The Hungarian-Israeli Scientific Society was formally established at Bar-Ilan University this week to promote scientific cooperation between the two countries. Bar-Ilan University President Professor Daniel Hershkowitz, of Hungarian descent, was elected Honorary President of the Society.
One of the key objectives of the Society will be to strengthen ties between Israeli and Hungarian researchers in order to better utilize knowledge and resources that are available in the two countries and in the European Union. Through scientific, cultural and social programs, members will seek opportunities to exchange ideas, network, promote joint science education programs, and further contribute to the achievements of the two countries that have the highest numbers of Nobel laureates per capita in the world.
Hungarian Ambassador to Israel Andor Nagy in his speech referred to the Hungarian phenomenon that changed science and the course of technological development. “Around the first half of the 20th century, an exceptionally gifted intellectual generation and scientific genius was born in Hungary. This could also be called a Jewish phenomenon because many of these great scientists were Hungarian Jews who played a great role in the knowledge transfer of science and culture into Israel, ” he said.
Victor Weiss, the Vice Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Science and Technology, drew attention to the fact that Israel is one of the scientific leaders in the world in scientific publications per capita, ranks in the top ten in scientific citations, number one worldwide in scientists per capita, and number one in investment in science, with 4% of its Gross National Product invested science and development.
Professor Daniel Hershkowitz spoke of his parents, originally from Budapest and Transylvania, who survived concentration camps and later immigrated to Israel. The Nazis tried to eliminate us, he said, but today we are closing the circle by establishing this Society whose goal is to enhance, increase, and enrich scientific relationships. “The language of science is the language that bridges upon differences between cultures religions nations and languages. When we employ this language not only does science benefit from it but the entire world benefits. That’s a win-win situation from which we can only gain and the way to build the future, ” he said.