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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion University’

Ben Gurion U Donors to Stop Contributions over Canceled Prize to Breaking the Silence

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Donors who have given funds to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be’er Sheva have announced their intent to stop their donations in response to a decision by University President Professor Rivka Carmi to cancel a prize that was going to be awarded to Breaking the Silence, an organization that disseminates in Israel and abroad dubious testimonies by IDF veterans about “atrocities” they committed against Arabs.

According to Carmi, the organization is “not within the national consensus, and giving it the prize is liable to be interpreted as an appearance of political bias.”

Prof. Carmi is a pediatrician, and apparently knows well how to deal firmly with rotten children.

In a letter publicized by Israel Radio Tuesday morning, one of the donors, a Swiss resident, says Carmi’s decision is shameful and that he prefers to donate his money to democratic institutions.

Another donor reportedly demanded his family’s money back, saying that if Breaking the Silence is considered beyond the pale, so is his family’s donation.

Ben Gurion University responded with a statement saying these are donors who have long since stopped donating to the institution, and that the demand to return the money is not legal and brings shame on the families of said donors.

Prof. Carmi’s decision to cancel the $5,000 Berelson Prize awarded by BGU’s Middle East Studies Department, followed an announcement a month ago by department chairman Prof. Haggai Ram, who said, “We believe that advancing Jewish-Arab relations requires confronting the public with the truth of the occupation – which may not be pleasant to hear, but constitutes a fundamental condition for reconciliation between the two peoples.”

Meanwhile, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has just received $400 million from the estate of Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus of San Diego, Ca. Lottie Marcus died last December at age 99, Howard in 2014 at age 104. The donation is the largest sum ever received by an Israeli university and may be the largest donation ever made to any Israeli institution.

And just so everybody would go away happy from this episode, the anti-Zionist New Israel Fund decided to award $20,000 to Breaking the Silence to compensate them for the lost award money from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

JNi.Media

Ben-Gurion University Sponsoring ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event (Updated)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Note to the reader: The following story was sent to us today by our friends at Im Tirtzu. Later in the day we received an irate email from Ehud Zion-Waldoks who does Media Relations for BGU. To stay fair to everyone, we posted his email at the end of the story.

Ben-Gurion University (BGU) will sponsor a conference titled, “Breaking the Silence through the Ages and Now…” in late May. Publicized as an official event of BGU, the event is in clear violation of the Council for Higher Education of Israel’s decision to prohibit any attempt to politicize academia, says the Im Tirtzu rightwing organization, noting that the vast majority of the conference participants are political activists affiliated with the radical, anti-Zionist Left.

Meirav, a student in BGU’s Department of Politics and Government, noted that one of the professors in her department had sent an invitation to the students to attend the conference. “It saddens me to see how time after time the University can sink to a point where it voices explicit support for a radical organization that acts against IDF soldiers,” Meirav said.

Amichai, an archeology student at BGU was also furious after hearing about the event: “It pains and deeply troubles me that BGU, specifically the Department of Jewish History, chose to organize an event in ‘honor’ of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ an organization that supports and fuels the boycotts against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers. Just last year the University’s president, Rivka Carmi, said that she wants to fight against the boycott movement and feels sorry for the University’s professors who have suffered from it. But now she is giving a platform to a radical organization. We are not ready to have this event and will fight it. It is a disgrace that our university is providing them with a platform to spread their lies about Israel.”

In a letter sent by Im Tirtzu CEO, Matan Peleg, to the University’s administration, he demanded that the event be cancelled. “Ben-Gurion University’s sponsorship of this event constitutes as the support of a publicly funded institution for an anti-Zionist political organization that deals with defaming the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in Israel and in the world, backed by foreign government funding.”

In the letter, which he also sent to the Education Minister and to the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Peleg stated that “by standing together with the foreign agent organization ‘Breaking the Silence,’ the University forms a common front with those who bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, thus legitimizing the industry of lies against Israel.”

Peleg emphasized that “the list of participants in the conference speaks for itself – two leading members of ‘Breaking the Silence’ (Yuli Novak and Nadav Weiman) will be speaking alongside various radical Left lecturers and activists who have signed petitions supporting those refusing to serve in the IDF and petitions calling for international pressure to be exerted on Israel. On top of this, the University’s rector will be providing the opening address.

“David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave. The University that was named after him has transformed into a blatant supporter of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ and in turn strengthens not only the phenomenon of internal delegitimization backed by foreign funding, but also the worldwide boycott movement against Israel.”

 


 

The conference is an academic one organized by the Department of Jewish History entitled “Whistleblowing Through the Ages and Today”. The full program can be found here: http://in.bgu.ac.il/Pages/events/Breaking-Silence.aspx

The conference will address historical and current aspects of whistle blowing. Several of the leading researchers in Israel will take part in the conference which will discuss various aspects of the phenomenon: literature, history, philosophy, and art.

The conference will be comprised of three sessions: “Ancient Times and the Middle Ages (Socrates and Galileo)

In Modern Times in France (Zola and Sartre), Germany (Thomas Mann), the United States (the Jewish minority and McCarthyism), and Israel (Natan Alterman and Yishayahu Leibowitz).

An additional lecture will be devoted to Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros.

All of the academics who will be speaking are leading researchers and the topic of the conference is central to their research.

An additional session on the topic of the current Israeli discourse will feature representatives of various viewpoints alongside academics, among these representatives will be Yair Sheleg and Dror Eydar.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a pluralistic academic institution, which promotes and enables an open and diverse dialogue and does not seek to espouse a particular political viewpoint.

David Israel

Arab Woman Suing Bus Company that Dropped Her on Suspicion of Terrorism

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

(JNi.media) An Israeli Arab student from the village of Mu’awiya, in the Wadi Ara area of the Haifa District. last week was bumped from a bus during a trip, after passengers suspected that she was a terrorist, Ha’aretz reported Sunday.

The incident occurred last Sunday, on Egged bus line 870, connecting Afula and Be’er Sheva. Around 11:00 AM, Bayan Khaled boarded the bus at the stop nearest her home, in the city of Umm al-Fahm. The ride began as usual, and, according to Khalid, she even said hello to the driver, because the two have known each other since she often takes this route.

According the Egged bus company, during the trip two soldiers who were passengers on the same bus, approached the driver and one of them told him that his father is a senior police officer, and that he recognizes the Arab passenger—Khaled—from police wanted pictures of terrorists.

The bus company also claims that besides approaching the driver, the soldier also called the police on his own initiative and asked for instructions. The soldier was ordered to “act naturally” and ask the driver to stop at the gas station on Route 6, where police cars would be waiting.

The driver did as he was told, and in a short time police entered the bus, and approached Khaled, who presented her identity card and student ID. The police demanded that she get off the bus with her bags for questioning, which lasted about ten minutes. During questioning, the bus drove off without her and so did the police, when it became clear that there was no basis for suspicion.

Khaled remained on the margins of the highway, where there is no bus stop, without any possibility of continuing the trip. Later, her father had to drive there and take her back home to Mu’awiya.

Khaled, 23, is a Nursing graduate student at Ben Gurion University, and works as director of the center of the Clalit HMO in Be’er Sheva. Since the incident, she has not gone back to her job. “It hurt me mentally, I’m traumatized. I never thought that I would experience something like that, I’m still in shock,” she told Ha’aretz. “The driver went straight back to the bus and did not wait for me. He didn’t care what would happen to me afterwards.” Khaled demanded the driver’s name, but Egged refused to provide it.

A warning letter prior to legal action sent by Khaled’s attorney demands to receive the driver’s personal information and for the company to take disciplinary action against him. Also, Khaled will be asking for compensation in the amount of approximately $12,000, for humiliation and interference with their rights.

An Egged spokesman said in response that he believes the claim would be rejected. He also said “the incident was embarrassing and unusual and took place during the days of attacks by individuals directed at the Jewish community in general and bus users in particular. The driver acted as required when he stopped the bus at the Alonit service area on Highway 6. … Moreover, the driver acted as he had been instructed by police, who ordered him to close the door of the bus and drive away from the scene after removing the suspect. The driver has no discretion but to act as he did according to police guidelines on the matter.”

According to Egged, company representatives called up Khaled at home on the day of the incident and offered to pay a considerable cost for a taxi to take her to Be’er Sheva. They also offered her to board the next number 870 bus free of charge, but she refused, saying her father was already in touch with an attorney.

JNi.Media

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.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-scientists-reach-breakthrough-in-hiv-research/2015/08/11/

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