14 April 2016 - 6 Nisan 5776 - ו' ניסן ה' אלפים תשע"ו
The Baron de Rothschild’s lost ship E-mail

In a recent new study, researchers from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies at the University of Haifa have evidence to show that a shipwreck discovered at Dor Beach in 1976 may be identified as the Baron de Rothschild’s missing ship.

The ship was one of three ships used to carry raw materi­als from France to a glass fac­tory established by the baron at Tantura. The ship vanished without a trace in the late nine­teenth century. “We know that two of the baron’s three ships were sold, but we have no in­formation concerning the third ship. The ship we have found is structurally consistent with the specifications of the Baron’s ships, carried a similar cargo, and sailed and sank during the right period,” explained Dr. Deborah Cvikel and Micky Holtzman, who are investigat­ing the shipwreck.

In 1893 the Baron de Roths­child founded a glass factory at Tantura beach in order to enable the local production of wine bottles for the winery at nearby Zichron Yaacov.

The factory was actually es­tablished and managed by Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv. The Baron even purchased three small ships to transport raw materials from factories in France to the factory at Tantura, and hired Jewish crews to man the ships. Contemporary re­cords detail the purchase of the ships and specify their models. It was also noted that the ships were damaged and required re­pairs. Two of the ships were ul­timately sold, while the fate of the third ship remains unknown.

Dr. Cvikel and Mr. Holtzman are now proposing the hypothe­sis that a two-masted shipwreck off the coast at Dor (Tantura) that was first excavated in 1999 may be the missing Baron’s missing ship. The shipwreck was excavated underwater in 1999-2000 in a study that fo­cused mainly on the structure of the ship, and again in 2008 in a study that focused mainly on its contents, which included pots, earthenware, ceramic tiles, roof tiles, barrels, crates, and sev­eral sacks. The present study is based on the processing of find­ings from the 2008 excavation.

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Indonesian students turn to Israel to learn agriculture E-mail

Fifty-two students f rom Eas t Nusa Tenggara in eastern Indonesia recently spent 10 months in Arava, Israel.

At the Arava International Center of Agriculture Training (AICAT), they learned to man­age the dry land to make it fer­tile and productive. Like the soil in Arava, the soil in East Nusa Tenggara is very dry and there is very little water.

As well as agriculture, the students learned about aqua­culture (fishery) in the desert, pests, plant diseases and basic IT skills, under the supervision of mentors and instructors in Is­rael. Joining them on the train­ing programme were students from Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Laos and even Sudan and Ethio­pia.

This new programme was initiated in East Nusa Tenggara by Agus Suherman, an Indo­nesian of Chinese descent and a faithful Catholic with a true love for Israel. His mission is to send as many agriculture stu­dents as possible to Israel, using his own money plus donations from local businessmen.

Each student needs around US$10,000, or 100.000.000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiahs). When I asked him why he wanted to do that, his answer was very much a spiritual re­sponse: “Because God says I [God] will bless Israel. So I just follow what God said; I learned from blessed people.”

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Israeli professor wants to purchase 1.4% of the Earth E-mail

Professor Uri Shanas of the University of Haifa at Oranim has started a campaign to launch an organisation for the conservation of natural species worldwide, and donations have surpassed expectations.

How much would it cost to save the world? As it turns out, not that much. At least that’s what Professor Shanas, who has started a crowd funding proj­ect that aims to preserve the biological diversity in danger of extinction on Earth, believes. In just a few weeks, the profes­sor managed to pass his initial target sum of US$20,000, and donations are still coming in.

Professor Shanas, a faculty member of the Department of Biology and Environment at the University of Haifa, has started an open, democratic, in­ternational “purchasing group” whose entire purpose is to save the planet.

“We don’t have to, and we can’t, defend the Earth at all times,” said Shanas. “But if we can preserve the part that has an extraordinary diversity of plants and animals that are at risk of extinction, we can stop the dis­appearance of species that is happening today.”

Professor Shanas asked for help from the public in raising funds to create an organisation dedicated to the conservation of the world’s species. He said there are already many species of plants and animals in dan­ger of going extinct, with the list only growing with global warming and the continued de­struction of open pastures.

“We don’t always know what the extraction of one spe­cies from the system will do, but there are examples of sys­temic collapse that went so far as to affect mankind that were the result of one species’ extinc­tion. For instance, the extinction of the sea otter in the Pacific Ocean caused a rise in local sea urchin populations, which ate the algae in the area, causing fish populations to starve, caus­ing many fishermen to lose both their livelihood and food sup­ply,” he explained.

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