Freedom and autonomy of science and research in Israel

In a joint statement, several German science organisations, have expressed their concern for academic freedom in Israel if the proposed judicial reforms proceed

July 20, 2023

Scientific collaboration with Israel, a leading nation in research and innovation, is essential to us. In the light of decades of inspiring intellectual exchange and the special relationship between research organizations in our countries, we feel compelled to take a stand on recent developments that can negatively affect international cooperation.

In particular, we share concerns of our colleagues and friends in Israel that the current judicial reform plans endanger academic freedom and may greatly restrict our joint scientific and innovative potential. We firmly believe that freedom of research and autonomy of academic institutions are essential for the continued prosperity of societies in Israel, Germany and worldwide.

On Monday 24 July, the Israeli parliament approved a key piece of the controversial judicial reform, passing a bill that sharply curtails the Supreme Court’s authority. The  elimination of  the “reasonableness” standard fills the Israeli researchers and scholars with great concern. Showing strong solidarity with our Israeli colleagues is therefore of utmost importance. The support is gaining momentum as the German 15 and the University of Potsdam have now joined our declaration. With the Coimbra Group Universities, Brussels, the first international academic institution signed the declaration.

The statement is jointly signed by the Max Planck Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Helmholtz Association, the German Science and Humanities Council. The FU Berlin, the German 15, the University of Potsdam, the Coimbra Group Universities in Brussels and the Einstein Foundation in Berlin joined the statement after its original publication. Further signatories are welcome.


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