Aren Maeir
Concerned Israeli and archaeologist at Bar-Ilan University

Don’t Donate to and Study at Unsafe Universities

View of the destruction wrought by HAMAS at Kibbutz Be'eri

Following the brutal and barbaric massacres of October 7th, 2023, by HAMAS terrorists, and Israel’s subsequent military response, a harsh and frightening reality has emerged in countries around the world – and most disturbingly in western democratic countries in North America and Europe. Time and again, large demonstrations that are not only anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian, but repeatedly, explicitly or implicitly, there are calls for the destruction of Israel and for the murder of Jews. Not only do they deny Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorists, they in fact deny Israel’s very right to exist, and in many cases, call for the outright elimination of Israelis and Jews.

What is most jarring and hard to accept is the extensive anti-Israel/pro-HAMAS demonstrations on many university campuses in western countries, often paired with actual anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish students on these campuses. More so, time and again we see that not only do the campus authorities enable these demonstrations and anti-Semitic activities, they do little or nothing to stop them, and in many cases, even to condemn them.

Many examples of this have been reported, at highly rated institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. At Hunter College, the Jewish students were attacked by a pro-Palestinian mob and fearing their safety, had to barricade themselves in the library!

Unfortunately, only in sporadic cases did university managements explicitly condemn the pro-HAMAS demonstrations, and even worse, work to effectively to immediately stop the anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish students. All over North America, Jewish students report that they feel unsafe and physically endangered on a daily basis!

In some cases, university managements acted insufficiently, apparently afraid to take a stand. This cannot be accepted. Those students who support HAMAS – support an organization that is defined as a terrorist organization by the US government (and other western governments). This in itself warrants a student’s expulsion from university, and perhaps even legal action. More so, if pro-Palestinian students are threatening Jewish students – they should be expelled and prosecuted! It is time for moral clarity to show its face – and for institutions of higher learning and research to show that they stand on the right side of morality and history.

If though many of these institutions cannot do what is morally acceptable, and clearly condemn and stop those supporting terrorism and harassing Jewish students, I believe it is time to act, as some have already done.

Philanthropists who donate to such institutions should stop giving the hard earned money. Similarly, parents of students, whether Jewish or simply those who can differentiate between good and evil, should think twice about sending their children to such institutions. If parents spend large amounts of money on their children’s education, they should make sure to send them to institutions where they will be safe – and where they will have morally acceptable educational experiences.

It is time to put your foot down. Do not support despicable behaviors, and even more so, the lack of moral backbone.

What would I do? I can suggest several things.

To start with, there are many institutions in the US that have come out clearly against those supporting HAMAS and against anti-Semitism on their campuses. Some of these institutions even published a joint petition. Look into these schools. To this I would add that here are excellent universities in Israel. Once the current war is over, look into these Israel universities for your (or your children’s) college education.

Most importantly, as money talks, I highly recommend that philanthropists reconsider their donations. Donate to institutions that have a moral backbone in the US. Even better, think of supporting institutions of higher education in Israel. Following the current war, and the billions of dollars it will cost, all of Israel, including our universities, will need extra funding to rebuild and expand programs, provide stipends to students who served in the army, or to those who suffered from the barbaric attacks by HAMAS. Donating to Israeli institutions would be the best way to show HAMAS that not only did they not succeed, and hopefully, they will be destroyed, but after coming out of the war, Israel will be stronger!

So let your tuitions and your donations count – and help bring out moral clarity! Make sure they go to institutions that are on the right side of history and morality.

About the Author
Aren Maeir (b. 1958), after serving in the IDF as an officer in an elite unit, studied archaeology and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed his PhD in archaeology (1997; summa cum laude). From 1991 he has taught archaeology at Bar-Ilan University (in Ramat-Gan, Israel), at the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology. He serves as the Head of the Institute of Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, directs the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project (, co-directs the Minerva Center for the Relations between Israel and Aram in Biblical Times (, directs the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies (Bar-Ilan University), co-edits the Israel Exploration Journal, and is a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute. His primary research and central field work is the archaeological project at Tell es-Safi/Gath, the study of a major site in Israel (ongoing for the last 27 years), is one of the largest and well-known excavations of Bronze and Iron Age cultures conducted in recent decades in Israel. Utilizing broad and groundbreaking multidisciplinary research and collaborations with scholars from Israel and abroad, he trail-blazed transformative research on many topics. His research serves as a model for collaborative, interdisciplinary studies, enabling new insights and paradigm changing results. In particular, changes in the interpretative narrative on the Philistines and their culture, stand out. His research touches upon broad issues, bridging between disciplines and topics, cultures and periods. He has published some 20 volumes and over 330 papers, and has received more than $9M in research funding from Israeli and foreign competitive granting agencies.
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