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Historical Background

Historical Background
A meeting of the "Council for Research and Development" in 1960; In the Center: David Ben-Gurion (Photo: Archive)
Six years after the founding of the State of Israel, Minister of Education Prof. Ben-Zion Dinur and a committee of prominent scientists called for the establishment of two independent national academies to serve as national foci for Israeli scholars in the natural sciences and in the humanities. In November 1957, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion formally supported the creation of a single, combined national academy. Following extensive preparations, Prof. Martin Buber proclaimed the establishment of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on December 27, 1959.
The first meeting of the Academy's General Assembly, chaired by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, elected Prof. Martin Buber as the Academy's first President. Prof. Aharon Katzir and Prof. Gershom Scholem, who were to become the Academy's second and third Presidents, worked with the government's Ministerial Committee on Legislation to draft a bill to provide the necessary legal framework for the Israel Academy's activities. Israel's parliament, the Knesset, approved the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Law in June 1961.
Watch a short documentary film about the founding of the Israel Academy: