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Jewish groups want more Israel scholarship

A group of 31 Jewish organizations pledged to work for more scholarship on Israel at American universities. At a daylong summit Tuesday in New York, the 31 members of the Israel on Campus Coalition agreed to make expansion of Israel studies a priority. Speakers noted the importance of pro-Israel efforts on campus, their impact on shaping the attitudes of future leaders and the long-term effect of learning about Israel in the classroom as opposed to through advocacy. Mitchell Bard, who recently authored a study on opportunities for Israel study at 386 American universities, noted that things were improving, but there remained a long way to go. Bard reported that more than half of American universities offer no courses on Israel, and that the worst offenders are Ivy League and other top-ranked schools. A quarter of schools ranked in the top 20 had no Israel courses, he said, and 45 percent offered just one. David Harris, the coalition’s executive director, noted that redressing the situation would take years.