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A country haunted by demons XNUMX: The man who hates Euclid was unanimously elected chairman of the science committee in the Knesset; Hawking boycotts Israel

For the first time I am dedicating the section to two topics, seemingly different and opposite, but pointing out that the threats to science come from both the right and the left:

An announcement by the Torah Judaism party in the 2013 elections warns of disaster: your children will learn about Olekides instead of Torah
An announcement by the Torah Judaism party in the 2013 elections warns of disaster: your children will learn about Olekides instead of Torah

To the readers - this is an opinion column and you don't have to read it, it doesn't come at the expense of the scientific updates, as you can see in a simple back check of the last week for example.

For the first time, I am dedicating the section to two topics, seemingly different and opposite, but pointing out that the threats to science come from both the right and the left: two events happened yesterday (Thursday): the first was the unanimous election of MK Moshe Gafni as the chairman of the Science and Technology Committee And the second - Prof. Stephen Hawking's announcement that he is canceling his visit to Israel at the President's Conference due to his submission to the academic boycott in Great Britain.

The Science and Technology Committee of the Knesset issued the following announcement today: "For the first time, an ultra-Orthodox MK heads the Science and Technology Committee." MK Moshe Gafni (Torah Judaism) was elected today, unanimously, to head the faith committee, among other things, in the field of research and development, the chief scientists and the issue of space. Among those congratulating the incoming chairman was MK Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu), who pointed out that the advancement of science rests first and foremost on budgets, and therefore the fact that MK Gafni was chairman of the finance committee is a significant advantage."

According to the incoming chairman of the committee, MK Gafni, "over the years, the State of Israel has consistently cut the budgets directed to research and development, and including this, it seems that Israel does not have the guiding hand of faith on the set of components that make up the complete picture." From today, according to MK Gafni, "Science and technology in Israel has an advocate in the Knesset." The chairman of the committee added that "in the face of technological development, we must take into account the fact that at the same time people are losing their privacy".

Someone fell asleep on guard. Is this the right man to promote science in Israel? This is the same person who insists that the students of his sector do not study the core studies. In fact, from all the studies that have been done on the subject, it appears that the graduates of ultra-Orthodox education barely know four arithmetic operations to get by at the grocery store. As recalled in the election campaign for the last Knesset, Torah Judaism published a flyer in which it warned its voters that if they do not increase their power, the ultra-Orthodox students will be forced to study Euclid instead of Mishniyot (see Madinah Rufut Diam XNUMX: Euclid is not the name of a medicine). Will this man protect us from the ignorance of his sector?

A meme circulating on the Internet as a sting on Torah Judaism's ad regarding Euclid - on the occasion of the election of Moshe Gafni as chairman of the Science and Technology Committee
A meme circulating on the Internet as a sting on Torah Judaism's ad regarding Euclid - on the occasion of the election of Moshe Gafni as chairman of the Science and Technology Committee

Another issue that will not be addressed is the disappearance of the theory of evolution - the basis of all life sciences - from the curriculum in the state schools: "so as not to upset the ultra-Orthodox" (see Dr.Roey Tsezana: Evolution against the seculars - when the Ministry of Education takes feelings into account) In schools - from elementary to high school - it is forbidden to mention the word evolution - even in biology studies and even in lessons that talk about its consequences (for example bacterial resistance to antibiotics). We seem to have passed another generation of biologists and biotechnologists. By the way, very few choose the unit of study in evolution even as part of biology studies 5 units because it is an authority unit. Imagine that in English studies it will be decided that the ABC letters constitute an authority, and it is forbidden to talk about them until matriculation with those who do not study the same authority unit. Doesn't sound likely. So the basis of biology is hidden from the eyes of the students?
And who knows, maybe he will demand budgets for technological developments that will be used to enforce the law, as was done in recent years when supermarkets decided to prohibit the purchase of chametz products on Passover even if a customer puts his hand under the nylon cover of the shelf, by removing the product from the store's computer. And maybe he will also demand from the universities not to research in fields that are against the religion in exchange for help with their funding? How did the members of the Knesset from all factions of the house who unanimously supported him not think of this?

Another area in which he will probably be prevented from addressing is the issue of the brain drain, because according to his view there is no need at all to learn the wisdom of the Gentiles, therefore there is no problem with Israelis who know the wisdom of the Gentiles coming to the US.

"The only field in which he cannot cause damage is the field of technology: cyber and space, let's say that there is finally a strong minister in the Ministry of Science - Yaakov Perry and if something succeeds in these fields it will surely be thanks to him and in spite of Gafni. And in the meantime I wonder if Gafni will issue a law according to which the sum of the angles in a triangle is different from 180 degrees. He doesn't have to do much, just fold the page on which the triangle is drawn....

Hawking boycotts the prize

Prof. Stephen Hawking visiting the Jewish-Arab community of Neve Shalom in December 2006. Public relations photo courtesy of the British Embassy.
Prof. Stephen Hawking visiting the Jewish-Arab community of Neve Shalom in December 2006. Public relations photo courtesy of the British Embassy.

And from the other side of the political spectrum, we hear about Stephen Hawking's decision to cancel his visit to the presidential conference this June. And so the Israel website writes today: "According to the report, the 71-year-old British physicist withdrew from his participation in the presidential conference under the auspices of the country's president, Shimon Peres, as a protest against Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. Hawking has not publicly stated that he will not attend the conference, but a statement released by his endorsement describes that he "decided to honor the boycott, based on his knowledge of Palestine in consultation with academic contacts there."

Hawking visited Israel four times in the past. On his last visit, in 2006, he delivered a public lecture at Israeli and Palestinian universities as a guest of the British Embassy in Israel. In his lectures he said "I look forward to coming to Israel and the Palestinian territories and am excited by the opportunity to meet Israeli and Palestinian scientists". During his visit then, he stayed at the Jewish-Arab communal settlement of Neve Shalom, and in the Palestinian Authority he visited Bir Zeit University. The British ambassador to Israel at the same time, Tom Phillips told about a meeting Hawking had with Lou Gehrig's disease patients in Israel. According to him, Hawking spoke to people who were on the verge of despair. The ambassador said that he was amazed by the attitude towards Hawking on the part of Israelis and Palestinians and that Hawking is a model of scientific excellence in Britain. The ambassador also mentioned that science can bridge political borders and that people of all races share the vast scientific knowledge."

In 1998, the Knesset awarded him the Wolf Prize for Physics. The Wolff Foundation, which awarded Prof. Stephen Hawking the award, responded: "We are very sorry that a personality of Prof. Hawking's status responded to pressures that are not relevant and avoided coming to the State of Israel. The Wolff Foundation will continue to promote human excellence in the sciences and the arts, without distinction of religion, sex, race or political view and will continue to cherish the work of Prof. Hawking.

In a democratic country there is only one way to change policy - elections, not a boycott. An academic boycott or boycott in general is not the answer to policy change. It is true that there is the extreme case of South Africa, where a minority regime ruled with a heavy hand and suppressed human rights from the majority of the population. In Israel the situation is different, first of all it is a democratic country and members of minorities who are capable of this reach senior positions and have no obstacle to study at universities and become researchers. Second, the motive of all the boycott proponents of various kinds is anti-Zionist, meaning that it is a disguise for the demand to eliminate the State of Israel on the apparent pretext of criticizing its policies.

It's a shame that Israelis also join this chorus. You can criticize it and even harshly (as I do in the first part of this column), but not to break the rules and not call for a boycott of parties that have nothing to do with it. There are fields of opinion - mainly in the social sciences - where the political opinion can have weight in the scientific direction (after all, we are talking about human beings). In the natural sciences, this is not the case, the atom behaves exactly the same in a Jewish, Christian or Muslim country and so does the DNA molecule. Indeed, science is a model for international cooperation, and science and politics must not be mixed.

The boycott, financed and directed by hostile Iranian and Islamic elements and followed by innocent Europeans, does not receive much exposure in our media. We must not let them win, we are not apartheid South Africa, with all the flaws and the real problems with the Palestinians. We are not an illegitimate country. I am convinced even without being in the right-wing camp - that there are worse countries in relation to different ethnic populations in the content, one of them is on our northeastern border. Due to a lot of anti-Israeli propaganda, members of the conversation in the world are surprised, among other things, that the students of the Arab sector in Israel study most subjects in the Arabic language (and this is an opportunity to demand from the relevant ministries to improve education in the Arab sector for the benefit of all of us).

Hawking's capitulation to a vocal minority in Britain is sad. He was reluctantly drawn to the supporters of the new anti-Semitism. In this context, I recommend watching the film by Yaakov Ilon that was broadcast on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day on Channel 2 about anti-Semitism from the right and the left (search on the Mako website).

The Palestinians would do well if instead of attacking us and blaming us for their troubles, they played the acts of Zionism - building an economy and economy for the state along the way and stopping education to deny the existence of the State of Israel in their education system, and instead invest in education for science and technology subjects and cooperate with Israeli high-tech companies in building a Palestinian high-tech industry. When the residents there are satisfied, maybe it will be more quiet and they will stop looking for Israel all the time as if it is to blame for all the troubles in the world, and to their supporters - leave science alone, science should be the bridge between nations. You will achieve nothing if, instead of raising the level of education of the Palestinians, you lower that of Israel in order to compare them

The absurdity is that Hawking is actually boycotting President Shimon Peres who is known for his actions to promote peace and even won the Nobel Peace Prize. If he is boycotted, it means that it is anti-Semitism, because if those calling for a boycott were rational, they would know how to differentiate between Baruch Marzel and Shimon Peres and not put them in the same basket.

Stephen Hawking's lecture on the origin of the universe at the Hebrew University, December 14, 2006

For all episodes of the series "Haunted Country"


  1. The citizens of this country have the opportunity to vote in the elections and express their protest about the conduct here.
    And what about those who did not get to be citizens? How will they express their dissatisfaction or worse, their "disgust" with the conduct in another country, which is not theirs?
    I find a boycott a true and effective personal tool, just as I don't buy products from the territories and my friends don't buy make-up products that have undergone animal experiments for their development, so on a political level: for example, sports events in Russia and the companies that advertise there should be boycotted for any persecution of the gay community, an economic boycott of Iran For its unwillingness to stop developing bombs and of course Israel, for its repeated election to rule another nation.
    I can't find the differences...
    As I am not

  2. Another proof that the fact that a person is a genius in a certain subject, does not guarantee that we are not ignorant, a complete layman in another subject.

    The confiscation is ridiculous, especially since it is about this lofty intellectual. How did he fall into this intellectual terror. Enough of the fanatical and fundamentalist orthodoxy.
    Supporters of terrorism consciously or unconsciously, supporters of an industry of lies and lies that have no basis in reality. Anti-Semitic - anti-Israeli. racists.
    Below is a link to a video that goes into the intricacies of the false accusations, slaps them down absolutely and presents the reality. – – because the truth cannot be defeated.

    A video created by a *right-wing* American organization. Does this contradict the truth in it - of course not!

  3. I ran to see how many people read a comment by someone who calls himself a "complete idiot"

  4. Regarding the ultra-Orthodox - they must not be allowed to manage anything related to science. clear and smooth.
    Regarding Hawking - his confiscation shows us that physics and society are different subjects that you can be a genius in one of them and ignorant in the other at the same time.

  5. There is a website in English, there are materials (from the Israeli universities), there is no one to take care of it because I am focused on the website in Hebrew. Although it is a simple management system, it also requires time and sensitivity.
    Of course, I would appreciate it if there was also help in translating original articles of the site (for example, the columns in the Haunted Country series, interviews with scientists who come to Israel, etc.)

  6. another one
    I tend to agree if my father (if I understood his opinion....). It's like culture - if you let the citizens decide whether to invest in opera or sculpture, then there will be no opera or sculpture. There will also be no education, health or security. Therefore - we established a government and we expect it to take care of these things - including science!!!
    The government should definitely decide where to put the money - after all, it is the citizens' money. I expect those in charge of the issue - the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Science - to take suitable advisers to make a decision.
    It is no different from culture or sports.

  7. Regarding the status of Intel today.
    Intel may be in retreat in terms of its status in personal computing technology. There is currently strong competition in mobile phone and tablet processors and Intel is out of this game at the moment. Most processors for phones and tablets are based on a programmable processor structure from the Arm company. The arm company itself does not manufacture any processor, but only gives a production license to processors based on its software. arm's development is entirely funded commercially, not by government funding. It is the huge demand for smart phones and tablets that pours money into the arm company. There are other developments in the field of smart phones beyond what arm does, but there are not enough details about who is behind them and who participates in their financing. I only know from publications that two Chinese companies huawei and zte receive funding from the Chinese government for product development and physical production of products in the field of phones and tablets. It seems to me that the specialization of both companies is in communication chips inside phones and tablets.

  8. Regarding Haik Gafni:
    It is possible to change the name of the Knesset committee that was chaired and make it the *fictional* science committee and then his appointment is correct.

    Regarding Hawking:
    This is a seventy-plus-year-old man who is very ill and has already canceled several trips this year for health reasons. He may not want to get caught up in political conflicts that will exhaust him beyond the physical effort of the trip. According to what I understood - - - all the announcements about the reasons why he would not come to the convention did not come directly from his mouth but came from bodies that took custody of him.

  9. The feeling that Hawking surrendered not wholeheartedly, mainly for populist reasons, is an excellent reason to send him a reprimanding email and point out that his response is a dwarf sword, and if he is worried about popularity, in Israel he sells more books than in the entire Muslim world...

  10. If you lived in England and read the "Guardian" maybe you too would think that Israel is apartheid...
    The way to fight this is with the help of information and the dissemination of information.
    I propose to write an article about Israel's contribution to science and technology and list all the technologies we use today thanks to Israel and the Israelis. And who is more suitable for this than science?
    Maybe also organize a petition signed by scientists calling not to involve politics in science and send it to Hawking...

  11. And if more universities were privatized in the world - this would happen.
    Who told you that this particular particle accelerator is the best direction to invest public money in terms of research?
    Those who decided on all these expenses were politicians!
    Going into space was not originally for research purposes, it was a political battle between powers - and the governments were looking for security applications to space.

  12. Intel is researching the chip generation for another year or two at the most. For another ten years, we need the NIST and the NSF to invest public funds together with universities. We are not in the 19th century, today science cannot be done cheaply, there are areas that only countries are able to provide such as space telescopes and there are things that even this is not - for example a space station or a particle accelerator that require international cooperation.

  13. Scientific research does not need the state to dictate the direction with the help of tax money.
    Intel does not develop advanced chips because of a committee in the Knesset (or any other parliament)

  14. So say that what you want is to return the money to the public and to hell with scientific research. This is what is happening today in the USA because of people with a similar idea and it is sinking.
    The public still spends more on cigarettes and alcohol per day than it spends on science in a year

  15. I am in favor of the separation of science and the state.
    Private companies know better how to invest money in research
    And there really is no reason to fund research with public funds unless they are directly used by the government.
    (eg defense industry).
    The fact that now it's screaming doesn't mean it's usually okay - it's not - a person doesn't have to be ultra-orthodox to be a problem.
    It is better to disconnect the government from science as much as possible. and return most of the money to the public-
    Cut them and that's it.

  16. I agree that "science and technology in Israel has an advocate in the Knesset", but you will agree with me that we have not found him yet...

  17. His denial of science came from religious motives, and all over the world he was identified with the right.
    Apart from the fact that he is not really a leftist, he is a sectoralist, he ensured an endless flow to his sector, sometimes while dealing with others who also wanted money.

  18. Girls soccer stuff. Just a small correction. MK Gafni is not "right wing" in any sense of the word. If anything, then the left - political and social.

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