Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Arab Valedictorian at Israel’s Technion University is a ‘Stereotype-Buster’

July 18, 2013 12:42 pm 3 comments

Technion Institute for Science in Haifa, Israel. Photo: wiki commons.

This year’s valedictorian at the Technion University, known as “the MIT of Israel,” would likely displease those intent on framing Israel in the most unflattering of terms, writes Diana Bletter for The Huffington Post.

That’s because the Valedictorian is an Islamic woman named Mais Ali-Saleh who grew up in a small Arab village outside of Nazareth, in Israel’s Galilee.

Ali-Selah not only disproves claims made by Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movements, that Israel is an apartheid state and that its academic institutions should be boycotted, but she put it best when she said, “An academic boycott of Israel is a passive move, and it doesn’t achieve any of its purported objectives.”

Ali-Selah’s success almost didn’t happen. After her first class at the Technion, in Haifa, northern Israel, she was ready to call it quits. Though she had studied Hebrew from elementary school through high school, her grasp of the language was tenuous at best, having spoken mostly Arabic while growing up.

However, she decided to persevere, and is currently doing an Obstetrics/Gynecology residency at Carmel Hospital in Haifa. She decided to take on the field, despite its demanding hours, because she knew that many Arab women are more comfortable going to a female doctor rather than a male.

On trips to Europe, Ali-Selah said that people she met were surprised to learn that Israeli Arabs studied engineering and medicine in Israel, and that they lived among Jews. She points to this lack of awareness as helping to perpetuate the falsehood—strengthened by BDS and Boycotters like Roger Waters — that Israel is an apartheid state –which denies a fundamental truth: Arabs, and in particular Arab women, have more freedom, liberties and academic opportunities in Israel than in any Arab country.

Rather than an academic boycott – which negatively impacts researchers who want to disseminate knowledge rather than restrict it – Ali-Selah suggests a more active stance: encouraging academic life within the Palestinian Authority, strengthening academic ties with Palestinian universities, and  planning joint research projects with Palestinian scientists.

Furthermore, Ali-Selah says that those interested in advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East should focus their energies on supporting more of Israel’s success stories like her own, and pressuring Arab countries to emulate Israel’s academic freedoms and democracy.

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Opinion The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin (REVIEW)

    The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love. CreateSpace, 2015. The Syrian Virgin, by Zack Love, is a very interesting novel. Equally a political and romantic thriller, at times a real page-turner, it gets you intimately involved in the dire situation in today’s Syria, as well as in the romantic entanglements of its mostly New York-based characters — whose entanglements just might determine the fate of that dire situation in Syria. Along the way it introduces a really important idea that somehow […]

    Read more →
  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →