Professor Zvi Galil donates $1.5 million to the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
Professor Zvi Galil, one of the leading computer scientists in the world and the seventh president of Tel Aviv University, has donated $1.5 million to the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University. This unprecedented donation by a former president of the academic institution that he served was made together with his wife, Dr. Bella Galil.
“The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History is one of Tel Aviv University’s most wonderful enterprises benefitting the children of Israel, and maybe the most wonderful of them all,” is how Professor Galil explains his generous donation. “Tel Aviv University promotes academic excellence among its teachers and students and is among the best universities in the world – and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History is a unique enterprise that combines excellence in research with openness to all of Israel.”
The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, which opened to the general public in 2018, has the largest natural history collection in the Middle East. The museum houses national collections and includes over 5.5 million specimens that record the biodiversity of the Levant in general and Israel in particular. It hosts 200,000 visitors each year, including families, students, tourists and scientists from all over the world. In addition, the museum is responsible for opening the Yehuda Naftali Botanic Garden to visitors. The museum’s main donor is the American-Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.
Professor Galil announced his donation before the Covid-19 pandemic and now, with the museum returning to full activity, the financial support will be of great assistance in developing and expanding the museum’s activities. “The reason for the gift,” Professor Galil says, “is the contribution the museum makes to the knowledge and love of the land and to the preservation of nature. My grandfather, Zvi Glimcher, was one of the builders of Tel Aviv, and my father, Professor Jacob Galil, was one of the six professors who founded Tel Aviv University in 1953, and established the botanical gardens there, first in Abu Kabir and afterward in the current campus. I learned about the scientific importance of natural history collections in the era of environmental challenges from my wife, and during my term as university president, I signed the establishment of the Museum of Natural History with the Planning and Budgeting Committee and with government ministries. Our donation is a continuation of my father’s legacy.”
President of Tel Aviv University, Ariel Porat: “The Museum of Natural History is an important and unique asset of Tel Aviv University, which brings it great respect in Israel and around the world. This contribution to the museum is important in and of itself because it advances its development, but it is especially moving because it comes from the seventh president of the university and his wife, and it shows the Galils’ strong connection to the university in general, and to the Museum of Natural History in particular. I am grateful to Bella and Zvi Galil for their generous donation.”