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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew University’

Oldest Alphabetical Written Text Found near Temple Mount

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Hebrew University archaeologists have found the oldest known alphabetical inscription from Jerusalem, dating back to the period of Kings David or Solomon, 250 years before the previously oldest known written text.

The inscription was found near the Temple Mount but is not in Hebrew and was from the pre-Temple period, in the language of one of the peoples who occupied Israel at the time, according to the archaeologists.

Reading from left to right, the text contains a combination of letters approximately 2.5 cm tall, which translate to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n. Since this combination of letters has no meaning in known west-Semitic languages, the inscription’s meaning is unknown.

The archaeologists suspect the inscription specifies the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Because the inscription is not in Hebrew, it is likely to have been written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps Jebusites, who were part of the city population in the time of Kings David and Solomon.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar unearthed the artifact, in the Canaanite language and engraved on a large pithos, a neckless ceramic jar found with six others at the Ophel excavation site. He said it is the only one of its kind discovered in Jerusalem and is an important addition to the city’s history.

The previously oldest known script, in Hebrew, was from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the 8th century BCE.

The inscription was engraved near the edge of the jar before it was fired, and only a fragment of it has been found, along with fragments of six large jars of the same type. The fragments were used to stabilize the earth fill under the second floor of the building they were discovered in.

An analysis of the jars’ clay composition indicates that they are all of a similar make, and probably originate in the central hill country near Jerusalem.

According to Prof. Ahituv, the inscription is not complete and probably wound around the jar’s shoulder, while the remaining portion is just the end of the inscription and one letter from the beginning.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

Terrorist Receives Doctorate from Hebrew University

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Adel Hidmi, a terrorist who served two prison terms following his involvement in planning a suicide bombing and other terror activities, received his doctorate in chemistry at Hebrew University this past week.

A resident of east Jerusalem, Hidmi was convicted in 1992 for his involvement with terrorist organizations and served ten months in prison. Despite his record, Hebrew University accepted Hidmi as a doctoral candidate where he began his double career as a chemistry student and terrorist networker, according to a news report in Israeli newspaper, Maariv.

During his doctoral track at Hebrew University’s Department of Chemistry, Hidmi was approached by two Palestinians in Ramallah and asked to locate a man ready to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2002. With the backdrop of the second Intifada and a slew of suicide bombers frequently carrying out attacks, in the midst of writing academic papers, Hindi was able to find a suitable candidate to carry out the bombing.

Three days before the attack was to be carried out in central Jerusalem, an elite army unit arrested the two Palestinians in Ramallah and Hidmi was arrested in Jerusalem. Shin Bet representatives stated in a Jerusalem court that Hidmi had been taking advantage of his Israeli citizenship to organize suicide attacks against civilians.

A Hebrew University cafeteria had also been the deadly target of a terrorist bombing that killed nine students and staff that same year.

When Hidmi was released from prison after serving three years for his terror activities, he requested to complete his doctorate at Hebrew University. An internal committee at Hebrew University gave him the go-ahead, but on a condition. Because Hidmi’s work centered on chemistry experiments which could aid in developing explosives according to Maariv, the university did not allow him to use their laboratories. Hidmi thus completed his research based on past experiments.

This past Sunday, Hidmi was awarded his doctorate degree along with 375 other researchers at Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus. Hebrew University released a statement declaring that “The University does not prohibit those with criminal backgrounds from studying within its gates. The work of Adel Hidmi – who completed serving his sentence – was considered academically worthy and he met all the requirements to receive doctorate degree. With that, note that Hidmi did not receive permission to use the university labs after his conviction.”

“I think it’s going too far to allow someone with Himdi’s record to study at Hebrew University,” said Elan, a third-year student in politics and communications. “It’s one thing to have a criminal record, but to have a terrorist record is entirely different matter.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Hebrew University criminology student, Adi Golan organized a protest against the university’s decision along with other student movements including Im Tirtzu.

“We organized this protest because we don’t believe it’s legitimate to allow someone who has a terrorist background to earn a doctorate in a subject like chemistry,” Golan told Tazpit News Agency. “Who knows how he [Hidmi] will use the academic and research knowledge he gained against Israel in the future?” she asked.

Streisand Spouts Off on Women ‘In Foreign Land of Israel’

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Barbra Streisand, now “Dr. Streisand” following an award from Hebrew University on Monday, joined a host of celebrities and politicians who know nothing about Israel but can’t resist telling the country what is best for it, especially for Jewish women.

She played a handicap game, prefacing her remarks about women’s religious rights in Israel with an apologetic remark, “”I realize it’s not easy to fully grasp the dynamics of what happens in a foreign land.”

Let’s stop right there for a minute.

She is the only artist ever to receive an Academy Award, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, National Medal of Arts and Peabody Awards and France’s Legion d’honneur as well as the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Streisand is the recipient of two Oscars, five Emmys, 10 Grammies, a Tony and 12 Golden Globes including the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The three films she directed received 14 Oscar nominations.

She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University. She received The Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign and was awarded the ACLU Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union for her defense of U.S. constitutional rights.

On Monday, she received an honorary PhD from Hebrew University, where, just by coincidence, she contributed a huge sum of money for a building in memory of her father Emanuel, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”

Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, said, “Her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career.” University officials described her as “a close friend of Israel.”

Okay. Now we have her credentials for her declaring, in a “foreign land,” that it “is distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of the bus or when we hear about ‘Women of the Wall’ having metal chairs thrown at them when they attempt to peacefully and legally pray.”

Streisand loves Israel, so much so that she is visiting the country for the first time in, let me count, 29 years.

There is no doubt she really does love Israel. Almost every Jew, even those who call it an Apartheid state, say they love Israel.

And like every other Jew, not to mention the non-Jews, Streisand thinks she knows what is best for Israel.

Once an American becomes Secretary of State, or a super star in sports or entertainment, or filthy rich, or gives money to Israel, he or she usually realizes that produces instant wisdom concerning Israel.

At least Streisand had the decency to be honest by unintentionally make herself look awkward, stating that Israel is “a foreign land” to her understanding.

She spoke the truth, more than most if not all other foreigners.

Israel indeed is foreign, even to Jews, who feel filled with spirit at the Western Wall but can’t tell the difference between an Arab and a Sephardi Jew, between an “anti-suicide bomber security fence” and an “Apartheid Wall,” and between a settler and a Jew from Tel Aviv.

Streisand’s comments were not so far off the mark, except that they were totally redundant and damaging to Israel in that they simply broadcast exceptions as a rule.

It indeed was distressing that a handful, more or less, of Haredim threw metal chairs and objects – on one day and only one – at women trying to pray in their own minyan at the Western Wall, which officially is an orthodox synagogue.

Granted, the official Haredi attitude towards the Women of the Wall movement is questionable and is expressed in a way that is destructive. But it is more or less a dead issue.

Ditto regarding her comments about women sitting in the back of the bus, a phenomena that is disgusting, which occurs on a tiny percent age point of buses and is on its way to the recycle bin.

After addressing both issues that already are old and irrelevant news, she admitted, “Repairs are being made, and that’s very good.”

Streisand, as a good liberal Jew who is visiting Israel to sing at the Israeli Presidential Conference Tuesday night, undoubtedly is undergoing a spiritual experience this week.

‘Extinct’ Frog in Israel Becomes a Unique ‘Living Fossil’

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

An ancient frog can now be added to Israel’s history. The “painted frog,” though to be extinct, turns out to be a descendant of a one million-old frog.

The first amphibian to have been officially declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been rediscovered in the north of Israel after some 60 years and turns out to be a unique “living fossil,” without close relatives among other living frogs.

The Hula painted frog was catalogued within the Discoglossus group when it was first discovered in the Hula Valley of Israel in the early 1940s. The frog was thought to have disappeared following the drying up of the HulaLake at the end of the 1950s, and was declared extinct by the IUCN in 1996. As a result, the opportunity to discover more about this species’ history, biology and ecology was thought to have disappeared.

However, a team of Israeli, German and French researchers now report in the scientific journal Nature Communications on an in-depth scientific analysis of this enigmatic amphibian.

Based on new genetic analyses of rediscovered individuals and the morphologic analyses of extant and fossil bones, the conclusion is that the Hula frog differs strongly from its other living relatives, the painted frogs from northern and western Africa.

Instead, the Hula frog is related to a genus of fossil frogs, Latonia, which were found over much of Europe dating back to prehistoric periods and has been considered extinct for about a million years,

The results imply that the Hula painted frog is not merely another rare species of frog, but is actually the sole representative of an ancient clade of frogs, a group with a single common ancestor.

Plans to re-flood parts of the HulaValley and restore the original swamp habitat are in place, which may allow expansion in population size and a secure future for the Hula painted frog.

The combined research effort that led to the revelation and analyses of the previously considered “extinct” frog was conducted by Rebecca Biton, a Ph.D. student of the Hebrew University Institute of Archaeology, in cooperation with professors from the RuppinAcademicCenter, TelAvivUniversity, the Weizmann Institute of Science and other researchers from Israel, France and Germany.

Barbra Streisand to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew U

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Legendary American Jewish actress and singer Barbra Streisand will receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem next month.

The university said it is honoring Streisand “in recognition of her professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights, and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.”

Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, stated, “Barbra Streisand’s transcendent talent is matched by her passionate concern for equality and opportunity for people of every gender and background. Equally important, her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career. We are deeply proud to honor an individual who exemplifies these values which we at the Hebrew University share and uphold.”

Streisand established the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies on the University’s Mount Scopus campus in 1984 in memory of her father, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”

Referring to her 1983 award-winning movie, “Yentl,” she said she was pleased that women could now “pursue Jewish studies without having to disguise themselves as men.” The film, which she directed, produced, and co-wrote, had its Israeli premiere in 1984 under the sponsorship of the Israel Friends of The Hebrew University.

Streisand will sing publicly for the first time in Israel when she visits next month and performs in two concerts. The personal highlight of her trip will be the performance on the opening night of the Israeli Presidential Conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center June 18.

Two years ago, Streisand appeared in a program on behalf of the welfare of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, raising $12 million.

Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1942, she lost her father when she was just a child. While still in her teens, she launched her career as a singer by initially winning a singing contest. At age 19, Streisand made her Broadway debut, and in 1962 she issued her first album, which quickly became the top-selling record by a female vocalist in the United States.

By age 28, Streisand had already earned five of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious awards – the Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe, making her an icon of American culture and an international favorite.

The honorary degree from Hebrew University will not be her first. Streisand holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis.

Streisand once sang the Israel national anthem, taking the stage at the conclusion of the 1978 Stars Salute Israel show.

A YouTube video of her rendition can be seen below.

Saudi Arabia Warns Students of Hebrew U. ‘Suspicious’ Website

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s Education Ministry has warned students to steer clear of what it called “suspicious websites,” an apparent reference to the Hebrew University site that has attracted Saudi students.

The ministry’s spokesman, Dr. Muhammad Al-Hayzan, said the certificates from such institutions will not be accredited by the ministry. “Students have other alternatives. One of them is they can join the Saudi Electronic University,” he added.

The Nocamels.com website reported last week that Hebrew University has started giving free courses in cooperation with global partners who help it promote these courses. The university claimed that its online courses on neurology and the brain attracted over 40,000 students all over the world, including Saudi Arabia.

Fred Lafer, Longtime Jewish Leader, Dies

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Fred Lafer, a longtime leader of several Jewish institutions, died Tuesday in New Jersey after suffering from leukemia.

Lafer served as president and chairman of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy beginning in 2000. He also was chairman of the executive committee of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem’s board of directors.

He also served as president of American Friends of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He and his wife, Barbara, established the Lafer Center for Women’s Studies at the university. He also was president of the Taub Foundation.

“Fred was a gentle, generous and insightful man with a genuine appreciation for the power of ideas,” said Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute. “He took special interest in the lives and careers of our youngest researchers, which he viewed as our greatest asset and most precious investment.”

Lafer was an engineer and an attorney, and was the first general counsel of Automatic Data Processing, Inc. He held honorary doctorates from Hebrew University and William Paterson University in New Jersey.

He was the son of immigrants from Visokoe-Litovsk, Russia, and lived in New Jersey, where he served on the Wayne Board of Education as well as the William Paterson University board.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fred-lafer-longtime-jewish-leader-dies/2013/05/01/

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