Photo of professor holding student’s baby goes viral

Photo of professor holding student’s baby goes viral

Professor Sydney Engelberg, 67, of Hebrew University was surprised when he learned a photo of him holding a student’s baby had gone viral.

The mother of the baby posted the picture on social media after the professor offered to hold her crying child so she could remain in the class on organizational management. Her original post has gotten over a million views and many positive comments.

The professor was dubbed “Professor of the Year” and “Most Valuable Professor,” among other complimentary titles.

“This is a professor who truly cares about the education of his students. Seriously,” someone commented.

“This is awesome. Way to go professor,” said another commenter.

Engelberg’s daughter, Sarit Fishbaine, posted the picture on her Facebook account, where it got nearly 50,000 likes.

“My dad just loves kids and loves babies, he has five grandchildren, so he just takes the baby,” Fishbaine said. “He’s the one that’s in motion, he’s walking around the class. So he just takes the baby and continues teaching.”

Engelberg, a father of four, grandfather of five and professor for 45 years, has been pleasantly surprised by the reactions around the world. He encourages students to bring their infants to class and lets mothers breastfeed during class.

“The reason is that education for me is not simply conveying content, but teaching values,” he said. “How better than by role modeling?”

His family is amused by the reaction. “He’s gotten love letters,” Engelber’s wife, Fredi Siskind Engelberg said, adding her husband has gotten many calls from radio and TV stations. “He’s pretty blasé about it, and we just find it all very funny. I think it must have happened on a no-news day.”

Nor is Engelberg the only professor who supports students with young children. The Israeli Student Union said the social media explosion following the incident was “the sweetest trend,” and posted pictures of other professors with their students’ babies during class.

“Israel is a very familial society, and it is not at all strange for young mothers to bring children to classes. Babies are often brought to weddings or formal occasions, and during school holidays it is not uncommon to see children running through the halls of office buildings or university departments,” Jonathan Kaplan, vice provost at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said.

The “real face of Israel:” help and healing for Nepal

The “real face of Israel:” help and healing for Nepal

Shortly after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Col. Yoram Laredo, of the IDF Home Front, discussed ways to assist the country.

Just before the meeting, Netanyahu said, “You are being sent on an important mission. This is the real face of Israel — a country that offers help at any distance in moments such as these.”

The Home Front Command assistance team Israel is sending in approximately 260 personnel. At the time of the meeting, an advance team was already in Nepal, preparing for the rest of the team to arrive.

The team’s goals are locating missing Israelis, rescuing people trapped under rubble, and providing the thousands of earthquake victims with medical care.

An extensive field hospital will be set up as well. “As time passes, the focus will move from search and rescue to hospital treatment. The hospital can treat 200 patients a day,” Laredo said. “We can link up with local heavy engineering vehicles.”

Israeli delegations have assisted in many disasters, including in Haiti and the Philippines.“It’s a blessed thing that a variety of Israeli delegations are going, as from my experience, in situations like this, everyone who arrives will be needed and have work to do,” said Dov Meisel, a volunteer paramedic.

“The Nepal government asked for help, and Israelis rush to help,” Meisel said.

Countries ranked by happiness level

Countries ranked by happiness level

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has released its annual World Happiness Report, which publishes a list of countries ranked by happiness level.

158 were included in the report, which measures “happiness” by a variety of factors including GDP per capita, life expectancy, generosity, freedom, community support, and absence of corruption.

And the happiest country in the world? Switzerland. Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Canada are close runners-up, followed by Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia.

Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world, and US comes in as the 15th.

Unsurprisingly, considering the current struggles against terrorism, Afghanistan and Syria have some of the lowest happiness levels, along with the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Chad.

The report was first published in 2012. “As the science of happiness advances, we are getting to the heart of what factors define quality of life for citizens,” said Professor John F. Helliwell, editor of the report. “We are encouraged that more and more governments around the world are listening and responding with policies that put well-being first. Countries with strong social and institutional capital not only support greater well-being, but are more resilient to social and economic crises.”

The goal of the report is to “guide progress toward social, economic and environmental development.”

Preliminary Iran nuclear deal reached

Preliminary Iran nuclear deal reached

After a night of marathon talks ending at 6 a.m., the preliminary Iran nuclear agreement was finally hashed out. Talks extended past a March 31 deadline and must now reach a final conclusion by the end of June.

“It is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” President Obama said. “This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”

It is supposed to prevent Iran from “cheating” as well. “If Iran cheats,” Obama said, “the world will know it.”

If the deal is followed as it currently stands, Iran will reduce stockpiles of enriched uranium and installed centrifuges, while the West will lift economic sanctions. Iranian enrichment activities will be acceptable in one location only.

However, the limits last only ten to fifteen years, after which time Iran will be able to have as much enriched uranium and as many enriching plants as it wants. In the meantime, the country must keep its uranium levels low enough that it would take a year to acquire enough for a weapon and have inspections to verify cooperation with the deal.

For a full list of the parameters of the deal, click here.

Secretary of State John Kerry warned that sanctions can always be replaced. “And if we find out at any point that Iran is not complying with the agreement, the sanctions can snap back into place,” he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there was “mutual mistrust” during the dealings. “Iran-U.S. relations had nothing to do with this. This was an attempt to resolve the nuclear issue…. We have serious differences with the United States,” he said.

However, he seemed to have a different understanding of the number of acceptable enrichment locations. “None of those measures include closing any of our facilities. The proud people of Iran would never accept that,” he said.

Many American and Israeli leaders have grave concerns over the deal. “The President says negotiators have cleared the basic threshold needed to continue talks, but the parameters for a final deal represent an alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said.

“It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region,” Boehner said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker pointed out that “the administration first should seek the input of the American people.”

“If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and hold the regime accountable,” Corker said.

“Iran remains the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Iranian aggression is destabilizing the Middle East. And Iran continues to hold multiple Americans hostage,” said Senator Tom Cotton. “I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to protect America from this very dangerous proposal and to stop a nuclear arms race in the world’s most volatile region.”

“This attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success is just the latest example of this administration’s farcical approach to Iran. Under this President’s watch, Iran has expanded its influence in the Middle East, sowing instability throughout the region,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a potential presidential candidate and member of the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.

“Iran’s support for terrorism has continued unabated without a serious response from the United States,” Rubio added.

The Israeli government called the deal “a poor framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement.”

“If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it will result in a historic mistake that will make the world a far more dangerous place,” Israel announced in a statement. “This framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program that aims only to produce nuclear bombs.”

Israel also warned against celebrating the supposed success too early. “Those celebrating in Lausanne are disconnected from reality, one in which Iran has refused to make concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said. “Since the statement is far from being a real agreement, we will continue our efforts to explain and convince the world in the hope of preventing a bad agreement, or at least make the necessary amendments and improvements.”

However, Obama remains optimistic about the agreement, encouraging Congress and Americans to give the potentially explosive deal a chance. “This framework would cut off every pathway Iran could take to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wins reelection despite tight polls

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wins reelection despite tight polls

In spite of polls indicating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party would lose Tuesday’s election, they swept a resounding victory, winning 30 of 120 Parliament seats.

“Against all odds, we achieved a great victory for the Likud,” Netanyahu said on election night. “I am proud of the people of Israel, who in the moment of truth knew how to distinguish between what is important and what is peripheral, and to insist on what is important.”

Even Netanyahu’s chief rival, Isaac Herzog, called the victory “an incredible achievement.”

“I am convinced that only a unity government can prevent the rapid disintegration of Israel’s democracy and new elections in the near future,” Herzog said.

Netanyahu considers security important, while his opponents focused primarily on “the high cost of living,” and accused Netanyahu of being out of touch with ordinary citizens’ concerns.

“The most important thing for all of us… is real security, social economy and strong leadership,” Netanyahu said after the election.

Security was evidently very much important to Israeli voters, however. “I see that the Israeli public understood that despite all the issues and all the problems, when we see the threat of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas, the Likud is the best leading party to head the nation for the next four years,” Likud MK Danny Danon said.

Jerusalem resident Eli Paniri, 54, said he “voted for the only person who should be prime minister: Netanyahu.”

“I am not ashamed of this,” Paniri said. “He is a strong man and, most important, he stood up to President Obama.”

Notably, the Obama administration did not congratulate the reelected prime minister, instead issuing a generic “congratulations” statement to the Israeli public on having democratic elections.

“We want to congratulate the Israeli people for the democratic process of the election they engaged in with all of the parties that engage in that election,” White House Director of Political Strategy David Simas said. “As you know the hard work of coalition building now begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks and we’re going to give space to the formation of that coalition government and we’re not going to weigh in one way or the other except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.”

In his victory speech, the prime minister discussed the importance of peace and security, emphasizing his willingness to work with other Middle Eastern leaders to achieve these goals. “I appeal tonight to the leaders of the Arab countries and say: Let us meet. Let us talk about peace. Let us make peace. I am willing to meet at any time, at any place, in Damascus, in Riyadh, in Beirut, and in Jerusalem as well.”

He spoke of his vision for a peaceful future. “Let us join hands and work together in peace, together with our neighbors,” he said. “There is no limit to the flourishing growth that we can achieve for both peoples – in the economy, in agriculture, in commerce, tourism, education – but, above all, in the ability to give our younger generation hope to live in a place that’s good to live in, a life of creative work, a peaceful life with much of interest, with opportunity and hope.”

“Let’s go in the path of Prophet Isaiah, who spoke thousands of years ago, they shall beat their swords into plowshares and know war no more,” Netanyahu concluded. “Let us know war no more. Let us know peace.”

The next step is for the Prime Minister to form a coalition in Parliament, which means he will need to find enough allies to build a 61-vote majority.

“The citizens of Israel expect us to quickly put together a leadership that will work for them regarding security, economy and society as we committed to do – and we will do so,” Netanyahu said.