■ IN HONOR of Israel’s 64th Independence Day, the Bank of Israel released the “Sea of Galilee” coin to add to those coins amassed by collectors in previous years. The first of these newly minted coins were presented by Israel Coins and Medals Corp CEO Avi Katz to personages closely associated with the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret). They included Tiberias Mayor Zohar Oved; Aharonik Israeli, a veteran member of Kvutzat Kinneret, southwest of the lake; and Rev. Fr. Jerome V. Dery, head of St. Peter’s Memorial Church, at Capernaum on the northern shore.Katz explained that the Sea of Galilee coin has been struck in 22k gold proof with a NIS 10 face value and maximum mintage of 555 coins. There are two silver versions – one proof quality with a NIS 2 face value and maximum mintage of 2,800 and one proof-like with a NIS 1 face value and maximum mintage of 1,800.■ THE PUBLIC found many interesting ways in which to celebrate Independence Day. Danny Markowitz, the CEO of Kanion Hazahav (The Golden Shopping Mall) in Rishon Lezion, brought together 64 schoolchildren to help him release 64 doves in a salute to the nation and an expression of the desire for peace.■ AN AGREEMENT of cooperation between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Potsdam was signed this week at the Hebrew University’s Edmond J. Safra campus in Givat Ram in the presence of Brandenburg’s Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck and Minister of Science Research and Culture Sabine Kunst. The agreement, which provides for cooperation in the areas of research, teaching and the exchange of undergraduate and graduate students, was signed by Prof. Sarah Stroumsa, rector of the Hebrew University, and Prof. Oliver Gunther, president of the University of Potsdam.Also present at the signing ceremony were Prof. Isaiah Arkin, HU vice president for Research and Development, and Prof. Ria De Bleser, vice president for International Affairs and Strategic Development of the University of Potsdam.■ ALTHOUGH 26 years have passed since Natan Sharansky, the most famous of the Russian refuseniks, arrived in Israel, he continues to remain in the spotlight.Sharansky, who became a politician and an author and is currently chairman of the Jewish Agency, has remained a constant presence and continues to be in demand as a speaker at important events. He will be the keynote speaker at the 42nd meeting of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on May 15. As is customary in all Israeli universities, the meeting of the board of governors includes the conferring of honorary doctorates. This year’s recipients will be Dorit Beinisch, former president of the Supreme Court and the first woman to reach this exalted position in Israel; Israel Prize and Wolf Prize laureate Prof.Howard (Haim) Cedar, professor of molecular biology, Hebrew University Medical School, who also has the distinction of being the father of internationally celebrated filmmaker Joseph Cedar; The Baroness Ruth Lynn Deech, DBE, a British academic, lawyer and bioethicist; Prof. Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University in Atlanta and widely respected speaker and writer on the subject of Holocaust denial; Prof.Jesse Roth, professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University and Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, as well as professor of molecular medicine; and Dr. Debrework Zewdie, an Ethiopian clinical immunologist who is deputy executive director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.■ NOBEL PRIZE laureate in chemistry Prof. Dan Shechtman won’t have far to go to receive his next award. He will be among the recipients of honorary doctorates at the 40th meeting of the board of governors of the University of Haifa, which will be held from June 3 to 6. Shechtman, a resident of Haifa, is affiliated with the Technion, from which he received all his engineering degrees. He has a long-standing connection with the University of Haifa, including the fact that his wife, Prof.Zippi Shechtman, is a full professor in the university’s Faculty of Education.Prof. Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, the outgoing president of the University of Haifa, noted Shechtman’s great contribution to humanity in that his research created a new branch of scientific study, and he commended his uncompromising belief in his scientific truth despite persistent opposition from senior researchers in the scientific community at the time. “Prof. Shechtman continually reminds us that science is intended to achieve findings, and that as scientists we must never distort those findings to serve any other interests. Prof. Shechtman represents the best of Israeli society and is highly deserving of the University of Haifa’s highest accolade, the Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa,” said Ben-Ze’ev.Shechtman is no stranger to academic honors. Among his other awards are The International Prize of the American Physical Society (1987); Rothschild Prize in Engineering (1990); Weizmann Science Award (1993); Israel Prize in Physics (1998); Wolf Prize in Physics (1999); Gregory Aminoff Prize in Crystallography of the Swedish Academy of Sciences; and EMET Prize in Chemistry (2002).