Ancient Scribe Links Qumran Scrolls to Masada Sidnie White Crawford discusses handwriting discoveries by Ada Yardeni Biblical Archaeology Society Staff • 07/01/2014
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in November 2012. It has been updated.—Ed.
Ada Yardeni identified the same ancient scribe’s unique handwriting on this Hosea commentary and many other Qumran scrolls.
There has been a great deal written about the community of scribes that penned the Qumran scrolls. These studies rarely focus on an individual ancient scribe; they generally consider the religious orientation and scholarship of the broader community. Israeli paleographer Ada Yardeni recently identified over 50 Qumran scrolls penned by the same scribe; moreover, she identified a manuscript from the desert fortress at Masada written by the same scribe. In the November/December 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Sidnie White Crawford discusses the implications of the important paleographic discoveries made by Ada Yardeni. Ada Yardeni identified the handwriting of a single ancient scribe on Qumran scrolls found in six different caves. According to Sidnie White Crawford, the discovery of a single scribal hand in multiple caves suggests that “the scribe was a member of that sect who also copied Jewish scriptural scrolls, countering the idea that the Qumran collection was a non-sectarian ‘general Jewish’ library.” Moreover, she argues that a single scribe’s penmanship in multiple caves counters the idea that each cave reflects a separate collection belonging to a different Jewish group.
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Ada Yardeni noticed that the ancient scribe who penned these Qumran scrolls also penned an apocryphon woven on the Book of Joshua that was discovered at Masada. The text bears resemblance to certain Qumran scrolls, and even before Yardeni’s handwriting analysis, scholars suggested that the manuscript may have been the product of a Qumran scribe. Sidnie White Crawford establishes a second scribal connection between Masada and the Qumran scrolls. Nine copies of the sectarian Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice manuscript were discovered in two caves at Qumran, and another was discovered at Masada in the same locus as the Joshua Apocryphon. Sidnie White Crawford posits that “it seems likely that some manuscripts from Qumran were carried south by refugees fleeing the Roman destruction of Qumran in 68 C.E. But that’s only a best guess.”
BAS Library Members: Read the full article “Scribe Links Qumran and Masada” by Sidnie White Crawford as it appears in the November/December 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review
The Middle East is called the “Cradle of Civilization” because it is where our hunter-gatherer ancestors first established sedentary farming communities. Recently, the traditional dating of humans’ first agricultural attempt was shaken up by the discovery of the earliest-known example of plant cultivation in the Levant, 11,000 years earlier than previously accepted.
The team of archaeologists, botanists, and ecologists from Bar-Ilan University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, and Harvard University published their work in the scientific journal Plos One (Open Access).
The team’s conclusions rest on three inter-connected findings, says the lead researcher, Prof. Ehud Weiss of Bar-Ilan University’s Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. First is the higher-than-usual presence at the site of domestic-type, rather than wild-type, wheat and barley dispersal units. Second, the researchers noted a high concentration of proto-weeds – plants of the type known to flourish in fields planted with domesticated crops. Finally, analysis of the tools found at the site revealed blades used for cutting and harvesting cereal plants.
First author is Dr. Ainit Snir, part of whose doctoral research – conducted in Prof. Weiss’ lab – is included in the present study.
South end of the Sea of Galilee, near Tiberias. Image: Zachi Evenor (CC BY 3.0)
An agricultural “time capsule” hidden under the sea The researchers’ discovery was made at Ohalo II, a 23,000-year-old camp site of a community of hunter-gatherers that lived on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel. The site is located 9 kilometres (5.5 miles) south of the modern city of Tiberias, and was discovered in 1989 when the level of the lake plummeted. The site was then excavated for six seasons by Prof. Dani Nadel from the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, the University of Haifa. Excavations at Ohalo II exposed six brush hut dwellings, a human grave, copious and well-preserved remains of both animal and plant foods, beads from the Mediterranean Sea, as well as evidence of flint tool manufacture and use.
According to Weiss, the study represents the earliest example of small-scale cultivation found anywhere in the world.
“The plant remains from the site were unusually well-preserved because of being charred and then covered by sediment and water which sealed them in low-oxygen conditions,” Weiss explains. “Due to this, it was possible to recover an extensive amount of information on the site and its inhabitants – which made this a uniquely preserved site, and therefore one of the best archaeological examples worldwide of hunter-gatherers’ way of life. Here we see evidence of repeated sowing and harvesting of later domesticated cereals.”
From plant gathering to flour production In the Ohalo II dwellings was a particularly rich assemblage of some 150,000 plant remains, showing that the site’s residents gathered over 140 different plant species from the surrounding environment. Among these, Weiss’s team identified edible cereals – such as wild emmer, wild barley, and wild oats. These cereals were mixed with 13 species of “proto-weeds” – ancient ancestors of the current weeds known to flourish in cultivated, single-crop fields – indicating that they grew and were subsequently unintentionally gathered together.
A grinding slab set firmly on a brush hut floor, a stone tool from which microscopic cereal starch granules were extracted, as well as a unique distribution pattern of seeds around this tool, provided additional, unequivocal evidence that cereal grains were brought into the hut and processed into flour. This flour was probably used to make dough, maybe by baking it on an installation of flat stones, found just outside one of the shelters.
Plants’ statistics show genetic change linked with cultivation Examination of the cereals found at the site shows an unusual percentage of domesticated-type, rather than wild-type, ear morphology. As Weiss explains, this change in the plant population is characteristic of a genetic mutation triggered when wild-type plants are sown repeatedly in cultivated fields.
“The ears of cereals like wheat and barley – in their wild form – are built from separate units that break off and are easily dispersed, allowing the seeds to reach the ground, germinate, and grow into a new plant without any human intervention,” he says. “When humans cultivate these grains over a number of successive seasons, however, a change occurs. They develop a rough scar that locks the seed dispersal units together. Such plants cannot sow themselves. This is the hallmark of domesticated, rather than wild-type plants.”
As part of Snir’s thesis, Weiss and Snir undertook field tests around Israel, establishing that stands of wild-type barley are characterized by a low level of this rough-scar appearance – about 10% of the total population. The study of Ohalo II’s plant remains, however, revealed a greatly-increased incidence of 36% mutated domestic-type disarticulation units – proving that planned cereal sowing and harvesting in this ancient community had been underway for years.
Tools for harvesting Another intriguing finding relates to a number of sickle blades – harvesting tools composed of sharp flint implements inserted in wood or bone handles – found at the site; these are among the oldest of their kind ever found.
“We found several sickle blades at Ohalo II, and the study under the microscope of the gloss along their cutting edge indicates that they were used for harvesting cereals just before their complete ripening,” says Prof. Dani Nadel. “Analysis showed the presence of silicon, transferred from the wheat and barley plants at the time of cutting. This is another indication that the presence of a high percentage of domestic-type cereals was not random, but rather is a sign of the long-term cultivation practices of the site’s residents.”
Weeds and planted fields When studying the plants found at Ohalo II, the researchers were surprised to find a large number of plants similar to weeds previously seen only 11,000 years later than Ohalo II, at the traditional date for the beginning of agriculture. Does this indicate that agriculture indeed began much earlier than historians, archaeologists and botanists have traditionally believed? Weiss says that the isolated example on the shores of the Sea of Galilee is an insufficient basis for such a claim.
“From what we see at Ohalo II, it is clear that cultivation occurred at this surprisingly early point in time, but we have no evidence that it continued in the region,” Weiss says. “This is why we term our findings to be evidence of trial cultivation only. Moreover, since weeds are defined by botanists as plants that developed in response to human agriculture, we call the plants that share characteristics with weeds ‘proto-weeds’.”
A trial that preceded later-adopted practice Prof. Marcelo Sternberg, a co-author of the paper who is an ecologist at the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at Tel Aviv University, claims that the findings are exceptional. “We are witnessing the earliest trial of cultivation combined with land-use changes that led to the appearance of the earliest weeds. The findings are a clear indication of early human disturbance of the natural ecosystem.”
Weiss agrees, adding that the current study provides reason to rethink our ancestors’ abilities. “Even prior to full-scale cultivation, humans clearly had some basic knowledge of agriculture and even more importantly, exhibited foresight and planning,” Weiss says. “The current research results from this site, situated in the cradle of ancient civilizations, show our ancestors were cleverer and more skilled than we had assumed. Although full-scale agriculture did not develop until much later, the attempt had already begun.”
Paper co-author Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef, a pre-historian from Harvard University’s Department of Anthropology, notes that “the history of the evolution of technology is littered with new inventions that were either not accepted by their society or simply failed. An historical example is Leonardo da Vinci, who, in his notebooks, designed several flying machines during the early 15th century. Even though da Vinci was on the right track, we had to wait until the 19th century before the Wright brothers got their first plane off the ground.”
Tel Burna 2015: The Iron II Fortifications in Areas A1 and B2 Chris McKinny • 07/22/2015
<< Back to Field Notes 2015
The Tel Burna Archaeological Project is exposing a Canaanite town in the Shephelah region of Israel believed by some scholars to be Biblical Libnah. Below, excavation staff member Chris McKinny discusses the discovery of Iron Age fortifications at Tel Burna.
In the final three entries for this season, we will briefly discuss the results of each excavation area (B2, A2 and B1). To begin with, we will look at the fortifications that were exposed this season on the western side of the tell in Area B2 (Ron Lev is the supervisor) in comparison to our past work in Area A1, which is located on the east side of the tell. Overview of 2015 excavation areas. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
The existence of Tel Burna’s Iron II fortifications along with the lack of latter classical (Greco-Roman) occupation were two of the main reasons for choosing Tel Burna as a site for a major excavation project. Over the course of several seasons of work in area A1 (2010–2013), our team revealed a 10 m x 10 m wide section of the Iron II casemate walls on the northeast corner of the tell.
Area A1 Iron II fortifications. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Casemate fortifications are particularly popular in the Iron Age II. They consist of two parallel fortification walls that are connected by an inner perpendicular wall at various intervals. Fortification walls usually measure c. 5 meters in width, with the outer wall being c. 1.5–2 m, a gap of c. 1.5 m, and an inner wall of c. 1–1.5 m. The fortification wall at Tel Burna falls within this general measurement, as the total width is c. 5 m. These types of fortifications were found throughout Judah and Israel during the Iron II (e.g., Beersheba, Lachish, Khirbet Qeiyafa, etc.)
In Area A1, we found a series of occupational periods relating to these fortifications that point to the following stratigraphic picture:
• Late Iron IIA/ninth century B.C.E. (period of such Judahite kings as Jehoshaphat, Joash and Amaziah): Both the inner and outer casemate walls were in use and it is not yet clear if the fortification was built in this period or earlier (i.e., the early Iron IIA/10th century B.C.E.). Interestingly, two Iron IIA surfaces were found outside of the walls to the east of the fortification walls. It should be noted that this side is facing toward Judah, the inland Shephelah sites (e.g., Lachish and Mareshah) and the hills of Hebron. • Iron IIB/eighth century B.C.E. (period of such Judahite kings as Uzziah and Hezekiah): Both the inner and outer casemate walls were in use and probably destroyed c. 701 BCE in conjunction with Sennacherib’s campaign. • Iron IIC/seventh century B.C.E. (period of the Judahite Kings: Manasseh, Amon and Josiah): The inner wall of the casemate was no longer in use, as several grain silos were cut into the wall. • Persian/sixth–fifth centuries B.C.E. (period of Nehemiah/Ezra—rebuilding of the Second Temple): Minimal remains.
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Ron Lev, Area B2 supervisor. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
With this occupational sequence in mind, we had several research questions and objectives concerning the fortifications on the western side of the tell (Area B2). 1. Would the fortifications be as well preserved as in Area A1 and noted at other locations of the tell? 2. Outside of the walls, would we find a similar or different stratigraphic sequence, since the western side faces the Philistine coast and the dominant city of Gath? 3. We also wanted to begin our main section that would join Area B1 and A2 in order to provide a continuous vertical section across the western platform (B1), the western slopes (B2) and summit of the tell (A2). After only a single season of working in B2, these first two questions seem to have at least been partially answered. Ron’s team clearly traced the outer wall of the casemate fortifications, which is attached to one of the perpendicular walls that should connect to the inner wall. The outer wall measures exactly 1.62 m—the exact measurement of the A1 outer wall. This would be equal to 3 “cubits,” if a cubit should be understood as 54 cm, as argued by our dear colleague Dr. Jeffery Chadwick (cf. the “cubits” used in the Solomonic temple in 1 Kings 6:2).
Area B2 Iron II fortifications and metallurgic area. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Although it is way too early to speak with certainty, it seems that there may not have been significant Iron IIA or IIB (10th—8th centuries B.C.E.) occupation outside of the walls to the west. Instead, and somewhat surprisingly, Ron’s team found evidence of restorable Late Bronze pottery that looks to be very similar to what has been excavated in Area B1. Significantly, the presence of Late Bronze Age remains c. 5 meters higher (in elevation) than B1 indicates that the western slopes have remains earlier than the Late Bronze IIB (13th century B.C.E.)—perhaps even an Early Bronze and/or Middle Bronze rampart or fortification. We will have to find out next year! Additionally, they also found a silo, which is probably Iron II, below the fortifications to the west. This latter piece of evidence seems to corroborate our understanding that the casemate fortifications were no longer in use after the presumed 701 B.C.E. destruction.
Metallurgic area in Area B2, prepared by Ron Lev. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Besides these interesting developments, Area B2 also produced the biggest surprise of the season: metallurgic activity just outside the walls. These finds include several fragments of crucibles with remnants of copper, several tuyeres (clay pipes meant to pump air into the smelting furnace), and, thanks to Ladislav and Michal’s expertise on the portable XRF scanner, a much higher degree of copper in the soil where the crucibles and tuyeres were found than anywhere else in the vicinity.
Sharna showing a nice figurine. When she found it, she exclaimed, “Ron! A face!” Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Metallurgic area tested via XRF by Michal Hejcman. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Tuyeres (clay pipes for pumping air into bellows for “stoking the flame”) found in the metallurgic area in B2. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Image of a crucible. Notice the remnants of green copper that melted onto the clay vessel during the smelting process. Photo: Courtesy Tel Burna Archaeological Project.
Since we have not reached a clean stratigraphic sequence or floor outside of the walls, it is too early to associate this metallurgic activity with any particular period. However, next season we will continue to explore this very interesting element of Tel Burna’s history.
Chris McKinny is the supervisor of Area B1 at Tel Burna. Chris is a Ph.D. candidate at Bar Ilan University and an adjunct professor at The Master’s College. To follow his research, visit his academia.edu page.
More on the 2015 field season at Tel Burna: Tel Burna: An Introduction to the Biblical Town
Israeli Researchers Helping The World’s Airline Industry Tackle Cyber-Security Threats By David Shamah, The Times of Israel July 22, 2015 0 Comments This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has signed an agreement with Tel Aviv University under which a new joint center for innovation in aviation will be established in order to develop technologies to protect airline reservations systems, authentication for security purposes, and financial systems, as well as to develop ways to run airlines more efficiently using big data and advanced intelligence.
SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Trains Mice To Detect Explosives At Airports
Two weeks ago, the New York Stock Exchange was shut down for nearly four hours for still-unexplained reasons – possibly, according to some experts, due to hacker activities. That incident generated headlines all over the world, but there was a second unexplained outage as well on July 8 – the grounding of all flights by United Airlines for nearly an hour. Was it due to hacking? A United Airlines official said there was “no indication that this was caused by an outside entity,” but it wasn’t the first time United – or flights by other airlines – were grounded for “unexplained” reasons.
That airlines are vulnerable to hackers is well-established. In June, for example, planes were grounded in Poland after hackers breached the network at Warsaw’s Chopin airport, causing delays that affected some 1,400 passengers. In May, United removed a passenger from a flight after he apparently hacked into a plane’s navigation system via its entertainment system. And in January, Malaysia Airlines saw hackers break into its website.
SEE ALSO: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web
And airlines realize just how vulnerable they are. In May, United announced a Bug Bounty contest, inviting hackers to test its online systems to find weaknesses. Last week, the airline awarded a million frequent flier miles to two hackers were able to find vulnerabilities. While he couldn’t share the specifics of the hack (to prevent details of the vulnerabilities from coming out), Jordan Wiens, one of the winners, said that the bugs were somewhat “lame” – an indication that the system may not have been very well-protected.
Realizing it has a problem, IATA – which represents 260 airlines that are responsible for 83% of the world’s airline flights – has teamed up with Tel Aviv University to develop security systems in a variety of areas. With the agreement, IATA joined the companies’ forum of Tel Aviv University’s cyber center, and helped organized an international cyber-security conference that took place at Tel Aviv University last month. As part of the joint activity, IATA’s representatives, together with Tel Aviv University’s international cyber center, will identify technologies and information that are relevant to the field of international flight.
To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.
Amphipolis Excavation: Discoveries in Alexander the Great-Era Tomb Dazzle the World Archaeology news Robin Ngo • 01/22/2015
The Amphipolis excavation has revealed the remains of five individuals buried in the tomb, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports announced. Photo: Courtesy Hellenic Ministry of Culture/Athena.
The remains of at least five individuals have been identified from the Amphipolis Tomb in northern Greece, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports recently announced. Dating to the time of legendary Macedonian king Alexander the Great, the mound complex has been making headlines around the world since August 2014, when archaeologists first entered the complex. Since then, the Ministry of Culture has been gradually releasing to the public the incredible archaeological finds that have been uncovered in what is the largest tomb ever found in Greece. Analysis of the human bone fragments from the Amphipolis excavation has determined that the remains belong to a woman over age 60, a newborn baby of indeterminate gender, two men between 35 and 45 and an adult of indeterminate gender and age. This latter adult was cremated before burial, unlike the other four individuals buried in the Amphipolis Tomb. The younger of the two adult men appears to have died of a stab wound. Further tests will be conducted to determine if the individuals are related to one another.
The vast Amphipolis Tomb is protected by a marble surrounding wall one-third of a mile in circumference. Photo: Courtesy The Greek Reporter.
It has been popularly speculated that the Amphipolis Tomb was built for one of Alexander’s generals or family members—perhaps his mother, Olympias, or his wife, Roxanne. After Alexander’s death, his generals fought over control of the Macedonian Empire, which stretched from the Balkans to what’s now Pakistan and northwest India. Alexander’s mother, wife, son and half-brother were murdered during this time—most near Amphipolis. It’s still not clear for whom the magnificent tomb was built and why the five individuals were buried in the tomb. Located 62 miles northeast of Thessaloniki, Amphipolis was founded as an Athenian colony in 437 B.C.E. and conquered by Philip II of Macedon, Alexander’s father, in 357 B.C.E. The Amphipolis Tomb is believed to have been built between 325 and 300 B.C.E. Alexander died in 323 B.C.E. at the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon. According to ancient sources, as Alexander’s funeral cart was making its way to its destination, one of the Macedonian generals, Ptolemy, seized his body and buried it in Memphis in Egypt. Alexander was subsequently laid to rest in Alexandria in the late fourth or early third century B.C.E.
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The head of one of the sphinxes that guards the entrance to the Amphipolis Tomb was discovered in one of the tomb’s chambers. Photo: Courtesy Hellenic Ministry of Culture/Athena.
In the 1950s, Greek archaeologist Dimitris Lazaridis began excavating at Casta Hill in Amphipolis. He surmised that an important burial complex was located in the hill but was not able to complete his excavation. Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri resumed investigations at Casta Hill in 2012. In August 2014, the archaeological team led by Peristeri located the entrance to the tomb. The massive Amphipolis Tomb in Casta Hill is protected by a surrounding wall measuring one-third of a mile in circumference and built of marble from the nearby island of Thassos. At the entrance to the tomb, the archaeologists excavated two sphinxes. Ongoing excavations have discovered three vaulted chambers, in which were found two 12-foot-tall caryatids (pillars sculpted in the shape of females), a floor mosaic depicting the abduction of Persephone by Hades, decorative white marble and frescoed walls and coins depicting Alexander the Great.
There must, after all, be something that a Western leader sees when an attempt is made to "normalize" relations with a rogue regime -- what Richard Nixon saw in the Chinese Communist Party that persuaded him that an unfreezing of relations was possible, or what Margaret Thatcher saw in the eyes of Mikhail Gorbachev, which persuaded her that here was a counterpart who could finally be trusted.
After all, the outward signs with Iran would seem to remain unpromising. Last Friday in Tehran, just as the P5+1 were wrapping up their deal with the Iranians, the streets of Iran were playing host to "Al-Quds Day." This, in the Iranian calendar, is the day, inaugurated by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, when anti-Israel and anti-American activity come to the fore even more than usual. Encouraged by the regime, tens of thousands of Iranians march in the streets calling for the end of Israel and "Death to America". Not only Israeli and American flags were burned -- British flags were also torched, in a touching reminder that Iran is the only country that still believes Britain runs the world.
The latest in a long line of "moderate" Iranian leaders, President Hassan Rouhani, turned up at one of these parades himself to see the Israeli and American flags being burned. Did he intervene? Did he explain to the crowd that they had got the wrong memo -- that America is now our friend and that they ought at least to concentrate their energies on the mass-burning of Stars of David? No, he took part as usual, and the crowds reacted as usual.
Participants in Tehran's Quds Day rally burn U.S. and Israeli flags, on July 10, 2015. (Image source: ISNA)
It was the same just a few weeks ago, when the Iranian Parliament met to discuss the Vienna deal. On that occasion, after some authorized disputation, the Iranian Parliament broke up, with the representatives chanting "Death to America."
A generous person might say that this is unimportant -- that in Iran, chanting "Death to America" is like throat-clearing. This is just what we are being told -- that these messages are "just for domestic consumption," and don't mean anything.
Putting aside what they say for a moment, what is it about Iran's actions that have changed enough to persuade the U.S. government that the Iranian regime might be a regime in transition?
Internally there has been no let-up in the regime's campaign of oppression against their own Iranian people: hanging people for a range of "crimes," from being gay to being a poet found guilty of "blasphemy," continue.
Iran has hanged more than a thousand of these internal "enemies" in the last eighteen months alone, as negotiators sat in Vienna thrashing out a deal. In the wider region, Iran remains the most voraciously ambitious, and perhaps the only successfully outgoing, regional power. In the years since the "Arab Spring" began, only Iran has been able significantly to extend its reach and grip in the region. It now has a vastly increased presence and influence in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. It continues to arm its terrorist proxies, including Hezbollah, which in turn continues to increase its build-up of rockets and other munitions on the northern border of Israel.
Iran has not released the four American hostages it continues to hold -- Pastor Saeed Abedini, for the crime of converting to Christianity; Washington Post journalist Jason Rezian, on the patently nonsensical charges of espionage; former U.S. Marine Amir Mirza Hekmati, who went to Iran to visit his grandmother; and retired DEA and FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was abducted eight years ago and has not been heard from since early 2013. This, in spite of last-minute requests from Iran to lift a ban on conventional weapons, acceded to by the members of the P5+1, wasting yet another abandoned opportunity actually to get something in return for their total surrender.
From the outside, it would seem that very little has changed in the rhetoric of Iran and very little has changed in the regime's behavior. That is why the mystery of what change the U.S. administration and its partners see in the eyes of the Ayatollahs is so doubly curious.
Because the nature of the deal makes it exceptionally important that there is some change. In the next decade, in exchange for the supposed "managed inspections" of limited Iranian sites, the Ayatollas are going to enjoy a trade explosion with a cash bonanza of $140 billion unfrozen assets, just to start them off. Throughout that same decade, there will be a lifting of restrictions on -- among other things -- the sale and purchase by Iran of conventional arms and munitions. Iran will finally be able to purchase the long-awaited anti-aircraft system that the Russians (also of course present at the table in Vienna) want to sell them. This system -- among the most advanced surface-to-air missile systems -- will be able to shoot down any American, Israeli or other jets that might ever come to destroy Iran's nuclear project. And surely only an uncharitable person would wonder why Iran's rulers are buying the technology they would need to repel any attack on their nuclear project at the same time as they are promising the Americans that they are not developing nuclear weaponry.
And it is even more important that the signs of hope located by the U.S. administration are correct, because after all, barring an internal uprising -- which the Vienna deal makes more unlikely than ever (having strengthened the diplomatic and financial hand of the regime) -- it is safe to say that over the next decade and beyond the Mullahs will remain in charge in Iran.
In the U.S., Germany, France and Britain, by contrast, who knows who will be in charge? In Britain, the Labour party may have romped to victory with, at its head, Jeremy Corbyn MP (currently Labour leadership contender) -- a man who has openly and repeatedly praised Hamas and Hezbollah as his "friends." That would certainly change the dynamics.
But put aside such a potentially unlikely situation and assume that Britain and America simply do politics as usual. In ten years, there will have been four U.S. governments overseeing the implementation of this deal and scrutinizing the inspections-compliance of the Iranian regime.
In the UK, there will have been at least two new governments. Who is to say that all these different governments -- of whatever party or political stripe -- will pay the same attention, know what to look out for, and feel as robust about totally unenforceable "snapback sanctions" and other details of the implementation of this deal as the signatories to the deal appear to expect? Is it possible that the Iranians actually know this?
Perhaps, after all, there is something in the eyes of the Ayatollahs. Maybe US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama really have looked into the Iranian leaders' eyes and seen a smile. But whether it is for the reason they appear to believe is, of course, quite another matter.
StoreDot, Which Charges Smartphone Battery In 30 Seconds, Will Soon Charge Cars In 5 Minutes! By Jonathan Neff, NoCamels July 09, 2015 2 Comments One of last year’s viral tech videos was of StoreDot’s phenomenal technology, which charged a Samsung smartphone in just 30 seconds. Now the very same Israeli startup is racing to develop a brand new, ultra-fast charger for electric cars.
SEE ALSO: StoreDot’s Technology Charges A Smartphone In 30 Seconds!
StoreDot made international headlines when it initially announced its smartphone battery solution in 2012. The company developed its patented organic battery compound that charges five times more efficiently than regular electrolyte-powered battery. StoreDot’s solution is based on nano-technology, or “nano-tubes,” which can store and emit a large amount of energy in one go.
While StoreDot is on track to implement its smartphone technology in several models by the end of 2016, its development team is also racing to present a technology that can recharge electric cars (such as Tesla vehicles) in a mere five minutes. In that supersonic time frame, StoreDot says cars will be ready for a 300-mile drive.
NoCamels sat down with CEO Doron Myersdorf to hear about the company’s latest achievements.
Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot
Instant car charging
Currently in talks with automobile manufacturers, Myersdorf hopes to achieve partnerships with big names such as Ford, Nissan, and Audi – all of which already have electric models on the market. The price of a StoreDot battery for cars is expected to be set once StoreDot brings it to market in 2022.
$58 million in three years
Founded in 2012, StoreDot has raised $58 million in private rounds over the course of three years; approximately $10 million came from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Over the past year, the company has come far in development and strategic relationships with smartphone manufacturers in order to have its speedy, 30-second smartphone battery charger implemented in a range of phones.
Although Samsung is the only mobile phone manufacturer that has invested in StoreDot, Myersdorf tells NoCamels the company is currently “in talks with six of the largest smartphone manufacturers” regarding partnerships.
Last week—and please forgive me for the graphic nature of this metaphor—Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled down his pants and urinated over the graves of the 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys exterminated by Serb forces in the enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.
Twenty years after Bosnia was torn apart by the genocide committed by both Serb and Croatian forces, the Russians—who were the main backers of the regime of the late tyrant of Belgrade, Slobodan Milosevic—are still playing the insidious role of denying the most monstrous crime to take place in Europe since the Second World War. In vetoing a joint American-British resolution to commemorate the slaughter at Srebrenica with the legal status of a genocide, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin grunted that what was tabled at the U.N. Security Council was “not constructive, confrontational and politically motivated.” Predictably, his words drew a furious response: “After 20 years, Russia showed that it backed the crime instead of justice,” declared Munira Subasic, the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association. But as deplorable as the Russian stance is, it isn’t at all surprising. Towards the end of the 1990s, when it came to dealing with genocide and crimes against humanity, the momentum was clearly on the side of the western democracies. Among the milestones were the creation of the International Criminal Court—whose true purpose was to try monsters like Milosevic and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein—and the development of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine. In essence, that doctrine, known by the shorthand of R2P, was aimed at overriding state sovereignty in order to prevent authoritarian and totalitarian regimes from exterminating their own civilians at will.
Halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, it’s time to admit the bitter truth. We’ve failed. We’ve failed to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity. We’ve failed to deliver a decisive message to the world’s tyrants that they can no longer get away with murder. If anything, we’ve actually encouraged them to believe that the more violent and intransigent they are, the greater the chances of them receiving deferential treatment. Look at North Korea. Or Qatar. Or any other despicable regime that denies those who live there the right to speak and vote without fear of intimidation or arrest.
Look, most of all, at Iran, and at the deal that was reached Tuesday in the talks over Tehran’s nuclear program in Vienna. The litany of losers arising from this deal is by now familiar: the United States of America, which in the name of enhancing its own security is fatally compromising it; Israel, which now faces its most serious existential threat since the Yom Kippur War of 1973; and the Arab states, many of whom will now be racing towards their own nuclear program.
But the biggest and most immediate losers are those who are too often forgotten: the Syrian people locked in a diabolical civil war that puts the horror of Bosnia into the shade and credibly rivals Pol Pot’s massacres in Cambodia when it comes to atrocities. And the reason? Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, who is a tool of the Iranian regime.
Well over 200,000 civilians have been killed during the four-year conflict. More than 4 million refugees have fled the country, living in makeshift camps in countries like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon—all of them becoming increasingly inhospitable to a massive population influx that has created an enormous financial burden. Inside Syria, close to 8 million people have been displaced from their homes. When you remember that the pre-war population of Syria was 22 million, you come to the staggering realization that more than half of its people have lost their homes and livelihoods. No wonder they are calling this the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
And where is the West, with its Responsibility to Protect doctrine? In the Syrian case, we appear to have inverted it; rather than weakening the Assad regime, we are in fact strengthening it. And the necessary battle against the barbaric forces of Islamic State doesn’t mean we aren’t also obliged to confront Assad, who launched this ghastly war in the first place.
How, though, does Assad himself see the situation? Some clue as to his vision was provided in a recent interview published on the Russian Sputnik website, conducted by the French parliamentarian Jean-Frederic Poisson—who sounds, if you’ll allow me the pun, like a rather fishy character who talks about the “stability in Syria” that the preservation of Assad’s rule would bring.
In his comments to Monsieur Poisson, “Assad criticized Western governments for meddling in regional countries’ internal affairs, ‘failing to listen to the voices of nations,’ and displaying ‘double standards’ in the fight against terrorism.” All tropes, you will notice, that his Iranian paymasters were raising at the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
The surrender in Vienna reverberates most immediately in Syria. Assad’s most powerful backers are now Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, assisted by the notorious Qods Force and various intelligence agencies. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’a terrorist group, is also engaged in combat on behalf of Assad. Even Shi’a militias from Iraq, like the Kata’ib Hezbollah, have been imported into Syria by the Iranians. Imagine what they can do—and will do—when billions of dollars of sanctions relief make their way into Tehran’s coffers after the signing of this nuclear deal.
Assad’s future is not, of course, guaranteed. Recent reports suggest that members of Assad’s own Alawite community are fed up with Iranian domination of their country and are challenging their president on that basis. Still, the guns, the planes, and even the chemical weapons remain largely in Assad’s hands, supported by the Iranians and also the Russians, who have no reason to commemorate past genocides when they are involved in present ones.
So, then: what of the Responsibility to Protect? Maybe we should rename it the License to Kill.
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/45217/world-powers-surrender-on-iran-deal-reverberates-most-immediately-in-syria-opinion/#DQlsvPe6uhsCzIzP.99
A Jordanian-Palestinian writes an usual piece about the Arab world's obsession with destroying Israel: "...We Arabs have given our dictators carte blanche to impoverish, terrorize, oppress and destroy us all in the name of 'the great Arab struggle to end the Zionist entity.' The outcome of this has been clear: While Israel made 10 new breakthroughs in cancer and cardiac treatments in the last two years alone, we Arabs developed new execution methods.
If Israel were to disappear and be replaced by a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would most likely end up with another Arab dictatorship that oppresses them and reduces them to poverty. We have partially seen that with the Palestinian Authority and the 'liberated' areas it rules. I regularly visit the West Bank and have interviewed scores of Palestinians there. I can confirm that, as much as they hate Israel, they still openly yearn for the days when it administered the West Bank. As one Palestinian told me, 'We prayed to God to give us mercy and rid us of Israel; later, we found out that God had given us mercy when Israel was here.'"
Common food supplement fights degenerative brain disorders Nutritional supplement delays advancement of Parkinson’s and familial dysautonomia, Israeli researchers discover.
By Abigail Klein Leichman June 30, 2013, No Comments Share on emailEmail Print Many older people already take the compound phosphatidylserine to improve cognition and slow memory loss. There is more good news about this natural food supplement, coming out of an Israeli university: phosphatidylserine appears to improve the functioning of genes involved in degenerative brain disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and familial dysautonomia (FD).
Produced from beef, oysters or soy, and already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, phosphatidylserine contains a molecule essential for transmitting signals between nerve cells in the brain.
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A team headed by Prof. Gil Ast and Dr. Ron Bochner of Tel Aviv University’s department of human molecular genetics decided to test whether the same chemical, which is naturally synthesized in the body and known to boost memory capability, could impact the genetic mutation which leads to FD — a rare genetic nervous system disorder that affects Ashkenazi Jews.
When the supplement was applied to cells taken from people with FD, and to lab mice with FD, the gene function improved, and the cells began producing the key protein that FD patients lack. The Israeli team’s findings were published earlier this year in the journal Human Molecular Genetics.
Most medications enter the body through the bloodstream, but cannot get through the barrier between the blood and the brain. That is what makes this discovery especially significant.
“That we see such an effect on the brain — the most important organ in relation to this disease — shows that the supplement can pass through the blood-brain barrier even when administered orally, and accumulate in sufficient amounts in the brain,” said Ast.
Slowing the death of nerve cells
Ast and Bochner’s team applied a supplement derived from oysters, provided by the Israeli company Enzymotec, to cells collected from FD patients. Seeing successful results, they then tested the same supplement on mouse models of FD, engineered with the same genetic mutation that causes the disease in humans.
The mice received the supplement orally, every two days for a period of three months. Researchers then conducted extensive genetic testing to assess the results of the treatment.
“We found a significant increase of the protein in all the tissues of the body,” reported Ast. “While the food supplement does not manufacture new nerve cells, it probably delays the death of existing ones.”
Not only did phosphatidylserine impact the gene associated with FD, but it also altered the level of 2,400 other genes — hundreds of which have been connected to Parkinson’s disease in previous studies.
The researchers believe that the supplement may have a beneficial impact on several degenerative diseases of the brain. Seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with PD. While the much rarer FD affects less than 1,000 people, about one-third of them live in Israel and another one-third in the New York area.
Author Batya Casper.