Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Palestinian Students at Israeli Universities

The Committee of Heads of Universities in Israel has sent a sharp letter to Minister of Defense Barak disputing a document put out by his ministry specifying the conditions in which Palestinian students may study in Israel. (The article is in Hebrew. Here is a PDF of the letter itself). The need for the limitations arose after the court struck down a more general decree forbidding Palestinians to study at Israeli universities; the court put academic freedom above security considerations. (Can Iranian and North Korean students freely study at American universities? I have no idea).

The heads of the universities are supported by the Minister of Education, so the argument is between two government ministries; actually, given the hierarchy of government ministries, the argument is between minister number 1 from Labor vs. minister number 2 from Labor.

The issues a society argues over can tell you a lot about the larger picture. In this case, for example, note that the Palestinian students under discussion are not Israeli citizens who happen to be Arabs: those can study whatever they want, obviously, if their grades are good enough. The question is if Israeli universities must offer training to Palestinians who are effectively at war with us, in fields that will give them improved tools to damage us; and the second question, irrespective of the field of study, is if Palestinians who otherwise would not be allowed into Israel, must be let in merely because they've managed to be accepted to a university.

I'm not certain which side of this argument I'm on. Somewhere in the middle, probably: there certainly need to be categories and limitations: studying at an Israeli university isn't a fundamental human right (Someone very close to me was recently rejected); on the other hand, ensuring that our security fellows don't go overboard is a reasonable demand.


Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Just to put things in their proper perspective, let's quote from the Jerusalem Post:

"Since the beginning of the second intifada in September 2000, the IDF has prohibited students from the Gaza Strip from studying in the West Bank and Palestinian students from studying in Israel."

While it is commendable that there's a debate in Israel about allowing the people it occupies to study in its universities, the fact is that they haven't been allowed to do so since 2001; and, moreover, Israel is forbidding one-third of all Palestinians from studying in their own universities -- a behavior unique to "the most moral country in the world".

I don't know if the US allows Iranian students to study in Harvard. I do know it doesn't forbid someone from Mosul from studying in Baghdad.

Anonymous said...


Academia, such as it is, is now involved in its own agendas. Where getting credentialed costs you more than buying a house.

And, it all may be running out of steam, anyway.

But on what note?

By treating their universities as Jew Zones? No one else is invited?

Used to be Jews were known as the People of BOOKS. Where (just like the Chinese), young kids were taught to take book learning seriously.

Israel is now suffering MORE from her own inbred religious characters. Substituting a knowledge of the world, with the backwards books of long ago. Sans updates. Too sad for words.

Oh, Ibramhim, in AMerica, Iranian, Irakian, Syrian, Indian, Sri Lankan ... all sorts of people from other ethnic groups not only go to our schools. When they achieve a high status, they PRACTICE. They're not shunned.

And, I've read that there are arab doctors in Israel. They are not shunned, either. As a matter of fact, Arik Sharon wouldn't be a vegetable, today, if he had an arab doctor. Instead of a Jewish religious peddler of rat poison.

Ultimately? Arik listened. Too bad. From some of these experts, the best you can do is use your legs to run away.

What happens over time?

Since it's now clear the Israeli government can't do a thing to its own terrorists? And, their own terrorists are weilding Torah scrolls, no less? How did we get to such a state?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Félix Umansky and José Cohen, the brain surgeons who operated on Sharon, are both from my city. I know them personally and can certify they're first-rate physicians. If the man is a vegetable is due to some other problem, and I doubt he would have been saved by an Arab, even from my city.