Universities push back start of academic year to December 24

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

The beginning of the academic year for Israel’s universities will be delayed until at least December 24, the Association of University Heads say in a statement, contingent on a demobilization of the massive IDF reserve force called up for the Israel-Hamas war.

Due to the conflict the academic year, originally slated to begin on October 15, had already been pushed off until December 3, depending on the release of the reservists.

Around 30 percent of all university students are currently serving in the IDF, along with thousands of university teachers and staff.

“Our goal is for the school year to take place in its entirety and to include two full semesters. If the need arises, the academic year will also slide into the summer period. Individual decisions regarding the structure of the year will be made at each university,” the university heads say.

The announcement applies to seven of Israel’s research universities: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, The Technion, the University of Haifa and Ariel University.

The Weizmann Institute of Science and the Open University will have “other arrangements” in regards to the timing of the academic year, the notice says.

Some of the international schools, such as Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University, have already begun their semester. The Raphael Recanti International School of Reichman University, in Herzliya, is set to begin its semester on November 19.

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