Speakers at the symposium, political scientist Dr. Muhannad Mustafa, researcher Dr. Yousef Tayseer Jabarin, and moderator writer Muhannad Abdulhamid, drew the main features of the knowledge production process in Israel and the influence of the State priorities on it and vice versa. The discussion also drew the main quantitative and qualitative factors and its main updates, especially pertaining to the acquisition of the private sector on a large part of the field of research, besides its integral bond with the security institute.
Mustafa mentioned that Israel represents a knowledge power, as 4% on its GNP comes from scientific research, which is considered the highest in the world. He pointed to the importance of understanding how the scientific research serves Israel and its project, warning that the “Arab astonishment” may prevent from looking into the details of this power.
In 2011, Israeli universities published 12,000 academic articles, comprising 1% of the world gross scientific production, while its universities published 114,000 academic articles between 2002 – 2011, placing Israel in the 22nd place worldwide, in this field, according to Mustafa.
He added that Israel is ranked number 15, globally, in terms of the quality of its academic research, showing that the research production has direct impact on GNP and economic development; the more research Israel produces, particularly in technology and medicine, the higher its GNP.
According to Mustafa, the privatization of higher education and the academic institute in Israel in the past two decades, has expanded to include scientific research as well, therefore the government expenditure for this field has decreased for the private sector, showing that the profit generating economic companies is spending large amounts of money, multiplying what the Israeli government spends on scientific research.
He mentioned that the expenditure on scientific research is more focused on applied sciences, than on anthropological and social sciences, which are facing a significant decrease in funding.
On the other hand, Dr. Yousef Tayseer Jabarin, spoke about the “Israeli Academia” and its role in thought development, culture, knowledge and research. There is a consensus that the “Israeli academia” has been recruited for the Zionist project, without disregarding its innovation, or that it doesn’t have a role in industrial development and other fields.
Dr. Jabarin pointed that what characterizes the Hebrew State is the grounding of scientific research within the governmental departments and ministries. Different Israeli ministries host research centers, which have a clear influence on policy making, he said.
Jabarin also discussed the issuance of a law to open research centers, which are not independent from governmental interventions, as most of them are administrative bodies under the supervision of official bodies. He considered this to be a distinguishing feature of scientific research in Israel.
He sees that the influence of the governmental factor in research centers has been reflected negatively on issues like the occupation or minorities, among others, Saying, there are central issues such as the occupation and minorities that are on the margins of scientific research in Israel.
He also described that the “Israeli Academia” as “color blind”, especially when it comes to the issue of Palestinians in Israel, where this issue is absent from the scientific research.