Hebrew University of Jerusalem
#80 Overall Influence

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Israeli university in Jerusalem

By James Barham, PhD

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was founded in 1918 in the ancient city of Jerusalem. At the time the city, as well as the entire surrounding region of Palestine, was under British military control.

The founding occurred during the interim period between the British defeat of the Ottoman Turkish army in late 1917 and the official establishment of British Mandatory Palestine by the League of Nations in the summer of 1922.

Planning for a Jewish university in the Holy Land had long figured in the plans of the leaders of the Zionist movement. The cornerstone for the Hebrew University was laid in the summer of 1918 at a location on Mt. Scopus; however, the first classes did not begin to be taught until the spring of 1925.

In 1942, a new campus comprising a Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and the Environment was established in the city of Rehovot, near the Mediterranean coast south of Tel Aviv. Much later, in 1985, a veterinary school was added to the Rehovot campus.

During the Israeli war of independence in 1948, the university was the scene of bitter conflict. At one point, the Mt. Scopus campus was surrounded by Arab forces. When a medical convoy sought to bring supplies to the campus through the front lines for the resupply of Hadassah Hospital, it was attacked.

Many Jewish patients, doctors, nurses, teaching faculty, and students were massacred. Including the soldiers accompanying the convoy, a total of 79 people lost their lives in the attack.

Subsequently, the Mt. Scopus campus fell under the control of Jordan, and its Jewish students and faculty were evacuated.

In 1958, a new Jerusalem campus was opened in Givat Ram in the western part of the city. A few years later, a new medical campus was founded in the Ein Kerem neighborhood, to the south.

Finally, the flagship Mt. Scopus campus was rebuilt in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, when the area came back under Israeli control.

Thus, today’s Hebrew University comprises three campuses in Jerusalem, as well as a fourth in Rehovot. The total student body amounts to roughly 23,000 individuals.

Fifteen Nobel laureates are associated with the Hebrew University, including the following:

  • Physicists, Albert Einstein & David Gross
  • Chemists, Roger Kornberg, Walter Kohn & Ada Yonath
  • Economists, Daniel Kahneman, Robert Aumann, Lawrence Klein, Peter Diamond & Harry Markowitz

In addition, the university is linked to three Turing Award–winners:

  • Michael Rabin
  • Shafi Goldwasser
  • Richard Stearns

as well as two Fields Medalists:

  • Jean Bourgain
  • Elon Lindenstrauss)

Among other prominent Hebrew University–connected individuals, we may note the following:

  • Philosophers, Martin Buber & Avishai Margalit
  • Mathematicians, Abraham Frankel, Joram Lindenstrauss, Rami Grossberg, Moshe Machover, Menachem Magidor & Hillel Furstenberg
  • Poets, Yehuda Amichai & Natan Yonatan
  • Novelists, Aharon Appelfeld, Amos Oz & A.B. Yehoshua
  • Novelist and essayist, David Grossman
  • Memoirist, Helen Epstein
  • Graphic novelist and screenwriter, Etgar Keret
  • Comedian, Raoul Heertje
  • Historian, Yuval Noah Harari
  • Judaica scholars, Gershom Scholem & Jonah Frankel
  • Psychologist, Amos Tversky
  • Linguist, Yehoshua Bar-Hillel
  • Archaeologist, Yigael Yadin
  • Sociologist, Amitai Etzioni
  • Economist, Nouriel Roubini
  • Singer and songwriter, Amir (Amir Haddad)
  • Film directors, Joseph Cedar & Susanne Bier
  • Actor, Natalie Portman
  • Physicists, Jacob Bekenstein & Max Jammer
  • Chemists, Raphael Mechoulam & Raphael Levine
  • Israeli general and politician, Benny Gantz
  • Former Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon & Ehud Olmert

What is Hebrew University of Jerusalem known for?

#31 World Rank
Religious Studies
#34 World Rank
Political Science
#36 World Rank
#40 World Rank
Computer Science
#50 World Rank
#56 World Rank
Social Work
#61 World Rank
#73 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#80 World Rank
#84 World Rank
#87 World Rank
#95 World Rank
#96 World Rank
#104 World Rank
#112 World Rank
#122 World Rank
#124 World Rank
#130 World Rank
#140 World Rank
#147 World Rank
#158 World Rank
Earth Sciences
#209 World Rank
#364 World Rank

Influential People

Who are Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Most influential alumni?

Hebrew University of Jerusalem's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Religious Studies, Political Science, and Law. Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s most academically influential people include Daniel Kahneman, Jack Miles, and Ada Yonath.

Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman

Israeli-American psychologist

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Jack Miles
Jack Miles

American writer

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Ada Yonath
Ada Yonath

Israeli chemist

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Joseph Raz
Joseph Raz

Israeli philosopher

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Amos Tversky
Amos Tversky

Israeli Psychologist

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Amos Oz
Amos Oz

Israeli writer, novelist, journalist and intellectual

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David Gross
David Gross

American particle physicist and string theorist

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Aaron Ciechanover
Aaron Ciechanover

Israeli physician

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Wolf Blitzer
Wolf Blitzer

American journalist and television news anchor

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Avram Hershko
Avram Hershko

Israeli scientist

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Eva Jablonka

Israeli biologist

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Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman

Israeli-American actress and filmmaker

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