A prominent American-born Jewish activist appears to have been the victim of an assassination attempt in Jerusalem late on Wednesday, the latest in a string of terror attacks that Israeli leaders have linked to heightened incitement by top Palestinian Authority (PA) figures. The Times of Israel described the victim, Yehuda Glick, as having "worked tirelessly in recent years to restore the right of Jews to worship on Jerusalem's Temple Mount." Jews and other non-Muslims are barred from praying on the compound, which contains several structures that Muslims consider holy, including the Al-Aksa mosque. It is difficult to overstate Glick's central role as a public face for effortsto expand Jewish access to the area, which is also holy to Jews as the site of biblical Jewish temples. Yediot Aharonot described the right-wing rabbi as "a central activist... and a symbol of the struggle for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount." Eyewitness descriptions suggest that Glick was targeted due to his political activities. The attack comes after several months of sensational calls by PA leaders - including most recently by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah - for Palestinians to deny Jews access to the Temple Mount.The exhortations often included lurid accusations describing Jews as seeking to desecrate and destroy holy places in the compound. An extensive 2013 study published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) had described the theme [PDF] - which it dubbed the "'Al-Aksa is in Danger' libel" - as "a classic libel that was embroidered in the first half of the twentieth century against the Jewish people, the Zionist movement, and, eventually, the State of Israel." Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based NGO that among other things monitors anti-Israel incitement, more recently rounded up statements from the PA Foreign Ministry accusing Israel of having activated "the Judaization plan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque" and of seeking to destroy it. Earlier this week Hamdallah gave a fiery speech while visiting the site, characterizing it as under threat and claiming it for the Palestinians.The speech was seen as the PA doubling down on an earlier one, given two weeks before by Abbas, in which he declared that Palestinians must prevent Jews from entering the compound "by all means." He had gone on to say that "they have no right to enter and desecrate [the area]. We must confront them and defend our holy sites." The calls were alarming enough that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu devoted portions of his speech on Monday, given to mark the opening of Israel's Knesset parliament, to emphasizing that Israel had no designs on the Temple Mount - and to warning that continued Palestinian incitement regarding Jerusalem risked generating violence. The assassination attempt - which targeted perhaps the most prominent figure associated with Jews accessing the Temple Mount, two weeks after Abbas called on Palestinians to use any means necessary to prevent Jews from doing so - is likely to deepen concerns about the potentially destabilizing consequences of Palestinian incitement.
An Israeli-led international group of scientists has announced the most significant breakthrough in a decade toward developing DNA-based electrical circuits. The new research could reignite interest in the use of DNA-based wires and devices in the development of programmable circuits. The international group led by Prof. Danny Porath, the Etta and Paul Schankerman Professor in Molecular Biomedicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reports reproducible and quantitative measurements of electricity flow through long molecules made of four DNA strands, signaling a significant breakthrough towards the development of DNA-based electrical circuits. The research was published in the prestigious journal Nature Nanotechnology under the title “Long-range charge transport in single G-quadruplex DNA molecules.” The central technological revolution of the 20th century was the development of computers, leading to the communication and Internet era. The main measure of this evolution is miniaturization: making our machines smaller. A computer with the memory of the average laptop today was the size of a tennis court in the 1970s. Yet while scientists made great strides in reducing of the size of individual computer components through microelectronics, they have been less successful at reducing the distance between transistors, the main element of our computers. These spaces between transistors have been much more challenging and extremely expensive to miniaturize – an obstacle that limits the future development of computers. Molecular electronics, which uses molecules as building blocks for the fabrication of electronic components, was seen as the ultimate solution to the miniaturization challenge. However, to date, no one has actually been able to make complex electrical circuits using molecules. The only known molecules that can be pre-designed to self-assemble into complex miniature circuits, which could in turn be used in computers, are DNA molecules. Nevertheless, so far no one has been able to demonstrate reliably and quantitatively the flow of electrical current through long DNA molecules. Now, the Hebrew University-led breakthrough could change that. “This research paves the way for implementing DNA-based programmable circuits for molecular electronics, which could lead to a new generation of computer circuits that can be more sophisticated, cheaper and simpler to make,” says Prof. Porath. Prof. Porath is affiliated with the Hebrew University’s Institute of Chemistry and its Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The molecules were produced by the group of Alexander Kotlyar from Tel Aviv University, who has been collaborating with Porath for 15 years. The measurements were performed mainly by Gideon Livshits, a PhD student in the Porath group. The research was carried out in collaboration with groups from Denmark, Spain, US, Italy and Cyprus. (via Israel21c)