A Message From Hebrew University President Menahem-Ben Sasson

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November 18, 2012

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Dearest Friends,

Israel once again faces difficult times - and it is at times like these that we are thankful for the support and good wishes of our friends around the world. We greatly appreciate all the many expressions of friendship that we have received from so many of you; it is truly heartwarming.

As you are all aware, the State of Israel has engaged in a mission to secure and bring quiet to its southern region, which has been under ongoing fire for some time. The conflict has now spread from Sderot and the surrounding area to Beer Sheva, Ashdod and Ashlekon; even those in the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas have not been immune and have had to take cover as sirens notify us of imminent threats.

Many of our students, staff and faculty have been called up to reserve duty and more may be called up in the coming days. I know that you join me in hoping that they are safe.

The University has taken steps to ensure the safety of those on its campuses, provide shelter to those living in the most vulnerable and dangerous areas, and ensure support for those on reserve duty once they return to their studies. The measures we are taking include:

  • We have invited students from the south of the country who live in University dormitories to host their families on our campuses.
  • Students called up to reserve duty will receive special academic support, including photocopies of materials, catch-up tutoring on missed lectures, special extensions on exam dates etc.
  • The University Counseling services stand ready to assist all students as needed.
  • A website designed to help children deal with emergency situations is being made widely available.

I have requested that all student services be prepared for an increase in demand for assistance, both in dealing with the current conflict and with its aftermath, once student reservists return to campus.

Throughout this period, the academic community will continue in its teaching and research activities as long as the situation allows. As we all understand, the strength of a society is determined not by military prowess, but by its research and development, the creativity of its members, and by the way it cares for those for whom it is responsible.

We all pray that this conflict will be speedily resolved with minimal casualties.

Yours,

Menahem Ben-Sasson

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President

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