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Rockefeller Foundation Grants $110. 000 for Hebrew University Study

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The Rockefeller Foundation announced today a grant of $110, 000 to the Hebrew University, two lesser grants to Israel scholars and one to a Brandeis University faculty member.

The largest of the grants will be for a three-year study by the Hebrew University of first century agricultural practices in the Negev. The Israel scholars are Dr. Moshe Perlman, lecturer in Israelian Studies at the Center of Middle Eastern Studies of Harvard University, who received $7, 000; and Dr. Michael Michaely, instructor in economics at the Hebrew University. A grant of $2,000 was made to Dr. Michaely to participate in teaching and research in international economics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Perlman will conduct research on the early history of the Zionist movement and on polemics in Islam in the Middle East.

In announcing the grant for the Negev agricultural study the Rockefeller Foundation reported that investigations in the Negev had revealed that the region at one time supported at least six large cities with an estimated population of 100, 000, as well as numerous small settlements. “Traces of ancient desert agricultural systems found by scientists indicate that the farmers were highly skilled in the conservation and use of water, cultivating only the flood plains where wind-blown soil accumulated, terracing the fields with stone walls that held the run-off water, and in some cases constructing artificial conduits, ” the report stated.

Hebrew University scientists, the Foundation added, “hope to establish agriculture in the Negev without bringing in water from other areas; and believe that the ancient systems may have practical value today. Their researches will include studies of rainfall patterns and characteristics; soil, water and plant relationships in the desert; land utilization with respect to appropriate crops for the area; and the problems of wind-breaking and drought-resistant trees as they are related to arid-zone conditions. “

Dr. Herbert Marcuse, professor of politics and philosophy at Brandeis University, received a grant of $6,250 for research on cultural changes in contemporary society and their interrelation with political trends.

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