The Contribution of Science to Israeli Security

Cite As:
Eshel Reuven. The Contribution of Science to Israeli Security Haifa Israel: Samuel Neaman Institute, 1998.
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This survey was commission by President of the Technion, Professor Zehev Tadmor, as part of a series of surveys on the contributions of science to the State of Israel on its 50th anniversary. The project was initiated by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Even before the establishment of the State of Israel the leadership of the Jewish people in Eretz Israel understood the importance of scientific contributions to world security in general and to the Jewish State in particular. These contribution are listed in the report beginning in the First World War, through the establishment of the Defense Industry in the 1930's, assisted by Technion and Ziv Institute experts, to the establishment of the Science Corps of the Israel Defense Forces (today's Rafa'el - Israel's Armament Development Authority), with the assistance of experts from the Technion and the Hebrew University.

The contributions during the 50 years of the State are described in detail in the order of the different military professions. Events are illustrated by dozens of photographs of military products and lists of key persons from academia who assisted in their development.

It seems that the contributions were important throughout the entire period, professional emphasis, however, changed from one decade to another:

During the 1940's – Chemistry – development of explosives

During the 1950's - Mechanics – armament and munitions development

During the 1960's - Aeronautics – missile and aircraft development

During the 1970's - Materials – shielding and penetration of armor and concrete

During the 1980's - Electronics and communications

During the 1990's - Electro-optics and computing

The contributions of the academia take many forms:

From direct assistance to military R&D in which hundreds of members of the academic staff took part, through the education of generations of engineers and scientists who were absorbed in the Army and the defense industries, to laboratory services and standard testing laboratories.

The report mentions 70 institutes and companies, about a hundred products and 140 relevant personalities.

The numerous contributions of science have indeed advanced Israel's defense industries to a high international level. In a number of security related areas, such as tactical missiles, shielding and electronic warfare, Israel has achieved several world leadership positions, which in turn, enabled Israel's exports to prosper.

The 1990's are characterized by a reduction in the scope of the defense industries and the transfer of people and technologies from military to civilian uses. This transfer, alongside continued scientific prosperity in the academia, has enabled the Israeli hi-tech industries to break into international markets at an accelerated pace. To ensure to continued prosperity also in the 21st century even greater encouragement should be given to infrastructure R&D at universities and thereby set off the ongoing decrease in defense R&D investments.

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