Shalom Life | October 21, 2014

Secret Israeli-Arab Study Program Sparks Anger

Program had been ongoing for 12 years.

By: Bev Spritzer

Published: October 26th, 2010 in News » World

Secret Israeli-Arab Study Program Sparks Anger

For 12 years, Israeli students have been joining their Arab counterparts worldwide in a joint program for medical studies, it has been revealed, and a Jordanian organization is now referring to the project as “Zionistic brainwashing.”

Understandably, the program has been kept secret.

The first to go public about the project was the BBC network in Arabic, subsequently angering many members of the Arab community worldwide. In a recent news report, it was said that this project has been operating for over a decade, and is perceived by many as “an academic normalization between Israel and the Arab world.”

The project is called The NIR School of the Heart, and was founded by a business woman named Dr. Judith Richter. The school opened in 1998, allowing Israeli high school students to meet with other students from different Arab countries and acquire medical knowledge, like learning about heart function and blood vessels.

According to ynet, the program involves lectures and workshops given by scientists and doctors from leading universities across the world.

Each year, close to 30 Israeli students attend the two-year program, where they meet with other students every few months in Israel, Jordan or Europe, studying and spending time together.

Richter, who has already invested millions of dollars in the venture, told the BBC that when people learn to respect each other's differences, it contributes to solving bigger issues and cross-cultural dilemmas.

Yuval Hilerowicz, a former student at the NIR School, continued on to further his study in medicine, currently serving as a doctor with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

In an interview he stated that while at the school, Israeli and Palestinian students conducted negotiation simulations."We did not agree on everything," he said. "Unlike what you might think signing a peace treaty is not an easy task".

The simulation results, it turns out, were not that different from those of real life talks. Hilerowicz said that at the end, neither side could agree on the core issues, including the future of Jerusalem, Middle East borders, refugees and the Golan Heights.

Interestingly, however, he said that despite not seeing eye-to-eye on many issues, some of the students continue to remain friends to this day.

Not everyone is pleased about the project, however. In fact, it has elicited some controversy among members of the Jordanian Anti-Normalization Committee.

The organization is fighting to prevent any kind of relationship between Jordan and Israel. Bahadi Rafiyah, chairman of the organization, denounced the school charging that the intent of the project is not science or education as it claims, but rather a ruse to get people to “join hands and coexist.”

Rafiyah added that the perceived goal of this program is to integrate "the Zionist enemy" and "reinforce the stance that that Israel is a well known fact in Palestine.” He also stated that academic normalization with Israel is very dangerous, as he sees it as an attempt to conduct a "Zionistic brainwash.”

The overriding concern of those who disagree with the project, then, appears to be that any attempt to collaborate and forge connections between Israelis and Arabs is really just a cover for brainwashing.

It is noteworthy, however, that the project, like a microcosm of the Middle East proper, at least succeeded in maintaining healthy relationships, even where they failed to see eye-to-eye politically.

Ultra Orthodox Jews Vandalize Women of the Wall Ads in Jerusalem Ultra Orthodox Jews Vandalize Women of the Wall Ads in Jerusalem Trending2,000-Year-Old Monument Bearing anti-Semitic Emperor's Name Unearthed in Jerusalem 2,000-Year-Old Monument Bearing anti-Semitic Emperor's Name Unearthed in Jerusalem TrendingRussian Social Media Site Hosts 'Miss Hitler' Beauty Pageant Russian Social Media Site Hosts 'Miss Hitler' Beauty Pageant Trending
 

Shalom, Dallas: A Jewish Culture Guide

October 21, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Shalom, Dallas: A Jewish Culture Guide

Dallas has one of Texas' largest Jewish populations, with approximately 45,000 residents.

Read More

The Maze Runner, Waze Get Spoofed in 'The Waze Runner' [VIDEO]

October 21, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
The Maze Runner, Waze Get Spoofed in 'The Waze Runner' [VIDEO]

Check out this hilarious mash-up parody of the new sci-fi flick and the Israeli navigation service

Read More

Israeli Professors Look to 'Turn Off' the Aging Process

October 21, 2014 | By Abigail Klein Leichman
Israeli Professors Look to 'Turn Off' the Aging Process

TAU professors have developed a computer algorithm that predicts which genes can be "turned off" to create the same anti-aging effect as calorie restriction

Read More

Ultra Orthodox Jews Vandalize Women of the Wall Ads in Jerusalem

October 21, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Ultra Orthodox Jews Vandalize Women of the Wall Ads in Jerusalem

Bus ads depicting girls in prayer shawls and encouraging bat mitzvah's at the Kotel have been severely damaged

Read More

Report: ISIS Making $800 Million A Year in Oil Sales

October 21, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Report: ISIS Making $800 Million A Year in Oil Sales

New research from information analysts claims the terrorist group is making $2 million a day in black market oil sales

Read More

2,000-Year-Old Monument Bearing anti-Semitic Emperor's Name Unearthed in Jerusalem

October 21, 2014 | By Itay Blumental
2,000-Year-Old Monument Bearing anti-Semitic Emperor's Name Unearthed in Jerusalem

Stone with Latin inscription, dedicated to emperor known for his cruelty to Jews, uncovered north of Damascus Gate

Read More

Sleater-Kinney is Back Together After 10 Years

October 20, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sleater-Kinney is Back Together After 10 Years

The band is releasing their first album since 2005 and going on tour.

Read More

The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

October 20, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
The Nosh Pit: Vegan Soups and Stews

What's better than comforting and healthy soups and stews on these damp and rainy days?

Read More

More Headlines