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The round of talks on Israel joining the Horizon 2020 program has begun * the territorial issue has been postponed until the next meeting

Elisha Yanai, Chairman of the Electronics and Software Industries Association, believes that the crisis must be resolved: "The impact of the boycott is very serious"

Poster of the European R&D program Horizon 2020
Poster of the European R&D program Horizon 2020

The first round of talks between the European Union and Israel on Israel's participation in Horizon 2020, the framework program for research and innovation (2014-2020), took place today in Israel.

The European Union delegation to Israel stated that YSheral was already a member of the Seventh Framework Program for Research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007-2013), known as FP7 for short. The Horizon 2020 program, under which EU funding will be nominated for research and innovation activities in the years 2014-2020, will be open to the accession of third countries that were members of the seventh framework program. The European Union and Israel must agree on the conditions for such membership, which include the financial participation of third parties for the Horizon 2020 program. For this purpose, the European Union and Israel are negotiating a memorandum of understanding.

The first round of negotiations was limited to exploratory talks regarding technical and financial aspects of Horizon 2020. Discussions on the territorial scope of the future memorandum of understanding and the application of the "guidelines regarding the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 to grants, awards and financial instruments financed by The European Union from 2014 onwards" for the Horizon 2020 program will begin during the second session of talks, scheduled to be held in Brussels in September.

"Exiting the program will harm research and industry"

In the interviews I conducted for "People and Computers" Prof. Shay Arkin, Vice President of the Hebrew University for Research and Development, said that - "We are currently finishing the seventh framework of the European Union and holding discussions about the eighth program, Horizon 2020, which will begin in 2014 and end in 2020 . Israel invested about 535 million euros in the seventh framework and received 30% more than that. It is nice to get more than you invest, but that is not the important element, but the internationality of Israeli research and its exposure to one of the two largest and best research centers in the world. It is unthinkable that the State of Israel will establish huge research infrastructures that even a country like Germany cannot establish, therefore, it is essential that Israeli scientists have access to these infrastructures such as the large particle accelerator. I do not interfere in politics, but only warn that if we do not participate in the program, Israeli research and industry will be harmed."

"It is important to emphasize that this research is not carried out exclusively by the academy. There is also a lot of industrial R&D activity that is essential for Israeli companies, and especially for start-ups, and if they are denied the connection, they are blocked from the possibilities and access to the huge European market," he added.

According to Prof. Arkin, "Participation in Israel's program, and the Hebrew University in particular, caused an additional flow of funds. The international companies see the good scientific level and are interested in cooperating with us in the future", he noted.

In response to the question of whether the European scientists are pressuring the decision makers on the continent to reach a compromise with Israel, Prof. Arkin said that "the Europeans know that Israel is a technological and scientific powerhouse and the scientists would not want us to be isolated in Europe. I don't know what influence our colleagues have on their politicians, I hope it is not negligible. In the end, science is the only international language, and it is a disastrous mistake that scientists cannot work with each other."

Elisha Yanai, chairman of the Electronics and Software Industries Association, also believes that the crisis must be resolved: "The impact of the boycott is very serious," he said. "The state needs to find a way to bridge the existing situation with the new one and to make a 'get amputation' is a very undesirable option. Knowing the great effort we made to get into this program - I personally dealt with the issue together with Efraim Halevi, former head of the Mossad - I expect the captains to find a compromise."

"The last thing we can afford, as a technological, advanced country, with many academics and researchers in the field, is to say goodbye to this relationship with the Union," he added.
The head of the MOLMP Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel said: "The big mistake is that we calculate that we invest this way and receive this way from the Europeans," he added. "Let's take the money from other sources. The problem is not that, but what will be our knowledge infrastructure, collaborations, who our scientists will be connected to and who will not. If the government decides not to sign this agreement, it will be a real disaster."

It should be noted that I also asked to interview senior representatives of Bar-Ilan and Ariel universities for the same article, but they refused to respond.

7 תגובות

  1. Asaf

    By and large I agree. I don't know who is trying to blackmail us - Europe, or the United States through its proxies in Europe, or both together. Please note that there are currently negotiations with the Palestinians and the timing of the pressures with the negotiations does not seem to me coincidental. There are rumors that the United States is pressuring Israel to give up and territorial concessions *immediately* as a "gesture" in favor of the Palestinians.

    There were pressures on Israel throughout its existence even when we were very weak. If we save our steps we will get through this too.

    I hope we will increase cooperation with the Chinese, for example in scientific research, both sides have common interests. The Americans will of course try to thwart such cooperation.

  2. There is no doubt that Israel is a weak country, although we are strong relative to our size and certainly more than the third world countries around us, but we are very weak compared to large western countries that are united in power groups like the European Union. This weakness allows others, such as the US and Europe, to blackmail us. We have to find the fine line between doing what is best for us or giving in to external demands. The American system has always operated with the carrot and stick method, for example the Egyptian army receives American budgets as long as it does what the US wants. The Europeans in recent years are starting to use the same method, they give money for research but want something else (political) to be given in return. The government's fear is of the slippery slope as soon as they give up the pressure will increase. It's a shame that politics and science are mixed, but that's how it's been since time immemorial and those who think that everything is just a matter of money for research actually treat this matter as prostitution and don't see the overall picture.

  3. Demagogue, I didn't come out against any politics, I came out against the connection between politics and science.

    Save your demagoguery for someone else.

  4. As someone who knows a little about these matters, it might be worth noting that the European Union's decision not to fund research collaborations with institutions that are beyond the green line is nothing new, and has been in practice for several years. The difference is that towards the signing of the new program, Horizon 2020, the Union asked to introduce this condition formally.
    That is, if Israel decides not to enter the program, it will only be because something that is also taking place in practice has become official. Really well done to us…

  5. When research interferes like this with politics, our participation in this thing should be denied unconditionally.

    And it is clear that the effect of the boycott is severe for those who want money.

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