Californians told to pack their bags amid violence

April 12, 2002

The University of California last week recalled its remaining students from Israel and suspended study programmes there in the face of escalating violence.

The students from the University of California at Los Angeles, Berkeley and other campuses were told to pack their bags. The evacuation of what was one of the largest US undergraduate study programmes in Israel was expected to be completed yesterday.

The universities of Southern California, Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin also ordered students back.

US universities sent 3,898 students to Israel for study and cultural immersion programmes in 1999-2000, according to the Institute of International Education.

California had been advising students to take precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded public places, which are typically targeted by Palestinian suicide bombers. But administrators decided to withdraw altogether after conferring with US government officials.

University spokesman Hanan Eisenman said: "When we send students overseas, our first priority is their safety."

But some institutions were undeterred. Jewish-sponsored Brandeis University, which lost a student to a suicide bomber in 1995, had no plans to repatriate its seven students in Israel.

"It's not our function to tell young men or women when to go - that's a decision left with families and students themselves," said a spokesman.

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