Rutgers U. Cancels Study-Abroad Programs in Israel

January 16, 2009

Fighting in the Gaza Strip has led at least one American university to suspend its study-abroad programs in Israel. Rutgers University officials said they would not send students to study at three Israeli institutions, citing safety concerns.

The decision was made just a week before the start of the semester, on January 20, reports the New Jersey Jewish News.

Barry Qualls, vice president for undergraduate education, wrote in a letter to affected students that “the instability in the Gaza area, now compounded by the missiles coming into northern Israel from Lebanon, indicate that the safety of our students cannot be reasonably assured.”

Rutgers and other American colleges had most recently suspended some programs in Israel during the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006.

Nine students at Rutgers had been scheduled to study at three institutions: Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the University of Haifa. Several students, however, still plan to study in Israel, independent of Rutgers, the newspaper reports. —Karin Fischer