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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion University’

U of Chicago Teams up with Ben Gurion for Clean Water

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The University of Chicago and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will begin funding research collaborations that apply the latest discoveries in nano-technology to create new materials and processes for making clean, fresh drinking water more plentiful and less expensive by 2020.

The joint projects will explore innovative solutions at the water-energy nexus, developing more efficient ways of using water to produce energy and using energy to treat and deliver clean water.

“We feel it is critical to bring outstanding scientists together to address water resource challenges that are being felt around the world, and will only become more acute over time,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.

Why I Made Aliyah to Southern Israel

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Rachel Avraham on BGU campus

UWI Staff writer Rachel Avraham blogs from her own experience about why English-speaking Jews are returning from exile to make Aliyah to Southern Israel.

An increasing number of Jewish immigrants from English speaking countries are deciding to make their homes in Southern Israel, a peripheral region of the country, rather than in the Anglo enclaves in the greater Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. While there have always been more adventuresome Anglo Jewish immigrants who have made Aliyah to Southern Israel, this phenomenon is speeding up following a decision by Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that assists North American Jewish immigrants, to launch a Go South Program to encourage Anglos to move to Southern Israel. Since the introduction of this program, the number of Anglos moving to Southern Israel has tripled.

I recently made Aliyah too, and I decided to move to Be’ersheva because I wanted to pursue a masters’ degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. I felt that I could improve my Hebrew language skills significantly and learn more about the Middle East region by not living in an Anglo enclave. The gimel and dalet neighborhoods that surround Ben-Gurion University, where I live, have many Mizrahi Jewish inhabitants who immigrated to Israel from Arab states. Speaking daily to people whose ancestors hailed from Arab countries offered me an in depth understanding of Israeli politics, Middle Eastern and Jewish Diaspora history, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and Mizrahi culture, which one merely would not get by living in an Anglo bubble. Residing in Be’ersheva also sped up my immersion into Israeli society in a way that one would not get in places like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. I also had other Zionist reasons for wanting to move to Israel, which included a desire to find a Jewish spouse, to live in the midst of rich historical sites, and to provide a better Jewish education for my future children.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO LIVE IN THE SOUTH

Ein Geddi

It is critically important for Israel that Jewish immigrants settle in all parts of the country and not just the greater Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, believed that the future of Israel lies in the Negev, since it consists of 66 percent of the land within the State of Israel and offers much open space for Jewish communities to be established. The Negev is an integral part of Israel’s past, present, and future, hosting flourishing Jewish historical sites dating back to antiquity. The fortress at Masada was the last Jewish zealot stronghold against the Roman forces, while Ein Gedi boasted a Jewish community dating back to biblical times and Be’ersheva, as the home of the Jewish patriarch Avraham, is the cradle of Jewish monotheism. The Negev is rich in Jewish history and Jewish immigrants from English speaking countries like myself really want to live surrounded by this majestic historical heritage.

BGU campus

Also a strong Jewish population in the Negev counters the Palestinian Authority claim that the Negev is a settlement as some Israeli Bedouin have protested that the Negev should belong to them, not the Jewish people.

Visit United with Israel.

Israel Railroad Evacuating Students

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Throngs of Israeli student pack the Be’er Sheva train station, due to the closing of Ben Gurion University. To accommodate the masses of students, Israel Rail Road is sending extra long trains to evacuate the students looking to escape northward.

Israeli Innovation Could Make Water Drinkable in Africa

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In a world where freshwater resources are becoming increasingly scarce, Israel–a country that is two-thirds arid–has become a leader in developing the necessary technology for making salt water potable.

The Israeli desalination company, IDE Technologies, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, has made many advances in desalination technology, installing over 400 desalination plants in 40 countries including the Caribbean Islands and United States. IDE Technologies has also won major contracts with Cyprus, India and Australia, and last year with China.

Since 2011, the Israeli-built desalination plant in Tianjin is China’s largest and most environmentally friendly desalination plant to date, running on some of the waste heat produced by a nearby power plant, producing fresh water and salt.

However, desalination plants for the most part are extremely costly for less-developed nations, as they use enormous amounts of electricity and are location-sensitive. But thanks to a recent Israeli discovery, the desalination system may become much more affordable in areas like Africa and the Middle East.

Researchers from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and central Arava R&D, have found a way to utilize solar energy at a fraction of the cost which can be custom-engineered for the desalination process, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The new innovation uses solar energy panels to power the pumps of a desalination unit that generates clean water for crops. More importantly, the technology utilizes unique nanofiltration membranes that enable farmers to decide which minerals should be retained from the water to feed various types of crops, a method which requires much less energy. The new system is currently being tested in the Arava Valley of Israel, south of the Dead Sea, where the basin is very dry. The results thus far show that farmers can use up to 25 percent less water and fertilizer than what has usually been needed in that area.

According to Andrea Ghermandi of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben-Gurion University and one of the system’s creators, the current environment is forcing agricultural systems to become more economical. Ghermandi told the MFA that “the growing global demand for food and competition for resources among economic sectors compel future agricultural systems to be more efficient in the use of natural resources such as land and water.”

Another important researcher in the discovery, Ben Gurion University’s Rami Messalem explained that the” breakthrough here was to make the system more economical and we’ve done this using nanofiltration cleverly. Our system is compatible with electricity but is based on the premise that it can be used in poor countries, in places where you don’t have an electricity source—as a standalone system.”

The MFA website indicated that the new desalination system was made possible thanks to funding from Swiss philanthropist Samuel Josefowitz.

Israeli Innovation: Blood Test to Detect Multiple Cancer Types

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Researchers at Soroka Medical Center and Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva are saying they’re past the preliminary stage of developing a unique method that may provide early detection of many types of cancer, using a simple blood test. Clinical tests which were performed recently yielded detection in close to 90 percent of patients.

“The research is still using small-scale clinical tests,” said Prof. Joseph Kapelushnik, head of the center’s children’s meta oncology department. “But our aim is to develop an efficient, cheap and simple method to detect as many types of cancer as possible.”

Early detection, coupled with a rapid assessment and a quick and effective response is viewed as the best and most cost-efficient ways of dealing with cancer. But the process of detection can be cumbersome and costly, and each procedure reveals only a limited number of cancer types.

Prof. Kapelushnik’s team developed a unique method which makes it possible to detect cancer cells through a blood test, using infrared light. A sample of only one cubic centimeter (less than a teaspoon) is placed in an instrument which examines the spectrum and yields results which point out the presence of cancer in the patient’s body.

“We’ve managed to distinguish between different types at a rate of around 90 percent sensitivity,” said Prof. Kapelushnik. “The data is limited for now, and we’ll have to test thousands of patients to determine that the method works, but at the moment we are pleased with the results.”

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Johnson & Johnson, to name just one team, are among groups of scientists who are in the process of seeking a simple blood test that may be able to identify cancer cells in the blood stream. But Prof. Kapelushnik thinks his research is at a more advanced stage than competing, similar efforts.

“We should be able to detect the cancer before it had a chance to metastasize,” he says. “And this can mean fewer treatments, less suffering and many more lives saved.”

The Soroka University Medical Center is the largest medical center in southern Israel, and the second largest in the country.

Israeli Scientists Grow Sperm Cells in Lab

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

A new technique developed by Ben- Gurion University researchers has resulted in the laboratory creation of mouse sperm cells from testicular germ cells.  Profesosr Mahmoud Huleihel says he hopes the scientific breakthrough will be a major stride in male fertility.

The study was performed in cooperation with Prof. Eitan Lunenfeld at Soroka University Medical Center and Prof. Stefan Schlatt of the University of Münster in Germany.

What Freedom Of Speech?

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

           The latest headliner in the campaign to silence critics of Israel’s radical Left is Prof. Zvi Hacohen, the new rector at Ben Gurion University. A professor in chemistry and “desert research,” Hacohen was cited at length in Haaretz (Sept. 15) denouncing people, especially students of the Zionist Im Tirtzu movement, who dare criticize leftist sedition.
 
            Hacohen calls all such critics of anti-Israel extremism “McCarthyists.” Leftists denouncing Israel as a Nazi country, a fascist apartheid entity in need of obliteration, are simply exercising their legitimate academic freedom, but anyone who denounces those leftists for what they say and do is guilty of “McCarthyism” and so must be suppressed.
 
            Radical leftist academics who call for a world boycott of Israel are engaging in legitimate use of academic freedom, they insist, but others who call for boycotts of such boycotters of Israel are fascists and guilty of “incitement.”
 
            Hacohen denounces students at his own university and others (I assume he means the www.Isracampus.org.il  watchdog group, Israel’s equivalent to Campus Watch in the U.S.) for recording the public lectures of radical anti-Israel faculty members and then making them public. He also is upset when they cite verbatim the seditious public pronouncements of those faculty members. Hacohen insists it’s McCarthyism to protest the anti-Israel indoctrination that is the main (if not the sole) activity of the Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University, and he denounces students from Im Tirtzu for calling on donors to place their contributions to the university into escrow until the university makes needed reforms.
 
             Hacohen is just one of Israel’s many increasingly hysterical radical leftists inside (and outside) academia who demand that freedom of speech for non-leftists be suppressed.
 
             Leftists in Israel are free to endorse violence, to call for Israel to be destroyed, and to endorse anti-Semites and terrorists. They are free to promote lawbreaking and violence. They are free to call on the world to boycott Israel and to impose upon Israel by force an outside “resolution” of the conflict along lines the vast majority of Israelis oppose.
 
             Yes, it may be upsetting to people, say the leftist poseurs, but offensive speech needs to be protected in the name of democracy.
 
Or does it? A young Jewish woman named Tanya Susskind drew a protest poster of the Prophet Muhammad as a pig. Her drawing was distasteful, but no worse than those Danish cartoons that were judged to be protected speech. She was sentenced to more than two years in prison. Israeli soldiers who recently had their photographs taken alongside handcuffed or blindfolded suspected terrorists have been prosecuted for insensitivity. Why was their behavior not considered protected freedom of expression?
 
In a similar manner, Israel has criminalized and banned the various Kahanist factions of followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. They are denied freedom of speech under Israel’s silly “anti-racism law,” a law that has never been used to prosecute a single anti-Semite. Their crime? They express political opinions Israeli leftists find repulsive.
 
            A professor at the University of Haifa was ordered by the Attorney General’s Office to report to the police for interrogation concerning things he was accused of saying about Arabs in class – statements he denies having made. But even if he had said negative things about Arabs, why was that not protected speech? Is protected speech in Israel limited to the rights of anti-Semites and traitors to smear Jews?
 
Just what happened to the idea that freedom of speech protects unpopular and even offensive opinions? Leftists expressing anti-Semitic or anti-Israel radical ideas are never prosecuted in Israel. The most the government ever did was deny entry into Israel to a few foreign leftist professors who had been maintaining intimate association with terrorist organizations like Hizbullah.
 
Let us go back to Prof. Hacohen, the rector. We know what upsets him, but what does not upset him? He is not disturbed that entire departments at his own university operate as open anti-Israel indoctrination camps. He is not disturbed that faculty members at Ben Gurion University are leaders in the international campaign to boycott Israel, to “divest” from Israel, to place sanctions against Israel. He is not disturbed about BGU faculty members who associate with Holocaust deniers.
 
Prof. Hacohen is not concerned about reports of leftist faculty members at BGU harassing and penalizing students there who dare dissent from the anti-Israel ideology poured out in classroom indoctrinations. He is not concerned that anti-Israel radicals are being hired and promoted on the basis of “academic records” consisting of nothing more than anti-Israel hate propaganda. He is not concerned about BGU faculty members who endorse terrorist violence. He is not concerned about Arab and Jewish leftist students marching about his campus giving Heil Hitler salutes.
 
The only thing he seems worried about is that some Zionist students at BGU wish to express their opinions and criticize treasonous behavior. He demands that they be silenced. He insults the students at his own university, calling them “McCarthyists.” He demands that criticism of treason be silenced in the name of protecting academic freedom.
 

The academic freedom of which he dreams is the sort to be found in North Korea.

 

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/what-freedom-of-speech/2010/09/21/

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