Home / News, Videos & Publications / News / Current events /

Global Way Forward Campaign Rebuilding Israel’s South

Global Way Forward Campaign Rebuilding Israel’s South

April 12, 2024

Current events, Negev Development & Community Programs

Ben-Gurion University’s Soroka Medical center in Beer-Sheva helping the wounded October 7, 2023.

Jerusalem Post – Americans for Ben-Gurion University (A4BGU) has announced the launch of their “Way Forward,” campaign. A collaborative Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) $1 billion global fundraising initiative to build and strengthen Israel beginning with the south.

Since the October 7 attacks, this campaign has become more urgent. BGU is the primary employer in the South of Israel and is crucial to the economic vitality of the southern region. The BGU community was impacted more than other universities in Israel, with 111 people killed (including soldiers, students, and immediate relatives). Including 29 injured, eight missing or abducted, 1,000 displaced from their homes, and over 6,600 called to reserve duty, and hundreds still in active service.

Students and faculty members at the University helped families of IDF soldiers called for reserve duty by caring for their children and maintaining their homes. In addition the University dormitories were opened to families of casualties, evacuees, and army reservists. There were close to 3,000 treated at Soroka University Medical Center, the main teaching hospital affiliated with BGU, and Barzilai Medical Centers, and upwards of 200,000 Negev residents were displaced from their homes.

As of April, the campaign has raised $380 million from supporters from the University of North America, and from countries around the world. The donations have been provided from a variety of prominent philanthropists and foundations, including Sylvan Adams, Katja Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation, Ernest Scheller and many more.

Doug Seserman, CEO of A4BGU remarked, “On October 6th, it was already evident that the future of Israel is in the South and that BGU would drive that future. On October 7th, BGU’s community was disproportionately affected by the attacks. In the days that followed, the University began demonstrating just how vital it is to the remarkable resilience of the entire nation.” He also described the campaign as “historic” and said, “Diaspora supporters are rallying around Israel’s essential efforts to rebuild the South, with the University leading the way forward as both the epicenter of the region and the key to its recovery.”

“Over the past half century, we have accomplished the remarkable in transforming the desert into a center of research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. In the wake of the tragedy of October 7th, the dual calling of BGU — the fostering of cutting-edge research and building the Negev — is clearer than ever. We are proud to take a central role in continuing to build Israel’s future from the Negev,” concluded BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz.

Read More on Jerusalem Post>>