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Prof. Dan Shechtman, Chairman of the Wolf Foundation: No party guarantees the restoration of scientific research in Israel and the prevention of brain drain

At the ceremony announcing the winners of the Wolf Prize, Prof. Shechtman said: "The poor presence of Israeli winners of the Wolf and Nobel Prizes is a certificate of poverty for the government"

Professor Shechtman thanks his well-wishers. To his left - Professor Peretz Lavi, president of the Technion. Photo: Shlomo Shem, spokeswoman for the Technion.
Professor Dan Shechtman thanks his well-wishers after the announcement of his winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2011. To his left - Professor Peretz Lavi, president of the Technion. Photo: Shlomo Shem, spokeswoman for the Technion.


Unprecedented criticism of the acting chairman of the Wolf Foundation, Prof. Dan Shechtman, on the government's policy regarding the promotion of Israel's scientific excellence. The words of criticism were heard this evening at the event announcing the winners of the Wolf Prize in the Arts and Sciences for 2015, where it became clear that this year too, there are no Israelis among the winners.

"For several years now, the dwindling presence of Israeli winners among the Wolf Prize winners is a certificate of poverty for the ongoing policy of the State of Israel, which has not been able to continue to place the promotion of excellence in the sciences at the top of its priorities," Shechtman said at the event. "The operation in Gaza and the recent events in the north prove again and again the importance of this excellence to our very existence and our security and social resilience," he added.

Shechtman also referred to the political situation in Israel, "the political instability and the high turnover of ministers harms the ability of research in Israel to develop in accordance with the pace of the Western world", noted the acting chairman of the Wolf Foundation. "Unfortunately, none of the parties competing in the election system presented in their platform a plan to save scientific research in Israel. I call on all those seeking the public's trust in the upcoming elections to present plans to restore scientific excellence in Israel to the top of the priorities at the national level, and for the citizens of Israel to include the issue in their voting considerations," he concluded.

This year, five prizes will be awarded, amounting to one hundred thousand dollars each, in four fields of science: physics, mathematics, medicine and agriculture. All nine award winners this year are from the United States and Canada.

In science, four prizes will be awarded this year: in agriculture, the prize will be awarded to Prof. Linda Saif from Ohio University in the United States for promoting human and farm animal health through groundbreaking research in virology and immunology; in physics to Prof. James Bjorken from Stanford University for predicting the scaling phenomenon in deep inelastic scattering, which led to the identification of point components within the proton and to Prof. Robert Kirchner from Harvard University for the breakthrough to the study of the universe with the help of supernova stars, based on his observations and insights; in mathematics to Prof. James Arthur from the University of Toronto in Canada for his monumental work on the Aiqaba formula and his fundamental contributions to the theory of automorphic representations of reductive bundles; in medicine to Prof. John Kapler and Prof. Philippa Marak from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Colorado - United States and to Prof. Jeffrey Rabech from Rockefeller University in the United States for breakthroughs in understanding the molecular mechanisms of the immune response; In the arts, the prize in the field of music will be given to the pianist Mari Farahia for his fascinating and honest interpretation of the music and the power of his influence on the development of a new generation of musicians, and to the soprano singer Jessie Norman for her extraordinary performances all over the world, her educational activities and her dedication to eradicating global health problems.

The CEO of the Wolf Foundation, Dr. Liat Ben David, says: "The selected winners have proven and impressive excellence in the fields of scientific research and artistic practice, which include innovation and a creative and groundbreaking approach. We are happy that for the first time since the prize distribution began, a third of the winners are women, as befits the significant place that women are occupying in the leadership of human excellence in all its forms."

The Wolf Prize is an Israeli prize that has a very prestigious international reputation. In the fields of exact sciences, he is considered the second most important in the world after the Nobel Prize. In the field of arts, the award is considered the most important. Over 33 percent of the Wolf Prize winners were later crowned Nobel Prize winners in the field of exact sciences, which coincide with the two prizes (medicine, physics and chemistry). Among the winners: Prof. Ada Yonat, Prof. Avraham Hershko and Prof. Dan Shechtman.

7 תגובות

  1. As for the politicization of science, I add the pollution of the Israel Prize to the books: "Thank you to Bibi the dictator".

  2. Israel has several management problems 1- The media depends on the government (see the case of Channel 10). 2- The term of office of the Prime Minister should be limited to 2 terms, so that the government does not fall apart every time the Prime Minister does not want to run! In our situation today, the Prime Minister is a weak person who does not resist the temptations of money. And he will not let the Minister of Finance work!

  3. Everyone is afraid of Netanyahu, if you want change - and democracy is built on changes. You have to go vote. Personally, I despise Bibi, because he despises the rule of law and democracy. even though he is not an Israeli citizen).

  4. If Israel was a willing country, it would invest in science and welfare. Thus, it could absorb a million immigrants from Europe and America. Demographic problems were not a dramatic issue, and Judea and Samaria could have been happily annexed.

  5. Science in Idoni: "Today, the research institute in Mitzpe Ramon is full of work. Research into complex materials, more efficient fuels for rockets and satellites, water purification and desalination, new batteries and nuclear-based batteries, serum vaccines and medicines. It all started with the initiative of one of Israel's elite scientists, and the mayor of Mitzpe Ramon. The beginning was humble, with the help of the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, a technology incubator was established. The Jewish danger helped in absorbing scientists from abroad, and "Kel" helped with the physical structures.

  6. To Mr. Shechtman,
    You can found a research institute (say in Arad). And strengthen Israel's reputation, since the Weizmann Institute receives most of its funding from patents it develops. Because even if you don't award degrees, you can bring Israeli talent to the fore. Your publication and abilities you have, could give you power to perform.

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