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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew University’

Anonymous Tip Helps Jewish Dealer’s Estate Recover Two Dutch Masters from German Auction

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The Max Stern Foundation, overseeing Jewish art dealer Max Stern’s estate for his heirs, expects to take possession of two paintings by Dutch old masters Jan Porcellis and Willem Buytewech the Younger, The Art Newspaper reported Monday.

Stern was forced by the Nazi Chamber of Fine Arts in September 1937 to close his business, because all Jewish citizens had been forbidden from selling art. In November, Stern was forced to auction off a large segment of the Stern Gallery by order of the Nazi government. These artworks were sold in one of Germany’s oldest auction houses, Kunsthaus Lempertz. They went on the block by their lot number, Auktion 392. Not all the pieces were sold, and Stern placed those that remained in storage with shipping agent Josef Roggendorf. Roggendorf stored the artwork close to the Düsseldorf gallery, but eventually it was confiscated by the Nazis.

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Jan Porcellis, Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea

Stern then spent several years trying to track down his 28 confiscated paintings. He advertised in the German art magazine Die Weltkunst, offering a reward for any information pertaining to the location of his paintings. The works Musical Party by Dirck Hals and Landscape with Figures by Salomon van Ruysdael were eventually recovered with help from the Canadian government after the war. Last Judgment by Hieronymus Bosch was returned in 1954. Other works were never found.

Now an anonymous tip from an art trade informer alerted the foundation that Ships in Distress on a Stormy Sea by Jan Porcellis (~1584-1632) was for sale at Auktionhaus Metz in Heidelberg. Also, Germany’s Federal Crime Office identified Landscape With Goats by Willem Buytewech the Younger (1625-70) which was advertised at Auktionshaus Stahl in Hamburg.

In both cases, the sellers agreed to return the works in “amicable discussions,” according to the foundation.

The Max Stern Foundation has announced that it is developing a program with the German Friends of Hebrew University, to compensate good-faith holders of Stern’s missing paintings. Under the new program, the foundation would issue holders who turn in Stern’s works a tax-deductible donor’s certificate stating their value, for tax purposes.

“There has been a recurrence of these works being consigned by individuals in good faith,” Clarence Epstein, Senior Director of Urban and Cultural Affairs at Concordia, told The Art Newspaper. “This solution means that they can get some relief despite having a problematic artwork.”

JNi.Media

Breaking the Silence: Teaching Hebron’s Real Jewish History to Young Israelis

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

In recent years, radical-Left NGOs have marked Hebron as a strategic target through which to facilitate and promote international pressure on Israel. Rightwing Jewish movement Im Tirtzu is planning to change that, inviting thousands of Israeli students to visit the city of Hebron on regular tours aimed at strengthening the historical national connection to the city. The program, run by Im Tirtzu and the Jewish Community of Hebron, exposes students to the realities of Hebron, their main goal being “to connect more students to the history of Hebron and to strengthen each student’s deep connection to the place.”

Tour organizers expect a turnout of 5,000 students throughout the academic year.

The first tour takes place on Thursday, leaving from Bar-Ilan University on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. According to Im Tirtzu, the tours provides a balancing point of view in a milieu where radical, anti-Israel groups use tours of the city to slander and delegitimize Israel. They will visit the Cave of the Patriarchs, David HaMelech Street, the ancient Jewish cemetery, Tel Romeda, Beit Romano, and the Hebron Heritage Museum.

The program organizers have discussed potential run-ins with radical anti-Zionist groups during the tour, concluding that “if students on the tour encounter foreign journalists, European MPs, or anti-Israel propaganda tours led by radical Left NGOs, they will be permitted to provide them with educational materials that expose the hypocrisy and double standards of the delegitimization campaign against Israel.”

“Of course,” the organizers stress, “there must be an emphasis on appropriate conduct and politeness.”

The program is expected to run at all the Israeli universities and colleges with Im Tirtzu groups, including Hebrew University, the Technion, and Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion, Bar-Ilan, Haifa, and Ariel universities.

Spokesman for the Hebron Jewish Community Yishai Fleisher noted that “Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs are at the foundation of the People of Israel and represent our historical right to the land. It is astonishing that the anti-Zionist narrative brazenly chooses to rip out these deep historical roots – entrenched in Jewish consciousness and borne out by archaeological proof – in their slanderous tours of the city. Apparently, they believe that the Jews and the world have forgotten history, and so they promote a false narrative depicting Jews as foreigners and as occupiers of their own country.”

Fleisher expressed his hope that the Im Tirtzu tours will help “thousands of students to learn the historical truth of Hebron that will strengthen their connection to the city. They will also learn about the heroic spirit of Hebron that is much-needed today. In the end, the program will empower the students, the State of Israel’s presence in Hebron, and the entire Zionist narrative.”

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg has written the leaders of the Jewish Community of Hebron that “Im Tirtzu recognized that radical organizations are trying to harm one of the most important historical locations of the People of Israel. Bringing hundreds and thousands of students to Hebron this year and in upcoming years is the best answer to all those who are trying to rewrite the history of Israel.”

“These tours,” Peleg continued, “will ensure that the historical connection to Hebron will be passed on to the next generation of Israelis who will see with their own eyes what’s happening in the city and will learn about the lies perpetrated by radical organizations.”

Peleg expressed his commitment that Im Tirtzu would help keep Hebron at the heart of the Israeli consensus “despite the efforts of foreign-agent organizations.” Noting that Jewish history in Israel began in Hebron, with the purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs some 3,500 years ago, Peleg promised that Im Tirtzu would help “the future of Israel continue to prosper in Hebron.”

JNi.Media

MK Tibi: If Arabs Committed Arson It Would Be ‘Despicable and Vile’

Friday, November 25th, 2016

MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) told Tel Aviv Radio Friday that should it be discovered that the bulk of arson attacks committed this past week had been carried out by Arabs, this would be “horrible, despicable and vile.” He suggested in such a case, it would require condemnation and self examination inside Arab society in Israel.

So far there have been a number of arrests of Arab suspects who were caught fleeing the sites of fires this week, including in Beit Meir outside Jerusalem. In Haifa, the fact that several fires erupted at the same time on Thursday morning, one of them outside a firehouse, appear suspicious to investigators. And investigators blamed arson for the second wave of fires in and around Zichron Yaakov, after the original blaze had been brought under full control.

MK Tibi, an obstetrician who received his degree from the Hebrew University and began his internship at Hadassah Hospital in 1984, served as a political advisor to PLO chief Yasser Arafat and represented the Palestinian Authority at the 1998 Wye River peace negotiations with Israel.

Since his election to the Knesset in 1999, Tibi has been a vociferous critic of Israel and its rule over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, largely blaming it for all the ills of Arab society inside and outside the 1949 armistice border.

Despite his relentless opposition to every Israeli government since his election, Tibi is also famous for his eloquent and moving speech at the Knesset in honor of the 2010 Holocaust Day.

Meanwhile, on Thursday MK Tibi intervened with police on behalf of an Arab youth who incited for #pyroterrorism on his Facebook page, saying the post was “satire.”

David Israel

Zion Pharma, Kaplan Hospital, Developing ‘Gammora’ Cure for AIDS

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Experiments conducted recently at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, Israel, in collaboration with Zion Pharmaceuticals suggest a cure for the AIDS virus may be at hand, Israeli media reported Monday. Prof. Abraham Loyter of the Biological Chemistry Dept. at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, who developed the active ingredient in the experimental drug, reported that the drug, Gammora, was injected in test tubes with blood taken from AIDS patients and HIV carriers undergoing treatment at Kaplan.

In eight days, according to Prof. Loyter, who is working in collaboration with Prof. Zeev Steger, head of Kaplan’s Naveh Or AIDS clinic, the virus in the test tubes was cut down by between 95% and 97%. It appears that the Gammora drug is “causing the death of HIV cells,” he says.

Today’s anti-AIDS drugs curb the growth of virus, but do not eliminate it completely, and patients continue to be carriers even after overcoming the disease. “In our approach, we eliminate the cells so there’s no chance that the virus will return one day because there are no cells, or there will be no cells, containing the virus,” Loyter explained.

We asked Kaplan Medical Center spokesperson, Ofir Levy, about the unique choice for the name of the new drug, “Gammora,” which sounds an awful lot like Gomorrah, as in biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, which could be someone’s idea of a pun. Levy said it was just a generic choice by the manufacturer, Zion Pharmaceuticals, for the experimental phase, which won’t necessarily stick for the final product.

The final product, Levy noted, the one that gets past the 97% kill rate all the way to 100%, is still eluding the team. They also haven’t yet tested the drug on real patients, so far it’s only been blood in test tubes.

The Kaplan AIDS clinic is the largest in Israel, caring for 1,400 patients.

JNi.Media

American, Israeli Archaeologists Attack Authenticity of ‘Jerusalem Papyrus’

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

The authenticity of a rare and important find that was exposed in an enforcement operation of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery recently, and touted as the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing, has come under attack by two respected archaeologists.

Christopher Rollston, a renowned classics scholar teaching at George Washington University, wrote in his blog last week that “the fact that the papyrus itself has been carbon dated to the 7th century BCE certainly does not mean that the writing on the papyrus is ancient. In fact, it really means nothing. After all, ancient papyrus is readily available for purchase online (check the web and see!), thus, no modern forger worth his or her salt would forge an inscription on modern papyrus. Rather, he or she would purchase some ancient papyrus online and then write a text on it.”

Such forgeries are frequent, writes Rollston, and so “for anyone to conclude that this (or any) inscription must be ancient because the papyrus is ancient is quite naïve.”

Professor Aren M. Maeir, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, wrote on his blog on Friday that he is “not sure that it is real or a fake, but various issues are problematic. I would very much like it to be authentic – but first – doubts must be dispelled.” Prof. Maeir added that a better authentication is paramount “in light of the strong indications that many of the recently acquired fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls may be fakes – indicating that there are some very good forgers working out there – some of whom seem to have an in-depth knowledge in epigraphy, paleography and related issues.”

Speaking at the ninth annual conference on archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem and its environs that was held at the Hebrew University last week, Prof. Maeir attacked the IAA for its premature announcement before thoroughly examining not only the papyrus, but the ink as well. “I believe you, but not everyone will believe,” he said. “How do we know that it’s not fake [and intended to be sold on] the antiquities market?”

Prof. Rollston points out that “the Jerusalem Papyrus is from the antiquities market and it has been floating around on the market for a few years now. It was not found on an actual archaeological excavation. I saw some good images of it a few years ago in Jerusalem.” He cautions that “there are many modern inscriptional forgeries on the market, as I have argued in various publications, for some fifteen years now. … The money that modern forgers and dealers can make on modern forgeries is astronomical, consistently in the five and six figure range. The motivation is strong. In this case, this papyrus was seized, but that does not mean that it could not have been produced in the modern period with the intent of marketing it.”

Prof. Maeir makes a similar point: “The lack of sufficient details on how the papyrus was obtained, due to the need of the IAA Anti-theft Unit to protect its sources, is understood from an operational point of view (and I fully believe them about this), but it creates an aura of secrecy and lack of credibility around this. And if in fact the papyrus was known for several years to other scholars as well, this makes the background of its discovery even more obscure.”

But while Prof. Maeir is urging a more substantial effort to prove the age of the ink on the papyrus, Prof. Rollston insists even that would not necessarily prove anything, since “the capacity is present for faked inks to be produced in the modern period that yield an ancient C-14 date. Moreover, of course, a clever forger might simply purchase some ancient inscription on the antiquities market (e.g., one with mundane content and so not a high-value inscription) and then carefully scrape the ink from that inscription and then mix that (dry) ink with water and then use that ink in a modern-forgery with sensational content.”

Prof. Shmuel Achituv of Hebrew University argued against the fraud accusation by both scholars, telling Ha’aretz he believes the fact that the papyrus was folded over when it was seized goes a long way to suggest it is not a forgery. “Would a forger purchase an ancient, dry and brittle papyrus, write on it text in a font that fits the seventh century BCE, and then fold it up and tie it with a rope, risking his entire effort would be damaged?” Prof. Achituv asked.

Achitov also suggested that two Hebrew words on the papyrus, “Yerushalma” and “Na’arata” (“her maidservant”) are rare and would not have been used by a forger, “even if he is well versed in Scripture. If I were a forger, I’d pick a more impressive text,” he said.

Both critics of the papyrus each have a possible personal agenda in this debate, which does not necessarily mean that they’re wrong. Prof. Maeir objects to what he terms the “geopolitical considerations” which, as he told students at Brigham Young University in Utah, “played a large role in early excavations shortly after the state of Israel was formed in 1948. Many archaeologists were looking specifically to help establish the ancient legitimacy of Jewish claims to the land of Palestine, which had been occupied by the Turks for centuries before World War I.”

Prof. Rollston was fired from the Emmanuel Christian Seminary in Tennessee after clashing with the seminary leadership over his controversial column in the Huffington Post condemning female discrimination in the Bible. The seminary argued that he would offend students and turn off donors. Rollston wrote, back in 2012, that “gender equality may not have been the norm two or three millennia ago, but it is essential. So, the next time someone refers to ‘biblical values,’ it’s worth mentioning to them that the Bible often marginalized women and that’s not something anyone should value.”

JNi.Media

Ancient Muslim Inscription Confirms Dome of the Rock’s Jewish Temple Origin

Friday, October 28th, 2016

The ninth annual conference on archaeological discoveries in Jerusalem and its environs that was held at the Hebrew University this week revealed the existence of an ancient Muslim inscription testifying to the fact that the original name of the Dome of the Rock, Qubbat al-Sakhrah, was “Beit al Maqdis” بيت المقدس — “Beit Hamikdash” in Hebrew, aka the Jewish Temple — during the early Muslim era, Makor Rishon reported Friday.

According to archaeologists Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, the inscription is dated to the 10th century CE, about a thousand years ago. It is located above a mihrab-prayer niche inside an active mosque in the village of Nuba, located seven miles north-west of Hebron. It is unknown when it was placed there, but it certainly throws a fresh light on the process by which Jerusalem became holy to the Muslims and the inspiration that Islam drew from Jewish sources regarding the holiness of the Temple Mount compound and the Jewish temple that once stood at the spot where today stands the Dome of the Rock shrine.

"In the name of Allah, the merciful God This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque, as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty"

“In the name of Allah, the merciful God
This territory, Nuba, and all its boundaries
and its entire area, is an endowment to the Rock
of Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Aqsa Mosque,
as it was dedicated by the Commander of the Faithful, ̒Umar iben al-Khattab for the sake of Allah the Almighty”
Photo by: Assaf Avraham

Participants in the Jerusalem conference were particularly excited by this revelation in light of two recent UNESCO resolutions which disavowed any connection between Jewish history and the Temple Mount. One participant reminded the forum that the Mufti of Jerusalem already admitted that the Dome of the Rock stands on the same spot as Solomon’s Temple, “but here we have an archaeological find that proves it,” he said.

According to both researchers, in the early Muslim era the Dome of the Rock was the site of worship services that were influenced by the ceremonies of the Jerusalem Temple: cleansing, incense, anointing the Foundation Stone with oil and surrounding it with curtains inspired by the divine parochet. The shrine, built around the Foundation Stone, just like the two Jewish Temples, was completed in 691 CE, by an architect named Yazid Ibn Salam, who was either Jewish himself or had Jewish aides.

There is a theory that Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik originally had the Dome of the Rock built as a shrine for the Jews, while Al Aqsa, the mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount, was built for Muslims.

There is a trend where Muslims have recently begun referring to the entire Temple Mount compound, which they also call al-Haram ash-Sharif (“The Noble Compound”), as Al Aqsa.

David Israel

Discovery: ‘Jerusalem’ on Hebrew Papyrus

Friday, October 21st, 2016

A unique, 2,700-year-old Papyrus which mentions the Hebrew word “Yerushalma” (possibly meaning “to Jerusalem”) will be revealed next week at a conference on Innovations in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Environs, at the Rabin Jewish Studies Building on the Mount Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University, Makor Rishon reported. Researchers say the papyrus may be the earliest evidence in Hebrew of the connection between the city of Jerusalem and the period of the Kings of Israel.

The papyrus is a document written on paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant, cyperus papyrus. Such documents were written on sheets of papyrus, joined together side by side and rolled up into a scroll, in an early form of a book. In a dry climate, like that of Egypt or the Judaean desert, the papyrus pages are stable, since they are made of highly rot-resistant cellulose; but storage in humid conditions can result in molds attacking and destroying the material.

To date, the only other archaeological find that mentions Jerusalem in Hebrew were carvings on a cave wall at the Beit Loya ruin near Amatzia in southern Judea (west of the green line). The cave, which has been dubbed the “Jerusalem Cave” was excavated in 1970, and the writing on the wall says, “The whole land and the Judaean mountains are His, the God of Yerushalaim.” Prof. Shmuel Achituv, a scholar of the history of the people of Israel in the ancient East, deciphered that text and has now also deciphered the papyrus with the word “Yerushalma.” He will lecture on his discovery at next week’s lecture.

According to Achituv, to date the name “Yerushalaim” has been discovered in archaeological finds in languages other than Hebrew, such as in the El-Amarna letters, written in cuneiform, which were sent by the kings of Canaan to the Pharaoh in the 14th century BCE. There is also an Assyrian documentation of the siege laid by King Sennacherib on Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah in 701 BCE.

The Hebrew papyrus was discovered recently in the Judaean desert and purchased from an antique dealer. It was examined by the Israel Antiquities Authority’s labs, and carbon dated. The results showed with certainty that the papyrus dates back to the 8th century BCE, near the end of the Kingdom of Judea, a short while before the destruction of the First Temple.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/discovery-jerusalem-on-hebrew-papyrus/2016/10/21/

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