NEW YORK (JTA) — Jerusalem’s Shalem Center said it has received a $12.5 million challenge grant in its effort to establish what the center is billing as Israel’s first liberal arts college.
The gift, from the New York-based Tikvah Fund, will match other donations during the college’s first four years up to $12.5 million.
The center, which announced the gift Tuesday, said its application to Israel’s Council for Higher Education for accreditation of Shalem College is pending and that it expects the school to open in the fall of 2012.
Shalem College initially will offer two majors: an interdisciplinary program in philosophy and Jewish thought, and a course of study in Middle East and Islamic studies. Middle East scholar Martin Kramer is the college’s president-designate.
Since its founding in 1994, the right-leaning Shalem Center has been a high-profile intellectual presence in Israel. It publishes a journal in English and Hebrew and translates works of Western political thought into Hebrew. A number of prominent Israeli thinkers, many of them American-born, have been affiliated with the center as scholars and key staff members.
The Tikvah Fund has been a major funder of the center’s work.