My week of Israeli science

I have always known that for nearly 65 years, despite Israel being surrounded by enemies who have frequently called for its destruction, Israel has become a leader in many fields. One of these areas is science. Due to this, a few years ago I decided to start a week of Israel science events in the UK, whereby the ZF would showcase the best that Israel has to offer and to do this in front of audiences of thousands of students in schools around the UK. The rationale behind this was that with the anti-Israel rhetoric that many school students are subject to, it’s important to show them a positive image of Israel. This is crucial because at university, many will be subject to a cauldron of hatred against Israel.

This science week is extremely successful, attracting thousands of attendees from across the UK of all different ages, races, religions and creeds and aims to celebrate the myriad of Israel’s achievements and highlight these successes to British audiences. It is crucial to show in spite of those who demonise Israel would have us believe, that Israel is a force for good and will continue to be, thanks to the pioneering spirit of its citizens. Through doing this, I aim to bring people closer to Israel and have a better understanding of it and the positive effect it has in the world today.

My week started on Sunday night in Birmingham where three leading Israeli scientists in Professor Amos Etzioni, Professor John Finberg and Dr Maya Shamir, addressed a large crowd, highlighting the advances they were involved in. Professor Etzioni is a leader in medical research and his articles has been published in over 200 medical journals. Professor Finberg helped develop the Rasagiline (Azilect) drug, which is now one of the most commonly used drugs for treating Parkinsons disease in its early stages and has revolutionised how Parkinsons is treated. Dr Shamir is involved in research that will give people a greater understanding of neurogenerative diseases including Huntingtons, Alzheimers and Lou Gehrigs.

On Monday, the scientists addressed an audience of around 300 (mostly non-Jewish) six-form pupils. Those who attended were then shown the high level of medical research many Israelis are involved in thanks, that is leading to research that will help people have a greater understanding of neurological diseases. From this, the audience were made aware of the real difference to those who suffer from these illnesses, Israeli scientist’s work could make. The ZF believes these remarkable breakthroughs scientists in Israel have made to the treating of diseases like these should be recognised. In addition, on Monday Night, 100 medical professionals had the opportunity to hear from Professor Etzioni, who is a leader in Medical Research and the treatment of immunodeficiency disorders. This event helped cement the ties between Israel and Britain in the field of medical research.

On Tuesday, over 200 pupils from sixth form schools across Manchester heard from the three leading Israeli scientists. The talk helped inform sixth form pupils about major scientific advances that are being made by Israeli scientists, which are helping treat what were seen as previously untreatable diseases. This is important, as often these pupils will have never spoken to Israelis or only has a negative image of Israel. The Science Week by showing the true Israel helps challenge these perceptions. These three speakers also spoke to a large audience in Manchester in the evening, to spread their message about the medical advances Israel is making and the effects it is having worldwide.

This week, the scientists spoke to campuses across the UK. A significant number of students at Queen Mary’s University, London, Kings University, London. and at Leeds University had the opportunity to hear from Israeli scientific experts. The purpose of the events were to give University students a greater understanding of the work leading Israelis are doing and the effects it is having on medical science. This will help show how it is beneficial for university students to work closely and learn from Israeli counterparts and stand up to those who would seek to put barriers to this.

The week comes to a fitting this evening at a Central London Venue, which will be attended by hundreds of people of all different ages. Alongside three leading medical scientists, Dr Amit Goffer, the inventor of the ReWalk, which helps Paraplegics to walk, will be speaking alongside Claire Lomas, who thanks to the invention was able to complete the London Marathon. Last year, when Claire appeared on many TV and radio shows to speak about how she completed the marathon, not once was Israel mentioned. When I saw this, I decided that The ZF would bring together Claire with Amit Goffer who invented the ReWalk onto TV, Radio and the newspapers, to ensure that Israel receives the recognition it deserves for this amazing feat, which has the power to transform lives. The event that brings Goffer and Lomas together will encapsulate the creative spirit of the Israeli people, as well as the human stories behind the ReWalk.

To celebrate the accomplishments with the ZF leading Israeli scientists are making worldwide, please do try and attend our events across the UK this week and if you want to attend any of our events, do contact With your support, we can help Israel get a fairer representation in the media and the public domain.

About the Author
Alan Aziz is the director of the Zionist Federation in the UK