Famous Israeli Intellectuals & Academics

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Israeli Intellectuals & Academics
 1 
Daniel Kahneman
(Winner of 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for His Work on the Psychology of Judgment and Decision-Making)
Daniel Kahneman
8
Birthdate: March 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, 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 
Amos Tversky
(Psychologist, Economist, University teacher)
Amos Tversky
8
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. 

 3 
Benzion Netanyahu
7
Birthdate: March 25, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
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.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Stanley Fischer
(Economist, Educationist, Writer, Professor, Banker)
Stanley Fischer
3
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.  

Recommended Lists:
 5 
Dan Ariely
(One of the Most Influential Professors of Psychology and Behavioral Economics)
Dan Ariely
4
Birthdate: April 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

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. 

 6 
Immanuel Velikovsky
3
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.

Recommended Lists:
 7 
Amos Oz
(Writer, Linguist, Journalist, Novelist, Translator, Essayist, Educationist, University teacher, Children's writer)
Amos Oz
4
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.

 8 
Sara Netanyahu
(Psychologist)
Sara Netanyahu
7
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. 

 9 
Isaac Luria
3
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.  

 10 
Max Brod
(Former prolific writer best remembered as the friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka)
Max Brod
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
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. 

 11 
Gershom Scholem
(Israeli Philosopher, Historian and Founder of the Modern, Academic Study of 'Kabbalah')
Gershom Scholem
3
Birthdate: December 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 21, 1982

Gershom Scholem was a German-born Israeli philosopher and historian. He is much respected as the founder of the modern academic study of Kabbalah. He became the first professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was lifelong friends with fellow philosopher Walter Benjamin and was devastated when the latter died by suicide in 1940. 

 12 
Robert Aumann
(Israeli-American Mathematician Known for His Work on Conflict and Cooperation Through Game Theory Analysis)
Robert Aumann
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, 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. 

 13 
Cyril of Jerusalem
(Saint and Bishop of Jerusalem)
Cyril of Jerusalem
3
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. 

 14 
Benny Morris
(Historian, Writer, University teacher, Journalist)
Benny Morris
3
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. 

 15 
William of Tyre
(Historian)
William of Tyre
3
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 
Shimon bar Yochai
3
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.

 17 
Joseph Raz
(Philosopher, University teacher)
Joseph Raz
3
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. 

 18 
Erich Neumann
(Psychologist)
Erich Neumann
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: November 5, 1960

Erich Neumann was a psychologist, philosopher, and writer. He completed his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and studied medicine at the University of Berlin. He was a student of Carl Jung and regularly gave lectures at the C. G. Jung Institute. He was a member of the International Association for Analytical Psychology as well.  

 19 
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
(2nd President of Israel (1952 - 1963) )
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
3
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. 

 20 
Raphael Mechoulam
3
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. 

 21 
Reuven Feuerstein
(Educationist, Educator)
Reuven Feuerstein
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Botoșani
Died: April 29, 2014

Israeli psychologist Reuven Feuerstein first gained an interest in psychology while teaching children who had survived the Holocaust. He believed learning isn’t fixed and developed concepts such as Structural Cognitive Modifiability and Mediated Learning Experience, to demonstrate the changeability of intelligence through interventions. He also established the Jerusalem-based ICELP.

 22 
Shlomo Sand
(University teacher, Historian)
Shlomo Sand
0
Birthdate: September 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Linz, Austria
 23 
Martin van Creveld
(Military historian, Historian, Writer, University teacher)
Martin van Creveld
3
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. 

 24 
Yehuda Bauer
(historian, writer, university teacher)
Yehuda Bauer
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Prague
 25 
Henry Markram
(Neuroscientist, University teacher, Neurologist)
Henry Markram
2
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.
 26 
Yigael Yadin
(Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Politician, Military personnel)
Yigael Yadin
2
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. 

 27 
Avram Hershko
(Biochemist, Educationist, University teacher)
Avram Hershko
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Karcag

Born to Jewish teacher parents in Hungary, Avram Hershko spent a few years in a concentration camp during World War II. He and his family managed to escape and settled in Israel, where he became a renowned chemist, later winning the Nobel Prize for discovering how cells remove unwanted proteins.

 28 
Silvan Shalom
(Diplomat, Politician, Economist)
Silvan Shalom
3
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.

 29 
Bracha L. Ettinger
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1948
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

An M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger initially worked as psychoanalyst in Israel and England. Although self taught, she later decided to become a professional artist, eventually moving to Paris, where along with painting, drawing and photography, she also started writing and began serving as visiting professor at various European and Asian universities.

 30 
Eliane Karp
(Anthropologist)
Eliane Karp
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1953
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Born to a Polish father and a Belgian mother in Paris, anthropologist and academic Eliane Karp later studied in Jerusalem, before moving to Stanford. The wife of former president of Peru Alejandro Toledo, she was dragged out of court, while cursing, after Toledo was denied bail in a bribery case.

 31 
Ghada Karmi
(Doctor of medicine)
Ghada Karmi
1
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.

 32 
Al-Maqdisi
(Geographer)
Al-Maqdisi
1
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).

 33 
Avigdor Arikha
(Israeli Artist and Art Historian)
Avigdor Arikha
1
Birthdate: April 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Radauti, Romania
Died: April 29, 2010

Avigdor Arikha was a Romanian-born French–Israeli painter, draughtsman, and art historian. Born in Romania in 1929, he survived being deported to concentration camps and eventually fled to Palestine. Naturally gifted in drawing, he became a painter and printmaker. He gained fame as an art historian in his later years. He was awarded the Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. 

 34 
Nurit Peled-Elhanan
(Philologist)
Nurit Peled-Elhanan
0
Birthdate: November 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jerusalem, Israel
 35 
Benjamin Mazar
(Israeli Historian Known for Developing the Field of Historical Geography of 'Israel')
Benjamin Mazar
1
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.

 36 
Eleazar Sukenik
(Israeli Archaeologist Best Known for Helping Establish the Department of Archaeology at the 'Hebrew University')
Eleazar Sukenik
1
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.

 37 
Tanya Reinhart
(Linguist)
Tanya Reinhart
1
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.

 38 
Sophia Getzowa
(Pathologist)
Sophia Getzowa
1
Birthdate: January 23, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Belarus, Russian Empire
Died: July 11, 1946

Sophia Getzowa had lost her mother at 8. A prominent Zionist, she studied medicine and became known for her research on solid cell nests and for being the first woman to teach at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was also engaged to Chaim Weizmann, who later became Israel’s first president.

 39 
Al-Safadi
(Writer)
Al-Safadi
0
Birthdate: 1296 AD
Birthplace: Safed, Israel
Died: July 23, 1363
 40 
Reviel Netz
(University teacher, Historian)
Reviel Netz
0
Birthdate: January 2, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel
 41 
Doron Rabinovici
(Writer, historian and essayist)
Doron Rabinovici
0
Birthdate: December 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
 42 
Elias Sanbar
(Historian)
Elias Sanbar
0
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.