Academia and Zionism go hand-in-hand at the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) – Lev Academic Center. This week, a special delegation from JCT completed a marathon of events for young Jews living in France who are interested in academic studies in Israel.
Binyamin Touati, who led the delegation, noted, with satisfaction, that 140 of the participants expressed great interest in coming to Israel and studying at JCT, and hundreds more also expressed particular interest. The delegation participated in events in Marseilles and Paris, Lyon and Antwerp (Belgium), where they presented members of the Jewish community with information on Israel and JCT’s unique programs.
Academic studies seem to have a significant effect on the graduates. 95% of graduates from abroad make Aliyah and continue living in Israel. 93% of JCT immigrant graduates find work in Israel, similar to the general placement rates of JCT graduates.
JCT has run a special program for foreign students and immigrants for the past 20 years. This year, approximately 130 students are from French-speaking countries whilst others are tourists and immigrants from across the globe. The young immigrants even enlist in the IDF after graduation, serving in their fields of study, particularly in high-tech.
JCT President, Prof. Chaim Sukenik, explains: “Zionism and academic excellence and the synergy of Torah and science, guide JCT’s activities. Part of the process of redemption is the ingathering of the exiles of Israel. As someone who made Aliya decades ago, I feel that it is a privilege as well as a duty for us to care for the young generation of the diaspora and return them to Israel.”
Binyamin Touati, a JCT graduate himself, views it as a Zionist mission: “There is great interest among French Jews to come and study in Israel, in Yeshivas, universities, and/or serving as counselors in youth movements. It is important to encourage the Jews in France to make Aliya. I view it not only as an academic mission but as a Zionist mission.”