University - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Registered: 1973
Duration: 27 minutes
Board of Trade Certificate number
Production Company: Harold Baim Film Productions (London) Limited

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Two of England's most noted stars of the forties and fifties, Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray tour the University of Jerusalem. This modern seat of learning in a city with an ancient heritage and a fractious present makes a fascinating film filled with many different contrasts. 

Title: Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray tell you about ... UNIVERSITY  
Director of Eastmancolor Photography: Harry Orchard
Research:  Vivian London
Music: De Wolfe
Editors: Gerald Levy and Howard Lanning
Recordists:​ John Watts and Brian Marshall
Camera Assistants : Chaim Yahari and Eytan Gart
Film Processors: Berkey Pathe Humphries (Israel) Ltd and Kay Laboratories, London, England

Produced and Directed by: Harold Baim


"The producers gratefully acknowledge the help and co-operation of the Professors and Staff of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and of Mr Eliyahu Honig and the Department of Information and Public Affairs."


Michael Denison
For more than 3000 years, the culture of the Jewish people has been handed down from father to son. The great Einstein gave his manuscript on relativity to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and in the archives are other rare manuscripts held in trust for posterity. But our story really begins in 1918, when the cornerstone of the university was laid in the presence of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, General Allenby and others.

Opening day was in 1923. 12,000 people were there with Lord Balfour, Sir Herbert Samuel and Chief Rabbi Hertz. Tributes poured in from the universities of the world. Many in the form of parchment scrolls created by children in Eastern Europe. Some of them, who survived the Nazi terror, are today faculty members of the university. Most were obliterated.

Before opening day, someone said to Professor Einstein, this platform has been waiting 2000 years for you. 25 years later, 77 professors and doctors were ambushed and killed on their way to Mount Scopus, which had been cut off from Israel.

In 1954, the outlook for a return looked bleak, so 125 acre site at Givat Ram was earmarked for a new campus. In 1958 it opened, and today, from all corners of the world, friends of the university sponsor fine new faculties for the advancement of knowledge and research.


On the western outskirts of the city of Jerusalem on April the 27th, 1958, and during the celebration of Israel's 10th anniversary, the campus of the Hebrew University was officially established. Its brilliant white buildings stand in bold relief against skies of deepest blue, whilst the passing parade of professors and students create a kaleidoscope of colour and animation.

Against the background of this ancient city, the Hebrew University does its job and now ranks with the great teaching academies of the world.

Dulcie Gray
These walls lead to the Jaffa Gate. There's an Arabic inscription over the entrance, which reads: ‘There is no God but Allah, and Abraham is his friend”.

Close by the Jaffa Gate is one of Jerusalem's most prominent landmarks, the Citadel and Tower of David. Tradition has it, that from here he first caught sight of Bathsheba.

Most of the world's religions meet here. This is an Orthodox church of the Greeks.

This is the holiest of Jewish sites, the Wailing Wall.

The golden cupola of the Dome of the Rock flashes its presence over the entire city.

Today, called the Western Wall, this is the women's section of the Wailing Wall.

At Gethsemane, ss the beautiful church of all nations.

Michael Denison
Applications for entrance to the university come in from almost every country. Beginning in late October and continuing through June, studies are divided into three trimesters.

In the year 1973, 17,500 students were studying full time. Of these, 12,000 were undergraduates, 4100 were candidates for master's degrees, and no less than 1400 were reading for doctorates. In 1968, the number of doctoral students was only 737. The trend is obvious.

Distinguished professors come to teach here from almost every area of the world. But every year, more and more of the academic leadership is given to those of a younger age group, drawn from the graduates of the university itself.

The faculty and other buildings blend harmoniously with their garden setting. The landscape architects knew their job, just as did the university's own graduate botanists and the skilled irrigation engineers and gardeners.

Nerve centre of academic and general administration, The Sherman Building also houses offices of president, vice presidents, rector, public relations, finance, and information.

In every free Jewish community throughout the world, groups of friends support the work of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. These organizations are run by professional and lay workers, who solicit support from interested people, both in Jewish and other communities. When applying funds, the special interest of the donor is taken into consideration. But of course, the overriding factors are the long-term plans of the university and country.

A colonnade borders the central plaza of the Givat Ram campus. It links the main entrance to the 620 seat Wise auditorium, where concerts, film shows, exhibitions and lectures are held.

The colonnade continues, connecting the faculties, until it terminates at the Jewish National and University Library.

The sports centre, with swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, and gymnasium is used by all bachelor degree students. Four trimesters of physical education are obligatory. Bodybuilding of another sort can be achieved at the well-equipped, well-stocked cafeterias, which keep open from breakfast until supper time.

At the age of 18, boy or girl, there is military service for all. Students may get deferment, but if they do, vacations are spent in uniform. An interesting situation occurs when professors find themselves serving under the command of their officer students.

Tuition is not free. A measure of aid comes through the state, also from scholarships and loans from the friends organizations, and the generosity of individual donors who provide for the education of the majority of students and are then kept informed of their progress.

To the school for overseas students come large contingents from America, Canada and other English-speaking countries. From Latin America, France, North Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe, they enrol. At this school, they can be taught in their own tongue. For here the written and spoken word can be read and heard in any of five languages. The majority of the students from western countries specialize in study not available at their home universities. Jewish history and archeology, Bible studies, Asian and African subjects. Hebrew language courses are taken in the language laboratory.

Apart from instantaneous translations into their mother tongues, the eventual perfection of Hebrew will allow them to play their full part in a predominantly Hebrew speaking Israeli student body.

Centered in the Mesa Building are the teaching and research programs of the Institute for Jewish Studies. The largest centre of its kind in the world, it is one of the seven institutes into which the university's Faculty of Humanities is divided.

At a place called Rehovot, in 1942, the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University was established. 1038 students, mostly drawn from agricultural settlements and kibbutzim, today are enrolled here. Many of the staff of this faculty have trained abroad and serve as consultants to governments of developing nations, and also to United Nations agencies.

The small, dark spots on these oranges are scale insects. To deal with them, maggots of the Mediterranean fruit fly are raised en masse. When they reach pupae stage, they are irradiated with gamma rays and rendered sterile. Males mate with females in the orange groves. No offspring results. This is one of the university's pest control programs to protect the environment from the harmful use of chemical insecticides. Into the orange groves, the flies are released and the fruit becomes insect free. Through the cooperation of the Biological Control Institute of the Citrus Marketing Board of Israel, biological pest control moves full speed ahead.

Dulcie Gray
Elsewhere, everything's coming up roses. Occasionally a malformed bud like this appears. That malformed bud could become this. Scientific floriculture is a comparatively new field. An injection is just what the doctor ordered.

Afterwards, it develops like this.

Fly exports should reach $1 million, said the head of the university's department of ornamental horticulture. They have developed a long-life recipe for cut flowers. This is what they look like freshly gathered.

Here, they have been in water for five days. And this is how they look after five days in special solution. Almost as fresh as the day they were cut. No wonder flower exports are reaching new records. And no wonder, too, that the expertise of the Faculty of Agriculture is in demand the world over. What a sense of achievement students must have. And what a beautiful environment in which to accomplish it.

Michael Denison
In the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Centre is a synagogue with 12 magnificent windows designed by Marc Chagall. Two years of research, 80 preliminary studies in gouache, collage and pencil went into their planning. Executed in brilliant reds, blues, yellows and greens, the windows symbolize the 12 sons of Jacob, from whom came the 12 tribes of Israel.

In the medical sciences, no less than 1014 research projects are at present underway.

There always seems to be a subdued air of expectancy inside the medical research building. Here, in single minded dedication, research goes on unceasingly into one of the greatest scourges mankind has known.

One day, maybe not too far away, the breakthrough may come, and cancer will be defeated by those who strive so hard for the answer. Every modern, sophisticated device is harnessed to this end.

Even in the computer building, cancer cell behaviour is fed into the electronic brain for ultimate analysis. The teaching of computer science is done here. All university departments make constant use of its services. This department runs all day and all night. With a rest, of course, on the seventh day.

It's the same everywhere. Where there's teeth, there's trouble. So, the university Hadassah School of Dental Medicine runs dual purpose clinics. Students are trained and students, staff and their families are treated, together with children from Jewish and Arab Jerusalem communities. A new dental chair makes the visit a little more comfortable, although patients are still not that eager to sit down.

In the fifth and last year of the six-year course, and under the strict supervision of teaching staff, students do clinical work.

Throughout Israel, graduates of the Hebrew University are to be found in leading roles. In the professions, in commerce, in the armed forces, but perhaps especially as members of academic staffs of colleges of higher learning, established more recently than the university itself.

On the left of picture, university president Harmon, graduating in law from Oxford in 1935 and for nine years was Israel's ambassador to Washington. With President Harmon, is vice president Bernard Kerik. A graduate of the Hebrew University, a PhD Princeton teacher at Harvard and MIT, is Professor Michael Rabin, rector of the university.

The Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to students and staff who gave their lives in the struggle for independence.

Dulcie Gray
A group of Jerusalem scholars started the Jewish National and University Library. The year was 1884. Today it contains over 2 million books, more than 2500 periodicals, and a great number of special collections. 176 librarians and 70 administrative personnel are required to man the library complex. You are looking at just one of the rooms.

Managed by a faculty committee with the help of professional staff, is the faculty club named the Belgian House. Well-appointed lounges, dining room, bar and guest rooms give it a much-valued atmosphere of relaxation for members and visitors alike.

Michael Denison
An Arab boy stands outside a unique establishment. An establishment which helps the underprivileged, would-be student to realize his educational potential. A society can only be judged by the degree to which scholarship and learning reach all levels of its population. So said the Prime Minister of Israel.

To this end, works the university's centre for pre-academic studies. Due to inadequate schooling and background, some are unable to pass examinations which would enable them to enter regular university faculties. This centre takes care of all that by intensive preparatory courses for intellectually alive but educationally deprived college aged youth.

There are so many wonderful headlines of final achievement. ‘Son of a struggling grocer becomes head of a town psychological service’. ‘A street cleaner, father of three children. Eldest boy becomes an attorney in Tel Aviv’.

The children of Jewish immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen and Iraq come to grasp the opportunity to take their place amongst those who were lucky enough to have had it just that much easier. And soon, this wonderful centre will move to its permanent home on Mount Scopus.

In northern Israel are the country's water sources, where the average annual rainfall is over 40in. To the south, the average is one inch, a 40th of that in the north.

The ancients, who inhabited and roamed the deserts of the Negev, created a system of cisterns into which water from the higher ground was collected and stored until needed. When Moses struck a rock and water came forth, hydrology and geology fused, and so they say, became hydrogeology.

These students are listening to a lecture on the ins and outs of groundwater research. In other words, the science of finding and exploiting underground or under rock water resources. All the world agrees that Israel in this field has outstanding expertise.

In the North, banana plantations are a common sight. But could they be made to grow down south?

Field trips give the students a chance to test the applications of the theories they assimilated in class. The aim is to make the South produce like the North does.

A research fellow in applied hydrology is Dr Ari Isa, the students' guide and mentor.
They all know that without water, none of this is possible.

There's an international flavour about this particular centre. Enrolments include students from India, Argentina, Australia, Greece, Nigeria, Taiwan, Nicaragua and the USA, and many other lands.

Increased water supply means more crops. More crops, more food.

They return home with a unique level of scientific and practical knowledge.

Dulcie Gray
In this truly wonderful environment, live and work the professors, deans, students and staff of Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

And of this dynamic city, the mayor of Jerusalem once said ‘its tumultuous past, its shrines, its unique atmosphere, beauty and holiness make it one of the most fascinating cities on Earth’.

High over the city stands the Parliament Building. Completed in 1966, the single chamber legislature has 120 members.

Student welfare is one of the main concerns of the university fathers. The well-planned dormitories of Mount Scopus were built in 1967. At this time about 3000 people are in residence.

Modern kitchens, with individual refrigerators and comfortable lounges, are incorporated in each hall of residence, and the building of apartments for married students with young families is at present well ahead of schedule.

Michael Denison
We've all heard the derogatory remark about the salesman who couldn't sell water in the desert. Well, anyone could here.

Talk about making a desert flower, what an amazing sight it is! Hardly believable. 20 miles south of Beersheba, at a place called Wadi Mashak, is an international training and information centre. From here, a message of hope goes out to the world's desert areas.

Michael Evenari is a professor of botany, who proved the possibility of agriculture in waterless regions by using the systems of the Israelites, Nabataeans and Byzantines begun 3000 years ago. By planting a tree in a corner of a micro catchment, the moisture of occasional rainfall runs down to it and it flourishes.

On a desert hilltop, the professor's wife gathers flowers from her garden. Here at Avdat some years ago, Evenari’s concept of the flowering desert was born.

You could say that research in depth still goes on here as they meticulously measure the water each plant requires and uses.

The sixth century city looks down. If the long since gone inhabitants could see the place now, they would agree that there's nothing really new under the desert sun.

A student cooperative runs the university bookstore. They sell at low subsidized prices. Students and teachers alike need not be short of the printed word. Textbooks stand side by side with best-selling authors, and this man is one of them.

Born here in Jerusalem in 1917, the fame of Professor of Archaeology Yigael Yadin stretches from Johannesburg to Philadelphia, taking in London and Paris en route. One time chief of staff of Israel's defence forces, today, his exhaustive research works are read the world over.

This is the world of archaeology. Since 1967, Professor Benjamin Mazar has been excavating Jerusalem's southern wall, where remnants of the Second Temple have been discovered. Pottery has been discovered, which dates from 30 BC and even back to the kings of Judah. It is reconstituted with great care.

The sculpture and engravings of Mesopotamia in the third century BC is what this lecture is all about.

The unearthing of pieces of pottery enabled professionals to understand the daily life of ancient civilisations. So do coins, which are found in abundance, buried deep in the ground.

Meanwhile, back at the dig, a new broom sweeps clean. As they reclaim the past, they never know what they may come upon next.

And so, this part of our university story is almost ended. But on Mount Scopus, it begins anew. By 1977, some 12,000 young men and women will be taking their place in the faculty buildings that are completed, under construction or planned. Interconnected complexes will house faculties of law, first year science, humanities, social services, archaeology, adult education, overseas students, a new pre academic department, the Truman Research Institute and many others.

The annual, doctoral and honorary degrees are awarded here in the Rothberg Amphitheatre. The young saplings on the mountainside will one day grow into big trees.

And Israel's cultural level will be judged not only by its brilliant elite, but by how far education has penetrated all levels of the population. This is the role of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

[End - Credits]