An Historical Perspective (Une Perspective Historique)
Today’s celebration commemorates the Sixtieth Anniversary of my friend and colleague in Israel, Professor Shlomo Alexander. This manifestation of friendship and appreciation on the part of Prof. de Gennes and our French colleagues touches us all, we Israeli researchers and Shlomo’s colleagues, both at the Israel National Academy of Sciences and at the various Universitites and research establishments. We are indeed proud of Prof. Alexander’s scientific achievements — a second generation leader in Israeli physics — in a young country in which this is still a rare case. Shlomo has also trained and guided a generation of researchers in the Physics of Condensed Matter. Prof. de Gennes has already enumerated the more important results obtained by Shlomo, and I shall not repeat this impressive list. Let me however use the opportunity, as Shlomo did, to praise his wife’s achievements in Economics. Here I am expressing my professional views, based on my experiences in the Energy and Engineering fields: I have been fortunate to work with Esther, first in 1978–1982, in my capacity of Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Med-Dead Project , with Dr Esther Alexander cooperating with us as the representative of the Ministry of Energy. Eight years later, in 1990–1992, as Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, I asked her to work with me as the Minister’s Economic Counsellor. For two years, I could base my policy on her Economic Studies and enjoyed her advice, learning to appreciate her non-conformal thinking. In a period in which it is fashionable to follow the Chicago School non-interventionist “free market” doctrines (even amongst the Israeli formerly socialist economic thinkers) we both found ourselves trying hard to convince our colleagues that it is impossible to absorb an addition of some ten percents to the population, within a two-years time-interval (the immigration of Jews to Israel, from the former USSR, in 1990–1991) without Governmental intervention in the national economy, especially in generating employment.
KeywordsChicago School Governmental Intervention Engineer Field Professional View Similar School
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