The department of communication studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is home to the Elihu Katz Collection in Communication Studies, which is exhibited at the Arrane Central Library. Prof. Katz donated his prestigious library of more than 2000 books, most of them in the field of communications, in 2015. This collection has great academic and cultural value due to the fact that it was accumulated over decades and represents the areas of interest of Professor Katz and the fields of his research.





At the inauguration of the collection on November 24, 2015, and in the presence of the president of the International Communication Association Professor Amy Jordan, Ben-Gurion University President Professor Rivka Carmi thanked Professor Katz for his contribution and added: "You are the father of media studies in Israel and I hope that this connection between you and us will continue. I'm sure that what you can still teach, young people have not yet learned."



Professor Elihu Katz, a sociologist of the media, is among the founders of communication studies in Israel, and of Israeli television. He was awarded the Israel Prize for Social Sciences in 1989. A graduate of Columbia University, where he earned his B.A. (1948), Master's (1950) and Ph.D. (1956) degrees, he immigrated to Israel in the early 1960s, joined the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and founded there the Institute of Communication.


In 1967, at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Prof. Katz was appointed head of the founding team of Israeli television. In the 1970s he served as a consultant for the BBC, and from 1987-1996 as director of the Institute for Applied Social Research in Jerusalem and as a faculty member at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. At the same time, he continued his academic duties at the Hebrew University from which he retired in 1994. In 1992 he joined the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, from where he retired in 2014 at the age of 88.


Prof. Katz is the author of dozens of articles and books on media research. His first book, Personal Influence (1955), which was co-authored with his doctoral dissertation adviser, Paul Lazersfeld, introduced the idea of the two-step flow of communications, is one of the milestones in media research, and according to the Google Scholar index, it has been cited nearly 7,000 times. Other theoretical approaches Katz is known for include the uses and gratifications theory, which attempts, like the two-step flow, to uncover the dynamics behind the influence of the media. He has also published research in the fields of leisure studies; on the penetration of television into third world countries; on the diffusion of innovations; and on the social role of media events. His book Media Events (1992), which was written with Daniel Dayan, was translated into seven languages.


As perhaps the most highly regarded and cited scholar in the discipline of communication studies, Professor Katz was also well acquainted with, and appreciative of, the work of his peers. In Canonic Texts in Media Research (2002), co-edited with Tamar Liebes, John Durham Peters, and Avril Orloff, he reviews 13 canonical texts in media research and presents the pro and con arguments for their canonical status, while in his latest book, Echoes of Gabriel Tarde: What We Know Better or Different 100 Years Later, written with two doctoral students at the University of Pennsylvania, Christopher Ali and Joohan Kim, Professor Katz saluted the late media theorist Gabriel Tarde, who influenced him greatly in the conceptualization of public space as a field of interaction between the media, public opinion, and action.


In 2014 he published his study “Back to the Street," which addresses the use of mobile communications devices by applying Tarde's theoretical framework. It was published in a book edited by the faculty of the department of communication studies at Ben-Gurion University in honor of the retirement of Prof. Dan Caspi, who was one of its founders and a disciple of professor Katz. Professor Katz was also the keynote speaker at professor Caspi's retirement event.


Katz was awarded the Israel Prize in Social Sciences for 1989. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the UNESCO-Canada McLuhan Award and the Burda Award. In 2018 he received the Steven H. Chaffee Career Achievement Award of the International Communication Association, at its annual conference in Prague.


In 2017, Prof. Katz received an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The Declaration of Honor states that the title was awarded "With sincere appreciation for a preeminent scholar, whose scholarship has had an enduring impact on media and communication studies worldwide; in recognition of the pioneering founder of communications studies in Israeli academe, whose groundbreaking research has expanded the boundaries of knowledge and laid essential foundations for the sociology of communications; in honor of a recipient of the Israel Prize and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, whose unique and wide-ranging contributions are evident in a variety of fields, among them media effects, uses and gratification, leisure studies, public opinion, media events and the diffusion of innovations, and whose works have become canonical texts, inspiring and stimulating generations of students and scientists worldwide; in appreciation for the founder of the Institute of Communications at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who played a key role in the establishing of applied social science research in Israel  and in shaping its communications policies; with esteem for the founding director of Israeli Television, who has left an indelible mark on the nation's culture and media; and with gratitude for his sincere commitment to the advancement of higher education and to the enrichment of Israel's intellectual and cultural life, for the benefit of Israeli society as a whole."