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The Nobel Prize That Could Have Gone to Israel

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It wasn’t a particularly good year for Jewish Nobel Prizes: Only two out of 13 prizes awarded in 2021 went to members of the tribe, or 15 percent of the total versus 22 percent over the 120-year life of the Nobel. But it was an even worse year for Israel.

The one “Israeli” winner, Joshua Angrist, is an American immigrant who taught economics for a few years at Hebrew University before going back to the United States. The pay was too low at Israeli universities, which pay senior faculty the same regardless of their discipline or supply and demand. “I was tired of the situation here,” he told The Jerusalem Post back in 2006. “It’s hard to retain people with that kind of system.”

Angrist is still a dual citizen, so he’ll no doubt go down in the records as an Israeli. The desire to claim Nobel laureates as your own and bask, however distantly, in their glory is such that Pittsburgh is no less flushed with pride than Israel (“3 U.S.-based economists, including 1 raised in Pittsburgh, awarded Nobel Prize for economics,” The Post-Gazette reported).

Do Pittsburghers think it was their schools that imparted the arithmetical skills that Angrist would build on in his academic career? This is no more logical than Israelis imagining that his few years studying and teaching here gave Angrist the edge.

Israel does pretty well in the global Nobel sweepstakes. On a per capita........

© Haaretz

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