Up Close and Personal
5 Interesting and Influential Israelis in Science
Israel is a leader in global development of science and technology, ranking eleventh among the world’s most innovative countries, according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index in 2016. Behind each revolutionary invention is the blood, sweat and tears passionately poured by brilliant Israeli scientists. Here are five interesting and influential Israelis in science you might want to learn a little more about before visiting Israel on your upcoming Birthright trip:
1. Assaf Friedler
Born in Haifa in 1971, Assaf Friedler studied chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has devoted his life to studying the use of peptides in protein-protein interactions in health and disease. Friedler most recently gained media attention when he, along with Abraham Loyter, developed a drug that could significantly impact the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
2. Ada Yonath
Motivated as a young child to find solutions to her father’s medical conditions and understand the principles of nature around her, Ada Yonath grew up to study chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A 2009 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her studies of the structure and function of the ribosome, Yonath’s scientific discoveries have led to important developments in the production of antibiotics.
3. Simcha Blass
A veteran Israeli water engineer, Simcha Blass, founder of the Netafim Irrigation Company, has changed the way countries short on precipitation successfully farm. Discovering that a slow, balanced drip effect leads to great plant growth, Blass and his “drip irrigation” model have helped make the Israeli desert, as well as 112 other countries, bloom.
4. Inbal Kreiss
A chemical engineering alumnus of the Technion in Haifa and Head of Development for Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense program at Israel Aerospace Industries, Inbal Kreiss is responsible for developing the world’s most sophisticated missile defense system. Kreiss works closely with the United States with respect to the system’s advancement, ensuring that milestones are met and that Israel remains safe from missile attacks.
5. Sivan Borowich Ya’ari
Born in Israel and raised in France, Sivan Borowich Ya’ari previously worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on diesel energy development, leading to her identifying an opportunity for a more sustainable energy solution, and developing Innovation: Africa, a non-profit organization bringing Israeli clean technologies in solar energy and water to regions in need throughout in Africa. With 68 projects providing over 450,000 people in Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania with sustainable energy sources used to power schools, health clinics, water pumping systems, children's’ homes and more, Innovation: Africa continues to bring Israeli scientific discoveries to African communities in need.
These five Israelis in science are influencing breakthroughs and innovation across the globe. After learning more about them, your upcoming Birthright Israel trip will be even more exciting and meaningful than you’d originally expected.