University of Pennsylvania Delegation Visits BGU
January 9, 2024
Visit of Delegation from the University of Pennsylvania
The Jewish Press — Dozens of senior members of faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, including chaired professors, return home after a three-day solidarity mission facilitated by tour operator Israel Destination – Yaad Yisrael. It was the first Ivy League faculty solidarity mission to Israel since the recent congressional hearing on antisemitism on college campuses and the first since the Hamas massacre on October 7.
Peter Decherney, Edmund and Louise Kahn Term Professor of the Humanities and co-organizer of the mission said: “I was truly surprised to see how much our visit meant to our Israeli colleagues and by my own overwhelming emotional response to hearing from Israelis firsthand. I hope that our visit will inspire more university communities to move past divisive cultures and come themselves.”
The delegation’s visit comes against the backdrop of the resignation of Elizabeth Magill, the president of the University of Pennsylvania about a month ago, and yesterday’s resignation of Claudine Gay, the president of Harvard University, following their testimony at a congressional hearing that condemning the calling for the killing of Jews was “context dependent.”
The delegation was hosted by the Rector of the University, Professor Chaim Hames, together with the Vice President for Global Engagement, Prof. Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, and the Head of the Department of Middle East Studies, Prof. Relli Schechter.
The visit included a tour of the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva, a meeting with dozens of senior faculty members, and an overview of how the University was coping in the wake of the October 7th massacre and the ongoing Iron Swords War, as well as the complexity of opening the academic year when thousands of students and faculty are in the reserves or refugees.
The two universities expressed a desire to strengthen their academic ties and scientific collaborations.