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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Negev’

A Female Role Model of Humanity in Israel

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

A startling contrast presently exists in the world between the extraordinary educational and cultural success of a woman of minority origin in Israel and the denial of education for females by a brutal, fanatical Islamist group in Nigeria.

Israel can be unquestionably proud of Dr. Rania Okby, a specialist in maternal fetal medicine, who is the first female Bedouin doctor in the world and a role model for Bedouin women in Israel.

On the other hand, Nigerians, and those who regard themselves as peaceful Muslims, must be embarrassed by or ashamed of the actions of Boko Haram. This is the Islamic terrorist group that specializes in non-medical matters: bombings, murders, assassinations, and, on April 14, 2014, the abduction of more than 275 mostly Christian teenage girls from their secondary school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria. This in order to prevent them from being educated in a secular manner and to sell them into sexual slavery.

The Bedouin community in Israel, numbering about 250,000, is the least developed group in the country. Its members have been handicapped by their lifestyle, which among other things has meant the following: lack of a strong educational system, forced marriages of underage girls, consanguineous marriages, high average birthrate of six per Bedouin woman, restrictions on women working outside the home, and high unemployment. Part of the community lives in unauthorized villages without electricity or proper medical care. In those villages, life expectancy is lower than elsewhere in Israel.

Positive social and cultural change does not happen overnight, and it is rewarding when it does occur. Programs at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Beersheba in the Negev are helping to change Bedouin lives. In 1997 the Arnow Center for Bedouin Studies and Development was founded. At that point there were no Bedouin women studying at BGU. Today, more than 60% of the 2,678 Bedouin students at BGU are women.

From the Bedouin community, in its interaction with modern Israeli society, emerged Rania Okby with a remarkable success story. Okby was raised by a single mother who had divorced her husband when he, following Muslim law, wanted to exercise his right to take a second wife. Okby did well in high school, spending extra time to learn English, and enrolled at the age of 16 in the medical school at BGU – the first Bedouin girl to study medicine. As a student, she moved between the Israeli western milieu at the university, during the hours between 8 am and 4 pm, and the traditional society and world of her Bedouin community after 4 pm. She graduated in 2004, having been fully funded by BGU’s outreach program, and after that has been a post-grad both in Israel and in other countries.

As well as being a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, with at least two important articles concerning the cycle of pregnancy to birth, she has influenced Bedouin society as an informal psychologist, sociologist, counselor, and social worker, especially on marital issues among the Bedouins. At present, 12 out of every 1,000 Bedouin children die within their first year, and most women are married by the age of 18.

Dr. Okby’s objective is to educate the women of the community and thus change this situation. She has explained that these women are afraid to use contraception since their husbands want more children. In a broader context, she has been concerned with “honor killings” by Muslim men and has helped to protect young women from their families.

With her concern for the education of women, Dr. Okby is a symbol of the future – not only in regard to people of the Bedouin community, but also through the significance of her role for women elsewhere.

Unexpected Downpour Swells Lake Kinneret, Creates Havoc in Israel

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The sun peeked out just long enough Thursday afternoon for Israelis to see the flooding caused by the “sound and light show” they endured over Wednesday night.

Cracks of thunder and long streaks of lightning interspersed with the downpour that sent sheets of rain down through the skies over Israel, drenching the entire country.

Downpours at this time of year are unusual but not unheard of, meteorologist said. By mid-afternoon Thursday, the skies in southern Israel were once again filled with leaden clouds that appeared once more to be pregnant with rain. It was not clear whether in fact more precipitation was on the way; the forecast calls for the possibility for rain, continuing even into as Friday morning.

Rain is considered a blessing in this part of the world no matter when it arrives. There has been a 2.5-centimeter (one inch) rise in the water level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) as a result of the record-breaking downpour.

But some may have seen it as a mixed blessing: Fifteen members of the Bnei Akiva youth group were trapped in a southern Israeli parking lot due to the flooding. They were rescued by special teams and evacuated from the scene by helicopter. IDF vehicles prepared to enter the area to help evacuate remaining hikers who had been touring in the area.

Bezeq phone lines were still down around the Dead Sea area at midday and service was sporadic at best.

Cell phone companies were scrambling to restore service in the central region. In the Jerusalem area, Cellcom customers reported all kinds of difficulties in placing their calls and in sending text messages Thursday afternoon.

The company had not formulated a response to the complaints by mid-afternoon.

Further south, near Eilat, Route 90 was still closed to traffic by late afternoon due to flash flooding that swamped the road after a night of thunder and lightning that swept Israel from north to south. Route 31, which had been closed earlier in the day, is now open.

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.

British Soccer Club Owner Rents Entire Israeli Hotel for Passover

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

If you are looking for a hotel room for Passover in Mitzpeh Ramon in the Central Negev, start looking elsewhere.

Roman Abramovich, owner of Britain’s Chelsea soccer club, has booked all 111 rooms in the Beresheet Hotel in the mountain desert resort city, the London Daily Mail reported.

Abramovich reportedly will fly to Israel today (Sunday) in his private jet with Darya Zhukova and their children Aaron and Leah, and travel by limousine to the hotel.

The bill will come to approximately $450,000, not including tips. He will conduct the Passover Seder in a tent that was built for him at the Beresheet Hotel, which has a view of the Ramon Crater, the world’s largest crater created by erosion.

He can afford it. His personal wealth is estimated at  slightly more than $14 billion making him the 50th richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

The last time  Abramovich was in Israel for Passover was in 2009, when he rented out an entire floor of a hotel in Eilat.

The Daily Mail reported, “Abramovich is a frequent visitor to Israel. In the past year alone he has been to the country five times, including visits to technology incubators in Tel Aviv with a view to investing in high-tech startups and attending a fundraising event for an organization that carries out archeological excavations, which he supports financially.”

Miracle Saves Gaza Belt Community in Mortar Shell Attack

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Gaza terrorists attacked the Western Negev with a mortar shell that landed smack in the middle of a small community Wednesday night but miraculously exploded in an open area without causing damage or injuries.

The IDF is investigating why the Color Red early warning system did not sound and give residents the usual advance notice of 20 seconds to scurry to bomb shelters.

Earlier in the day, terrorists launched a mortar shell but it landed inside the Gaza area.

The name of the community targeted in the explosion Wednesday night was not reported for reasons of security except that it was in the Sha’ar HaNegev region, less than a mile from northern Gaza and home to several farming moshavim and kibbutzim.

The IDF is certain to retaliate within hours, but as usual, the targets will be a rocket or mortar shell launching site or perhaps a weapons factory and a smuggling tunnel.

The IDF knows the locations of terrorists but responds only in the case of rocket strike or mortar shelling or a “ticking bomb” plot to attack.

A strong counter-terrorist maneuver, such as invading Gaza or bombing Hamas offices would meet with universal condemnation for a “disproportionate” attack.

And Israel does not want to be disproportionate because it might cause the world to be angry with the Jews. It might mean Israel won’t have the backing of the United Nations and the Obama administration, especially  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Oh, did someone say Israel does not have that support anyway? No, it can’t be. Kerry says he is pro-Israel, so it must be.

But what happens when, God forbid, the IDF runs out of miracles, and a mortar shell or “primitive” Kassam rocket hits a kindergarten? That happened a couple of years ago, but another miracle happened – the pre-school facility was closed for the day.

But when someone is killed or seriously wounded, and it will happen, then the IDF can be “proportionate” and go after one or two terrorists.

The principle of “proportionate” only applies to Israel. The day is not near when any other country will count how many citizens are killed or wounded by an enemy missile strike before going to war against the attacker.

But the United States is big on proportionate retaliation. Wasn’t it the United States that dropped a couple of Atomic Bombs on Japan? And wasn’t it the atomic bombs that put an end to the war?

Israel does not need to nuke Gaza,. The time will come when Gaza will meet its Maker,

The best scenario is one whereby Gaza falls apart with a mini-civil war breaking out between terrorists who will kill each other off until the only ones remaining alive are the poor Arabs who enjoyed a much better life when the Jews were employing them as construction workers in Tel Aviv and farm workers in Gush Katif.

One scenario is another major counter terrorist attack, but that won’t happen until the world gives up on Hamas and puts it money behind the cliché that “Israel has a right to defend itself (but it better not).”

That is not going to happen today. Nor tomorrow. And not next month.

The third scenario, more likely, is a mini counter-offensive in Gaza, with aerial bombing of Hamas targets but without, God forbid, injuring any terrorists, usually described to the gullible and foolish media establishment as people who are handicapped, mentally ill or are small children who actually were playing soccer in a no-go zone near the security fence at Gaza.

And there is the other scenario, the one that is now in place.

It’s called Russian Roulette..

So, please, pray tonight for more miracles.

New Solar Energy Fields Launched in Negev and North of Eilat

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A solar energy company headquartered at a Conservative Jewish kibbutz spread its solar energy investments with the launch of six new solar fields in the Negev and Arava, north of Eilat, on Monday.

The $150-million projects cover 128 acres on moshavim and kibbutzim.

Arava, based on the Ketura Kibbutz in the Arava, approximately 43 miles north of Eilat, also has begun construction of a 150-acre solar energy farm near Ketura and which will be able to supply more than a third of Eilat’s electricity’s needs

“Now that the current quotas have been utilized, the time has come to launch the economic tariff era, and to build scores of additional projects, all of them in the Negev and Arava, ventures which long ago demonstrated eligibility for tariff approval, ventures which can be hooked up to the national grid within a year of publication of the second campaign series,” said Arava Power CEO Jon Cohen said.

Arab has been an innovator in clean energy. It recently installed the world’s first automated cleaning system with 84 robots for its solar 28,000 panels.

The kibbutz is environmentally oriented in other areas besides solar energy.

Its operates Algatechnologies, a leading manufacturer and supplier of natural algae astaxanthin. The company announced on Monday the launch of a new products, called AstaPure® 20% astaxanthin oleoresin, which “offers much smaller, friendlier sized capsules without changing or reducing the astaxanthin dosage,” according to Efrat Kat, Director of Marketing and Sales at Algatech.

Algatech’s cultivation process employs a closed system that remains completely exposed to natural sunlight.

AstaPure products are used in multiple forms of dietary supplements, “cosmeceuticals,” foods and beverages.

Iron Beam Intercepts Mortar Shells ‘Like Flies’

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Israel’s new Iron Beam anti-mortar shell system achieved a high interception rate in tests that showed it “shoots down flying objects like flies,” according to the CEO of Rafael Advanced Systems, which developed the technology.

Yedidia Yaari told Israel Defense, “This is a system for a shorter range than Iron Dome,” which has been deployed around urban centers and has a high success rate of interception short and medium-range missiles.

The Iron Beam uses a laser that “is designed to intercept simpler munitions, such as mortars,” Yaari explained.

He added, “The system has undergone feasibility tests, and we’re now in the development stage. We’re after the demo, but there is another development phase ahead of us. There are technology models that prove that it has a very high interception rate.”

The system will give a bit of peace of mind to residents of the Gaza Belt communities, pounded by thousands of mortar shells for well over a decade.

Leaders of the communities have been hollering for years for the government to give the IDF the green light to invade Gaza and regain control that was lost by a soft policy against terrorism in the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada, which began in 2000.

The Defense Ministry for years consistently carried out a policy of restraint, preferring not to retaliate harshly for fear of sparking an escalation by Hamas terrorists, who always want the last word, or in this case, the last missile.

The only changes in the policy were when Tel Aviv was threatened, in November 2008, prior to the Operation Cast Lead counter-terrorist campaign, and a year and a half ago, when the IDF countered with the Pillar of Cloud campaign.

With these exceptions, southern Israel’s residents have been subject to enemy missile fire and mortar shelling attacks at any time day and night and have paid a heavy price. Dozens have been killed, hundreds have been wounded and thousands still suffer from post-trauma stress.

In the past year, the Defense Ministry has become more defensive and has retaliated almost after every mortar shell or Kassam rocket attack.

The response usually is symbolic, with Air Force planes and drones bombing weapons factories and smuggling tunnels that already are known to exist.

The Iron Beam system will offer more protection and will make it more difficult for Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza to ruin the lives of people in the Western Negev.

The IDF knows that Hamas eventually will try to use their longer-range missiles to attack Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Terrorists do not stockpile missiles. They use them to prove to themselves that normal civilization has no value in the eyes of their Allah.

Sometime in the future, when Israel has enough confidence to decisively wipe out the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza if it does rot away first, historians might write that Israel was strong by not touching off another war with the usual outcome of international condemnation of the country’s carrying out the right to defend itself.

They also should write that the bravery of Israel in the Negev who did not flee, and many of whom were killed, allowed the IDF to wait so many years before developing the Iron Beam.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/iron-beam-intercepts-mortar-shells-like-flies/2014/04/03/

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