One doesn't need to spend a long period of time in the academic world's research departments in order to witness the odd mechanics of funding research. This is the main entrance gate of new technologies; thus governments like to funnel funds to them.
In the 1990s, the Israeli government gave $100,000 to the research group I was part of in the Weizmann Institute. The money moved from there to a research team in Kazakhstan leaving us as poor as before the event.
In exchange, they sent a guest scientist and a sturdy Soviet 10GHz oscillator. Back then, that was state-of-the-art technology that was supposed to help NMR research. Of course, the State wanted it for its communications systems. The system was analyzed, copied and then it disappeared in the State vaults.
On August 8, 2013, an even stranger scheme was disclosed as a result of the ongoing escalation in the conflict between the European Union and Israel. Without paying attention, Israeli ministers of government disclosed how in Europe, $600 million are in fact worth $900 million.
On July 18, 2013, the European Union published its guidelines banning EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East War. According to the EU decision, from 2014, all existing agreements between European countries with Israel will exclude East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.
Israeli projects applying for EU funding will be required to sign a clause to state that it will not apply to the Occupied Territories.
On July 26, Israel's Ministry of Defense declared sanctions on Europe. Its minister ordered to stop the cooperation with people of the European Union in the West Bank and to deny them help in the different projects they are implementing. In Gaza, they will be denied entry and exit via Israel, forcing them to cross via the Sinai, an area suffering violence these days (see Israel Declares Sanctions on Europe).
On August 8, took place a meeting of all government agencies related to the affair with PM Netanyahu. The main point dealt with was the negotiations about to begin on August 14 with the EU. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that Israel will announce to the EU that it won't sign any agreement which will include territorial clauses. Israel's National Security Council has already condemned the Israeli Government decision.
This is unlikely to be the last battle in the Sanctions War between the EU and Israel; however, it probably supplied its spiciest event. The subsequent announcements by the PM Bureau and several of the participating ministers disclosed an embarrassing detail.
The negotiations about to begin are the last step in the joining of Israel to the Horizon 2020 program of the EU. The program is aimed to assist the European Union in anticipating and meeting challenges in the longer term horizon of 2020 to 2030, in other words this is a program that invests money in universities. Israel is the only non-European country allowed to participate in the project.
In the agreement about to be signed, Israel will give $600 million to the European Union in exchange for the privilege to participate in Horizon 2020; the payments would to be done according to the payments plan being negotiated. Following an agreement, Israel would get $900 million to be spent in research plans and Hi-Tech companies approved by the European Union.
Let me summarize the European politics using a simple equation: 600=900. While making public statements in support of Palestine, Europe gives inexplicable gifts to Israel.
Could I ask for a European research grant while proposing to research the truly strange equation "2=3?"
"Request denied," the European Chief Scientist would probably answer, "the equation has already been proven by a high-level Israeli-European research team!"