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New Light on an Ancient Past:

A renewal project in Tel Ashkelon National Park will reveal the spectacular archaeological remains of a magnificent 2,000-year-old Basilica

The Roman Basilica complex, the largest of its kind in the country, was unearthed in Israel Antiquities Authority archaeological excavations as part of an extensive development project in the national park led by the Nature and Parks Authority, Ashkelon Municipality and the Leon Levy Foundation. On completion of the conservation and restoration work, the complex will be adapted for visitors. The development work also includes the construction of a new network of accessible paths showcasing the park’s unique nature, heritage and landscape.

 

Tel Ashkelon National Park has recently undergone extensive development work, initiated and funded by the Nature and Parks Authority, Ashkelon Municipality and the Leon Levy Foundation, during which the Israel Antiquities Authority recently revealed a magnificent 2,000-year-old basilica that is the largest of its kind in Israel.

The exciting finds, which also include an ancient odeon (theater), are now being revealed for the first time and will soon be open to visitors to Tel Ashkelon National Park, enhancing the visitor experience at the site. The site will be opened on completion of the development, conservation and restoration work, which includes erecting sculptures and marble columns found in excavations at the site.


The Nature and Parks Authority and the Ashkelon Municipality are also developing and constructing a new network of accessible paths designed to showcase and provide better access to the park’s unique nature, heritage and landscape, thereby enhancing the visitor experience.

During the Roman period, the public life of the city revolved around its basilica (a Roman public building), where its citizens transacted business, met for social and legal matters, and held performances and religious ceremonies.

 

 

According to Dr. Rachel Bar-Natan, Saar Ganor and Fredrico Kobrin, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The huge building is covered with a roof and divided into three parts – a central hall and two side halls. The hall was surrounded with rows of marble columns and capitals, which rose to an estimated height of 13 meters and supported the building’s roof. The floor and walls were built of marble.”

The marble, discovered during many years of archaeological excavations lasting until two years ago, was imported from Asia Minor in merchant ships that reached the shores of Ashkelon, which was a famous, bustling trade city. Roughly 200 marble items weighing hundreds of tons have been found in all, testifying to the building’s great splendor. Among the items, dozens of column capitals with plant motifs were discovered, some bearing an eagle – the symbol of the Roman Empire. Pillars and heart-shaped capitals stood in the corners of the building. Excavations by the British in the 1920s unearthed huge statues, including a statue of Nike, the goddess of victory, supported by the god Atlas holding a sphere, and a statue of Isis – an Egyptian deity depicted as Tyche, the city’s goddess of fortune.

The basilica was devastated in the earthquake that struck the country in 363 CE. The effects of the seismic waves are clearly visible on the building’s floor, providing tangible evidence of the events of that year in Ashkelon. After its destruction, the building was abandoned. During the Abbasid and Fatimid periods, the site of the basilica was transformed into an industrial area and several installations were built in it. In one of these, marble pillars and capitals from the basilica were incorporated in secondary use in the buildings’ walls. There is evidence from the Ottoman period that marble items were cut up for use as paving stones and some of the beautiful architectural features were taken for building construction.

The conservation department of the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting complex preservation and restoration work on the odeon and the impressive basilica, led by the Nature and Parks Authority and generously funded by the Leon Levy Foundation. The work involves placing the spectacular marble sculptures of ancient Ashkelon in the southern part of the basilica. In the first stage, the odeon will be conserved and restored. Thanks to the Leon Levy Foundation’s donation, it will incorporate modern seating, a stage and a series of explanatory signs. At the same time, a pilot program at the site has begun installing the impressive marble items in place, in a complex operation in which one of the pillars, weighing dozens of tons, was hoisted into the basilica. The floor of the excavated basilica will be restored and filled in, and additional columns will be placed around the perimeter based on lessons learned from the initial program. The public will then be able to access a magnificent basilica, the largest in Israel. In the meantime, visitors will be able to sit on the seating in the odeon – to be completed in the coming months – and observe the work on the nearby basilica.

Meanwhile, the new system of accessible paths being developed by the Nature and Parks Authority and Ashkelon Municipality in the national park aims to make the park’s unique nature, heritage and landscape more readily available, thereby enhancing the visitor experience. The route, about 2 km long, will go through the national park’s main sites, including the world’s oldest arched Canaanite gate, the famous wells of the ancient city, the basilica and the odeon, and the Crusader walls. This chronological trail tracing Ashkelon’s history through the ages will be clearly lined with content signage. A second trail will lead to the ancient wall and Ashkelon’s dunes, providing a glimpse of the rich flora and fauna to the south of the national park. Between the two trails, in the center of the park, a new visitor center will illustrate in an experiential interactive way the vibrant life of the port city and its importance throughout the various periods.

According to Shaul Goldstein, CEO of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, “The Tel Ashkelon National Park combines a fascinating antiquities site with unique natural resources characteristic of the dunes in the coastal plain. It was the first national park to be declared in Israel in the 1960s and since then, it has been constantly evolving and renewing for the benefit of visitors from all over the country. The unveiling of the basilica and odeon together with the development, preservation and restoration work, which includes the installation of pillars and ancient marble sculptures found in excavations at the site, as well as the addition of new and accessible trails around points of major interest will undoubtedly enhance visits to the park and further emphasize its heritage and uniqueness. We are grateful to our partners for providing tremendous support and guidance in the national park’s development, including the generous assistance of Mrs. Shelby White and the Leon Levy Foundation under the close supervision of archaeologist Prof. Daniel Master.”

Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam says, “The Ashkelon National Park is one of the most important ancient sites, both in Israel and in the world, and time and time again it emerges as one of the most visited sites in the country. The city takes great pride in it, investing resources and funding in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, encouraging visitors by subsidizing entry for Ashkelon’s residents and promoting educational and community initiatives. We have recently also finished upgrading the entrance road to the park, which has been transformed to give the park the dignity it deserves. I am convinced that the restoration and conservation work in the park, the new archaeological discoveries and the development work – including new accessible paths – will contribute significantly to the park’s natural beauty and strengthen its status as the most beautiful and well-kept national park in Israel.”

Shelby White, founder of the Leon Levy Foundation, explains that the conservation and restoration work was made possible, among other things, thanks to its generous donation, “When Leon and I visited Ashkelon in 1985, we did not imagine that our ties with that ancient seaport would last for over three decades. I am glad that the odeon, one of the many archaeological discoveries made by the Leon Levy expedition, will now be restored and the famous Roman sculptures of Ashkelon will be returned to their original location. Thanks to this, visitors to the Ashkelon National Park from Israel and around the world will be able to imagine this great city in all its ancient glory.”

“The basilica was founded by Herod the Great, and one historical source suggests that his family came from the city of Ashkelon,” add Ganor, Dr. Bar-Natan and Kobrin of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “During the Roman Severan Dynasty, in the second and third centuries CE, the building was renovated, marble architectural features were brought to the site and a small theater was added. Herodian coins discovered in the bedding of the structure’s ancient floors show that it was built at the time of one of the greatest builders ever to have lived in the country. The writings of the historian Josephus mention Herod’s construction in the city of Ashkelon and list fountains, a bathhouse and colonnaded halls. Today, based on the new archaeological evidence, we can understand the origins of the historical record.”

Photos

Dr. Rachel Bar-Natan at the Excavation of the basilica in the Tel Ashkelon National Park. Photo Yoli Schwartz Antiquities Authority

 The Basilica and Odeon Complex in Tel Ashkelon National Park - Yaniv Cohen Nature and Parks Authority

 

 

 

 

 

*Invitation* The Israel Antiquities Authority is pleased to offer to the public another virtual Dead Sea Scrolls conference on June 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2021.

 

Join us for The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Second Public Conference co-sponsored by the Friends of the IAA with NYU Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies and Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies. 

 

This conference follows our Dead Sea Scrolls in Recent Scholarship virtual conference in May 2020 that exceeded all expectations. More than 1500 individuals from all over the world including Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Paraguay, and Tanzania participated in this first-ever international Dead Sea Scrolls conference.

 

More than three dozen scholars from around the world will gather online to share their research on the Dead Sea Scrolls. With the recent announcement of new Judean cave finds, including dozens of fragments of a biblical scroll from the Bar Kokhba period, this conference on the latest Dead Sea Scrolls research and findings is not to be missed. Recordings of last year's conference are available here. Registration is again free and will be required

 

Hear from international scholars and experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority, and from Israel, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Malta, Switzerland, Denmark, and France.

 

Session topics include: Major Issues in Dead Sea Scrolls Research; the Judean Desert Caves Archaeological Project; Archaeology of Qumran; Archaeology and Sectarianism; Manuscript and Text; Aramaic and Parabiblical Texts; Legal and Sectarian Texts; Scripture, Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism; and War and Violence in the Scrolls

 

This virtual conference is presented free to the public by the Israel Antiquities Authority, Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority and NYU, Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies & the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.


For any questions about the schedule or registration process, please send an email here

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS: A SECOND PUBLIC CONFERENCE Sponsored by:  New York University 

Global Network for Advanced Research in Jewish Studies  

Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies  

The Israel Antiquities Authority 

Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority 

Sunday June 6, 2021  

11:00 - 11:30 AM EDT [6:00 - 6:30 PM IDT]: Opening Session 

Presiding Chair and Opening Remarks 

Alex Jassen, Chair, Skirball Department of Hebrew & Judaic Studies, New York University Greetings 

Andrew D. Hamilton, President New York University 

Gideon Avni, Head Scientist, Israel Antiquities Authority 

Emily Master, Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority  

Joe Uziel, Head of the Dead Sea Scrolls Unit, Israel Antiquities Authority 

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM EDT [6:30 - 8:00 PM IDT]: Report on the Judean Desert Caves  Archaeological Project 

Chair: Ilit Cohen-Ofri, Israel Antiquities Authority 

The Judean Desert Caves Archaeological Project: Goals, Methodology and Achievements  Eitan Klein, Israel Antiquities Authority 

Excavations in Murabba`at Cave 4: Preliminary Insights  

Haim Cohen, Israel Antiquities Authority

“And I will bring them to dwell in Jerusalem”: New Fragments of the Greek Minor Prophets  Scroll (8HevXII gr) 

Oren Ableman and Beatriz Riestra, Israel Antiquities Authority 

1:00 - 1:30 PM EDT [8:00 - 8:30 PM IDT]: Break 

1:30 - 3:30 PM EDT [8:30 - 10:30 PM IDT]: Major Issues in Dead Sea Scrolls Research  Chair: Angela Kim Harkins, Boston College 

Scribal Text Groups among the Bible Manuscripts Found in the Judean Desert Emanuel Tov, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

Evidence for Scribal Apprenticeship and Education at Qumran 

Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska 

What Do We Know about the Teacher of Righteousness? 

John J. Collins, Yale University 

Troops of Light: Militant Prayer and Ritual Cursing in the Dead Sea Scrolls 

Daniel Falk, Penn State University 

Monday, June 7, 2021 

9:00 - 10:30 AM EDT [4:00 - 5:30 PM IDT]: Archaeology of Qumran 

Chair: Molly Zahn, University of Kansas 

Qumran in the Late Hellenistic Period: An Archaeological Reassessment. 

Dennis Mizzi, University of Malta 

To Sit or to Squat? The Qumran Toilet Revisited 

Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina 

Searching for Qumran Cave 6Q 

Marcello Fidanzio, Faculty of Theology, Lugano

2   10:30 - 11:00 AM EDT [5:30 - 6:00 PM IDT]: Break 

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM EDT [6:00 - 7:30 PM IDT]: Archaeology and Sectarianism Chair: Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina 

The Archaeology of Sectarianism: Social Analysis of Khirbet Qumran 

Eyal Regev, Bar-Ilan University 

The Gate of the Essenes in Jerusalem 

Timothy H. Lim, University of Edinburgh 

A Comprehensive Analysis of the Tefillin (Phylacteries) Assemblage from the Judean Desert: A  Work-in-Progress 

Yonatan Adler, Ariel University 

12:30 - 1:00 PM EDT [7:30 - 8:00 PM IDT]: Break 

1:00 - 3:00 PM EDT [8:00 - 10:00 PM IDT]: Launching the Qumranica (SQE) Virtual Scholarly  Environment  

Chair: Esther Chazon  

Scripta Qumranica Electronica: The Vision, Concept, and Challenges of a New Online Platform  for the Dead Sea Scrolls 

Reinhard Kratz, University of Göttingen and Pnina Shor, Israel Antiquities Authority 

A Short Tour of the Qumranica Platform 

Bronson Brown deVost, University of Göttingen 

Digital and Material Reconstruction of Highly Fragmentary Scrolls 

Jonathan Ben-Dov, Tel Aviv University and Eshbal Ratzon, Ariel University 

Towards a New Edition of 4QInstruction: The Case of the Prologue 

Asaf Gayer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

3  Tuesday, June 8, 2021 

9:00 - 11:00 AM EDT [4:00 - 6:00 PM IDT]: Manuscript and Text 

Chair: Eileen Schuller, McMaster University 

Do 11Q19 and 11Q20 Represent Different Recensions of the Temple Scroll? Methodological  Considerations  

Andrew Gross, Catholic University of America 

4QpaleoExodm (4Q22) and the ‘Samaritan’ Tenth Commandment. 

Hila Dayfani, University of Oxford, Oriel College 

Pesher Habakkuk: From Behind the Scenes of a Forthcoming New Commentary Noam Mizrachi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 

The Dead Sea Scrolls and Authorship 

George Brooke, University of Manchester  

11:00 - 11:30 AM EDT [6:00 - 6:30 PM IDT]: Break 

11:30 AM - 2:00 PM EDT [6:30 - 9:00 PM IDT]: Aramaic and Parabiblical Texts Chair: Joseph Angel. Yeshiva University 

A God’s-Eye View: The Perception of Sacrifice in Aramaic Levi 

Liane Feldman, New York University 

Is There 'Poetry' in the 'Prose' of the Genesis Apocryphon? 

Moshe J. Bernstein, Yeshiva University 

Books and Writings in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran 

Devorah Dimant, University of Haifa 

What Did Levi Do? 

James C. VanderKam, University of Notre Dame  

'Seal the Words of the Scroll until the Time of the End' (Daniel 12:4): Hidden Manuscripts and  the Search for a New Biblical Past 

Eva Mroczek, University of California, Davis 

4     Wednesday, June 9, 2021 

9:00 - 11:00 AM EDT [4:00 - 6:00 PM IDT]: Legal and Sectarian Texts 

Chair: Sidnie White Crawford, University of Nebraska 

'Bringing the Messiah(s) Through Law': Reflections upon Completing a New Commentary to the  Damascus Document 

Steven Fraade, Yale University 

Inter-sectarian Polemic in Miqsat Ma`asei Ha-Torah (4QMMT) 

Vered Noam, Tel Aviv University 

On Timing and Law: A Multimodal Analysis of the Maskil in 4Q259 

James M. Tucker, University of Toronto 

The Temple Scroll and Mishnah Middot: A Literary Comparison 

Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University 

11:00 - 11:30 AM EDT [6:00 - 6:30 PM IDT]: Break 

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM EDT [6:30 - 8:00 PM IDT]: Scripture, Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism Chair: Alison Schofield, University of Denver 

Why Did Moses Stay for Forty Days and Forty Nights on Mt. Sinai? 

Ariel Feldman, Brite Divinity School 

Lived Wisdom in Early Judaism 

Elisa Uusimäki, Aarhus University 

Are the Dead Sea Scrolls Authentic? Insights from Early Qumran Scholarship 

Michael Langlois, University of Strasbourg 

1:00 - 1:30 PM EDT [8:00 - 8:30 IDT]: Break

5     1:30 - 2:30 PM EDT [8:30 - 9:30 PM IDT]: War and Violence in the Scrolls 

Chair: Liane Feldman, New York University  

“Deep into that darkness peering “: New Light on the War Scroll (1QM) 

Guy Stiebel, Tel Aviv University 

The Origins of Violence in the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Sociological Perspective 

Alex Jassen, New York University 

2:30 - 3:00 PM EDT (9:30 - 10:00 PM IDT]: Closing Remarks and Thanks 

Emily Master, Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority 

Joe Uziel, Israel Antiquities Authority  

Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center to Mark Jerusalem Day with Special Moriah Films' Clip

 

 In commemoration of Yom Yerushalayim  (Jerusalem Day) this upcoming Monday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films is proudly featuring a 

 clip from its acclaimed documentary, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, when Jerusalem was victoriously reunified in June, 1967.

 This year marks 54 years since the Israeli army overcame Jordanian forces to capture the Old City of Jerusalem and reclaim the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall. 

 

.“The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers” can be streamed via iTunes and GooglePlay:

 

https://vimeo.com/420478013/400da98135

 

Amazon Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Ministers-Pioneers-Sandra-Bullock/dp/B07G2YJRTX/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=multicom-20&linkId=9e65bb517095cc5ad0b7dc08f9f175a3&language=en_US

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-prime-ministers-the-pioneers/id1367365502

 

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=The%20Prime%20Ministers%3A%20The%20Pioneers&c=movies&hl=en_US

 

www.moriahfilms.com/film-library/the-prime-ministers-the.html

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers

Featuring the voices of Sandra Bullock, Michael Douglas, Leonard Nimoy and Christoph Waltz

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers focuses on 1947 and 1973 when Ambassador Avner worked with Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir and (then) US Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin.

The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers, is the 13th release by Moriah Films, the Academy Award®-winning documentary filmmaking division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Based on the best-selling book by Ambassador Yehuda Avner, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers takes the audience inside the offices of Israel’s Prime Ministers through the eyes of an insider, Yehuda Avner, who served as a chief aide, English language note-taker and speechwriter to Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, and Shimon Peres.

The first of two parts, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers focuses on Ambassador Avner’s years working with Prime Ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir and then US Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin and reveals new details about the Six-Day War, the development of Israel’s close strategic relationship with the United States, the fight against terrorism and the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath.

Weaving a rich tapestry of history and personal testimonies, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers brings some of the most important events of the 20th and 21st centuries to life. Starring the voices of Sandra Bullock as Golda Meir, Michael Douglas as Yitzhak Rabin, Leonard Nimoy as Levi Eshkol and Christoph Waltz as Menachem Begin, The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers is written, produced and directed by Academy Award®-winner Richard Trank and co-written and produced by two-time Academy Award®-winner Rabbi Marvin Hier. Grammy and Emmy winner Lee Holdridge composed and conducted the films’ original score. 

www.facebook.com/moriahfilms/

www.instagram.com/moriahfilms/

www.instagram.com/simonwiesenthalcenter/

twitter.com/moriahfilms

 

Photo and Video courtesy  by the Simon Wiesenthal Center

 Museum of Tolerance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Tel Aviv Museum of Art presents an Special Exhibition - Guest Artist Amadeo Modigliani, among friends
 
Open from 11/5/21 till 1/9/21
 
 
The exhibition is supported by the Italian Cultural Institute, Tel Aviv, and the Italian Embassy in Israel; and is presented courtesy of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome, and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  

Amadeo Modigliani arrived in Paris from his native Italy in 1906, at the age of 21. It was a time of sweeping changes in Europe in all areas: Einstein’s discoveries, Freud’s psychoanalysis conferences, innovative technologies such as the cinema, and more. All of these gave rise to new social outlooks. In Paris, the bourgeoisie had sprung up, and the far-reaching urban changes that began about half a century earlier were being completed, transforming the city’s cultural and leisure life. About a quarter of the city’s population were immigrants from across the continent, seeking a new future for themselves, including a group of artists and poets that congregated in the Montmartre district, searching for new modes of expression to fit the modern Zeitgeist. Among these members of the avant-garde, Modigliani’s dominant personality stood out.

When his frail health forced him to abandon his plans to become a sculptor, Modigliani focused on portrait paintings until the end of his short life (he died at the age of 36 from complications of tuberculosis aggravated by alcoholism and drug use). He had a penchant for painting portraits of individuals of the lower-middle-class fringes of society – and his immediate surroundings, which included many immigrants of different nationalities, offered a rich variety of characters as subjects. He used to sell his drawings in cafés or give them away in return for a drink

While Modigliani was well versed in French language and culture, he celebrated the fact that he was different and made a point of introducing himself with the words, “My name is Modigliani, and I am Jewish.” In his artistic path, too, he developed his own unique style, quite distinct from those that prevailed among his avant-garde contemporaries. In his early years in Paris he often visited the Louvre, where he studied – through hundreds of sketches – ancient African, Egyptian, and classical Greek sculptures. Clear traces of these can be seen in the assured curved lines and facial features in Modigliani’s early drawings in the Museum’s collection. These continued to characterize his individual style even as a mature artist, when he painted many portraits of live models

On the centenary of Modigliani’s death, his works are exhibited alongside the works of other artists – Chaïm Soutine, Moïse Kisling, Jules Pascin, and others – who were also active in Montmartre at the time, and shared ideas and influences. These artists, most of them Jewish, came to be known as the Paris School. The renewed encounter between them is aided by the figure of Chana Orloff (1888–1968), an esteemed sculptor also active at that time in Paris. She also played a key role in the founding of the Tel Aviv Museum, introducing Marc Chagall as an advisor to its founder, Meir Dizengoff. Selected fragments from her memories of this period, published in 1949 by Haim Gamzu – then the Museum’s director – are presented to accompany the works. They invite us to return to the Paris of the early twentieth century, to observe the diverse figures that gathered in its streets and cafés, and to become acquainted with the spirit of the avant-garde period that gave rise to one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century
 
 
 
 
Photo courtesy T A M  P.R  
 
 
 

 

Google and Tel Aviv University launch 'AI for Social Good' - a program promoting beneficial multidisciplinary research in Artificial Intelligence

Ø The program aims to support research and collaborations in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence that can contribute to major social issues faced by humanity today.

Google and Tel Aviv University recently launched a program for promoting AI-related multidisciplinary research for the benefit of society. The program aims to support research and collaborations in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, that can advance humanity by addressing focal social issues on the global agenda. It was launched within the framework of TAD, the TAU Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, established in February and headed by Prof. Meir Feder of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering.

The three-year program was launched at a recent ceremony at TAU, announcing 10 winners - out of 27 proposals submitted in response to TAU and Google's joint call. Seven of the winning projects are supported by Google. The grant winners, whose projects address different aspects of AI for Social Good, include researchers from a wide range of disciplines: Zoology (Faculty of Life Sciences), Electrical Engineering, Economics, Statistics, Communication Disorders, Biblical Studies, Earth Sciences and Computer Science, Sociology and Anthropology and more.

TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat, who aims to establish 'bridges' between the different disciplines studied at TAU, said at the ceremony: "I share a common vision with Prof. Yossi Matias. We believe that AI researchers can benefit significantly from collaborations with researchers in the social sciences and humanities, just as the latter benefit from new developments in AI. I am very happy about our partnership with Google. I look forward to seeing its fruits and hope to expand it further in the future."

Prof. Yossi Matias, VP at Google and Managing Director of Google Center in Israel, spoke of AI technologies and how they are already improving our lives dramatically: "AI already has great impact in various areas. We are delighted for this opportunity to harness the power of AI for social good and for science. Google is especially happy about its work on beneficial and even lifesaving products, such as the worldwide project for accurate flood forecasting, a technology enabling the hearing-impaired to conduct phone conversations, and studies on the use of AI to enhance disease diagnosis."

Prof. Matias thanked Prof. Porat, Prof. Meir Feder, Head of the TAD Center, and all other partners in the initiative. He spoke of the special opportunity to generate collaborations between researchers, and noted that he is a great believer in connections between different disciplines. "There are some deep and fascinating research questions associated with AI in many different disciplines, creating substantial opportunities for collaboration. Good things happen when different ideas and different approaches come together."

The joint venture will include a joint seminar on Machine Learning (ML), led by TAD Director  Dr. Shimon (Moni) Shahar and Dr. Deborah Cohen, a scientist at the new Google Center in Israel.

Prof. Meir Feder emphasized that "the AI revolution is expected to impact every aspect of our lives, from drug development and data-based personalized medicine, to defense systems, financial systems, scientific discoveries, robotics, autonomous systems and social issues. In addition, it is very important to train human capital in this area, and therefore the Center will provide every student at TAU with a basic AI education. TAU is special in having researchers who specialize in basic science and AI, as well as researchers who apply AI in the humanities and social sciences. We are happy that Google has decided to join forces with TAU in this important matter. The collaboration with Google will enable utilization of the power of AI and Data Science, channeling it toward the benefit of society."

Image:

(Left to Right): Prof. Yossi Matias, Prof. Ariel Porat, Prof. Meir Feder & Prof. Tova Milo (The Dean of the Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University).

Credit Photo: Tel Aviv University.