Belgium to bestow highest civilian honor on Weizmann Institute president

THE HAGUE (JTA) — Belgium will bestow its highest civilian honor on Daniel Zajfman, an Israeli physicist and president of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Zajfman, who was born in Brussels and immigrated to Israel in 1979, will receive the title of Commander of the Order of Leopold on Nov. 4 in a small ceremony at the Embassy of Belgium in Tel Aviv for his efforts to advance science, according to the Belgian Royal House. 

Zajfman told JTA he was “deeply honored” to receive the title of commander, the third highest of the order’s five classes. The two top classes are reserved for the king and public servants.

The Forum of Jewish Organizations, which represents Flemish Jews, congratulated Zajfman, saying it is an honor “which he has most certainly deserves.”     

His research in part has focused on the formation of complex molecules in outer space. He gained an undergraduate degree in physics from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in 1983 and then a Ph.D. in atomic physics from the institution in 1989. 

In 2003, he arrived at the Weizmann Institute as an associate professor and three years later was named the institution’s president.

 
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