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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘University of Haifa.’

As US Anthropologists Reject BDS Resolution, Israeli Economy Thriving Despite Boycotts

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

On Tuesday, the 10,000-member American Anthropological Association announced the results of a vote on its proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions: the call to boycott failed. After many who are close to the organization had predicted the measure would pass, it lost by 2,423 to 2,384 votes.

The failure of the boycott proposal came as unexpected relief to people like Ted Gup, a professor of journalism at Emerson College, who wrote on the eve of the vote in The Chronicle of Higher Education that it is “misguided, counterproductive, and sure to damage both the association and the Palestinian cause.” He added that “it also puts at risk any network of scholars by inviting similar future reprisals.” Also, he warned that “the boycott will harm the very people it is intended to help and embolden those whose hardline policies the AAA disdains.” But “beyond all this,” Gup, who is Jewish, noted that “the boycott itself is irreparably flawed and discredited by the historical and contemporary context that produced it.”

It also appears that the boycotts have had no influence at all on Israel’s economy, which today is the fastest growing in OEDC, according to a Bloomberg News report citing a steep increase in foreign investments in Israeli assets, which last year hit a record high of $285.12 billion, “a near-tripling from 2005 when the so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was started by a group of Palestinians.”

“We don’t have a problem with foreign investment in Israel — on the contrary,” Yoel Naveh, chief economist at Israel’s finance ministry, told Bloomberg.

According to people from the entire spectrum of the market: money managers, economists and government officials, “Israeli assets are an attractive alternative to weak performers elsewhere.” And even though Israel’s economy has slowed down in 2016, it is still growing faster than the economies of the US and Europe and its interest rate is higher.

Interestingly, Bloomberg also reported that the business community rejects the fabricated accusations against Israel perpetrated by the BDS activists, “that investing in Israeli innovation and natural gas violates Palestinian rights, and that Israel’s misdeeds are so exceptional that they justify singling it out for censure.”

Bloomberg quotes data collected by IVC Research Center which suggests that even with an appreciating shekel, Israeli startups have raised $3.76 billion in 2015 from foreign investors, their highest annual figure in ten years. In 2015 Israeli industrial high-tech exports rose 13% from 2014 to $23.7 billion, and in 2016 Israel’s economy is expected to grow 2.8%, compared with the US (1.8%) and the EU (1.8%).

Or, as the Torah put it, back in 1248 BCE: “But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.” (Exodus 1:12)

Back to the failed BDS vote at the AAA, there’s a point Ted Gup was making in his thoughtful article which suggests the more Israel makes itself known to the world, the less would anti-Semitic NGOs be able to feed off its flesh. “In the summer of 2015, with the support of a Fulbright, I taught at the University of Haifa, in Israel’s third-largest city and one of its most secular and progressive urban centers,” Gup related. “The university boasts a student population that is one-third Arab. It is common to see student-soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces, rifles slung over their shoulders, checking alongside their Arab classmates the same class announcement boards or discussing homework. Nor is it unusual for heated debates about Israeli policy to arise between Jews and Arabs in the classroom — and even more commonly, between Jews and Jews.”

Then he made a most cogent point, coming as it does from a leftwing perspective: “So how does a learned society like the AAA justify punishing the likes of the University of Haifa or see doing so as an effective message to the Israeli government? Many of my colleagues on the Haifa faculty openly criticize that government, as do their students. A wholesale boycott of academic institutions applies the same indiscriminate standard of punishment that the association says it abhors. The AAA would argue that you don’t bulldoze a house or bomb a block in Gaza because of one attacker. How then do you justify cutting off relations with all Israeli academic institutions based not on actions but on geography?”

JNi.Media

Yankee Come Home: Knesset Marks 100 Years of Jewish-American Involvement in Israel

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday marks 100 years of Jewish-American involvement in the pre-state Jewish community and in the State of Israel, with a series of committee meetings and events. The special day is an initiative of MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp-Labor), head of the Lobby for US-Israel Relations.

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, headed by MK Tzach Hanegbi (Likud) will hold a debate on “US Jewry as a strategic asset for Israel’s security”; the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, chaired by MK Elie Elalouf (Kulanu), will discuss US Jewry’s contribution to the advancement of weaker populations in Israel; the Education, Culture and Sports Committee, headed by MK Yakov Margi (Shas), will discuss the contribution of American Jews to educational enterprises and community centers in Israel; and the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, headed by MK Avraham Neguise (Likud), will hold a debate on US Jewry’s contribution to the settlement of the Land of Israel, the absorption of immigrants and the immigration of youth to the country.

During the day, an exhibition titled “Stripes, Stars and Magen David” will be launched in the Knesset’s Chagall Hall. Initiated and curated by the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa, the exhibition celebrates the ongoing commitment of American Jewry to the welfare and prosperity of Israel. It features 100 selected photos outlining the depth and breadth of Jewish American contribution to Israel, ranging from education, medical and social services, to financial support and political lobbying.

Later, a ceremony will be held in Chagall Hall in the presence of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, and Richard Sandler, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America.

JNi.Media

Israeli Scientist Finds Omega-3 Reduces Smoking

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Want to stop smoking, for real, and you just can’t seem to manage it on your own but hate the thought of patches and “chemicals” ?

A new study conducted by an Israeli scientist  has found that Omega-3 reduces a smoker’s craving for nicotine, thereby making it easier to quit the unhealthy habit.

The study was headed by Dr. Sharon Rabinovitz Shenkar, head of the addictions program at University of Haifa’s school of criminology and the department of psychopharmacology laboratory at Bar Ilan University.

Subjects participating in the study were asked to take five capsules per day for 30 days of Omega-3 950 produced by Solgar. A second group, used as controls, received placebos. Neither group was asked to stop smoking.

The groups included 38 smokers ages 18 to 45 who somked at least 10 cigarettes per day during the past year, and an average of 14 cigarettes per day. The average subject had been smoking for at least 11 years.

Levels of nicotine craving and consumption were measured using a series of scales at the beginning of the study, after 30 days of treatment and after 60 days (30 days after stopping the Omega-3 capsules.)

“The substances and medications currently used to help people reduce and quit smoking are not very effective and cause adverse effects that are not easy to cope with,” Shenkar observed.

“The findings of this study indicated that Omega-3, an inexpensive and easily available dietary supplement with almost no side effects, reduces smoking significantly,” she added.

Among myriad other health problems, smoking also reduces the levels of essential fatty acids in the brain – especially that of Omega-3. When the body is deficient in Omega-3, the cellular structure of nerve cells is damaged, and it interrupts neurotransmission in areas of the brain involved with feeling pleasure and satisfaction, Shenkar explained.

These areas are essential in reward and decision-making, and are very important in the process of the development, maintenance and relapse of the addict and inability to stop smoking.

“In simpler terms, Omega-3 deficiency makes it harder for the smoker’s body to deal with its craving for another cigarette.

The findings of the new study show that while no difference was found between the groups at the beginning of the study, after thirty days the smokers who had taken Omega-3 reduced their cigarettes by an average of two a day (an eleven-percent decrease), even though they were not asked to change their smoking habits in any way. No less important, they showed a significant decrease in nicotine craving. After another thirty days of not taking anything, cigarette cravings increased slightly but still remained significantly lower than their initial level. In other words, the craving to smoke cigarettes did not return to the baseline level even a month after stopping to take the supplement. The group receiving the placebo did not show any significant changes in their craving levels or in the number of cigarettes they smoked a day during the sixty days.

“Earlier studies have proven that an imbalance in Omega-3 is also related to mental health, depression and the ability to cope with pressure and stress,” Shenkar emphasized. “Pressure and stress, in turn, are associated with the urge to smoke. It is also known that stress and tension levels rise among people who quit smoking. Despite all this, this connection between all these factors had not been studied until now.”

The finding that people who were not interested in stopping to smoke showed such a significant change reinforces the assumption that taking Omega-3 can help smokers to regulate their addiction and reduce their smoking, Shenkar pointed out.

Hana Levi Julian

Cheerleading and Legal Support for Terrorism at Haifa University

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

In recent days the University of Haifa in northern Israel, where I am employed, has come under intensive criticism because the “legal clinics” operated by its School of Law are assigning law students the task of counseling and defending convicted Arab terrorists and mass murderers of Jews.

The president of the university issued a statement defending the activities of these clinics. The dean of the law school, together with the head of the clinics, went on the attack and denounced those who criticize the clinics’ practice of counseling and defending terrorists.

The dean, Prof. Gad Barzilai, is a radical who is active in leftist “human rights” groups and involved in academic politicization in Israel. (Barzilai was a defender of the Department of Politics at Ben Gurion University – the worst anti-Israel agitprop center in the country – when an international panel of experts called for shutting it down).

Barzilai claims that all criticism of the law school for its involvement with terrorists is politically motivated. In particular he denounced the Zionist student movement Im Tirtzu for criticizing the law school. Several faculty members at the university called for filing SLAPP suits against the students to silence them, and one anti-Israel faculty extremist complained that the clinics were not defending the terrorists enough.

Im Tirtzu claims that 80 percent of the cases taken on by the University of Haifa’s legal clinic for “prisoner rights” involves Arab terrorists and spies. One involved a terrorist and convicted rapist seeking a furlough.

Dean Barzilai insists the law school is simply devoted to “repairing society” and defending the “weakened populations” of Israel.

In the past, the law school prohibited the singing of Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, at its graduation ceremonies, claiming it would offend the sensitivities of Arab students.

On a discussion list for faculty members in the University of Haifa, I posted the following as a response to the statement from the dean of law:

To: The Segel-Plus Discussion List

From: Prof. Steven Plaut

Re: Some more Ideas for the Law Clinics to Achieve Social Justice and Help the Weak

Date: November 13, 2013

I am sure we are all grateful for the amazing statement distributed by the Dean of Law and the head of the “law clinics” in the school of law. It is chock full of impressive claims and arguments.

There we learn how the law school is dedicated to achieving reforms of and repairs of society without any need for students (or faculty?) to study social science.

We learn how the law school is dedicated to rehabilitation of prisoners without the need to take any courses or training in social work.

We learn there is such a discipline taught at the law school entitled “feminist law,” as well as dedication to supporting “Palestinian Israelis,” whatever that is, and not only via prohibition of the singing of Hatikvah, the national anthem.

How fortunate that, unlike the Im Tirtzu student group, the law school is not politicized!

And most importantly, we learn the law school is dedicated to recruiting students to counsel and serve imprisoned terrorists and mass murderers because of the school’s concern for “weakened populations,” but clearly not counseling and serving the families of the victims of these terrorists.

Numerous questions arise from reading the distinguished statement by the Dean of Law and the head of the “clinics.”

First of all, we would all like to know whether the university’s law clinics will be defending the gentleman who stabbed the soldier Eden Atias in the neck this morning in Afula, after which he bled to death.

It goes without saying that the law school will not be sending any students to help the family of Atias defend itself or litigate. After all, they live in Upper Nazareth and so are not part of any “weakened population.”

After that, can we expect the law clinics to send out students to counsel and defend the convicted murderers of the child Dani Katz, who was kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists just a few steps from the campus?

Surely they are as deserving of such counseling as the other terrorist clients of the law school clinics. But since the family of Dani Katz lives in Denya (a luxurious upscale neighborhood), they clearly are not part of any “weakened population” in need of special attention from the clinics.

But why stop here? What about the terrorists who participated in the massacre of children in Maalot in 1974? I do not know if any of the perps are now in prison or will ever be, but – if they are – surely they are deserving of a special clinic in which students are sent out to promote social justice by defending them.

As for the victims of the massacre and their families, these are no doubt well entrenched in the middle class these days and so there is no need for them to be treated as clients of the clinics.

And why not get ahead of current events? Why should the law school clinics not offer their services to the leaders of Iran, so that if Iran ever uses nuclear weapons against Israel, those Iranian leaders will know they can expect qualified legal counseling and representation from the clinics?

Among those who clearly can never be part of the “weakened population” are settlers, haredim, Russian immigrants, soldiers, and members of Shas (religious party of Sephardic Jews).

More generally, would it not be simpler just to announce openly that the test for being part of a weakened population is participation in anti-Israel activities, while the test for being in a non-weakened population is to be the victim of any of the former?

And since all anti-Israel political groups in the universe these days define themselves as “human rights defenders” – while never of course defending Jewish victims of Arab terrorism because clearly those folks are entitled to no human rights, the law school can form alliances with such anti-Israel groups in the name of human rights. Just as long as it never forms any alliances with any non-leftist or pro-Israel NGOs.

Finally, it is always refreshing when people openly promote the idea that the purpose of a university is to indoctrinate students in far-leftist ideology and to engage in political advocacy.

It helps to prevent confusion of purpose. It helps to convey the single correct point of view. After all, alliance, collaboration, and semi-merger with far-leftist anti-Israel activist groups is not political at all for a university department. Only the Im Tirtzu student group is political.

Steven Plaut

Oldest-Ever Graves Decorated with Flowers Found in Israel

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed 12,000-old Natufian society graves that are the oldest-ever proof that flowers were used for decorating graves.

The Natufian society is considered to be one of the first, if not the first, to reside in permanent villages instead of being nomadic, according to University of Haifa archaeologist Daniel Nadel. Carbon dating revealed that the graves were between 11,700 and 13,700 years old.

The graves were discovered in the nearby Mount Carmel area overlooking Haifa, with imprints of flowering plants, such as mint and sage, stamped into the dirt of the ancient graves.

“From [the Neanderthal] example until the Natufians,” a period spanning some 50,000 years, “there is not one example” of flowers decorating graves, Nadel and his team wrote in study published Monday in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

People may have been using flowers during the entire period, but “finding such flowers is very difficult” since they decay, Nadel added.

He based the importance of the use of flowers on evidence that indicates that the place of burial was dug out and that a thin veneer of mud, a form of primitive plaster, was used to cover the sides. Plants lined the bottom of the grave before bodies were buried, and scented flowers were likely chosen as much for their aromas as their appearance.

“There are hundreds of flowers on Mount Carmel during the spring, but only a small group provide very strong fragrances. It’s impossible that the Natufians didn’t recognize the smell,” Nadel explained.

Twenty-nine skeletons, all within a 160 square-foot area, were found several years ago, but meticulous research recently led Nadel to reach his conclusions. The impression from plant stems and flowers indicated that they may have been from sage and mint and other aromatic plants.

The researched were able to identify them under a scanning electron microscope.

Nadel estimated that the burial were very ceremonial because animal bones also were found in the cave cemetery.

“They didn’t just place the bodies inside the graves and leave,” he said. “We have to envision a colorful ceremony that maybe included dancing, singing, and eating. They may have hunted a few animals and had a big meal around the graves and then threw bones or meat inside.”

Like today, the grave flowers were intended both for those who died and for the survivors.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-ever-graves-decorated-with-flowers-found-in-israel/2013/07/01/

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