Yale Academics ‘Astounded’ by Trip to Israel
Hanging Out for Peace

‘Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze and Jewish students (in Israel) understand that their job is to learn, not to fight each other.’

By Shula Rosen

A group of 25 faculty members told Newsweek they were “astounded” after their 5-day trip to Israel, and were impressed by the inclusivity and cooperation they witnessed at Israel’s universities.

The authors of the Newsweek editorial described the cooperation and harmony between Arab, Christian, Druze and Jewish students at various Israeli institutions of higher learning.

Edward H. Kaplan, Professor of Operations Research, Professor of Public Health, and Professor of Engineering and Eva Morris, Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Biomedical Engineering at Yale Unversity, describe how they were pleasantly surprised by what they saw.

They wrote,”Contrary to the apartheid charge leveled against Israel in general and Israeli academic institutions in particular, we saw precisely the opposite.”

“At Hebrew University, we received a presentation from two young female students, one a hijab-wearing Muslim and the other Jewish, just returned from reserve duty. The presentation ended with their heartfelt embrace,” they explained.

“Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze and Jewish students understand that their job is to learn, not to fight each other.”

The academics were also amazed by the resilience in higher educational institutions and society in general under the trying circumstances.

“The environment is challenging, yet the Israeli academic enterprise has proven breathtakingly resilient.”

“Imagine operating a university where a quarter to a third of students, staff, and faculty have been murdered, injured, taken hostage, or are on active military reserve service,” they explained.

“Imagine teaching in classrooms with both Arab students (some with family in Gaza or the West Bank) and Jewish students (many just returned from military service or with casualties among family and friends),” they added.

“Imagine trying to manage standard faculty promotion, review, and tenure processes in the face of boycotts and similar discrimination from hostile academics around the world.”

Contrary to the propaganda heard on US campuses, the academics talked to Israeli Arabs and found that many of them didn’t want to break away from Israel, but were seeking to thrive within Israeli society.

They also noted that the number of Arabs in Israeli medical schools greatly exceeded their proportion of the population.

The academics from Yale visited  Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Tel Aviv University.

In addition, they met with heads of Sapir college in Sderot which came under attack and Tel Hai Academic college which has been evacuated because of Hezbollah attacks.

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