Monday, August 11, 2014
AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst has suspended its Education Abroad programs in Israel for students during the fall semester.
The decision was announced this week by the university’s International Risk Management Committee which considered “input and information from multiple sources, including insurance and risk management consultants and the U.S. Department of State, which recommends the deferral of any non-essential travel. The committee also considered the recent evacuation of UMass Amherst students and faculty from Israel,” according to a statement issued by the university.
Earlier this summer, UMass evacuated six students and one faculty member participating in a program in Israel.
The decision announced Wednesday was prompted by one student who was to begin a program at Tel Aviv University next week. UMass said the fall semester cancellation will affect one other student, who was scheduled to join a program at Bar Ilan University in October.
UMass will reimburse those students for any non-recoverable expenses they incurred in preparing for the programs in Israel, including airfare and application and visa fees. And the dean of students office has offered assistance in helping them find alternative study abroad programs or enrollment in courses at UMass for the fall semester.
The Department of State issued a statement July 21 which “recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip.”
Rocket attacks resumed Saturday after a temporary truce ended a day earlier. The war escalated after three Israeli teens were killed in the West Bank during June. More than 1,900 Gaza civilians have been killed and nearly 10,000 wounded as the result of rocket attacks.