Israel manufactures and exports an expanding array of high-technology goods, especially for military purposes. In 1987–97, Israel spent 2.4% of GNP on research and development in science, engineering, agriculture, and medicine. National and local governments and industry shared equally in the funding. A privatization program, begun by the government, has resulted in the creation of many science and technology parks and high technology towns, like Migdal He'Emck. Israel has an advanced nuclear research program, and it is widely believed that Israel has the capacity to make nuclear weapons.
Among scientific research institutes are seven institutes administered by the Agricultural Research Organization; the Rogoff–Wellcome Medical Research Institute; institutes for petroleum research, geological mapping, and oceanographic and limnological research directed by the Earth Sciences Research Administration; institutes of ceramic and silicate, fiber, metals, plastics, wine, and rubber research directed by the Office of the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Industry and Trade; the Institutes of Applied Research at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; the Israel Institute for Biological Research; the Israel Institute for Psychobiology; the National Research Laboratory; and the Soreg and Negev nuclear research centers attached to the Israel Atomic Energy Commission. The country has eight universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences; among them are the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot and the Technion– Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 49% of all college and university students.
Immigration into Israel may be its best science and technology policy. Some consider this a "brain drain" in reverse and claim that it will help Israeli high technology competitiveness in the future. In 1998, high technology exports were valued at $4.2 million and accounted for 20% of all manufactured exports.