Massachusetts and Israel will invest $2 million for collaborative research and development projects in the fields of life sciences, clean energy and technology. The agreement, to support innovation and entrepreneurship, was announced Wednesday by Gov. Deval Patrick at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization convention in Washington, D.C. It is a joint venture between Israel's Office of the Chief Scientist, the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation and three Massachusetts economic development agencies.
Israel at 60 faces three major challenges: identity, technology and politics. The future Israel will have to strive and struggle to maintain a credible role as the cultural and spiritual center of Jewish peoplehood. Demography will continue to play a fundamental role here, but the main challenge will be whether Israel can strengthen internal and transnational Jewish cultural bonds to preserve some consensus among the Jewish people.
We are in receipt of a refreshing piece of news from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia via the New York Times:
"On a marshy peninsula 50 miles from this Red Sea port, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staking $12.5 billion on a gargantuan bid to catch up with the West in science and technology."
This is not some humdrum investment. King Abdullah University for Science and Technology will create one of the world's 10 most endowed science centers and, if it also manages to create an environment of academic freedom, might well be what the Arab world needs at this juncture of history.