Nobel Laureate Flexing New Muscle

A week after winning the Nobel Prize, Aaron Ciechanover is 'exhausted.' He says he has answered 1,000 emails and has 3,000 more waiting.

Tamara Traubmann
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Tamara Traubmann

A week after winning the Nobel Prize, Aaron Ciechanover is "exhausted." He says he has answered 1,000 emails and has 3,000 more waiting.

Being Israeli, Ciechanover has an opinion on everything and doesn't hesitate to express it - but he realizes that suddenly everything he says becomes important and quotable. "The Swedish committee gave us recognition, and suddenly I have become a movie star and a beauty queen," he says.

Ciechanover has been using his new-found privilege to warn of the seriousness of the crisis in university budgets and the weakening of the education system in Israel.

"We are destroying the foundation of the state of Israel with our own hands. Our national priorities are wrong. Long-term national resources must be allocated to education and culture and must never be touched no matter what," he says. "What is the measure of a people? By its military power? A people is measured by its education and culture. We have taken the educational and cultural system and made it a permanent target. We are bleeding our culture and its values."

Ciechanover won the prize along with his former mentor Avraham Hershko, for the discovery of the ubiquitin system which governs the degradation and death of cells.

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