K3 | Ties with Israel


In its young existence, Israel has already produced thirteen Nobel laureates. That is more per capita than, for example, the United States. The scientists in Israel are among the best in the world and their discoveries have worldwide impact. Israeli scientists deserve our support.

I have gotten to know the scientists in Israel from my field, chemistry, as people who actively seek contact and exchange, across the full breadth of society. Many of these Israeli colleagues are deeply disillusioned by the terror and declaration of war of October 7. Many of them have actively contributed to peaceful coexistence, despite the polarization and destructive religious dominance in the region.  

The war has had an incredible impact on Israeli science; foreign PhD students and post-docs have left, Israeli scientists have had to stop their research work, resources for research are becoming scarcer, and there is a rousing rhetoric against Israeli scientists by polarizing forces in the West. These are all dangerous developments that will also prevent the whole region from flourishing in the long term. 

It would be good if we, as scientists and students in the Netherlands and at TU/e, would support our colleagues in Israel and help as much as possible with their teaching and research. Especially if you want to support the moderate and unifying forces in Israel. This support will also contribute to long-term prosperity growth, not only in Israel, but for the entire Levant. 

At the institutional level we can further strengthen the ties with Israeli universities and research institutes, as individual researchers we can involve our direct colleagues in research applications, and students can go there again (hopefully in the not too distant future) to do a top-notch research internship.  

Let's use our influence on Israel via a positive, constructive approach. 

Luc Brunsveld is a Professor Chemical Biology at TU/e. The views expressed in this column are his own.  

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