Sep 11, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

In an effort to attract international, Jewish and non-Jewish students to its campuses, Israel’s Council for Higher Education recently allocated $83 million over the next six years towards international student recruitment.

The idea?  To compete with universities abroad and to strengthen Israel’s image as a country of international academic excellence.

The Council also wants to help fight boycotts, and increase diplomatic, social, and economic ties with other countries.

In an article in The Times of Israel, Professor Yaffa Zilbershats, the Council’s chair said, “When you have people from different backgrounds you open yourself up to a variety of cultures and ways of thinking, and that enriches you.”  She added, “This openness will enrich those who come from abroad, but also those who are here.”

In Israel currently, just 1.4 percent of its student population is international.

Zilbershats said, “We are lagging behind the developed world on this.”

Why?  Infrastructure.  That’s where the funding comes in.  Currently, local schools in Israel lack the infrastructure to place, accept, and support international students. 

The goal?  To develop some of that infrastructure and bring the total number of international students in Israel to six percent within six years.

The Council has financial incentives in place for universities to offer more programs in English, training teachers to teach in English, and reaching out to international post-doctoral students. They’re also working on developing a mentorship program.

Learn more about studying in Israel.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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