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The Beginnings of Israeli–German Collaboration in the Sciences: Motives, Scientific Benefits, Hidden Agendas

Proceedings of the Academy (English series), vol. IX, no. 3

סדרה: Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (English series)
Despite adverse political circumstances and substantial opposition from their Israeli colleagues, in the mid-1950s two scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and a German scientist at CERN initiated scientific collaboration between the Weizmann Institute and German scientists. They soon succeeded in gaining political support, and in 1964 their efforts resulted in the first Minerva agreement, which led to large-scale collaboration between the Weizmann Institute, some German universities and the Max Planck Society.
The collaboration yielded distinct benefits for both sides. At the time, in the aftermath of World War II, German science was suffering as a result of the Nazi expulsion of Jewish scientists and partial international isolation. Collaboration with an Israeli institution was an important factor in re-internationalizing German science and enabling young scientists to encounter stimulating new research environments. For the Weizmann Institute, the material benefits of the collaboration were important at a time of severe economic hardship in Israel. In the long run, the collaboration contributed to strengthening the cooperation between Israeli and European science. Apart from individual cases, scientific and scholarly collaboration between Germany and other Israeli universities started only many years later.
The Israeli scientists’ demand that the collaboration involve only German scientists who had been anti-Nazis or belonged to the younger generation was not and could not be fulfilled. Postwar myths created by German scientists about their former anti-Nazi attitudes, along with the silence of major German institutions such as the Max Planck Society and its leadership concerning their own participation in the Nazi racial and anti-Semitic policies, served to facilitate the collaboration.
This paper scrutinizes the motives of the main protagonists of the early collaboration, its benefits at the individual and institutional levels, and the open and hidden political agendas behind it.
Ute Deichmann is founding Director of the Jacques Loeb Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. uted@post.bgu.ac.il
The lecture was delivered on 11 November 2014.
שנת ההוצאה: 2016
השפה: אנגלית
מסת"ב: ISSN 1565-8465
מספר העמודים: 53   מידות (ס"מ): 15 × 24   כריכה: רכה