Federal Minister Wanka visiting Israel

Federal Minister Wanka opened two Minerva research centres during her visit to Israel. Wanka was the first Federal Minister to travel to Israel in the year of the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli diplomatic Relations.

Speaking in Rehovot, Wanka said: "The Minerva Centers are the crown jewels of German-Israeli scientific relations and have become an important element of the Israeli research scene." One of the centres has been newly established at the Weizmann Institute; the second is conducting research at Bar-Ilan University. Minerva Centers are integral elements of scientific cooperation. They have been receiving funding since 1975. There are now 24 such research centres in Israel.

Johanna Wanka and Daniel Zajfman, president of the Weizmann Institute of Science © Weizmann Institute of Science

During her visit, Wanka also presented the ARCHES Award for Research Cooperation and Highest Excellence in Science. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has been presenting this award to outstanding German and Israeli early-career researchers for joint research work since 2008. This year's award goes to the team led by Rebekka Voß of the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main and Maoz Kahana of Tel Aviv University.

Johanna Wanka in Yad Vashem, the official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust © Isaac Harari

Wanka was the first Federal Minister to travel to Israel on the occasion of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of German-Israeli diplomatic relations. She ended her stay in Israel on Wednesday with a visit to the Yad Vashem memorial. Wanka said: "The message we are sending during this 50th anniversary year is that scientific and scholarly cooperation will continue to be at the centre of German-Israeli relations. History has entrusted us with this task and it is our stake in the future."