Sunday, December 12, 2004

Israel and the Jewish genius

One of the things which has always puzzled me about modern Israel was why, considering the large percentage of Jewish Nobel Prize winners, the Jewish state had so few internationally outstanding scientists and mathematicians, was not better known for its science, and why its school system was in so much trouble. Has the 'Jewish genius' somehow skipped over Israel?
The simple answer, I think, is that the country has had no choice but to channel its creativity and cash into another area, namely the military, where they are clear leaders on a global scale. That is why it is so heartening to see two Israelis receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The surprising thing here is not that a small country like Israel has finally won a Nobel in the sciences, but that they haven't already won more. The winners show that we still 'got it,' even when our resources are generally diverted elsewhere, and that when peace finally does break out in the Middle East, hopefully sooner than any of us dared imagine just a couple of months ago, you can be sure that Israel will be taking the scientific world by storm.

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