Updated: Mar 1
Wednesday was our first day of “classes” here in Israel. I say “classes” because they’re not really classes, more like one-time lectures. We are studying in the Interdisciplinary Center, or IDC in Herzliya. The university reminds me of what I would imagine a college in Southern California is like. Almost everything is open (no roof!) other than a few of the academic buildings, since the weather always seems to be beautiful here. The campus is very relaxed and upbeat.
We had three lectures today, all of which were very interesting. The first was Political Issues in Israel: An Overview with professor Dave Nachmias. Professor Nachmias was awesome. He was very sweet and funny; he picked on Liz a lot for being from Iowa. And he gave us a really good overview of some of the critical political issues that Israel faces today.
The second lecture was titled The Crisis of Governance in the Middle East and Its Implications for International Security with Dr. Amichai Magen. Dr. Magen was amazing! We are contemplating steeling him to bring back to the Maxwell School with us next year. He talked a lot about the problem with the borders between countries in the Middle East, the conflict in Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula and how Israel and the U.S. has been affected by all of these things. It was also interesting to see how President Obama not acting on his “red line” statement in Syria affected relations and views of the U.S. in the Middle East.
Our last lecture of the day was on The Arab Minority in Israel with Dr. Dalia Fadila. Dr. Fadila is an Arab, Muslim, Palestinian woman living in Israel. She talked a lot about the crisis of identity that a lot of people in similar situations as her suffer from and how both the Israeli government and the Arab factions in Israel don’t really act on it. It was great to get to see both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict as it continues today and she had an amazing personal narrative.