Brain Science VS. Ofir Akunis

16/07/2018

The witch-hunt of the Right continues – Science Minister Ofir Akunis prevented a leading brain science researcher, Yael Amitai, from sitting on an international scientific committee due to her political views. It has been made clear to Akunis that political intervention severely harms research and science – but it seems that the science minister prefers the personal gain of political points from the radical Right who rally him for seeking out leftists.

Our community could not remain silent: over 4,500 Zazim activists turned to Minister Akunis with the demand to end the political persecution and to approve the appointment of Professor Amitai in the highly regarded committee. We were also happy to see a group of over one thousand academic faculty members turning to the Ministry of Science with the same demand.

What really makes Akunis’ intervention ugly is the fact that it was The Ministry of Science itself that requested Prof. Yael Amitai to join the committee, proving he is more interested in himself than in the advancement of Science in Israel. Akunis claimed he had to stop the Professor’s appointment because of a petition she signed supporting soldiers refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories. Not only is the petition from over a decade ago, but it should only  be her professional acumen, not her personal views, that should be taken into consideration for the committee appointment.

It is a sad reality that because Akunis and the right-wing coalition do not have an actual political vision, they keep themselves busy persecuting leftists and shutting up those who don’t fall in line with their radical views.

Our community truly rejects and fears the tide the government is taking us towards. Just this week, in Turkey, President Erdogan fired nearly 20,000 clerks, professors and civil servants because of their opposition to his regime – and if we don’t stand up now against the political persecution of the Right, then that could be our future too in Israel.

We need to stop the silencing of opposing views today – before it will be too late.