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Jerusalem, The Holy City
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Teodoro Herzel
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Science and Israeli Technology
Science and Technology in Israel

The scientific investigation and his achievements are already not merely an abstract intellectual matter... but a central factor... in the life of every civilized people...

(David Ben-Gurión, 1962)

As many other small countries, Israel is provided with politics clearly defined towards the scientific and technological activities destined to improve his competitive capacity. In the sciences, it stimulates the establishment of centers of the first category concerning out-standing scientists, supporting a quality level in a wide bogey of scientific fields.

In technology, Israel fights to support his high level by means of the concentration in a limited number of areas. The percentage of the Israeli population who has to do with the scientific investigation and the technological one, as well as the quantity of money that is invested in research and development (IyD), as regards his Gross National Product (PNB) is of the highest in the world.


The history of the scientific investigation in Israel is an integral part of the history of the comeback of the Jewish people to his homeland. Teodoro Herzl (180-1904), the founder of the political Zionism, who promoted actively the idea of the modern Jewish state in the Earth of Israel, conceived it not only like the physical hearth of the people Judío, but also like a big spiritual and scientific center.

The desire to transform the Earth, then a region sterile and infested with illnesses, into the modern state, was the key factor in the subsequent scientific investigation and in the technological development. The agricultural research goes back at the end of the XIXth century, with the establishment of the School Mikvé Israel (1870). The Agricultural Station established in Tel Aviv (1921), evolved later up to turning into the Organization of Agricultural research (HEAR), nowadays the principal research and development institution agricultural of Israel. The medical research and of public health it began before the First World war, with the foundation of the Station of Hebrew Health. It received an important impulse with the establishment (in the middle of the 20s of the XXth century) of the Institute of Microbiology and the departments of biochemistry, bacteriology and hygiene of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They provided the base for the Medical center Hadassah, nowadays the most important institution of medical research of the country. The industrial investigation had his beginning in the Laboratories of the Dead Sea in the 30s, and the advances in basic sciences and technology began in the Hebrew University (est. 1925), the Tejnión - Israeli Institute of Technology (est. 1924 in Haifa) and in the Research center Daniel Sieff (est. 1934 in Rejovot) that later happened to be the Scientific Institute Weizmann (1949).

The scientific and technological infrastructure of the country had already sat down when the State of Israel was established, in 1948. In a beginning, the investigation centred on projects of national importance and on this base industries developed gradually with commercial conference.

Research and development (IyD)

The IyD in Israel carries out principally in seven universities, tens public and governmental institutes of investigation, hundreds of civil and military companies, and also in medical centers and for diverse signatures of public service, in fields like the telecommunications, electricity, production of energy and administration of water resources.

More than 80 % of the whole Israeli investigation publicable - and almost the whole fundamental research and the training of fundamental research - is carried out inside the universities. The Israeli Foundation of Sciences (FIS), an entity legally independent, is the principal source of competitive financing of fundamental research. About 1.000 investigators receive subsidies of the FIS, which get together with financing of the universities. The FIS finances also special, such programs as the participation of Israel in the construction of the detector ATLAS for Large Hadron Collider in the CERN and improves the quality of the clinical investigation across a novel series of subsidies for 'doctors - investigators'.

To finance and to coordinate too big investigation initiatives to be handled by any other entity TELEM exists, a voluntary forum formed by the scientific chiefs of the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Sciences, the president of the Israeli Academy of Sciences and representatives of the Council of Higher education, the Department of Finance and others. TELEM managed, and when it was necessary financed, the entry of Israel in the Program Marco de la Comunidad Europea, the membership in the European Installation of Radiation Sincrotón and the recent initiative of Israel Internet II. At present he is considering a new initiative in nanotechnology.

The big number of patents extracted by the universities of Israel is a measurement of the effectiveness of the relation between the universities and the industry.

Qualified personnel 

The big reservation of professionals qualified in Israel is the principal cause of his scientific and technological achievements. (24 % of the civil labor force of the country counts with 16 or more years of studies). As the big quantity of scientists, engineers and highly qualified technical staff, of between the hundreds of thousands of immigrants of the ex-Soviet Union, they were joining gradually by force labor, this percentage increased spectacularly and it will have to influence significantly the scientific and technological achievements of Israel in the future decades.

IyD in the universities

As in the universities of the whole world, the development of the basic knowledge is the supreme target of the investigators in the universities of Israel. Books and articles of Israeli authors, which include all the scientific areas, are an important expression of the production of the sector of the university on this matter. A disproportionate percentage publishes Israel (about one per cent) of the scientific publications of the world, and in many areas, like chemistry and sciences of the computing, they have a particularly high impact in the world scientific community. As regards the size of his labor force, Israel has a significantly higher number of authors who publish in natural sciences, engineering, agriculture and medicine that other countries, and an exceptionally big part of the publications of the country are written jointly by Israeli scientists and of other countries.

To integrate the Israeli science to the international scientific community the post-doctoral investigations are stimulated and the sabbaticals abroad, as well as the assistance to scientific conferences in the exterior, and there is supported a wide scale of exchange programs and joint projects at level of institutes, universities and government with similar organizations in the exterior. Israel is, also, an important center for international scientific conferences, being a head office of many meetings of this type annually.

Along with his wide activities of scientific investigation, the universities keep on playing an important and innovative role in the technological progress of Israel. The Scientific Institute Weizmann was one of the first institutes of the world that an organization established for the commercial use of his investigations (1958); nowadays similar organizations exist in all the universities of Israel. The establishment of industrial parks has begun with big commercial success with scientific base, adjacent to the campuses of the universities. The universities have created you prop industrial enterprises "satellites" for the commercialization of specific products based on his investigation, often in society with local and foreign consortiums.

The interdisciplinary research and the experimental institutes that work in the universities, in the diverse vital scientific and technological fields for the industry of the country, they deal with areas like the construction, the transport and the education as national focal points for the investigation and the applied development. Also, a high proportion of university faculties they serve to the industry, advising in technical, administrative and financial matters. 

Industrial IyD

In the industrial sector, the civil expense in IyD and the number of scientists and engineers involved in industrial IyD has increased often in the last two decades. The Israeli industrial IyD, with a high concentration in electronics, is carried out principally by a small number of big signatures. These companies of intensive IyD have been an important source of employment and industrial exports throughout the years.

To reinforce the growth of these companies, both big and small, is the focus of the industrial strategy of Israel. The government promotes the IyD in the industry inside the frame of the Law of Stimuli for the Investigation and the Development, which is implemented by the Office of the Scientific Chief of the Department of Industry and Commerce, who in the year 2000 financed about 1.200 projects. The products related to the IyD constitute more than half of the whole of the industrial exports (excluding diamonds).

Electronics, up to ends of the decade of sixty, was limited principally to consumption goods, now it has branched out and has developed more sophisticated, both military and civil technological products. In communications, the applications based on IyD include the fingering, prosecution, transmission and improvement of images, sound and information. The scale of products goes from telephone central advanced posts up to systems of vocal messages and expersons who summons of lines of phones.

Optics, electro-optics and lasers have taken a rapid growth as industrial fields. Israel is a leader in the world in optical fibres, systems of examination for printed circuits, systems of night vision of thermal image and systems of robots based on electro-optics.

Team based on computers (computers), mainly software and peripheral teams, has been developed and produced. In impression and publicity, the graphic computers made of Israel and the systems of images based on computer are used extensively both in the country and in the exterior. The educational activities in the schools are reinforced by an instruction system variety assisted by computer, many of which have been developed for the exportation. Although some of the products of software of Israel they are designed for his use in central computers, the majority they have been developed for small or medium systems, like computing terminals. A computer mouse has developed recently in Israel with three ink pads that allows to not clairvoyants to "read" texts and images on the screen 

Robotics studied for the first time at the end of the 70s, are producing now robots designed to execute a wide tasks variety, including polished of diamonds, weldings, packing, construction and others. At present the artificial intelligence application is investigated to the robots.

Aeronautics related to the needs of defense, have generated technological developments with subsequent civil applications. The Aravá, the first civil plane made of Israel, was continued by the executives' jet Westwind. Recently, satellites designed and made of the country have been produced and thrown to the space by the Israeli Air industry in cooperation with the Spatial Agency of Israel. Also, Israel develops, produces and exports a big items quantity in this field, including systems of exhibition, aeronautical computers, systems of instrumentation and pretenders of flight, and he is a world leader in the technology and production of remote-control planes.

Agricultural IyD

The agriculture and fishing is based almost in its entirety on IyD implemented by means of the cooperation between the farmers and the investigators. Across an established good extension service system, the results of the investigation are transmitted quickly to the area for his experimentation and implementation, and the problems are presented straight to the scientists for his solution. The agricultural IyD is carried out principally for IT HEARD, that it is a part of the Department of Agriculture. Most of the institutes of agricultural research in Israel support narrow relations with the Organization of Feeding and Agriculture of the United Nations Organization, guaranteeing a continuous information exchange with other countries.

The dairy cow of Israel is a world champion in the milk production, having increased the average yield for 6.300 liters cow in 1970 to more than 10.000 liters nowadays thanks to the scientific feeding and the genetic tests realized by the Institute Volcani. Obtaining semen and ova of cattle of top quality, Israel is capable of improving its own herd and of sharing his progresses in this area with other countries.

The Israeli farme