Gaza stands at 40% and Gazans suffer in poverty. In addition, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has capital worth $4 million and has arranged for family members including his sons and daughters to live in beautiful homes in the Gaza Strip, worth at least $1 million each. During the recent war, media reports surfaced of Khaled Mashal living a lavish lifestyle out of a luxury hotel in Qatar.

The ability to understand one’s enemy is an important card in any battle. Psychologists have been building personality profiles of leaders for years, explain BGU experts.

“The CIA built a personality profile of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein which explained to the Bush Administration that what they attributed to a lack of rationality actually derived from the Middle Eastern rationale of ‘showing off’. In other words, so long as the leader is not defeated once and for all or publicly humiliated, the entire struggle with the US, even if it comes at a catastrophic price to his fighters and citizens, will be perceived as a victory and a symbol of masculinity.”

“This conclusion offers a clear lesson for the current struggle against Hamas as well,” concluded Neuman.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ben-gurion-u-develops-new-personality-profiling-method-to-utilize-against-hamas/2014/08/05/

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