Israel Institute for Biological Research

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Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) is an Israeli government defense research institute specializing in biology, medicinal chemistry and environmental science. The institute's work is a closely guarded secret.[1][2] It is suspected of also developing biological and chemical weapons and defenses against them, as well as toxins for use by Israeli intelligence in assassinations.[1][3] It is located in Ness Ziona, 20 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.[1] IIBR has approximately 350 employees, 150 of whom are scientists.


IIBR is under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's Office[1] and works in close cooperation with government agencies. IIBR has many public projects on which it works in cooperations with international research organizations (governmental and non-governmental) and universities. Its research findings are often published in national and international scientific publications.

IIBR was founded in 1952 by Professor Ernst David Bergmann, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's science adviser and the head of R&D at the Ministry of Defense. Dr. Alexander Keynan. Keynan was IIBR's first director.

Some of the fields in which IIBR conducts research include:

  • Medical diagnostic techniques
  • Mechanisms of pathogenic diseases
  • Vaccines and pharmaceuticals
  • Protein and enzyme synthesis and engineering
  • Process biotechnology
  • Air pollution risk assessment
  • Environmental detectors and biosensors

IIBR also has a non-public scope of operation. Due to its secretive and defense-related nature, it is widely assumed that the institute develops vaccines and antidotes for chemical and biological warfare.[3] Some sources speculate that the IIBR also develops offensive capabilities in these fields.[1][3] The IIBR also provides lethal toxin weapons for use in assassinations by the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service.[1]

El Al Flight 1862, which crashed in the Netherlands in 1992, was carrying cargo destined for the Israel Institute for Biological Research which included 190 litres of dimethyl methylphosphonate, which could be used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas.[1][2][3] The shipment was from a U.S. chemical plant under a U.S. Department of Commerce licence.[1][2][3] Dimethyl methylphosphonate is now a Chemical Weapons Convention schedule 2 chemical.[3]

British intelligence writer Gordon Thomas wrote that the facility is surrounded by a high concrete wall topped with sensors, and armed guards patrol its perimeter. No aircraft are allowed to overfly the facility, and its location is not listed on any map of the area. Inside the facility, code words and visual identification control access to each area, and its numerous bombproof sliding doors can only be opened by swipe cards whose codes are changed every day. Corridors inside the facility are patrolled by guards. All employees and their families undergo intense health checks every month. In his history of the Mossad, Thomas wrote that over the years, at least six of the facility's employees had died, but the causes of their deaths was kept secret by Israel's strict military censorship regulations.[4]

According to Thomas, many of the institute's research and development laboratories are concealed deep underground, where biochemists and genetic scientists work to develop lethal toxins. In other laboratories reached through air locks, nerve agents are developed. Within the facility, there is a special department that creates poisons for use by the Mossad.[4]

Part of the IIBR occupies a former Arab mansion of Wadi Hunayn.[5][6]

Life Science Research Israel[edit]

Life Science Research Israel (LSRI), a subsidiary of IIBR, is dedicated to the commercial exploitation of innovative technologies developed by IIBR. According to its 2000 annual report ([1], in Hebrew), the 2000 budget was 16.6 million NIS (about US $4 million), with revenues of 12.9 million NIS (US $3 million).

Markus Klingberg[edit]

Marcus Klingberg, IIBR's deputy director, was arrested in 1983 and convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union. His arrest and sentencing was kept a secret for over a decade. Klingberg was released to house arrest for medical reasons in 1998,[1] until the end of his sentence in 2003, but remained silent about his career or treason, as required by an agreement he signed before his release. Klingberg published his memoirs, Hameragel Ha'akharon ("The Last Spy"), written together with his lawyer, Michael Sfard, in 2007.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ostrovsky, Victor (December 1998). "Crash of Cargo Plane in Holland Revealed Existence of Israeli Chemical and Biological Weapons Plant". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: 19–20.
  2. ^ a b c Greenberg, Joel (October 2, 1998). "Nerve-Gas Element Was in El Al Plane Lost in 1992 Crash". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Israel says El Al crash chemical 'non-toxic'". BBC. October 2, 1998. Retrieved 2006-07-02.
  4. ^ a b Thomas, Gordon: Gideon's Spies: The secret history of the Mossad (1999)
  5. ^ Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. p. 421. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
  6. ^ Traces of poison, Salman Abu-Sitta, 5 March 2003, Al-Ahram

Coordinates: 31°55′28.85″N 34°47′29.97″E / 31.9246806°N 34.7916583°E / 31.9246806; 34.7916583