In the realm of US academia, the troubling surge of antisemitic incidents on college campuses has not gone unnoticed. Disturbing calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, coupled with shocking endorsements of the Hamas terrorist group, have left us appalled.
The recent hearings on antisemitism in the Congressional Committee, featuring insights from the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn, have gripped Israeli headlines and have ignited discussions among academic leaders here.
The Anti-Defamation League, in collaboration with Hillel International and College Pulse, conducted a comprehensive survey to gauge the current campus climate regarding antisemitism. The results underscore a distressing reality for Jewish students, with 73% reporting experiences with or witnessing various forms of antisemitism since the beginning of the academic year.
Following the Hamas terror attacks on October 7, Jewish students who openly identified as such saw a significant decline from almost two-thirds to just over one-third. The majority of students feel that administrations have not adequately addressed anti-Jewish prejudice. The report reveals that more than a third of Jewish college students are uncomfortable speaking out about antisemitism or expressing their views on Israel. Additionally, less than half of the students feel physically safe on campus.
The findings are sobering, confirming the suspicions we’ve harbored about the extent of the problem. It prompts us to consider what Israeli academia can offer as a countermeasure to the challenges faced by Jewish students globally. While fear tactics are not the solution, we can proudly present academic excellence and the opportunity to study in Israel, with numerous undergraduate and graduate programs available in English.
Why Jews with Zionist values should consider Israeli academia
It’s reasonable to assume that a similar survey of international students on our campuses would yield different results regarding administration attitudes, freedom of expression, safety, and overall comfort. I’m not advocating fear-based tactics to attract high school graduates or undergraduates, but I firmly believe that Jewish individuals with basic Zionist values seeking a welcoming and supportive environment should strongly consider studying here.
For over two decades, I’ve had the privilege of heading the Raphael Recanati International School, welcoming 2,400 students from over 90 countries. Our campus, reminiscent of a small New England University, fosters an atmosphere of numerous extracurricular activities, with an ethos that sees students as our partners. There’s no exclusive faculty club; professors dine alongside students.
I’ve witnessed our graduates secure employment in Israel and worldwide across various sectors. Whether in finance, entrepreneurship, hi-tech, civil service, communications, marketing, psychology, brain research, or contributing to security studies, they’ve excelled. Many have gained admission to top global universities for graduate and doctoral studies.
I, along with the dedicated team at the Raphael Recanati International School, am here in person to extend a warm welcome to anyone eager to join our community.
The writer is vice president for external relations and head of the Raphael Recanati International School.
Source: The Jerusalem Post