The next head of the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, says science can "bridge cultural differences" and should "never be a tool of politics."

In December, particle physicist Daniel Zajfman, 47, will become the 10th—and youngest ever—president of the 72-year-old institute. Zajfman, who has been at Weizmann for 15 years, wants to strengthen curiosity-driven research and preserve "complete academic freedom."

Weizmann has 2,500 students and faculty members whose links to the rest of the world, he says, are "critical to the future of the institute." But Zajfman admits that recruitment is a challenge, and he condemns the failed attempt earlier this year by U.K. academics to impose a boycott of Israeli institutions (Science, 2 June, p. 1289). "Why should they punish scientists for what the government is doing?" he asks. "Why not boycott the United States for what its [military] is doing in Iraq?" Zajfman succeeds plant scientist Ilan Chet, who is stepping down after 5 years.