University News

Despite airstrikes, Israel study abroad continues

By
Senior Staff Writer

Following a wave of air strikes in the Gaza Strip last week, Israeli universities where Brown undergraduates are currently abroad will maintain normal operations for now, according to Kendall Brostuen, director of the Office of International Programs. The students’ host universities are in close communication with Israeli security authorities, who are taking the necessary precautions under the advice of the Israel Defense Forces, Brostuen wrote in an email to The Herald.
“The universities assure us that all students are safe and accounted for,” Brostuen wrote.
In response to an ongoing campaign of rocket missiles launched by Palestinian military wing Hamas across southern Israel, the Israel Defense Forces have undertaken a large-scale military operation and renewed air strikes on Gaza Thursday night, according to Haaretz.com. The first of the IDF strikes Wednesday resulted in the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas. In the four days following the assassination, Israel’s anti-missile defense system intercepted 240 of the rockets launched into Gaza by Hamas, according to the Washington Post.
At Tel Aviv University, students had to use the bomb shelter near the dorms after three rockets were fired at the city, wrote Elana Wenger ’14.5, who is currently studying abroad at the university, in an email to The Herald. While students are not currently being evacuated and the program is continuing as usual, she wrote that she is considering withdrawing from the program early.
“I believe that in a matter of weeks, it may be too dangerous … for foreigners in Israel to leave the country,” she wrote. She added that she is currently working with her family to come up with the “safest, most comprehensive decision possible.”  
Chelsea Feuchs ’14 is currently enrolled at the University of Haifa, north of where the conflict has so far occurred. As of Saturday morning, everything was continuing as normal for international students, she wrote in an email to The Herald, “although that is obviously all subject to change at any point if we experience an attack or major security threat.”
She added that she hopes to remain abroad for the duration of the semester, but said, “I also prioritize my safety, and I know Brown does, too.” While the international school has not yet encountered any changes due to the rocket strikes, Feuchs wrote that her Israeli friends have been called into the reserves. Israel’s military is made up of everyday civilians as opposed to professional soldiers.
“Israel’s made it a very high priority to avoid civilian casualties,” said David Gordon ’13, spokesperson for Brown Students for Israel. The group’s president, Zach Ingber ’15, said members do not see Israel’s military operation “as an outward assertion of authority but as a protection of civilians and the fundamental right of self-defense.”
“The situation that Israel and the Palestinians are in now has to do with the inability of both parties to produce leadership since the assassination of Rabin,” Israel’s fifth prime minister, in 1995, said Omer Bartov, a professor of German studies and history who is currently on leave. “Neither side, for respective reasons, has been able to produce political leadership that is willing to look at a political compromise,” he said. “And in fact, I don’t think they’re capable of it.” He added that he believes the United States is the only entity capable of enforcing agreement on both sides.
During a protest led by Brown Students for Justice in Palestine Saturday, students held a large banner stating “Stand with Gaza,” as well as smaller signs to commemorate the 37 people who had so far been killed in Palestine by the air strikes.
Bartov said he agrees that there should be political protests, but the protests “should actually be directed at the American administration.” He added that one of the most useful things students can do is educate themselves as opposed to just expressing strong opinions.
“We want to see more people talking and less people shouting,” Gordon said.

  • Anonymous

    The BDH has succeeded again in publishing an article about a protest without talking to anyone who organized it or participated, or reading any literature, and basing their entire coverage on just walking by or (more likely) looking at pictures on Facebook. Are your reporters too terrified to talk to Left-leaning students or *gasp* community members to ask questions?!? This paper is an embarrassment to this university.

  • Anonymous

    great job at counting. there were 70 people in the protest, including a huge group of community members, that the BDH completely failed to mention at all

  • Esteban R

    Why Brown Students for Justice in Palestine is featured in the article, yet not reached for comment is beyond me. What a joke of journalism.

    And yes, I was there and there was definitely about 60-70 people.

  • Anonymous

    “one of the most useful things [BDH writers] can do is educate themselves as opposed to just expressing strong opinions.”

  • Solomon Swartz

    This was a balanced and appropriate article, and certainly not “a joke of journalism.”

    Personally attacking the author on the internet to intimidate and bully is not only childish, its disgraceful. I’d like to think that Brown students are erudite and open to discourse, but these comments are just another example of the closed-mindedness that has led to such divisive debate on the subject of Israel and the Palestinians on this campus.

    And to all of the “anonymous” posters, have some guts and show us who you really are.

  • Dara Illowsky

    The scope of this article is very clearly stated right in the title. This is not an article about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it’s about the safety of our peers in Israel with a brief, but fair nod to tensions among students and community members in Providence. If you are going to attack this article, please make sure you fully understand the author’s intentions before doing so rather than just jumping on the bandwagon of poorly informed outrage toward a situation that is far more complicated than most of the commenters on this article seem to understand. This is a well-written article. Great job, Ms. Silver.

    And just to cover my bases to avoid being misperceived as “Zionist scum” (and I implore future commenters to refrain from such insensitive, inflammatory language), I believe that a 2-state solution is the most fair, politically logical, and feasible option with the appropriate change in leadership, as Professor Bartov is quoted mentioning.

  • Anonymous

    Solomon Swartz is firmly against personal attacks. That’s why he calls the commentators below him “gutless.”

    • sfdgtsdfg

      Swartz said personal attacks against THE AUTHOR are gutless, not personal attacks in general.

  • Esteban Roncancio '14

    @Dara Illowsky, if “this is not an article about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, then why does Ms. Silver quote Brown Students for Israel on statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It seems that she purposely didn’t outreach to Brown Students for Justice in Palestine to get both sides of the argument–thus making this biased journalism (which in my opinion, is a joke).

  • Anonymous

    You are entitled to your opinions and I to mine. This is America and The Daily Penn a forum for free speech. It’s editors respect my right to express my opinions (for which I cannot thank them enough) just as they grant you your right to do the same. This is not Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or some other Muslim country where freedom of speech is either non-existent or strongly repressed. I can also post anonymously if that’s my wish just as you do.

    But let me be clear, let me state this upfront, and let me refute your ill-founded opinion that I hate Muslims for this is not a trivial accusation. I do NOT hate Muslims. But I do hate their religion. Muslims are, in fact, Islam’s first victims and are to be pitied for it. Islam crushes their ability to spread their wings. To create and be creative. To embrace differences and to embrace others for what they are and whom they are. Your accusation that I hate Muslims is both unfortunate and untrue. They are people just like me, but most have had their wings clipped.

    As I wrote earlier I am entitled to my opinions and you to yours. You tell us this conflict is not about Islam. I tell you it is. You tell us this conflict about the “application of human rights and international law” and I tell you it is about a religion, and its adherents, for whom “the application of human rights and international law” are mocked. Be it in Sudan, Syria, Somalia the “application of human rights and international law” are ignored. Be it in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Turkmenistan the “application of human rights and international law” are meaningless. Be it through shooting rockets during rush hour, blowing up buses filled with women and children, slitting babies throats and then naming streets and village squares for those who commit these crimes the “application of human rights and international laws” are a joke.

    Now it is your opinion that Islam plays no role in this conflict. That Jihad plays no role in this conflict. That the Islamic tenet of building a world-wide Ummah plays no role in this conflict. You are entitled to this opinion. I grant you that even if it flies in the face of reality.

    Hamas’ leaders and Imams quote the Quran in justifying their Jihad against Israel. So do Egyptian Imams, as well as Jordanian, Saudi, Sudanese and Bahraini Imams. You choose to ignore this as if irrelevant. I do not.

    Egyptian media and schools depict Jews as “sons of apes and pigs” (a direct quote from the Quran), as does the Iranian media and schools, as do those in Pakistan, Malaysia, Yemen and elsewhere. Now you choose to believe this has no bearing on the conflict. You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.

    Mohammed and his men beheaded more than 600 Jewish men and boys when they conquered the village of Qurayza. The Jews refused to accept Mohammed as their prophet and Islam as their religion and paid their lives for doing so. This set the stage for today’s conflict. You may call this hyperbole and ridiculous even though I can link hundreds of videos, Muslim newspaper articles and the like referencing this history as an example for what Muslims must do today. These are their words and I am just the parrot. A parrot with unclipped wings.