Israel is the only country in the Middle East to make a new world universities ranking list.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology feature on the 200-strong list of academic institutions, published by Times Higher Education.
Phil Baty, editor of the THE rankings, said: “Israel is clearly a strong player in global education. Only one per cent of the world make the top 200 list, so it’s pretty remarkable that Israel has three universities there as Russia hasn’t made it and China has two universities on the list. It's a strong place for Israel to be in.”
TAU rose eight places from last year, to joint 158th place. But the Hebrew University fell 16 places to 137th place.
Mr Baty said: “The Hebrew University did nothing wrong, but we’re in an era where maintaining your position isn't sufficient — universities need to stay at the front of innovation.”
The Technion did not feature on last year's list, but came in 193rd place this year.
Mr Baty said: “It’s a fantastic achievement as the Technion was just outside the top 200 list last year. The university has improved in a number of areas, including its research reputation and impact, probably related to its profile being raised by partnership with a technology campus in New York.”
Rankings are based on 13 performance indicators, including teaching, research and international outlook.
The California Institute of Technology held on to its first place ranking. Three UK universities are in the top ten: Oxford second, Cambridge seventh and Imperial College London eighth. But the overall standard of UK universities has dropped as Bristol fell eight places to 74th, Leeds fell nine places to 142nd, and Birmingham is down 10 places to joint 158th.