Albert Einstein Square
P.O. Box 4040
Tel. (02) 5676222
(Source: Israel Government Year Book)
Functions and Structure
The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities operates under the 1961 law of the same name. Its seat is in Jerusalem, and its aims (as specified in legislation and its by-laws) are as follows:
- to bring together outstanding figures from the sciences and humanities in Israel, and to foster and promote scientific activities;
- to advise the Government on research activities and scientific planning of national importance;
- to maintain links with equivalent bodies abroad;
- to represent the Israeli scientific world in international institutes and conferences;
- to publish significant scholarly articles;
- to engage in all other activities that serve the above-mentioned aims.
The Academy endeavors to give expression to the special qualities of Israeli scholarly creativity and thought and to guarantee their excellence, as well as to provide firm foundations for the tools needed to promote scholarly research in the State of Israel. The Academy initiates and directly funds research studies with regional implications in the natural sciences, focusing on the flora, fauna, and geology of the Land of Israel.
In the humanities, the research program involves study of the Bible and Talmud, Jewish historical sources, Jewish thought, Hebrew poetry and prose, Jewish languages, and Jewish art. Some of these studies are undertaken in collaboration with institutions in Israel and abroad. All the programs are conducted by ranking experts and are intended to help build the research infrastructure in their fields.
The Academy manages a number of research funds based on contributions and grants from private individuals or agencies, including the Fulks Fund for Medical Research, the Adler Fund for Space Research, and the research grants of the Wolf Foundation. The Academy also manages the Einstein Fellowships fund, which is intended to bring senior scientists from throughout the world closer to the Israeli academic community and make a research and teaching contribution to the higher-education system in Israel.
The Union of Natural Science Collections in Israel operates within the Academy. Efforts are being made to establish a national museum of local natural history adjacent to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Academy also works to maintain close ties with national science associations around the world and helps obtain invitations for Israeli scholars to visit countries with which Israel has no diplomatic ties.
The Academy runs the Israel Academic Center in Cairo, whose purpose is to assist Israeli scholars with research dealing with Egypt and Egyptian culture, and to encourage cooperation with Egyptian academics in all fields of scholarship and research. Dozens of Israeli scholars and writers in the humanities, especially Mideast studies, as well as artists, social scientists, and medical researchers, visit the Center. Egyptian students and teachers visit the Center to use its library, and to attend its lectures and showings of Israeli films.
Every year the Academy hosts presidents and members of other academies. These visits are of great importance in improving international ties with the scholarly and research community the world over.
The Academy has observer status at the European Science Foundation. It participates in all Foundation activities, including the sessions of the standing committees of the Humanities Fund, the Social Sciences Fund, the European Councils for Medical Research, meetings of the European Councils for Scientific Research, and the four scientific networks maintained by the Foundation.
The Academy's publications summarize research projects initiated by it. They include scientific editions of manuscripts by outstanding scholars. The Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities series contains research studies or lectures presented to the Academy.
The Academy has two sections: one for the humanities, and one for the natural sciences. As of autumn 1990, the Academy had 59 members, 32 in the natural sciences section and 27 in the humanities section. The Academy's administrative body is the Council, consisting of the president, the vice-president, the immediate past president, the chairman of the sciences section, the chairman of the humanities section, and the director-general of the Academy.
The Academy is the State of Israel's representative to international scientific organizations and local scientific institutions. The Academy runs exchange programs with the British Royal Society, the British Academy, the Swedish Royal Academy, and the National Research Council of Singapore. The Academy fosters ties with national academies and the world scientific research community. In April, 1990, the Academy opened an official scientific representation in Beijing, China.
The Academy is Israel's envoy to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). The Academy has worked to place Israeli scientists in key positions on the Union's committees and in the Council, and through the ICSU Freedom of Movement Committee it has striven to help Israeli scholars participate in international scientific conferences held in countries which have no diplomatic ties with Israel.