When I was asked by Professor Uriel Reichman, founder and president of IDC Herzliya, 18 years ago to head the Raphael Recanati International SchoolRaphael Recanati International School (RRIS), I was humbled and proud that he had selected me for such a Zionist mission. Having jumped ship from Columbia University in 1969 to finish my BA in 1971 as a lone student at the Hebrew University and after graduating, becoming a lone soldier in Sayeret Tzanhanim (reconnaissance unit of the IDF paratrooper brigade), I was now being given the opportunity to make a difference at a whole new level, having come full circle. Indeed today one of our main challenges and a personal priority for me is making all these “lone” students and soldiers part of the Greater Family of IDC Herzliya.
Now as head of the RRIS, it pleases me greatly that 300 former lone soldiers study at IDC, among our 2,000 students from 90 different countries out of our total student body of 7,500. Close to 30 percent of our students are studying for undergraduate and graduate degrees in English.
Out of over 300,000 students at Israeli universities and colleges, IDC Herzliya comprises less than two percent of the total student body in Israel, and yet it makes up approximately 40 percent of all of the international students studying for full degrees in English. Having begun with 30 students in the RRIS, we have come a long way.
The value of the RRIS is that we provide over 2,000 students with the opportunity to complete their degrees in Israel and in English, taught by world-renowned lecturers, many from Ivy League universities. A significant number of these students who wish to remain in Israel also have the opportunity of learning Hebrew on campus, so by the end of their studies, they have the tools to be gainfully employed in Israel. Indeed, we call ourselves the largest academic absorption center in the country. To our benefit, those who wish to return to their home countries go on to become great ambassadors for the State of Israel and provide future leadership for their communities. Today, we have over 27,000 graduates worldwide, offering our alumni an amazing array of networking opportunities.
In addition to the 9 undergraduate degrees and 9 graduate degrees, the RRIS offers an extensive array of extracurricular activities: sports, debate club, Model UN, Israel advocacy, JLIC-RRIS Friday night dinners, choir, band and much more.
The Reichman Spirit of IDC Herzliya is its Zionist approach. The university was created to do good for the State of Israel and create a future cadre of leadership. The humanistic values are those of Herzl, Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion and Begin. These are values which strive for a Jewish and democratic state, by the people for the people with the minority in mind. It is a Zionism of freedom and responsibility. IDC Herzliya is a great believer in entrepreneurship, free enterprise and capitalism, but at the same time is very sensitive to those in Israeli society who are in need of our assistance.
Last year was a milestone for IDC Herzliya, when the Council for Higher Education and the education minister declared that we have the right to grant PhD degrees. This paves the way for us to become the first private and not for profit university in the country. For years Professor Reichman fought hard with the establishment, and against overwhelming odds managed to receive this academic recognition, of which IDC is most deserving. Our philosophy is that our students are our partners, and this is strengthened by our small intimate classes which allow the students to get to know each other and the staff. IDC Herzliya receives no funding from the government of Israel and everything that has been accomplished to date has been through hard work, determination and a love of Zionism.
As the head of the RRIS, I welcome anyone who wishes to join our international school. Our students have the option of enjoying a high standard of living in 500 fully equipped residential units located in two thirteen-story towers on the IDC campus.
Head of the Raphael Recanati International School
Vice President for External Relations