Arnon named first woman to lead Israel Academy of Sciences

Prof. Binyamin Ze’ev Kedar appointed to serve as academy’s vice president.

Lab 311 (photo credit: Bloomberg)
Lab 311
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
World-renowned immunologist Prof. Ruth Arnon of the Weizmann Institute has been named the new – and first woman – president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities, since 1961 the government’s official adviser on science and planning of civilian research.
She replaces Prof. Menahem Ya’ari, who held the position for two three-year terms.
The academy also announced on Monday that Arnon’s vice president will be Prof.
Binyamin Ze’ev Kedar. Both were elected at a general assembly of 100 academy members, and they will take office around Rosh Hashana. The social sciences and humanities are represented in the academy along with the exact sciences.
Arnon, whom The Jerusalem Post chose a few weeks ago as one of the “50 most influential Jews in the world,” is the co-developer of the Teva drug Copaxone for reducing the frequency and severity of multiple sclerosis attacks.
This was the first original Israeli drug, and it is now taken by many MS patients around the world.
She is also a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and was president of the European Federation of Immunological Societies, as well as the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Robert Koch Prize, Israel Prize, Rothschild Prize, Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of American’s Women of Achievement Prize and honorary doctorates.
Prof. Kedar is a Hebrew University historian and an expert in the Crusader period.
He is chairman of the council of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a member of the Medieval Academy of America and founding editor of the journal Crusades.