In response to the decision by the European Union to label products produced by Jews in Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as such, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis announced Tuesday that he was increasing the budget for research and development projects in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.
The budget for those projects would be doubled, said Akunis.
The move, said Akunis, “will provide an appropriate response to the difficulties that research institutions in these areas experience.”
Among the entities that will receive funding for research and development programs are Ariel University, the Mofet B'Yehuda technology accelerator in Kiryat Arba, Ohalo College in Katzrin in the Golan Heights, and others.
Akunis made the announcement after attending the graduation ceremony for the “scientists of the future” program, which honored 530 young women in 12th grade from the periphery who for the past few years have been studying under mentors in various educational institutions. Akunis said that he was very proud of the group, and that they should “see yourselves as innovators.
Of the group, 40 were from the haredi community, and 200 from the Arab and Druze communities. Of the graduates of the program, between 80% and 85% are considering a career in the sciences, and three quarters are taking the full high school course load in math (known in the Israeli education system as “five units.”).
“As graduates of the first round of this program you can help bring about breakthroughs in Israeli science and technology. I am positive that in the coming years we will see important new work done by you that will further extend Israel's reputation and pride throughout the world,” Akunis added.