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The struggle for independence of Majadala

Ralav Majadala, who will soon be appointed to the position of Minister of Science, entered the ministry with a reduced budget of NIS 720.9 million, which should be enough for three areas under his responsibility: science, culture and sports. To change the national perception of the importance of science, which will be expressed in the injection of funds - and a lot ● Riddle: When did the Knesset hold the last debate on the Ministry of Science ● Also: What did Ben-Gurion say about science? 

Yehuda Comforts, DailyMaily system, people and computers
Minister Ralav Majadala, Minister of Science
 On February 25, the government approved the appointment of Ralav Majadala to the position of Minister of Science, Culture and Sports.

At least two areas that will be under Majdala's responsibility need a full-time minister: sports, following the rot and corruption that was exposed in it, and of course science, the ministry that no minister wanted, and when the government was assembled, they almost forgot to assign him a minister. Pines, who served in the office for a few months until he resigned, did not get to do much. This, despite the fact that he showed quite a bit of interest in the office and its fields of activity.

Until the new minister took office, his place was officially filled by minister Prof. Yuli Tamir. It is likely that she did not have time to do much, given the problems she has with the teachers' organizations and the students' tuition fees. Her last task was to represent the State of Israel at a conference of governments held by Microsoft last week. There, Tamir heard praise for the State of Israel as a high-tech country, but she knew that despite the praise - the situation is far from satisfactory.

Turning PointThe fact that the new minister belongs to the Arab sector, could perhaps be a turning point in the attitude of the government and the public in general to this ministry. The situation today is very bad in the field he is expected to be responsible for. Everyone knows that R&D budgets are eroding over the years. The government cuts the ministry's budgets, no less than the other ministries, but always - the Ministry of Science is the first to be cut.

Majadala will enter the office with a budget, approved a few days ago, in the amount of NIS 720.9 million. This, after a horizontal cut of 10% - which the government decided on on the eve of submitting the budget for Knesset approval. This ridiculous amount should be enough for the three areas he is responsible for. The question - to whom to give first and how much - is one of the main questions that the minister will have to wrestle with every day. Majadala, if he wants to fulfill his role seriously, will have to work very hard, in order to please all parties.

Majadala will surely want to know what his predecessors did in the position (apart from Ofir Pines, who was not enough): mainly Matan Vilnai, then Modi Zandberg from Shuni, until his party withdrew from the coalition, then Vilnai entered a second, very short term, which he mainly used to advance his race to the primaries .

In his first term, Vilnai was appointed by Ehud Barak, to whose credit it can be said that he understood the importance of the Ministry of Science, but could not let it be an independent ministry and therefore created the analytical essay: of culture and sport. It is no wonder that during his first term, Vilnai was seen much more at sporting events or premieres rather than at research institutes. If only for the reason that the first two photograph better. Even if he visited research institutes, it is likely that the media did not follow him there.

The Knesset is not interested either

A perusal of the Knesset minutes shows that the Knesset - which is the arm that is supposed to monitor science, and also assist it in its struggle for independence - held very few discussions on the Ministry's issues. A quick search in the retrieval engine of the Knesset website revealed that the last time an orderly discussion was held about the Ministry of Science was in 2000. The things that were said there, at that meeting chaired by Anat Maor and during the first term of office of Vilnai, who was then doing his first days in politics - are unfortunately true, today also. Nothing has changed, the status of the ministry has only gotten weaker, and no minister, or committee - has been able to change its image in the eyes of the ministers and the public, so that they will fight for changing the status of science in Israel. So, at the same meeting, MK Michael Nodelman accepted that the ministry's budget was cut - much lower than it was three years before (that is, in 1997).

And what did Ben-Gurion say?Minister Vilnai said in the committee's discussion that essential and basic elements are missing in the state's perception of its place in promoting research and development. "We still lack it. This is our main problem," he added. Although the words were said in 2000, they are true today, especially after two terms of Vilnius. Vilnai also quoted at the same meeting, what the first head of the Manashla, David Ben-Gurion, said at the time about science and technology: "A profound revolution is passing over us once again, the like of which has not been seen in thousands of years. The state, security, the economy in all its branches, are becoming more and more dependent on science and technology. Science is becoming one of the main factors, day by day... One of the real tasks of a country's educational, economic and security activities is in the education of scientists."

The new minister should, therefore, first of all start a fight for the independence of the ministry and change the national perception regarding the importance of the ministry and its central functions. The most important thing in the positions is ensuring the conditions for scientific excellence and ensuring conditions for infrastructure research. It is true that he will have to do some of these tasks together with the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for the children's education. But the leader, shouting at the gate, must be the Ministry of Science, and the minister who heads it. And if Majadala succeeds, it will be the first independence struggle led by an Arab for the State of Israel.

In this struggle, he will find many partners, including those who are now slandering him, because he agreed to be a fig leaf in the struggle for the political survival of the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz. If the result is an increase in the science budget in the coming years - then Peretz's exercise was worth every penny. The mandate of fighting for the independence of the ministry, at least from a budgetary point of view, is still being laid before him, so that it will be possible to start working here in a serious way in the fields of science, research and development.

Editor's note

In light of the news published this week against Majadala's fitness to be in charge of the space agency, this is of course complete nonsense, because in Israel there is a complete separation between the military and civilian space programs, at most the minister is invited to watch the military launches. At the space agency, which employs two and a half employees, no research is carried out at all and as a coordinating body, it simply coordinates the voices calling in the field of space for the Ministry of Science. I wish she had many more roles and powers, it would only help the Israeli science community, and the creation of jobs in the space industry in Israel.

In any case, a government minister should have access to much more sensitive data regardless of his own office. The Minister of Science plays an important role in promoting international agreements such as those Zandberg signed with Europe, Japan, Brazil and more. We should not forget that Minister Majadala is a member of an important party that founded the country, and if he advanced within it on his own, he did so by virtue and not by grace. 

Perhaps because Majadala's chances of getting a bigger office in his first ministerial post are not high, and he will surely want to prove himself, these reasons can help the office rise from the boards.

3 תגובות

  1. A response to life.
    As in Yotam's parable, no scientist will agree
    Change a politician - remember the days
    Albert Einstein was still being chased here
    To be president...

    Today, only an uninhibited politician would agree
    Step into the little shoes of Ezer Weizman
    And rhythm... And that's exactly the story with all
    Ministerial position - including the Minister of Science.

  2. I agree with you that the ministers of science Yuval Neman and Benny Begin were good, but they were also weak in front of the finance people.

  3. The Minister of Science should be a scientist, period!
    Only in a stupid country like ours, the wrong man in the wrong place.

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