In an admirable response to the challenges posed by the ongoing conflict, Bar-Ilan University has set a remarkable example of solidarity and support for its community. The university has taken a significant step by distributing NIS 13 million in scholarships to approximately 2,700 students who have been directly affected by the war, demonstrating a profound commitment to its student body.
This initiative comes in the wake of the tragic events of October 7, when Hamas terrorists carried out a horrific massacre. Following these events, a substantial number of Bar-Ilan students, about 2,500, were called up for reserve duty, while around 200 were compelled to evacuate their homes. This situation not only disrupted their academic pursuits but also imposed financial and emotional burdens on these students.
Recognizing the need for immediate action, Bar-Ilan University promptly established an emergency fund aimed at supporting its student reservists. Through a crowdfunding campaign that encouraged participation from students, employees, and alumni, the university successfully raised approximately NIS 20 million from donors and supporters within Israel and globally.
The scholarships, ranging from NIS 1,000 to 6,000 per student, are part of the university’s comprehensive ‘Academic Vest’ plan. This plan is a multi-faceted approach that includes academic exemptions, course credits, personal mentoring, and access to recorded lectures, tailored to address the specific needs of those affected by the conflict. As explained by Bar-Ilan University Deputy President and CEO Zohar Yinon, this plan demanded an unprecedented level of preparation and financial reallocation, reflecting the university’s dedication to its community’s wellbeing.
The diversity and extent of the student reservists’ involvement are noteworthy. Notably, 23% of these reservists are female, with half of them having served for more than 30 days. The faculties most impacted include the Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, the School of Business Administration, and the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology.
Bar-Ilan University’s response to the conflict underscores the values of community, support, and resilience that are deeply ingrained in Israeli society. The university’s commitment to its students during these challenging times is a testament to the spirit of unity and strength that characterizes the State of Israel. As these students serve their country, Bar-Ilan stands by them, ensuring that their academic and personal needs are met, embodying the nation’s dedication to education, compassion, and unwavering support for its people.