City Notes: Post-attack, WeWork Sarona hosts Shavuot ‘White Night’

A round-up of news from around the nation.

BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi launches the 2020 Vision 50th Anniversary Campaign (photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)
BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi launches the 2020 Vision 50th Anniversary Campaign
(photo credit: DANI MACHLIS/BGU)
More than 500 people from across the religious and political spectrum gathered at WeWork Sarona for a Shavuot-themed “White Night” of learning at the site of last Wednesday’s terror attack in which four people were killed and 10 wounded.
“In the face of terror, we will come together to connect, to learn and to grow,” said Dana Sender-Mulla, director of JWRP Israel, one of the sponsors of the event.
The all-night event featured debates and conversations about Jewish wisdom and Jewish community, mediated by leading politicians, entertainers and religious figures.
MKs Stav Shaffir, Tamar Zandberg and Michael Oren, comedian Benji Lovitt and rabbis Gary Sheva and Shlomo Chayen were among those in attendance.
Top-tier politicians attend 16th Herzliya Conference
The Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya attracted key politicians and policy-makers to its 16th Annual Herzliya Conference this week, drawing together senior Israeli and international participants from the public and private sector to discuss pressing national, regional and global issues.
The foremost global policy gathering began on Tuesday afternoon at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem and carried on at the IDC Herzliya campus through Thursday.
Speeches at the conference honed in on the theme of “Setting a New Agenda for Israel in a Turbulent Middle East.”
Keynote speakers included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former president Shimon Peres and former prime minister Ehud Barak.
Kinneret-area municipalities unite in keeping shores clean
The union of municipalities surrounding Lake Kinneret launched its second annual “Come Clean, Come for Free” campaign on Saturday in an effort to promote the preservation and cleanliness of the lake’s shores and water sources.
Volunteers handed out information kits and plastic bags to beach-goers over the Shavuot holiday weekend.
Vacationers were encouraged to use the bags to contribute to beach-cleaning efforts by collecting trash on shore.
The operation yielded great results, according to Yael Sela, head of the organization promoting the initiative. “We are pleased with the public’s increased awareness regarding the importance of beach cleanliness and believe the response to the initiative this year will be higher than last year’s,” she said.
To motivate beach-goers, the organization rewarded active participants with free parking on site. “At the end of the day, the shores remain clean, and everyone ends up benefiting,” said Sela.
Israeli Opera announces launch of Acre summer festival
The Israeli Opera has announced that a special series of performances will take place in the North this summer as part of the Israeli Opera Festival in Acre. The festival, set to take place July 28 to 30, will feature Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio and The Magic Flute, as well as Ladino, an original production that explores the worlds of Spanish, Jewish and South American traditions through music.
Thousands attend Midburn festival
Thousands of people flocked to the Negev Desert over the weekend for a five-day festival celebrating creativity, art and self-expression at a temporary city set up for the event.
Israel’s Midburn festival is a regional offshoot of the iconic Burning Man Festival that takes place in Nevada every year. The festival encourages community cooperation and decommodification. Participants arrive at camp equipped with food and any other essentials and rely on a “gift economy,” as nothing is sold on site.
The temporary city featured art displays and themed camps set up by participants. The event culminated on Sunday night with a bonfire of wooden sculptures, which had served as a central temple during the festival.
BGU debuts plan to double size, absorb student influx
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev launched its 2020 Vision 50th Anniversary Campaign last week in an ambitious move to double the campus’s physical size and absorb an influx of some 4,000 students within years.
With the goal of raising $500 million for the project, BGU launched an international funding campaign, which has raised $186m. to date.
BGU officials said that the expected student influx in coming years corresponds with the IDF’s shift of key technology and intelligence units to the Negev, forming a cyber capital in Israel’s desert. Some 32,000 soldiers are to be transferred as part of the move, 4,000 of whom are expected to enroll in university programs.
“‘Impossible’ was a word we heard frequently when we made the strategic decision to lead the Beersheba Cyber Revolution,” said BGU president Prof. Rivka Carmi in her presentation at the launch. “If Israel is a Start-up Nation, then Beersheba is gearing up to be the world’s cyber capital, and Ben-Gurion University is making it happen.”