Haim Harari was born in Jerusalem in 1940, a fifth-generation Israeli born. All of his ancestors arrived in what is now Israel between the 1820s and 1897. He has mainly contributed to three areas: (i) Particle Physics Research, (ii) Science Education at the pre-College level, and (iii) Science Management and Policy. He has also been active in numerous international Science and Technology projects as well as in a variety of international advisory corporate boards.
Harari served as President of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel from 1988 to 2001. During his presidency, the Institute entered numerous new scientific fields, built several dozen new buildings, raised more than One Billion Dollars in philanthropic funds, quadrupled its endowment, and became one of the highest royalty-earning academic organizations in the world.
Harari joined the Institute staff in 1967, becoming a tenured Professor at the Weizmann Institute at the age of 26, the youngest ever. He became a Full Professor (Annenberg Chair of High Energy Physics), three years later. In 1999 he was appointed an "Institute Professor". He made several major contributions to Particle Physics and, in 1975, he was the first to synthesize the full "standard model" of six quarks and six leptons in its present form. He also proposed, in 1979, the “Rishon Model”, a minimalistic composite model for quarks and leptons. The model tries to explain the observed pattern for these particles, but, so far, there is no experimental evidence for or against any substructure at such a level.
From 1979 to 1985, a period of extreme hyperinflation in Israel, he served as Chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of Israel's Council for Higher Education, the Government body that distributes all Government funding for Higher Education and Basic Research, determines priorities in the Higher Education system and approves the establishment of new universities, colleges, faculties, and academic programs. In spite of enormous economic obstacles, numerous new initiatives were taken, including the creation of the Israeli academic computer network, one of the very first in the world, expansion of the national research foundation, and the creation of new research institutes, colleges, and professional schools.
In the field of education, Harari served as a Dean of the Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute (1972-1978) and was a co-Founder of "Perach", a national tutoring program for underprivileged children in Israel, which, over the years, touched the lives of over one million students as tutors or as children being aided by them. The program currently involves, annually, over 20,000 university students, helping a similar number of children. The "Perach" project has been awarded the 2008 Israel Prize for contribution to the society and State. In 1991-2 he chaired the National Panel on Science Education, leading to a report, which became the blueprint for science education in Israel's schools. He later served as Chairman of the Board of the Israel Center of Science and Technology Education (1995-98). He initiated and led the establishment of several unique educational Institutions, including the Davidson Institute of Science Education and the Hemda Science Center in Tel Aviv.
Since 2006, Harari has played a central role in the creation, establishment, and leadership of IST-Austria, a new institute of science and technology near Vienna, modeled along the lines of the Weizmann Institute and dedicated to basic research. He chaired the International Committee that established the blueprint for IST, served as its acting president from December 2006 to September 2009, chaired the Search Committee for the institute’s first president, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2020. According to normalized ranking, IST-Austria was ranked 3rd globally by the Nature Index 2019 for best research quality, next only to the Weizmann Institute, which became the 2nd best research institute worldwide. This normalization enables the comparison between institutions of different sizes, allowing various small institutes, which have a significant research impact, to come into the light.
His honors include, among others, membership in the Israel Academy of Sciences (1978), membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010), the Rothschild Prize in Physics (1976), the Israel Prize in the Exact Sciences (1989), the "EMET" prize in Education (2004), several honorary doctorates, the "Commander Cross of the Order of Merit" presented by the President of Germany, "Cross of Honor, Science and Art, First Class" presented by Austria and the Harnack Medal of the Max Planck Society, Golden cross of honor for service to the land of Lower Austria, and the Grand Decoration of Honor in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria. In 2021 Harari was the recipient of the "Higher Education Prize" by the Israeli Council for Higher Education "in recognition of a groundbreaking, inspiring academic endeavor that combines scientific excellence and contribution to the community and society".
He served (2007-2019) as a member of the group of International Advisors of SwissRe and earlier (1997-2006) on the International Advisory Board of DaimlerChrysler. He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Management Committee of the Weizmann Global Endowment Management Trust in New York.
His book "A View from the Eye of the Storm-Terror and Reason in the Middle East" has been published in 2005 by HarperCollins, New York. He also published several articles on current affairs.
He has three children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, married to Elfi Harari, and living in the Weizmann Institute campus in Rehovot, Israel.