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AABGU Establishes $1 Million "Wartime Assistance for Students" Fund

NEW YORK -- With as many as 1,000 Ben-Gurion University of the Negev students, faculty and staff deployed both in and around the Gaza Strip, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) established a “Wartime Assistance for Students” fund to assist those now serving in combat.

Established at the request of the University’s president, the fund will provide special scholarship assistance for students who are unable to work this summer and earn the income necessary to cover their tuition and expenses. Many students are married with young children.

“BGU students serve in combat units in larger numbers than any other Israeli university,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president of AABGU. “We do not know when this conflict will end, and we need to make sure that these students do not return in dire straits with all that they have already had to bear putting their lives on the line to keep Israel safe.”

Due to the daily influx of rockets, BGU has been closed for two weeks. According to one BGU professor, “Beer-Sheva is a mess, with continuous rockets all over. BGU is safe and well sheltered, but the problem is on route -- I several times had to lie on the road with my hands over my head as the only protection.

"People from work who live in the city are fed up – most don’t have shelters, so they sleep with their kids in the stairway, which is protected. But everyone is very tense and the nonstop running in and out of shelters cannot be sustained for long…"

BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi says, “The University remains open to administration, researchers and faculty. However, their work is compromised by the periodic sirens and movement back and forth to the shelters, as well as their unrelenting concerns about siblings, fathers and friends called to active duty."

For now, the University remains closed to students for an undetermined time, signifying that the security establishment in Israel is expecting Operation Protective Edge to be a relatively long one.

“Typical of the community spirit at BGU, hundreds of our students are staying in Beer-Sheva to volunteer, providing support and assistance to those in need throughout the city and the surrounding communities,” Krakow explains.

“And, the University has set up a special day care program on campus to provide extra support and assistance to those faculty and staff without better recourse.

"In times like this, we need to shore up our support for Israel and we need to let our student-soldiers know that we have their backs.”

To donate, go to www.aabgu.org/wartime-assistance-fund.

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American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel’s southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev. AABGU is headquartered in Manhattan and has nine regional offices throughout the U.S. For more information, please visit www.aabgu.org.

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