With thanks to a partner, the British Israel Group (BIG)
• Hospital acquired infections, one of the leading causes of preventable death in the developed world, may have finally met their match thanks to an inexpensive, genetically engineered cleansing solution developed in Israeli laboratories. The researchers, Aviv Sourasky of Ichilov Medical Centre and Udi Qimron from Tel Aviv University, say that the spray can be applied to any surface where there is a high concentration of germs such as door handles, bed and hand-rails. (Israel 21C)
• Israeli archeologist working on the City of David dig, below Jerusalem’s Old City, have recently unearthed a very rare discovery, a coin-sized clay seal that appears to have a link to rituals performed in the Jewish Temple, about 2,000 years ago. The seal reads, in Aramaic, “Pure for G-d.” According to a Biblical scholar, the seal is very special because it was found right next to the site of the Temple and is similar to what we see described in the Mishna. It may have been used for certifying the ritual purity of oil for use in the Temple or perhaps animals intended for sacrifice.
• Hamas’ Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh recently used the group’s 24th anniversary to remind everyone of its real goals. In his speech made at the ceremony he said that Hamas may work for the “interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank or Jerusalem,” but added that Hamas’ long term “strategic” goal is to eliminate all of Israel. Also in his speech, Haniyeh stated, “The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers (Israel)….We won’t relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine.” He also promised that Hamas will “lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah.”
• There is huge excitement in the scholarly world about the recent discovery of ancient Jewish scrolls in a cave on the Silk Road in Afghanistan. If the scrolls are authenticated this may be the most significant find in the Jewish world since that of the Cairo Geniza (a geniza is a burial site for ancient Jewish texts) in the 19th century. The scrolls date from around 1,000 years ago and are in Arabic, Judeo-Arabic and ancient Persian. Among them is a scroll containing a dirge written for an important person whose identity is not known, an unknown history of the Kingdom of Judea, passages from the Book of Isaiah and some of the works of the 10th century sage, Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon. Rings inscribed with names such as Shmuel Bar-Joseph were also found at the site.