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August 24, 2016 / 20 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘BGU’

Ben-Gurion University Launches International CyberTech Summer Program

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will launch a cybertech program for international students this summer in data mining and business intelligence.

University President Prof. Rivka Carmi described the curriculum in her opening remarks Tuesday at the 2016 Cybertech Conference and Exhibition. BGU is the academic sponsor of the event for the third year in a row.

Over the last few years, data mining has become a factor in the competitive environment and is used in organizations from operational decisions to strategic planning.

The summer program in data mining and business intelligence is designed to meet the need for academic training in these fields, Carmi said. The Summer Program in Data Mining and Business Intelligence is to provide both theoretical and practical knowledge, including tools, on data mining.

The program offers two academic courses where students learn the basic tools of data mining and the utilization of machine learning techniques for cyber security. The program includes a mandatory one week internship at BGU’s Cyber Security Research Center. The internship corresponds with the course materials and contributes the practical experience component. In addition, students will take part in professional field trips to leading companies, in order to enhance their understanding of data mining and cyber security.

The program is intended for high achieving students in their final year of undergraduate studies or pursuing graduate studies in Information Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, Computer Science, or Industrial Engineering and Management. Applicants must have a GPA no lower than 82 and be proficient in English.

“The world is increasingly turning to Israel for cyber security, and within Israel, BGU is leading Beer-Sheva to become a major national and international center,” Carmi said.

BGU has gathered partners to create the CyberSpark hub in Beer-Sheva.

Deutsche Telekom, EMC, Lockheed Martin, IBM, PayPal and others will cooperate in launching centers of excellence at the Gav Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) adjacent to the University.

“The Park is a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership arousing international interest because of its rapid growth and achievements,” Carmi said.

Israel’s government is providing financial and logistical support via the Israel National Cyber Bureau. In addition, Israel’s CERT will move to Be’er Sheva in the coming months as well.

In a few years the IDF’s elite technology units will also have their own campus adjacent to the Advanced Technologies Park. Soldiers will earn degrees from BGU and conduct joint research with the University and industry partners.

Hana Levi Julian

BGU Students to Protest Incitement

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Students at Be’er Sheva’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev are planning to “light a candle to illuminate the darkness” and fight incitement against local Arab students.

In an announcement posted on Facebook, the students cited threatening letters sent to fellow Arab students and graffiti declaring “Death to Arabs” that prompted them to schedule the demonstration of solidarity, set for 9:00 pm at the entrance to the university’s dormitories.

The move comes in the aftermath of the murder of a 16 year old Arab teen last week, and in response to the ongoing Arab violence that is spreading rapidly around the country — and sparking a growing anger by Jewish youth who are rapidly becoming sick of being victimized by Arab terror attacks.

Three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists on June 12 have yet to be caught by Palestinian Authority forces, although the alleged murderers of 16 year old Muhammad Abu Khdeir were taken into custody by Israel within days.

“All are invited, regardless of affiliation,” the announcement said. “Let’s show the public that students at Ben Gurion University have a clear stand against violence and incitement.

“Such actions undermine the most basic foundations of democracy and we must condemn them wherever they occur – especially when they occur at home, under our very noses.”

This is particularly relevant at BGU, inasmuch as the university has been extremely proactive in programs to integrate Bedouin students with Jews and others. BGU has been at the forefront of the educational system to help advance the education of Bedouin children and promote higher education in the Bedouin world. The university has the highest Bedouin-Jewish student ratio in the country.

Moreover, Jewish communities in the Negev – most of which are small are located quite far apart from each other – likewise live with the approximately 250,000 Israeli Bedouin who currently populate the Negev.

Hana Levi Julian

Common Blood Pressure Drug Prevents Post-TBI Epilepsy

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Israeli researchers working with an international team have discovered that a common blood pressure medication can prevent epilepsy from developing after a traumatic brain injury.

The discovery is described in an article published in the current issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Physiology and Neurobiology Professor Alon Friedman works at the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel. He worked with Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and Uwe Heinemann of Charite-University Medicine in Germany on the 10-year study.

In 60 percent of the experimental rats tested, the medication – losartan (Cozaar) – prevented the development of seizures following injury in which 100 percent of controls developed seizures. Of the 40 percent that did develop seizures, the researchers said the rats averaged only one quarter of the number of seizures typical for untreated subjects.

Medication administered for three weeks following injury was sufficient to prevent most cases of epilepsy in normal subjects in the subsequent months, the researchers said.

“This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped,” Friedman explained, “as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops… so we are excited about the new approach.”

The researcher added that the study provided a new way to potentially prevent epilepsy in patients after brain injuries occurred, and once they had already developed an abnormal blood-brain barrier. The best news, he said, is that the drug stops the epilepsy from starting, rather than simply suppresses the symptoms.

Hana Levi Julian

BGU Researchers Say Oxytocin May Promote ‘Lying for Your Team’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev have discovered that the hormone oxytocin can promote “group-serving dishonesty.”

According to findings published today (Monday) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), participants receiving oxytocin “lied more to benefit their groups, did so quicker, and did so without expectation of reciprocal dishonesty from their group members. A control setting ruled out that oxytocin drives self-serving dishonesty.”

The team, led by Dr. Shaul Shalvi at the university’s Department of Psychology, worked in cooperation with Carsten K.W. De Dreu of the University of Amsterdam’s Department of Psychology.

Shalvi is director of BGU’s Center for Decision Making and Economic Psychology (DMEP). He noted, “Our results suggest people are willing to bend ethical rules to help the people close to us, like our team or family. This raises an interesting although perhaps more philosophical question: Are all lies immoral?”

Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and functions as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter to create bonding between couples and between mothers and babies. It also stimulates social interactions.

Researchers have found a correlation between increased oxytocin and greater empathy, lower social anxiety, more pro-social choice in anonymous games, reduction in fear response, cooperation in single-shot anonymous games and trust in interpersonal exchange. It also stimulates defense-related aggression.

The study was funded in part by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under a Research Executive Agency Grant Agreement and by the Netherlands Science Foundation.

Hana Levi Julian

Ben-Gurion University Trains Jordanian Emergency Responders

Monday, June 24th, 2013

About ten years ago, Prof. Jimmy Weinblatt, a former dean of the humanities and social sciences at Ben-Gurion University, invited the President of the Jordanian Red Crescent, Mohammed Al Hadid, to visit Israel. Weinblatt had met him via the Middle East Peace initiative at McGill University, where the two had become good friends. “He came to visit me and he told me he was very involved with Magen David Adom. He was at the time chairman of a very important committee of the International Red Cross. Israel was a not a number until a few years ago. He was the one to push through the candidacy of Israel, as a member of this organization. This is very important for it allows cooperation with other countries,” Weinblatt explained.

Following Weinblatt’s instructions, Prof. Rivka Carmi, the current president of Ben-Gurion University, took Al Hadid on a tour around Ben-Gurion University, to see different departments of the medical school and one of them was emergency medicine, which trains paramedics. “It is the only one of its kind in Israel and the Middle East. There are very few schools of that kind,” said Weinblatt.

 Jordanian students dancing with an Israeli at BGU

Evidently, Al Hadid was very excited by what he saw and asked about the possibility of sending Jordanian students to study at Ben-Gurion University. While the bureaucracy took a while, eventually a group of 30 Jordanian students came to Israel with the express purpose of studying emergency medicine. They spent two years living in Israel, while for their third year, they returned to Jordan to do practical work under the guidance of Israeli professors. Weinblatt emphasized, “It was a historical event for it was the first time that a group of students from Jordan or any Arab country for that matter came to study in Israel.

JORDANIAN STUDENTS RECEIVE WARM WELCOME

Weinblatt stated that these Jordanian students got the best of education and believes that their experience interacting with everyday Israelis will help them become ambassadors of goodwill. The Jordanian students lived with Israelis in the student dorms, traveled around Israel, had joint conferences with Israelis where they learned how to respond to natural disasters, and made Israeli friends. One of the Jordanian students already had a positive impression of Israelis and even wanted to bring a kippah back to Jordan as a souvenir. Yet for many other Jordanians, it was a transformative experience. Another one of the Jordanian students was expecting that the Israelis hated him and was pleasantly surprised by the reactions that he got from Israelis, causing him to question what he was taught within Jordan.

BGU library

During his remarks to the graduating class of 54 students, Al Hadid spoke of the positive nature of this program.

“I thank you for all giving our students the opportunity to get their education and training them to become lifesavers, unlike those lifetakers who do so in the name of their fanatic beliefs. However, our belief will always be through humanity to peace,” he said.

“Experience has shown us that it is possible to bring Arabs and Israelis together to achieve common goals.”

Visit United with Israel.

Rachel Avraham

Israel’s Totalitarian Left Never Sleeps

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

There is a species of radical leftist that believes the main purpose of taxpayer-funded universities is to indoctrinate students in radical left-wing ideology. Such people believe the only legitimate form of scholarly research and teaching is to force upon students the ideas and agendas of the left because only these represent correct thinking.

For them, the highest form of academic inquiry is to engage in one-sided advocacy. They believe faculty members at universities should be hired mainly, if not exclusively, on the basis of their devotion to radical leftist ideology.

They believe classrooms should be arenas in which students are immersed into leftist NewThink.

They believe student grades should reflect the extent to which the student toes the ideological line of the radical left.

They believe academic conferences and research forums should be restricted to those who advocate the left’s political agenda, while non-leftist dissident thought should be suppressed and barred.

Most important of all, they believe those who dare criticize the radical tenured left should be silenced and denounced.

The totalitarian left believes taxpayers are morally obligated to fund the teaching of extremist ideology in the classroom, including by people advocating the demise of those same taxpayers and of their country.

It is the job of citizens, insist the academic leftists, to sit back passively and pay for the far left to operate propaganda centers, while the radicals collect their cushy salaries as payment for advocating their anti-Israel agenda.

It is the job of universities, the tenured left maintains, to criticize (actually to demonize) the state of Israel – just as long as no one is permitted to criticize those critics of Israel.

Nowhere is this ideological extremism so clearly on display as in the Department of Politics at Ben-Gurion University (BGU), a pseudo-academic propaganda and indoctrination center disguised as an academic department. It is not the only such department in Israel or at BGU, but it may well be the worst.

Last year an international panel of experts appointed by the Israel Council of Higher Education (which oversees and funds universities) called for shutting down this BGU department altogether, due to the abysmally low quality of its work its having replaced serious scholarly research with one-sided advocacy.

The far left faculty members in the department denounce Israel in unison, and some call for world boycotts of Israel. In response to the CHE criticism of the departmental obsession with one-side advocacy, BGU hired three new politics faculty members in order to generate diversity and pluralism – but the three new ones are also leftist radicals.

Students in political science classes at BGU who dare to express pro-Israel opinions tell of being penalized and harassed by the faculty. The single non-leftist faculty member who taught in the department was fired a few years back for incorrect thinking.

Diversity and pluralism in the department consist of people of various ethnicities, genders, heights, and weights all advocating leftist and Marxist ideas. Diversity of thought is mercilessly suppressed, and serious academic standards are trashed.

In recent weeks, the totalitarian left has been circling its wagons in solidarity with the Department of Politics at BGU. Leftist-dominated academic associations are flooding the press and the CHE with angry demands to defend the right of the Department of Politics at BGU to engage in “advocacy” and leftist indoctrination.

Recruited by members of BGU’s politics department, foreign members of the academic left and Israeli tenured radicals have been leading the campaign to defend the BGU propagandists.

The campaigners demand that the right of BGU leftists to indoctrinate and propagandize at taxpayer expense be defended against CHE criticism and interference. The defenders of the department insist that “positivism,” i.e. actual scholarly research, is only one legitimate strand of academic activity in political science, meaning they really want ideological indoctrination to be the “alternative” function of academics.

A recent one-sided conference devoted to advocating political advocacy as the proper calling for academia was held at Ben-Gurion University. Participants were greeted by BGU President Rivka Carmi, who regularly insists she is not aware of any one-sided advocacy or indoctrination activities held at BGU. This is the same Carmi whose belief in pluralism was manifested in her firing Prof. Yeruham Leavitt because he dared express a politically incorrect opinion about children being raised by homosexual couples.

Steven Plaut

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.

Steven Plaut

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

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