Newsletter : 1fax0529.txt
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>May 29, 2001, Vol. 9, No. 92
Jerusalem's Hebrew Union College Built Same Way as Wedding Hall
By Avi Shmoul (Courtesy of Ha'aretz)
More than 500,000 meters of floor space in Israel were constructed
with the Pal-Kal system utilized by the Versailles Hall, whose
collapse last Thursday night claimed at least 23 lives, said the
Organization of Engineers and Architects.
Ha'aretz reported that buildings done with Pal-Kal include the
Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, the Bank of Israel in Jerusalem,
the Caesar Hotel in Tiberias, and private villas in Caesarea.
Pal-Kal was developed at the end of the 1970s by Eli Ron, an
engineer, who based the system on the principle of ribbed surfaces
built from two layers of concrete with the space between them
filled with corrugated boxes instead of cement blocks or
In a standard ribbed surface, cement ribs - the vertical
connections between the two layers of concrete- include reinforced
steel to make sure there's a uniform height difference and to
increase the ability to withstand stress.
The Pal-Kal system made the reinforced steel unnecessary, relying
on the corrugated boxes as the stress-support system. That made for
substantial savings. But if something goes wrong during the pouring
of the cement, the boxes can end up "floating" between the two
layers of concrete, thereby not serving their purposes as stress
A brochure issued by Ron's company says that the Pal-Kal system
results in substantial savings and that it is in widespread use in
Israel and throughout the Middle East.
But over the years there have been a number of disastrous failings
found in the system. In 1996, in the wake of the D-Mall collapse in
Ramat Gan, as well as a ceiling collapse in Ashkelon, the system
was banned in Israeli construction by the Standards
Institute.Palestinians Agree to Hold Security Talks With Israel
By VOA News
Palestinian officials say they have agreed to resume security talks
with the Israelis, in a move toward ending the eight months of
violence that has claimed more than 500 lives.
The agreement came as the new U.S. Middle East envoy, William
Burns, held a second round of talks with Palestinian Authority
chief Yasir Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
Resumption of the security talks between the two sides is the first
step toward implementing recommendations made by an international
commission seeking to prevent the recurrence of Israeli-Palestinian
Burns' meetings came just hours after Palestinian militant
groups carried out two car bombings in Jerusalem on Sunday.
No one was seriously injured. The U.S. envoy urged Arafat to do
everything possible to stop such attacks.
Also, Monday, Palestinians said Israeli forces penetrated a
Palestinian autonomous area east of Gaza City to uproot trees and
flatten farmland. Palestinian sources also say that at least four
people have been wounded by Israeli army gunfire in the southern
Censorship Feared as Alexandria Library is Rebuilt
By Philip Smucker in Cairo (www.worldtribune.com)
The ancient world's foremost center of higher learning, the
Biblioteca Alexandrina, rebuilt in modern splendor, has opened for
academics and journalists in an effort to restore Egypt's academic
reputation. The library was destroyed by fire more than 1,500 years
But the formal ceremony, scheduled for October, has been
overshadowed by a row over censorship which is threatening
libraries and bookshops across the country.
(Editor's Note: The Israel Faxx archive is available for
researchers at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.)
The interior offers some of the most expansive research and reading
space in the world. But even as the library, whose predecessor was
built in the 3rd century BCE and used by Euclid and Archimedes, is
reopened alongside the ancient site, there are growing concerns
that Egypt's academic pretensions are threatened by censorship.
Under mounting pressure from Islamists, President Hosni Mubarak has
urged government officials to press ahead with a strict censorship
regime against works deemed offensive to Islam.
A senior official at the library said he did not expect similar
problems to confront the new institution, as it was "international"
and supported and built with donations from the United Nations
cultural organization, UNESCO, as well as from Britain and America.
Dr Mohsen Zahran said: "The ancient library was not just a library;
it was a university in every sense of the word, a beacon of
learning for the entire world. Academic freedom was held in the
highest regard then, and we hope that standard will be upheld
within the walls of the modern institution."
Jews, Christians and even Buddhists were known to have studied at
the ancient library, which stood near the Alexandria Lighthouse,
one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Alexandria's ancient
library contained some 700,000 volumes and was by far the largest
intellectual treasure of its day. But the main library was
destroyed by fire in the 3rd century CE during the civil war under
Aurelian, and a subsidiary library was destroyed by Christian
zealots in CE 391
The new library is starting with 500,000 volumes and thousands of
CD ROMs, musical tapes and videos. One official described the new
building as both a real and "virtual" library.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)