The Contribution of Science to Civilian Industry in Israel

Cite As:
Eshel Reuven. The Contribution of Science to Civilian Industry in Israel Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 1998.
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The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities initiated a series of seminars on the contributions of science to the State of Israel on its 50th anniversary. In this framework Technion President Professor Zehev Tadmor commissioned this survey which is dedicated to the contributions of science to Industry, and which serves to complement a previous survey on the contributions of science to security.

Since the establishment of the State the number of student in Israel has grown from 3000 to 120,000, i.e., 40 fold compared to an approximately 8 fold growth of the population. Because of this and the immigration of many academicians during the 1990's Israel achieved a world record in the number of scientists and engineers in the working population. This great human potential became part of a world phenomenon - science and technology were moving closer to each other and coupled with significant financial investments from Israel and abroad, brought about far reaching changes in Israel's industry which developed in four stages:

a. Before the establishment of the State of Israel mainly energy industries (electric corporation and oil refineries) and building industries (Nesher, Vulcan, Phoenicia, Na'aman, Solel Boneh, Even vaSid) were established. All the industrial know-how was imported.

b. From 1948 to 1967 Food, textile and chemical industries were established and expanded but except for training graduates contributions of academia to industry were small.

c. From 1967 to 1985 Defense industry blossomed as a direct result of the French imposed embargo on the one hand, and generous American assistance on the other. During this period an ever growing bond was formed between academia and the defense industries. This partnership resulted in impressive achievements as described in the previous report.

d. From 1985 to 1998 Defense industries were reduced to less than half as a result of drastic cuts in the defense budget. Those who left the defense industries teamed up with members of the academia and new immigrant scientists and together established and expanded hundreds of hi-tech companies who today employ half the workers in industry. They are the source of more than two thirds of Israel's industrial exports.

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