Desalination plant in Hadera 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS / Nir Elias)
A consortium of academic institutions around Israel will soon establish the
Haifa-based National Center for Mediterranean Research, to investigate fossil
fuel extraction, desalination and infrastructure in the basin.
Planning and Budgeting Committee, a subcommittee of the Council for Higher
Education, recently adopted the recommendation of an Israel Academy of Sciences
Committee to grant the consortium a tender to establish the center, according to
the group’s head institution, the University of Haifa.
consortium will be representatives from seven different academic institutions in
addition to the University of Haifa – the Technion, the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Weizmann
Institute of Science, the Geological Survey of Israel and the Israel
Oceanographic and Limnological Research Center. Establishing the center
will cost approximately NIS 60 million for its first three years of
Leading the center will be Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham, founding
director of the University of Haifa’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine
Sciences, who stressed that the sea will remain a primary field of research in
Israel in the coming years – particularly due to the large natural gas finds in
the Mediterranean. Such discoveries require the constant involvement of trained
researchers and scientists to determine the implications of such progress, said
The president of the University of Haifa, Prof. Aaron
Ben-Ze’ev, said he was proud of the Planning and Budgeting Committee’s choice,
stressing that the Mediterranean Sea “is a strategic asset for Israel” that will
bring the country economic independence.
“Forming Israel’s coastline to
the west, the Mediterranean possesses magnificent resources, a developed
infrastructure, economic promise and international trade potential,” Ben Ze’ev
“The resources hidden beneath the surface can significantly
strengthen Israel’s energy economy, can contribute to closing social gaps and
can ultimately increase Israel’s political strength at home and abroad.”