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May 26, 2016 / 18 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion’

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

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.

 

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Jewish Press News Briefs

Islamic State Jewelry Seized at Ben-Gurion Airport

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Customs agents seized 120 silver rings with Islamic State slogans on them that were meant to be shipped to Ramallah.

The package, sent from Turkey, raised eye-brows in customs at Ben-Gurion airport, who were shocked to see the the ISIS-stamped jewelry.

The package was confiscated, and the Shabak was informed.

Jewish Press News Briefs

The Right Approach to Yom Ha’atzmaut

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

When President Obama was newly elected, he made a trip to the Middle East to address the Arab nations. He spoke about Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation citing the Holocaust as the reason.

He was roundly criticized for that by many – especially in the religious community. Because as we all know the real reason Israel has a right to exist is because God gave it to us. It is in the bible. Check it out.

But even though that is the primary reason for our rights to the land of Israel, the President’s references were not entirely wrong. In fact it was indeed the Holocaust that motivated many nations in the UN  to vote in favor of creating  a Jewish State – partitioning Palestine into two separate states, one Arab and one Jewish.

One of the things that made me tear a while back is when I heard and saw archival footage of Jewish refugees interred  in a displacement camp post Holocaust singing Israel’s national anthem, the Hatikva. It appears they did so spontaneously upon hearing the announcement of a Jewish State in Palestine.  Until the establishment of the State – they had no place to go. No one wanted these Jewish refugees. Palestine under the British Mandate closed their doors to them. Now – they were finally open. Jews could finally go ‘home’.

I must have seen the archival footage of Ben Gurion declaring Israel’s independence dozens of times. It too makes my eyes tear. I don’t see how anyone with a Jewish heart would not have the same reaction. Especially after the Holocaust. That took place on the 5th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, returning the land of Israel back into Jewish hands for the first time in 2000 years. That day- Yom Ha’atzmaut – is now celebrated annually in Israel and by many Jews outside of Israel. And it is being celebrated in Israel right now.

Lest  anyone minimize the importance of this day in either the religious context of returning to our own land – or in the humanitarian context of opening her doors to all Jews, I refer you to Rav Ahron Soloveichik. He has determined that it is proper to say Hallel on this day. And not to say Tachanun – which is normally said weekdays during morning and afternoon prayers – but never on Jewish holidays.

Why no Tachanun on this day?  Rav Ahron’s frame of reference is Tu B’Av (the 15th of Av). We do not say Tachanun on that day because the thousands of martyrs of Beitar were brought to burial after the Roman authorities decree against that was lifted. There was cause for great joy in Klal Yisroel because these bodies could now be treated with dignity. So much so – that it was declared a holiday for all future generations. If Chazal could declare a holiday for this, how much more so should there be a festive holiday when the remnant of the European Holocaust came not to Jewish graves –  but to refuge in the Jewish homeland!

What about Hallel?  The Meiri in the last chapter in Pesachim tells us that an individual or community is overtaken by a Tzarah (disaster of any kind or any source) and is miraculously delivered form it – then there is a Mitzvah to recite Hallel at the time of the redemption and on its anniversary each year. That it is a Mitzvah but not an obligation means that we do not recite the blessing for Hallel. But one may indeed institute saying Hallel for himself and saying it is considered the fulfillment of a D’Oraisa – a Torah based Mitzvah!

Harry Maryles

The Importance of the Negev

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Al Hayat Al Jadida,the Palestinian Authority official daily newspaper claimed the Negev is a “settlement” in a recent article, Palestinian Media Watch reports. The Palestinian Authority also claims that all Jewish communities in mainland Israel, not just the disputed Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, to be settlements, and part of Palestine or “occupied Palestine.” This implies that Israel is still building settlements whether or not they are in Judea and Samaria, so long as Israel building in an area that the Palestinians claim as their own.

However, out of all of the areas within mainland Israel where Israel builds, anti-Israel activists tend to focus on the Negev the most. Without the Negev Desert, Israel would be a small non-viable state, a fact which motivates anti-Israel activists to focus on it. The article in Al Hayat Al Jadida referred to Israel building in the Negev as a “settlement trick,” in actuality this is part of a ploy by anti-Israel activists to attempt to separate the Negev Desert from the Jewish people, because the Negev makes up 66 percent of the State of Israel. Any Israeli withdrawal from the Negev would allow for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to connect P.A. controlled areas there to Gaza and Egypt.

The International Community has recognized the Negev as part of Israel

Before its founding, David Ben-Gurion viewed the Negev as pivotal to the future of any Israeli state and he successfully argued for the Negev’s inclusion as part of a Jewish state at the United Nations during the Partition Plan discussions. Even though the U.N. Partition Plan was rejected by the Arabs, almost all countries outside the Muslim world today recognize that Israel has a right to exist within the pre-1967 borders. This implies that the community of nations has already recognized the Negev as part of Israel, regardless of the outcome of any peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Jewish History in the Negev

The Negev is also filled with Jewish history. Ancient Jewish texts write about desert oasis of Ein Gedi which is located within the Negev. King David, while fleeing from King Saul, hid in Ein Gedi. The Song of Songs attributed to King Solomon says, “My beloved to me is a spray of henna blooms from the vineyards of Ein Gedi.” The Talmud claims that Jews continued to live in Ein Gedi following the destruction of the First Temple and Ein Gedi had a thriving Jewish community during the times of the Second Temple. Jews continued to live in the area of Ein Gedi up through the sixth century, when the community was wiped out during oppressions instigated by Byzantine Emperor Justinian. In modern times however, Jews have returned to Ein Gedi which is now a national park, and Kibbutz Ein Gedi has a population of about 250 people today.

Masada is another important piece of Jewish history to be found in the Negev. The Masada Fortress which was built by King Herod, who ruled Israel during the times of the Roman Empire. After the great Jewish revolt against Rome in 70 CE, the Zealot group fled to the Masada Fortress, where they continued to fight against Roman oppression until they chose mass suicide rather than giving in to the yoke of Roman tyranny. Today the Masada Fortress of the Negev, is the second most popular tourist destination in Israel and Israeli soldiers often take their oaths at the archaeological site.

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Why Did Ben Gurion Agree to Army Exemptions for Haredim?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Today I was talking to a neighbor who told me that he’s in the middle of a book about IDF Chief Rabbi HaRav Shlomo Goren.  One of the things that surprised him was the good relationship between HaRAv Goren and Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, even though Ben-Gurion is known as being rather anti-religious.  Whenever HaRav Goren needed something, Ben-Gurion agreed.  My neighbor found that surprising.

That made me think.

One of the biggest issues in Israel today is whether or not to continue the draft exemption for full time yeshiva students. Historically, this was due to an agreement Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had made with  the Chazon Ish, Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz.  My feeling about it has always been that Ben-Gurion did not want Hareidim in the IDF because he didn’t want a religious army.  Maybe Ben-Gurion’s acquiescence to the Hazon Ish and Rabbi Goren was for a different reason, and I’m not referring to the one mentioned on Israel Matzav:

As many of you know (because some of you have even met me there), I attend a weekly Torah class in Jerusalem. The rabbi who gives the class once told us that he met a man who knew someone who had asked David Ben Gurion why he allowed a religious education system to be created in the new state at all. Ben Gurion responded that he figured that within a generation, all attachment to traditional Judaism would die out anyway, so why fight with them. On this, as on many other matters, Ben Gurion was clearly wrong.

Ben-Gurion certainly wasn’t nice to the Revisionists, Jabotinsky, Menachem Begin, those who had fought for Israel’s independence with the Etzel and Lechi.  He had even sent the Palmach to shoot at the Jews on the Altalena, a horrendous act for sure.

Could Ben-Gurion’s agreement to defer/exempt Haredim, studying full-time in yeshivot from the IDF have been to get the political support and loyalty of the Haredi leadership?  Ben-Gurion would do anything to make sure that Menachem Begin’s Herut Party would stay out of power.

Well, what do you think?

Visit Shiloh Musings.

Batya Medad

Israeli Scientist Wins World Food Prize for Drip Irrigation

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

An 81 year old Israeli scientist whose revolutionary irrigation methods have saved and improved the lives of millions of people throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America, has received the prestigious World Food Prize, according to an announcement made by the foundation on Tuesday.

Daniel Hillel, Los Angeles native and father of Israel’s famous drip micro-irrigation method to conserve water while nourishing growing fruits and vegetables in the world’s most arid climates, was named the winner of this year’s $250,000 prize in a ceremony in Washington.  US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered the key note speech.  Hillel will be celebrated in an official ceremony at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa on October 18.

World Food Prize Foundation President Kenneth Quinn praised Hillel, not just for his system which carries water through narrow plastic tubing to drip sparingly above the roots of the growing plants, but for his contribution to bridging divides between diverse peoples.  Over  the past half century, Hillel has taken his agricultural know-how to over 30 countries around the world, including Jordan and Egypt.  Hillel has also shared his knowledge with leaders in Palestinian agriculture.  Quinn noted that several letters of support for Hillel came from institutions in Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

“He’s able to reach across the intercultural gap with this agricultural achievement in order to address that problem that they have in common about how to lift people out of poverty and reduce hunger by working together,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “In an area of the world and in lands where the divides — whether they be ethnic, political, religious, or diplomatic — seem so great, here is a man who by devoting his life to this peaceful development has sought to bridge those gaps.”

Hillel was born in Los Angeles, but moved in 1931 at the age of 1 to Palestine after his father died.

At age 9, Hillel was sent to live on a kibbutz, where he learned about agriculture and preserving resources in the difficult pre-state period.

Hillel returned to the United States for high school and university, and came back to Israel in 1951, at which time he joined the Ministry of Agriculture, mapping the new country’s soil and water resources. In 1952, Hillel joined a group of pioneers who developed a viable agricultural community in the Negev – the new community of Sde Boker – by fashioning small holes in cheap, small plastic piping readily available after World War II, and running water and fertilizer through them directly to plants.  The town so impressed Israel’s Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, that he made it his home.

The World Food Prize, honoring people engaged in fighting world hunger, was created by Iowa native Norman Borlaug, the winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing hybrid crops in order to increase food production in emerging nations.  He died in 2009.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israeli-scientist-wins-world-food-prize-for-drip-irrigation/2012/06/13/

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