Knowledge Stays Neutral in Mideast

The pursuit of knowledge can overcome political boundaries. Bernard Spolsky, the chairman of the English department at Bar-Ilan University, recently received a letter from a graduate student who needed help finding materials for her dissertation in applied linguistics.

The student was Zhara’s Nasit Talib – from Basra University in Iraq.

“I am sorry for annoying you with a subject that might not be of your interest,” she wrote. “Forgive me! Believe me that your comments and opinions will be of great value for me.”

Iraq has no ties with Israel, and the letter was sent from Jordan.

Spolsky said, “I have published in this field, and she probably thought I could help.” He added that he planned to write the student a letter to offer some feedback on her topic.

Spolsky’s wife, Ellen, who is also a professor, said she had the needed materials and had prepared a package.

“We were glad to help,” she said.

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