The uncertain endeavors of UC students wanting to study in Israel may soon ease. A groundswell is building, with the student governments at UC campuses in Berkeley, Davis, San Diego and, most recently, Los Angeles passing resolutions urging the university to reinstate the study abroad program.
Ehud Barak has the hardest job in Israel these days, but Itai Eiges' is no walk in the park, either. As director general of the ministry of tourism, Eiges is in charge of promoting an industry that has been crippled by the recent conflict. Tour operators are reporting a 50 percent cancellation rate, the U.S. State Department has instituted a travel warning on the Middle East, and Britain has levied one against Jerusalem. It is the worst drop-off in travel in decades.
About two weeks ago, I attended a three-day conference in Jerusalem along with more than 3,400 Americans and Canadians and 2,000 Israelis. We North Americans had all made the journey despite State Department warnings that travel in the area was unsafe, in part because of an expected confrontation with Iraq. But when we looked to see how Jerusalemites were reacting to our presence, we discovered that, in general, the Israeli world outside our convention center all but ignored us.