Israel does not have any other advantage in the world but its human resources; investing in education must be the country’s highest priority. Per capita, Israel is No. 1 country in the world in the number of Nobel Prize winners, excluding Nobel Peace Prize recipients.
The Southern California-Israel Chamber of Commerce (SCICC) (http://www.scicc.biz/) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering bilateral business, trade and investment opportunities between Southern California and Israel. Jacob Segal who heads SCICC works inexorably to broker business, capital and opportunities and act as a connecting bridge between Israel and Southern California and beyond.
This week, at the Mark for Events in Los Angeles, SCICC, in collaboration with Marvin Markowitz, the owner of the Mark for Events, Yefet Ozery, Executive Director, and Naomi Western, Director West Coast Region of American Society of the University of Haifa (ASUH) hosted Amos Shapira, Haifa university President. The breakfast meeting purpose was to meet and greet Mr. Shapira, the former CEO of EL AL and Cellcom, Israel’s leading cellular provider and other impressive positions who has joined the academia and has been serving as Haifa University President for one year. For Mr. Shapira education is Israel’s only guaranteed resource.
Haifa university, a fairly new university to the north of Israel, is looking to increase its financial and other aspects’ support base. Mr. Shapira appeal is based on Israel’s education future; his university has two flagship departments: the 9 years old Marine Science faculty, which he seeks to develop to be the best such faculty in the world and, based on its location and position, he sees defending Israel’s north his university’s strategic mission.
Mr. Shapira who joined the university ranks because he wants a strong Israel has touched on several issues.
Israel’s western border does not end at its lovely beaches, rather it extends 200 miles west of them. While scientists know much about other planets the sea remains an enigma to them. The sea is the future of Israel and the world and the Marine Science research covers biology, ecology, archeology, geology, minerals, energy, food and maritime strategy of the sea. Such faculty can make huge difference in the world.
It is worth mentioning that Haifa university has a unique composition of 4,500 Arab students who make up 22% of the total attending students. The institute is proud of its coexistence demonstration as much as it is proud of its many IDF brass alumni.
What Haifa university has to work on is its image. The Arab students on its campus are known to be radicalized; they have no fear to march with Hamas flags on campus, walk out in protest during a ceremony when the state’s national anthem, Ha’tikvah, is sag and march to protest on Israel’s independence day, which they call the “Nakba Day.” Good citizens do not behave this way no matter how far they think democracy goes.
Though SCICC is a-political organization, the attendees got a taste of the feisty Maj. General (Ret.) Amihai “Ami” Ayalon, one of the recipients of Israel’s Medal of Valor for his participation in Operation Bulmus 6, also known as the Green Island Raid on the night of July 19, 1969, the former commander-in-chief and Israel’s Navy, the previous head of Israel’s Secret Service and a former member of the Knesset for the Labor Party. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ami_Ayalon). Recently Mr. Ayalon was featured on the Oscar-nominated movie “The Gatekeepers.”
Mr. Ayalon’s topic was, Israeli Perspective-40 years after the Yom Kippur War, another article for another time.
Haifa university maybe a hub for diversity and shlom bayit-co-existence with the Arabs but it has to clean its act. Till its Arab students learn to have respect for the country in which they chose to be citizens and end collaboration with the enemy of the Jews, Haifa university will struggle to raise the funds it needs to build its healthy philanthropy and support base.
Israel has many supporters – Jews and non-Jews alike who will rise for the occasion. My advice to Haifa university ranks, take a heed.