Biology, Geology and the Bible: Research Expeditions of the Hebrew University Scientists

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Since the 1920s, soon after the establishment of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, zoologists, botanists, and geologists on the academic staff participated in research expeditions, both within the official borders of Mandatory Palestine and in neighboring lands. After the establishment of State of Israel in 1948, the geographical areas available for research tours became far more limited. In the aftermath of the Six Day War, Israeli scientists felt an urgent need to explore the newly occupied territories, particularly the Sinai Peninsula. The article examines their expeditions which mostly followed the European model of identifying, classifying and collecting the flora, fauna and natural resources. Yet, the Hebrew University researchers were also impelled by the Zionist search for national identity, and their scientific findings included biblical features in the landscape that evoked their affinity with local nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-45
Number of pages22
JournalIsrael Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Israel prize
  • Israeli scientists
  • Research expeditions
  • The Hebrew University
  • The Six-Day War
  • the Bible


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