When strangers are present, a person finds it much easier to control his temper than when he is just among family.
The next time you feel angry at a member of your family, think how you would act differently if a stranger were present.
Love Yehuda Lave
Middle East's Largest Natural History Museum Opens In Israel
Upon entering the new natural history museum in Tel Aviv, visitors are greeted by a vivid re-enactment of the great avian migrations from Africa to Europe through northern Israel's Hula Valley, complete with stuffed hawks, pelicans and vultures circling around the ceiling of the building's entrance.
The 100,000-square-foot Noah's Ark-shaped building, which houses more than 5.5 million specimens of species from around the globe, opened this week alongside the Tel Aviv University campus after more than two decades of planning.
As the biggest natural history museum in the Middle East and Israel's national center for biodiversity studies, the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History highlights the country's ecological diversity at the crossroads of the three continents, as well as the impact of urban development, climate change, and man-made devastation on the region's ecosystems.
The main goal of the museum, according the curators, is to increase public awareness about the natural world and environment on a local and global scale.
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History exhibit "Form and Function" showcases diversity of creatures from Israel and around the globe. Photo by Itay Benit
Israel attracts millions of visitors from around the world every year who are eager to discover the country's cultural and religious artifacts. The museum, expected to host 150,000 visitors per year, will be now able to offer visitors to the Holy Land an in-depth look at the region's unique natural history, both ancient and modern.
"The commitment and partnership of the Israeli Government and donors to the Museum, headed by Michael Steinhardt, led to the establishment of a unique, groundbreaking Museum that will become an important cultural attraction for thousands of families, school children, nature lovers, tourists and scientists from around the world," said Tamar Dayan, a professor of mammalogy at Tel Aviv University and the chair of the museum. "For researchers and scientists – the Museum will be a continuing source of knowledge and discovery of the life around us in the present and in the past."
"The Middle East is a lacuna in terms of knowledge in biodiversity and natural history collections," Tamar Dayan, a professor of mammalogy at Tel Aviv University and the chair of the museum, told Smithsonian Magazine. "We think there's an international community who want to know what happens here."
Establishment of the $40 million museum was made possible by prominent American philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, cofounder and funder of Birthright and a frequent donor to Israeli initiatives, and his wife, Judy. The building was designed by Tel Aviv-based architecture firm Kimmel Eshkolot.
Tamar Dayan and Michael Steinhardt at the inauguration of the Museum of Natural History in July 2017. Photo by Israel Hadari
The museum presents eight permanent exhibitions, displaying thousands of items from the national natural history collections that previously available only to scholars at Tel Aviv University and several other museums in Israel, as well as one temporary exhibition.
Traditional dioramas and innovative interactive displays spread across several floors are connected by sloped rampways, allowing a continuous, flowing movement without any real need to climb stairs.
The museum includes items that have been collected since the end of the 19th century, such as the collection of German zoologist and Catholic priest Ernst Johann Schmitz, who lived in Israel a century ago. In the "Treasures of Biodiversity" exhibit, Schmitz's taxidermy pieces include the last bear from 1916, an Asiatic cheetah from 1911, and the last crocodile from the Taninim River, all species that have become extinct in Israel.
Construction for the exhibition "Israel's Landscapes," which surveys the impressive range of habitats in Israel. Photo via Facebook
In another exhibit, a 20-foot-long interactive map of Israel showcases current environmental problems including the depletion of Israel's only freshwater source, the Sea of Galilee, and the shrinking of the Dead Sea by three feet every year.
The importance of adopting environmentally friendly lifestyles and behavior is conveyed in the museum's "Human Impact" exhibition, urging young visitors to stop littering and minimize light pollution along the coasts that endangers sea turtle populations.
Other exhibits include "Bugs and Beyond", which includes live creatures and teaches visitors about the world of arthropods – the largest and most diverse phylum in nature; "Life in the Dark", which offers a glance at animals from Israel and around the world that live without daylight; "Israel's Landscapes", which surveys the impressive range of habitats in Israel; "Urban Nature", which reveals the city life of wild animals; "What Makes Us Human?", which surveys the biological and cultural evolution of the human species.
The temporary exhibition on display at the Museum's opening is Life Object, which represented Israel at the 2016 Architecture Bienniale and deals with the influence of nature on architecture.
One of the challenges in designing the building, according to Kimmel Eshkolot, was designing a solution to store the museum's research collections that would meet the proper controlled climatic conditions.
The entrance of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History during its inauguration event in July 2017. Photo by Moshik Brin
The result is the ark-shaped wooden structure, visible from the museum's exterior, originally designed to look like a treasure chest. Only after construction did the building take on new meanings, the main one being Noah's Ark, preserving nature's treasures for future generations.
Visitors to the museum pass through the ark where they are able to view the rooms that house the collections.
At the museum's labs and research facilities, international scientists from a range of disciplines will study samples of the natural world to further their understanding of ecosystems' modes of action and their conservation.
"We should play a key role in society," Dayan said of the museum and the potential research from its collections. "It's a huge privilege, scientists feeling they have a role. More than ever today, with the challenges our planet faces, we have a need for public discussion."
In addition to its exhibits, the museum also includes study galleries for workshops and other activities, an auditorium, and in the near future, a shop and a restaurant.
On the weekends and holidays, research and craft workshops, film screenings in the auditorium and other activities will be available for visitors.
Mossad Retrieves Wristwatch of Famed Israeli Spy Eli Cohen in Mysterious Operation By Hana Levi Julian - 23 Tammuz 5778 – July 5, 2018
The wristwatch of the late renowned Israeli spy Eli Cohen has been retrieved, and returned to Israel in a mysterious operation carried out by Israel's international Mossad intelligence agency, for whom Cohen worked.
The Mossad returned to Israel the wristwatch of the late Mossad fighter Eli Cohen. The wristwatch was returned in a special Mossad operation which took place recently.
Eliyahu Ben-Shaul Cohen, husband to Nadia and father of Sophie, Irit and Shai, was best known for his undercover work in Syria, carried out between 1961 and 1965, until he was arrested and convicted of espionage. He was executed by the Damascus government on May 18, 1965. His watch was held by Syria.
The Mossad "spoke to us a couple of months ago when the watch was up for sale," said his widow, who added that the time piece was purchased but she didn't know where; she was simply pleased to have it. "I felt it was part of his body; his blood is on that watch."
During the annual memorial service held to honor Cohen's service to the nation, the watch was presented to the family by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen; it is currently on display at Mossad Headquarters and will be handed over to the family permanently after the upcoming Rosh Hashana holiday.
His daughter was also excited, telling an interviewer on Israeli radio the watch was "the first and only thing we have from Abba."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Mossad for the operation, "the sole purpose of which was to return to Israel the memory of a great fighter who contributed greatly to the security of the State of Israel."
Netanyahu's office declined to disclose to reporters where the watch was obtained. His wife still holds out hope that one day, her husband's body "will also be returned."
Congressman: Jewish Settlers Are Like Termites By Adam Kredo - 22 Tammuz 5778 – July 5, 2018
A Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee compared Jewish Israeli settlers to termites on Monday while speaking at an event sponsored by an anti-Israel organization that supports boycotts of the Jewish state.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) launched into a tirade against Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians, comparing Jewish people who live in disputed territories to "termites" that destroy homes. Johnson also compared Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a remark that drew vocal agreement from those in the room.
"There has been a steady [stream], almost like termites can get into a residence and eat before you know that you've been eaten up and you fall in on yourself, there has been settlement activity that has marched forward with impunity and at an ever increasing rate to the point where it has become alarming," Johnson said during an event sponsored by the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an anti-Israel organization that galvanizes supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, or BDS.
"It has come to the point that occupation, with highways that cut through Palestinian land, with walls that go up, with the inability or the restriction, with the illegality of Palestinians being able to travel on those roads and those roads cutting off Palestinian neighborhoods from each other," Johnson continued. "And then with the building of walls and the building of check points that restrict movement of Palestinians. We've gotten to the point where the thought of a Palestinian homeland gets further and further removed from reality."
Johnson, who in 2010 voiced his fears that Guam would tip over and capsize if too many people resided on the island, said that "Jewish people" routinely steal land and property from Palestinians.
"You see one home after another being appropriated by Jewish people who come in to claim that land just because somebody did not spend the night there," he said, referring to claims that Israeli settlers plot to seize Palestinian land. '"The home their [Palestinian] ancestors lived in for generations becomes an Israeli home and a flag goes up," he said, adding, "the Palestinians are barred from flying flags in their own neighborhoods."
Johnson went on to compare Lieberman to Trump as he lashed out against the Israeli government.
"The fact is the Israeli government, which is the most right-wing government ever to exist in the state of Israel in its history, the most right wing government, you got a guy like Trump who is now the minister of defense in Israel calling the shots on defense," he said, adding that he is not the only member of Congress who holds these views.
James Zogby, a member of the Democratic platform committee and president of the Arab American Institute, informed the crowd that efforts to make the Democratic platform more pro-Palestinian ran up against objections from those who are scared of casino magnate and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson.
"I had no idea the [platform] fight would be over 'occupation' and 'settlements,'" Zogby said, referring to efforts by more mainstream elements of the Democratic Party to ensure the platform language remained staunchly pro-Israel.
"Something happens in this game where they [Democratic Party members] take their policy brain out and put it somewhere and they substitute their politics brain, which they think is a smart brain," Zogby said, summarizing this thought process as: "We can't do it because Sheldon Adelson will come out against us."
"Jesus," Zogby said, "he's gonna come out against you no matter what!"
US Judge: Fraenkel Family 'accepted the risk of terrorist attacks' by Living in Judea and Samaria By TPS / Tazpit News Agency - 21 Tammuz 5778 – July 3, 2018
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ordered a district court judge to re-adjudicate a lawsuit brought by the family of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the three teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas members in June, 2014.
Last month, the district court ruled that Avi and Rachelle Fraenkel, Naftali's parents, were not entitled to full damages for pain and suffering because the town they live in, Nof Ayalon, straddles the Green Line, and because Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gil-Ad Sha'ar had been hitchhiking from Gush Etzion, which is also located over the Green Line.
"The District Court … found that the location of the Fraenkels' home, Naftali's school and the site of the abduction indicated that Naftali and his family had 'accepted the risk' of terrorist attacks," said the appeals court in throwing the ruling back to the lower court.
Judge Rosemary Collyer of the district court said the family had the right to sue Iran and Syria for their son's murder (Naftali was a US citizen, as is his mother), but added that the family's claim of $340 million was overstated, awarding $4.1 million instead.
Collyer noted that Fraenkel was not targeted because he was American, but rather "because they were Jewish and Israeli youths."
"These facts do not diminish the plaintiffs' grief or loss, but they can influence the assistance available to them when viewed through the lens of civil tort liability," the judge wrote.
"(But) the plaintiffs took on themselves the risks of living beyond Israel's Green Line and sending Naftali Fraenkel another 40 km into the West Bank to a high school in Gush Etzion, six km from the city of Hebron" limited the legal damages relevant to the case, Collyer wrote.
Rachelle Fraenkel appealed the original ruling, calling it "outrageous."
Obama administration granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians during nuclear deal: Iran official
Netanyahu Revokes Ban on MKs Temple Mount Visits By JNi.Media - 21 Tammuz 5778 – July 4, 2018
fter more than two years during which MKs were barred from visiting the Temple Mount, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday allowed MKs' ascent to the Holiest Jewish site. Netanyahu sent a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, announcing that every MK can visit the Temple Mount once every three months. The new permit includes government ministers.
The MKs visits to the Temple Mount was blocked in November 2015 after it turned out that MKs, especially Arab lawmakers, were causing violent provocations. Recently, Jerusalem Police District Commander Major General Yehoram Halevy recommended to Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh to renew the visits.
As was to be expected, the Joint Arab List expressed its opposition to the very idea of the prime minister's intervening in Temple Mount visits.
"Netanyahu will not tell Muslims, MKs and others, when to enter and when to pray. For non-Muslims, there is nothing to look for in that place," MK Haneen Zoabi declared, adding, "Netanyahu wants to lead to a conflagration in order to escape from the criminal cases against him and the threat of dismantling the coalition … Leave the mosques alone."
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) responded to the prime minister's decision, saying: "The Temple Mount should be open to prayer for Jews throughout the year, including elected officials. The Muslims are not the owners of the Temple Mount and we must not accept the threats and violence that caused restrictions on the Temple Mount. I call on the prime minister to open the Temple Mount to unconditional Jewish prayers for all who wish to do so."
Chairman of the Lobby for Strengthening the Jewish Connection to the Temple Mount, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), said: "I congratulate the Prime Minister who stopped the illegal and unreasonable prohibition on the ascent of the MKs to the Temple Mount, and call on him to complete the welcome change and to allow Knesset Members to come to the Temple Mount at any time, like any citizen or tourist is entitled to."
PA: Israel's Blocking 'Pay-to Slay' a Declaration of War By JNS News Service - 22 Tammuz 5778 – July 4, 2018
Palestinian Authority leaders slammed the passage of a new Israeli law that would deduct tax funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over their policy of paying convicted terrorists and their families for carrying out attacks known as "pay to slay."
"This is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people," said PA spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh.
He added that the PA considers this a "declaration of war against the Palestinian people, their fighters, prisoners and martyrs."
Similarly, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that the law amounted to "piracy and theft."
"This is a very dangerous decision that amounts to the cancellation of the Palestinian Authority, and is piracy and theft," Erekat told AFP. "Israel is stealing the land and money of the Palestinian people, and that is a result of the decisions of [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump, who supports Israel."
Earlier this year, the United States passed the Taylor Force Act, which similarly ends American aid to the P.A. until it ends its "pay to slay" policy.
The PA said it would file complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court and U.N. Security Council.
Each year, Israel transfers NIS 8.5 billion (more than $2.4 billion) in tax payments. The P.A. budget this year is NIS 18.5 billion ($5.2 billion). In its 2018 budget, the P.A. allocated $360 million for the Prisoners and Martyrs Fund, which disperses payment to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of dead terrorists.
Rescuers Turn To Israeli Tech To Help Save Trapped Thai Boys
Emergency mobile communications technology developed by Israeli company Maxtech Networks is being used by rescue teams working to save 12 teenagers and their 25-year-old coach who have been trapped for 11 days in a flooded cave in Thailand.
The teenagers, a boys' soccer team, went missing on June 23 after a soccer game when they visited a sprawling 10-kilometer-long cave system in the northern region of Chiang Rai, and became trapped by a flash flood.
Initial rescue attempts were hampered not only by the rising waters, but by lack of communication between first responders, as existing communication systems couldn't work in the complexity of the underground caves.
Uzi Hanuni, 51, the CEO of Maxtech, said the company's agent in Thailand was first approached by Thai naval special forces shortly after the boys went missing.
"From that point on everything was clear to us," Hanuni told ISRAEL21c. "We knew that we would do whatever we could to save these boys."
On June 25, Maxtech software engineer Yuval Zalmanov hopped on a plane with 17 of the company's emergency Max-Mesh radio units, to help train the first responders how to use the technology. The company sent everything without charge and Zalmanov was joined by Asaf Zmirly, an Israeli who owns a rescue company and lives in Thailand.
Zalmanov is now embedded with the rescue team, which is made up of Thai special forces and international experts from the UK, China, Australia, and the US, and is expected to return home in a day or two.
The Maxtech phones enable users to communicate even in places where there is no communications infrastructure. Photo courtesy Maxtech
It took 10 years to develop the technology, according to Hanuni. No direct line of sight is necessary, enabling it to be used in complex environments like the underground caves, where no other communication device will work.
"On every rescue mission you need to coordinate the rescue team and to know at all times where they are, and what their status is," explains Hanuni.
"These caves are very long, and you can't send messengers back and forth through them, but the divers need to be in constant contact with their base so that everyone knows where they are. No other system could work here, except ours. It's helping to keep the first responders alive."
Time is vital in an emergency
Maxtech was founded by Hanuni, a serial entrepreneur and an expert in RF wireless communications, 12 years ago and its technology has already been used in Israel, Italy and India in the areas of defense, security and aerospace. There is also widespread interest in the products from Guatemala, Chile and Mexico.
"Any country in the world that has a rescue team needs to have such a system in their hands. It's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of saving lives," says Hanuni. "On rescue missions, time is vital. The first hours and days are critical for saving lives.
"When first responders arrive in an area after a natural disaster they can't rely on the infrastructure that is there. They need to be able to start operating immediately, but if they wait to build some kind of infrastructure then they lose vital time. We enable them to start work immediately."
Since Maxtech's role in the rescue attempt hit the news, the company has been inundated by enquires from all over the world. "In the last two days, our website almost crashed because of the attention," said Hanuni. "Every hour we've had had about 30 to 40 requests for information."
For the boys, whose plight is being followed by anxious people all over the world, it's now a race against time. The boys are trapped in pitch darkness on a mud bank deep within the cave system. While water is being pumped out of the caves, this is monsoon season, and a storm is forecast soon.
The entrance to Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai where the boys went missing on June 23. Photo by Shutterstock
The debate among rescuers is whether to try to bring out the boys, who cannot swim or dive, immediately, or to try to wait several months for the waters to recede. Either option is grim.
Hanuni said that alongside food and medical supplies, rescue forces are now trying to pass a communication cable to the boys so that they can speak with their families.
"The only thing that we hope for now is that the boys come out alive," said Hanuni. "We came there to help save them, and that's all we wish for."
Israel has a long record of developing innovative technologies for emergency situations, with devices such as Water-Gen, a portable machine that can generate drinking water from the atmosphere and purify existing water sources; Pocket BVM, a collapsible resuscitation and respiratory support device; SkySaver, a personal rescue device that can evacuate a person from a building of up to 120 stories tall; and the Agilite Instant Harness, a rappelling harness used to save the lives of South African miners trapped underground in 2013.