Field of dreams

Haifa Univer­sity is well-placed to make a pow­er­ful con­tri­bu­tion to Is­rael’s fu­ture

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - The British Friends Of Haifa University -

HAIFA UNIVER­SITY has been cho­sen by the Is­raeli government to lead a na­tional re­search cen­tre, to pro­vide sci­en­tific lead­er­ship and ste­ward­ship of Is­rael’s pre­cious marine as­sets. With the univer­sity’s School of Marine Sciences as its aca­demic an­chor, the new Is­rael Na­tional Mediter­ranean Sea Re­search Cen­tre will play a crit­i­cal role in shap­ing Is­rael’s se­cu­rity, fu­ture pros­per­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda.

Dis­cov­er­ies of ma­jor off­shore gas re­serves have cat­a­pulted the Mediter­ranean Sea into the in­ter­na­tional spot­light and on to Is­rael’s na­tional agenda. Sci­en­tific sources es­ti­mate that there are sig­nif­i­cant un­tapped global nat­u­ral gas and oil re­serves in the east­ern Mediter­ranean basin, so the stakes are high. Is­rael is now faced with sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic, se­cu­rity, en­vi­ron­men­tal and sci­en­tific chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties, yet there is an acute short­age of qual­i­fied lo­cal ex­perts to ad­dress this de­mand­ing new land­scape.

For the first time in Is­rael’s his­tory, six of its univer­si­ties and two gov­ern­men­tal re­search in­sti­tutes have come to­gether to form a na­tional con­sor­tium, com­mit­ted to se­cur­ing and pre­serv­ing Is­rael’s pre­cious marine as­sets.

The Coun­cil for Higher Ed­u­ca­tion chose the Univer­sity of Haifa to lead the cen­tre as a joint ini­tia­tive with the Weiz­mann In­sti­tute; the Tech­nion — Is­rael In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy; Bar-Ilan Univer­sity; Ben-Gu­rion Univer­sity of the Negev; the He­brew Univer­sity of Jerusalem, the Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of Is­rael and the Is­rael Oceano­graphic and Lim­no­log­i­cal Re­search In­sti­tute.


“The Mediter­ranean Sea is a strate­gic as­set for Is­rael,” says Pro­fes­sor Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, out­go­ing pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity, “and by de­vel­op­ing it, the coun­try will im­prove its eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence. Form­ing Is­rael’s coast­line to the west, the Mediter­ranean pos­sesses mag­nif­i­cent re­sources, a devel­oped in­fra­struc­ture, eco­nomic prom­ise and in­ter­na­tional trade po­ten­tial. The re­sources hid­den be­neath the sur­face can sig­nif­i­cantly strengthen Is­rael’s en­ergy econ­omy, con­trib­ute to clos­ing so­cial gaps, and ul­ti­mately in­crease Is­rael’s po­lit­i­cal strength at home and abroad.”


Haifa Univer­sity, the largest re­search univer­sity in north­ern Is­rael, stands on the Carmel Moun­tain and merges Haifa’s south­ern bor­der with the Carmel Na­tional Park. Num­ber­ing 18,000, its stu­dent body is the most di­verse in Is­rael. Jews and Arabs, Druze, IDF of­fi­cers and new im­mi­grants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and South Amer­ica, come to­gether to learn, re­search, so­cialise and share knowl­edge in an at­mos­phere of coex­is­tence, tol­er­ance and mu­tual re­spect.

Haifa Univer­sity: an aca­demic an­chor for marine re­search

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