Israel has as many Jews as the Diaspora — about 6 million each — but produces only a fraction of the Diaspora Nobel Prize winners, because of the poor state of Israeli schools, Prof. Dan Shechtman told a conference sponsored by TheMarker Monday.
A Nobelist in chemistry and a professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Shechtman noted that some 170 Jews from abroad have won the prize for sciences, but only six Israelis.
“We must begin acquiring logic and rational thought from preschool and encourage creativity, curiosity and attention to detail.
"You have to teach science from kindergarten and make scientists cultural heroes so children won't want to be just singers or soccer players. The economy depends on the quality of the workforce, so it’s important to have the best teachers — and that isn't happening today.” (Eliran Rubin)
Overall, some 12 Israelis have won the prize, including former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Menachem Begin for peace, and Shmuel Yosef Agnon who was awarded the 1966 prize for literature.
In addition to Shechtman, who won in 2011, Ada Yonath won the 2009 prize for chemistry, and Aaron Ciechanover and Abram Hershkoon in the same catageory in 2004. Robert Aumann won the 2005 prize for economics, an honor also attained by Daniel Kahneman in 2002.
Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt — awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry - won the award while living abroad and were thus not included in Shechtman's list.