Trip Blog: Day Two

January 7th, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Cathy Bezozo, AJC’s National Associate Director of Development, is in Israel with AJC’s Project Interchange Seminar for University Provosts and is blogging about the delegation’s experiences.

The provosts enjoyed a wonderful day beginning with a very warm reception provided by the Rector, Vice President, Vice Dean of the Recanti Business School, and Director of the International School at Tel Aviv University. The university provosts and deans learned about TAU, its academic reputation in the global community, and the comprehensive nature of its degree programs.

After visiting PrimeSense yesterday, the Project Interchange delegates were not surprised to hear that technological innovations such as the flash drive, Internet Firewall, Skype and the Iron Dome were developed based upon research undertaken at TAU.

As a special treat, participants were treated to a violin piece performed by a TAU international student from Australia who explained how welcomed he has been made to feel at TAU and in Israel.

Professor Asher Susser led a fascinating discussion of how the Arab Spring should be viewed - through the lens of a failing process of modernization. He discussed issues in Arab nations of a deficiency in gender equality, the lack of political freedom, and the lack of education.  Of note, he asserted that unlike Europe, people in the Middle East define themselves by their religion rather than by their country or language spoken. He mentioned that the biggest powers in the Middle East are all non-Arab states: Turkey, Iran and Israel.

Professor Susser suggested that because Israel is relatively stable, it should help shape this state for the next generation rather than wait for Arabs to do what we want and hope for them to do. Israel should be shaped into a nation state of the Jewish people. Susser also discussed his opinion that a negotiated settlement with Palestine is needed and it would be done in collaboration with the US. He stated that a two-state dynamic is needed.

The delegates were treated to a performance at Nalaga’at Center, a cultural and training center for deaf, blind, and deaf-blind individuals. The actors in “Not by Bread Alone” were all members of a deaf-blind ensemble.

A walking tour of Jaffa ended the day, as the red-orange sun set beautifully on the Mediterranean Sea.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Project Interchange.