Traveling to the Middle East can in fact be safe

To the Editor:

In yesterday’s article “Yale limits travel abroad,” students voiced frustration and disappointment over the travel restrictions to the Middle East. The article did not, however, report on the large number of student choosing to travel there this summer despite the travel restrictions, particularly students traveling to Israel.

Working exhaustively to find alternative sources of funding, these students have weighed the safety concerns and decided that they do not overshadow the immense benefit of spending a summer in Israel.

As arguably the most open society in the Middle East, Israel offers unparalleled opportunities for summer exploration. Israel’s cutting-edge bio-tech industry provides for unique medical research positions. It is the only country in the region that fosters language study in two languages — both Hebrew and Arabic. Israel is also home to three of the world’s major religions and in turn, is ripe for the study of and interaction with a wide spectrum of people.

As someone who spent the year in Israel last year, I understand the University’s fear of placing students in danger’s way, even as indirectly as their support would do this. However, my experience in the region has taught me to look beyond international headlines to see that life does go on for the citizens in the Middle East, and that the proper precautions can ensure a safe — and invaluable — learning experience.

Zvika Krieger ’06

April 21, 2003

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