Famous Israeli Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman
6
Famous As: American-Israeli psychologist
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli economist and psychologist. He was honored with the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman was named among the top global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2015, Daniel Kahneman was ranked seventh in the most influential economist in the world list published by The Economist.

 2 Josephus

Josephus
7
Famous As: Historian, Scholar
Birthdate: 0037 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0100 AD

Josephus was a Romano-Jewish historian. He played a major role during the First Jewish–Roman War, where he fought against the Romans as head of Jewish forces. However, he surrendered to Roman forces in 67 CE. As a historian, Josephus' works provide the first-known source for stories considered Biblical history. These stories include the narration of the Siege of Masada

 3 Amos Tversky

Amos Tversky
7
Famous As: Psychologist, Economist, University teacher
Birthdate: March 16, 1937
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Haifa
Died: June 2, 1996

Amos Tversky was an Israeli cognitive and mathematical psychologist. He is known for his contribution to the discovery of systematic human cognitive bias. The son of a social worker and politician, he received his doctorate from the University of Michigan before embarking on an academic career. He worked closely with his longtime collaborator, Daniel Kahneman, and wrote several papers together. 

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 4 Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely
4
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: April 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

Dan Ariely is an Israeli-American professor and author. He is the founder of the research institution, The Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the co-founder of several companies. Currently, he is also the James B. Duke Professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University. He is the author of the three New York Times bestsellers as well. 

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 5 Benzion Netanyahu

Benzion Netanyahu
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Famous As: Historian, Educationist, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: March 25, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: April 30, 2012

Born Benzion Mileikowsky, he became Benzion Netanyahu when at the age of ten he moved to Mandate Palestine with his parents. A scholar of Judaic history, he was also an encyclopedist and actively involved with the Revisionist Zionism movement, lobbying for the creation of the Jewish state. One of his sons, Benjamin Netanyahu, later became the Prime Minister of Israel.

 6 Eusebius of Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 0263 AD
Birthplace: Palestine
Died: 0339 AD

Eusebius of Caesarea was a historian of Christianity and Christian polemicist. He was a bishop of Caesarea Maritima and a scholar of the biblical canon.  As "Father of Church History," he wrote the Ecclesiastical History and a biographical work on Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. He is regarded as one of the most learned Christians of his time.  

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 7 Stanley Fischer

Stanley Fischer
3
Famous As: Economist, Educationist, Writer, Professor, Banker
Birthdate: October 15, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mazabuka

Stanley Fischer is an Israeli American economist. He was previously the chief economist at the World Bank and the vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve. In 2014, he was nominated by US President Barack Obama to be the vice-chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors. He is a member of the Inter-American Dialogue as well.  

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 8 Immanuel Velikovsky

Immanuel Velikovsky
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vitebsk
Died: November 17, 1979

Immanuel Velikovsky is remembered for his concepts such as cosmogony. He initially studied medicine and psychology, and later devoted his life to his research on ancient myths and legends, attempting to establish their historical authenticity. In spite of facing the hostility of scientists, his Worlds in Collision became a bestseller.

 9 Sara Netanyahu

Sara Netanyahu
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Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: November 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kiryat Tiv'on

Sara Netanyahu is an Israeli educational and career psychologist. She is married to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She is the daughter of a Polish-born Israeli Jewish educator. She has worked as a psychotechnical evaluator and an educational psychologist. She has received much negative media attention for the mistreatment of her staff. 

 10 Amos Oz

Amos Oz
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Famous As: Writer, Linguist, Journalist, Novelist, Translator, Essayist, Educationist, University teacher, Children's writer
Birthdate: May 4, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jerusalem

Originally called Amos Klausner, Oz Amos was an Israeli short story writer, novelist, essayist, and educator, known for his advocacy of two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Professor Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University, he wrote forty books, many of which have been translated into forty-five languages, earning him  numerous international awards and honors, including Legion of Honour of France.

 11 Isaac Luria

Isaac Luria
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Famous As: Rabbi
Birthdate: 1534 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: July 25, 1572

Isaac Luria was a rabbi and Jewish mystic in the community of Safed in Ottoman Syria, now Israel. He is considered the father of contemporary Kabbalah, and his teachings are referred to as Lurianic Kabbalah. He wrote only a few poems and was known to deliver his lectures spontaneously. The Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue was built in his memory.  

 12 Max Brod

Max Brod
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Famous As: Linguist, Composer, Pianist, Novelist, Translator, Journalist, Writer, Poet lawyer
Birthdate: May 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prague
Died: December 20, 1968

Max Brod was a Czech German-speaking Jewish author, composer, and journalist. He studied law at the German Charles-Ferdinand University and proceeded to pursue a career as a journalist and composer. He worked as an editor and literary adviser for the Israeli national theatre for three decades. He was a close friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka. 

 13 Yitzhak Ben-Zvi

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 24, 1884
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Poltava, Ukraine
Died: April 23, 1963

Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was a historian and Labor Zionist leader who served as the president of Israel from 1952 to 1963. His father was one of the organizers of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Ben-Zvi studied at Kiev University for one year before dropping out to co-found the Russian Poale Zion movement. He was awarded the Bialik Prize. 

 14 Robert Aumann

Robert Aumann
3
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: June 8, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Robert Aumann is an Israeli-American mathematician. He is a professor at the Center for the Study of Rationality in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel and a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences. A founding member of the Stony Brook Center for Game Theory, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2005. 

 15 William of Tyre

William of Tyre
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: 1130 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: September 29, 1186

William of Tyre was a medieval prelate and chronicler who lived during the 12th century. He spent two decades studying the liberal arts and canon law in the universities of Europe. He was made the archbishop of Tyre and was also appointed a tutor to the king's son. He is considered one of the best authors of the Middle Ages. 

 16 Benny Morris

Benny Morris
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Famous As: Historian, Writer, University teacher, Journalist
Birthdate: December 8, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ein HaHoresh

Benny Morris is an Israeli historian who was a professor at the  Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won him both praise and criticism from both sides of the political divide. He studied history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has a doctorate in modern European history from the University of Cambridge. 

 17 Cyril of Jerusalem

Cyril of Jerusalem
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 0313 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: March 18, 0386

Cyril of Jerusalem was a theologian of the early Church who succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem towards the end of 350 AD. He is credited with documenting the instruction of catechumens and the order of the Liturgy in his day.  He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1883. 

 18 Shimon bar Yochai

Shimon bar Yochai
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Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Galilee, Israel
Died: 0160 AD

Shimon bar Yochai was a 2nd-century tannaitic sage in ancient Judea. One of the most eminent disciples of Rabbi Akiva, he is credited with the authorship of the Zohar, the chief work of Kabbalah. The legal works of Sifre and Mekhilta are also attributed to him. He is held in unique reverence by kabbalistic tradition.

 19 Moshé Feldenkrais

Moshé Feldenkrais
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Famous As: Physicist, Judoka, University teacher
Birthdate: May 6, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Slavuta
Died: July 1, 1984

Moshé Feldenkrais was a Ukrainian-Israeli physicist and engineer. He founded the Feldenkrais Method of physical exercise that aims to improve mind-body coordination. He earned his Doctor of Science in Physics at the University of Paris, where he studied under Marie Curie. He earned a black belt in judo and became a co-founding member of the Ju-Jitsu Club de France. 

 20 Joseph Raz

Joseph Raz
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Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: March 21, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mandatory Palestine

Joseph Raz is an Israeli legal, moral, and political philosopher. He is known for his conception of perfectionist liberalism and is a prominent advocate of legal positivism. He was a professor of philosophy of law at the University of Oxford for most of his career. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1992. 

 21 Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam
3
Famous As: chemist
Birthdate: November 5, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sofia

Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli organic chemist currently serving as a professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. The son of a doctor, he received his M.Sc. in biochemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and completed his Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute. He is a founding member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines. 

 22 Martin van Creveld

Martin van Creveld
3
Famous As: Military historian, Historian, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: March 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rotterdam

Martin van Creveld is an Israeli military historian and theorist. He studied history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and later at the London School of Economics, from where he got a doctorate. Besides having a brilliant academic career, he is the author of numerous books on military history and strategy. He has been criticized for his anti-feminist views. 

 23 Sextus Julius Africanus

Sextus Julius Africanus
2
Famous As: Christian historian
Birthdate: 0160 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0240 AD

Sextus Julius Africanus was a Christian traveler and historian who lived and worked in the late second and early third centuries. He is believed to have had a great influence on the Christian writer Eusebius. Little is known about his life, but it is believed that he served under Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Only fragments of his work survive. 

 24 Yigael Yadin

Yigael Yadin
2
Famous As: Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Politician, Military personnel
Birthdate: March 20, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jerusalem
Died: June 28, 1984

Yigael Yadin was an Israeli archeologist, soldier, and politician. From 1977 to 1981, he served as the second chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces and deputy prime minister. He had an extensive career in the army, following which he joined politics. He was also a brilliant archeologist and received the Israel Prize in Jewish studies. 

 25 Yehuda Bauer

Yehuda Bauer
2
Famous As: historian, writer, university teacher
Birthdate: April 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Prague

 26 Henry Markram

Henry Markram
2
Famous As: Neuroscientist, University teacher, Neurologist
Birthdate: March 28, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: South Africa
Born in South Africa, Henry Markram completed his PhD in Israel and then moved to the U.S. as a Fulbright scholar. The acclaimed neuroscientist and Brain Mind Institute founder now teaches at the EPFL in Switzerland. His now-famous Blue Brain Project was aimed at digitally reconstructing the mouse brain.

 27 Silvan Shalom

Silvan Shalom
3
Famous As: Diplomat, Politician, Economist
Birthdate: August 4, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gabès

Israeli politician Silvan Shalom had lost his banker father in an infamous robbery case when he was just 6. He later held various important government posts, such as the minister of finance and the deputy prime minister, but had to resign when several women accused him of sexual misconduct and harassment.

 28 Ghada Karmi

Ghada Karmi
1
Famous As: Doctor of medicine
Birthdate: 1939 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem

Palestinian doctor of medicine, author and academic Ghada Karmi is associated with the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter as research fellow and lecturer. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Karmi has penned several articles on Palestinian issues in Wayback Machine and in newspapers and magazines like Journal of Palestine Studies and The Guardian.

 29 Al-Maqdisi

Al-Maqdisi
1
Famous As: Geographer
Birthdate: 0945 AD
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
Died: 0991 AD

Medieval Arab traveller, geographer, and author Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Abī Bakr al-Maqdisī, generally referred to as al-Maqdisī, is counted among the earliest known historical figures who self-identified themselves as Palestinians during travels. Noted books authored by him include The Best Divisions in the Knowledge of the Regions and Description of Syria (Including Palestine).

 30 Nurit Peled-Elhanan

Nurit Peled-Elhanan
0
Famous As: Philologist
Birthdate: November 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel

 31 Eleazar Sukenik

Eleazar Sukenik
1
Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: August 12, 1889
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bialystok, Poland
Died: February 28, 1953

Born in Belostok, Russian Empire (now in Poland), Eleazar Sukenik later moved to Palestine and worked as a tour guide. After studying in Berlin and Philadelphia, the archaeologist began teaching. He later gained recognition for his research on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish art.

 32 Benjamin Mazar

Benjamin Mazar
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: June 28, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ciechanowiec, Poland
Died: September 9, 1995

Israeli Biblical archaeologist and historian Benjamin Mazar, considered "dean" of biblical archaeologists, is best-known for making excavations at Israel’s most significant biblical site, developing the field of historical geography of Israel and founding the campus of Hebrew University at Givat Ram and Hadassah Medical School and Hospital at Ein Karem. He also served as President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 33 Tanya Reinhart

Tanya Reinhart
1
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: July 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel
Died: March 17, 2007

Born in Israel, Tanya Reinhart was raised by a communist single mother. The MIT alumna and renowned linguist had taught at the Tel Aviv University for over two decades and was associated with the University of Utrecht for 15 years. She was also known for her political activism.

 34 Al-Safadi

Al-Safadi
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1296 AD
Birthplace: Safed, Israel
Died: July 23, 1363

 35 Reviel Netz

Reviel Netz
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Famous As: University teacher, Historian
Birthdate: January 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel

 36 Elias Sanbar

Elias Sanbar
0
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: February 16, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haifa, Israel

Palestinian historian, essayist, poet, translator and diplomat Elias Sanbar serves as Palestinian ambassador to the UNESCO since 2012. He is one of the founders of Revue d'études palestiniennes (The Journal of Palestine Studies) and served as its editor-in-chief for 25 years. His book The Palestinians won the Palestine Book Awards in 2015. His works include translating Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry into French.