"Israel's future is in real danger. The whole world is increasing investment in education per student; we're the only ones reducing it," said Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) CEO Amos Shapira at the "Globes" Israel Business Conference yesterday. "The only thing for us to build on is our brains - our human capital. Education and academic research are the tip."
Shapira continued, "Education is part of security. Israel accounts for just 0.7% of global academic research, while the proportion of Arab countries has risen to 2.8% and Iran contributes 1.4%. A few years ago, Israel accounted for a tenth of research, but Iran has now surpassed us and creates twice as much academic research as Israel. This should be remembered when we're talking about the Iranian Bomb; the bomb isn't manufactured by farmers in the field."
Shapira noted that Israel stands out in the global economic arena, in that 25% of top Israeli researchers work in other countries. He called for the establishment of an "education cabinet", headed by the prime minister, similar to the defense cabinet.
Biomedical researcher Dr. Yechiel Elkabetz, who returned to Israel after five years in New York, said, "The country invested a lot in me, from kindergarten through my undergraduate degree, and I went to the US to be better, and I intended to return to my country. There are many more talented people. I had invitations from Harvard and other places, but I decided to come home, and there are a lot of people who to do this, but can't, because there's no willingness and no budgets. In my eyes, this is is Zionism, building the roads and drying the swamps in my way."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 14, 2010
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