During the last two decades, the history of science in Israel has attracted much scholarly attention. Historians of science, science and technology studies (STS) scholars, and Middle East/Israel studies experts have focused on specific scientific disciplines or periods, analyzing the uniqueness of science and technology in Israel. This article explores what characterized Israel's scientific activity precisely at the time of the state's birth, and examine how the perception of science as key to Israel's survival was constructed and reinforced in that formative phase. The focus here is on the natural sciences, as the perception of the natural sciences’ importance and their contribution to building the state and its security differed essentially from that of other disciplines. As this article demonstrates, the challenges that the natural sciences faced during Israel's War of Independence were far more difficult than those faced by the social sciences and the humanities. This study analyzes scientific activity that took place in one single year, beginning with the establishment of the Science Corps in March 1948, two months before Israel's declaring independence, until the end of its War of Independence in February 1949. As this study shows, both the war effort and the civilian activities strongly influenced scientific research and implementation in the nascent state.
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- Science council
- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Weizmann Institute