July 20, 2021
An antisemitic caricature shared online depicting coronavirus as Jewish people with long, hooked noses.
The study, led by Dr. Gabriel Weimann, a professor of communication at the University of Haifa, in conjunction with Natalie Masri, a research assistant at the IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), discovered what they described as “a seismic increase” in antisemitic tropes, images and rhetoric compared to their 2020 study.

At the end of a four-month systematic content analysis of videos, comments and usernames on the platform, researchers found a 41% increase in antisemitic posts and a 1,375% uptick in usernames with antisemitic titles, such as @holocaustwasgood or @eviljews.

TikTok is one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms online and attracts mostly young people as 41% of its 1.2 billion users are aged 16–24. TikTok's popularity, exposure, and openness are taken advantage of by many extremist, racist, and radical groups including neo-Nazis and antisemites, the study notes.
Mediterranean Sea hotspot could transform our understanding of climate change 
An unprecedented deep-sea discovery in the eastern Mediterranean that we reported in our last newsletter, could have transformative implications for the scientific community’s understanding of climate change, global sustainability and essential life functions.

A recent expedition off Israel’s coast that was part of a long-term collaboration among the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Inter-University Institute of Marine Research uncovered what researchers described as a biologically diverse paradise, including a rich food web based on methane, hundreds of deep-water sharks and the largest concentration of shark eggs ever found.

“We believe that this discovery of a previously unknown deep-sea hotspot of life and biodiversity may be crucial for the sustainability and resilience of the regional marine ecosystem of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, in turn impacting global sustainability,” said the Charney School’s Dr. Yizhaq Makovsky, one of the initiative’s leading researchers. Forbes
Over a decade after they were removed from the Gulf of Eilat, the effects of the fish cages are still noticeable as Israeli researchers have detected pollutants in the area where they were once located. Known for its rich ecosystem and resilient network of coral reefs, the Gulf of Eilat, like many of the world’s ecological sites, faces a variety of human induced threats.

In the first decade of the 21st century, the country’s once active mariculture fish cages put Eilat’s waters in turmoil due to the accumulation of organic matter on the seafloor from waste food and fish feces deposited in and around the vicinity.

“The consensus in today’s research is that it is better for marine pollution to disperse and dilute in the open sea than for acute local pollution to develop,” explains Dr. Shai Oron, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Haifa and the Eilat Inter-University Institute.
New study shows playing bridge is mood-booster and stressbuster
The first academic study on bridge reveals that the strategic card game isn’t only a fun way to pass time; it improves mood, reduces stress, strengthens cognition and broadens social interactions.

Close to 500 members of the Israeli Bridge Association, average age 70, were surveyed by occupational therapy lecturers including Dr. Liron Lamash from the University of Haifa. 97 percent of respondents said playing bridge improves their mood, 85% said that they play bridge because of the social interactions it fosters, and 65% feel that bridge reduces daily stress. Continue reading