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A tardigrade, also known as a water bear, is a microscopic life-form that can survive in the vacuum of space.
Israel May Have Landed Unlikely Guests on Moon
While the Beresheet lunar lander crashed on the moon in April, at least one of its missions may be considered a success. The spacecraft carried a miniscule archive containing DNA, data, and thousands of dehydrated tardigrades, microscopic creatures often called “water bears” for their appearance, according to The Times of Israel and Wired. American venture capitalist Nova Spivack’s Arch Mission Foundation was behind the archive. The foundation aims
Today in Israeli History Aug. 16, 1966: Operation Diamond, the plan to obtain a Russian-made MiG-21 fighter jet, succeeds when disillusioned Iraqi-Christian fighter pilot Munir Redfa lands an Iraqi air force MiG-21 at Israel’s Hatzor Air Force Base. Redfa, escorted in by two Israeli Mirage jets, had cut a deal with the Mossad that included a $1 million payment, Israeli citizenship for himself and his family, and guaranteed full-time employment.
to create a “backup of planet Earth.” The tardigrades were a last-minute addition, and are famous for their hardy constitution, able to survive being dehydrated for years. They are found all over the Earth and can survive even the vacuum of space. The space bears appropriately were featured on 2017’s “Star Trek: Discovery,” which featured the creatures as navigators in space, though it seems unlikely Israel will be employing that technique on future spaceflights.
GPS Systems Soar Again at Ben Gurion Airport
Flights around Ben Gurion International Airport had been experiencing unexplained disruptions to their satellite navigation for two months, but that all ended Aug. 5, according to the Israel Airports Authority. While there is still no clarity on what caused the interference to stop, or whether Israeli intelligence or security played a role in ending it, officials have pointed to Russian forces in Syria as the
not the second, writes to scholar Yehoshua Ravnitzky that the young Zionists at the Warsaw meeting are excited to hear someone stand up to political Zionists such as Theodor Herzl.
source of the disruption in the past. The Russian embassy in Israel called those accusations “fake news.” Todd Humphreys, a University of Texas professor, told the TOI in June that he was 90 to 95 percent sure that Russia was behind the interference based on his satellite data. The disturbance did not lead to any safety issues at Ben Gurion, according to the Airports Authority, and all pilots were able to securely land using a “safe and professional” alternative method. Similar issues have arisen in the past around the Black Sea — where Russia borders Norway and Finland — as well as near the Kremlin and Russian President Vladmir Putin’s palace.
Tiny Turtles Time to Hatch
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority released a warning for the public Aug. 5 after a loggerhead turtle hatchling was discovered trapped in tire markings on Zikim Beach on its path to the ocean. The beach is in southern Israel, near the Gaza border.
and essays in Yiddish and German, but is best known for his Hebrew writings, including a lengthy debate with Ahad Ha’am about the nature of Hebrew literature. Berdichevski’s insistence on the value of secular Hebrew literature inspires younger writers. He also spends years recording Jewish folklore.
Photo by Michael Eisenberg // Claire Epstein
led excavations of the ancient city of Hippos (Susita) on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee in the 1950s.
Central Zionist Archives photo // (Clockwise from bottom left) Yehoshua Ravnitzky, Mordechai “Ben-Ami” Rabinowich, Hayim Nachman Bialik and Ahad Ha’am are shown in 1926.
Aug. 17, 1898: A few weeks before the Second Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, 160 Zionists from 93 cities and towns in Russia meet secretly in Warsaw, where organizer Ahad Ha’am rallies support for a Jewish cultural renaissance before any political actions. Ha’am, who attended the First Zionist Congress but 12 | AUGUST 16, 2019 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Aug. 18, 2000: Archaeologist Claire Epstein, a London native who participated in many archaeological surveys and excavations in Israel, including discovering the culture of the Chalcolithic Period (4500 to 3300 B.C.E.) in the Golan, dies at age 88 at Kibbutz Ginossar. She began her archaeological work at Susita, an ancient Roman city near Kibbutz Ein Gev, where she lived, as an assistant to Michael AviYona during the War of Independence. She didn’t pursue a doctorate in archaeology until the 1960s. Aug. 19, 1856: Scholar and writer Michah Joseph Berdichevski is born in Ukraine. He writes short stories, novels
The Hebrew-language medical journal Harefuah has been published in the Land of Israel for 99 years.
Aug. 20, 1920: The first Hebrewlanguage medical journal in Palestine, Harefuah (Medicine), begins publishing on a quarterly schedule under the auspices of the Jewish Medical Association of Palestine. The editor is ophthalmologist Aryeh Feigenbaum, who as a teenager in Poland told a friend that he would become a doctor, move to Palestine and found the first medical journal there in Hebrew. The journal is still published monthly by the Israel Medical Association and is distrib-
Screencapture of The Times of Israel video showing a turtle hatchling fighting its way through tire tracks.
It is illegal to drive on any of Israel’s beaches, but risk to turtle nests, eggs and hatchlings exacerbates concerns and led to the call from the authority. Hatching season lasts from March to August. During those months, the petite slowpokes make their way to the water guided by the natural light on the horizon, according to TOI. The INPA’s call also asked beachgoers to keep their visits confined to the day, and — if a night visit is absolutely necessary — to keep noise to a minimum, avoid lighting fires and clean up all trash that can serve as a barrier or danger to turtles. ■
uted free to all its members. Aug. 21, 1982: American, French and Italian troops arrive in Lebanon’s capital to supervise the evacuation of about 14,000 PLO fighters through Sept. 1. Yasser Arafat leaves Beirut on Aug. 30. Eight countries agree to offer asylum to the PLO: Syria, Jordan, Iraq, South Yemen, North Yemen, Sudan, Algeria and Tunisia, the last of which becomes Arafat’s headquarters. Driving terrorists and Syrian forces from Beirut is one of Israel’s principal goals in the 1982 Lebanon War. Aug. 22, 1952: The Development Corporation for Israel, now commonly known as Israel Bonds, brings 22 Jewish leaders to Israel on a 15-day American Champions of Israel Bonds mission, the first of its kind. They report to the Economic Conference for Israel in mid-September in Atlantic City, N.J., where the 600 delegates pledge to raise $130 million in bonds. The launch of American-purchased Israel Bonds in 1951 helped stabilize the economy of the young state. ■ Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org), where you can find more details.
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