Columbia Alum Makes Massive Investment In Israeli University Amid Lingering Protests

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A Columbia University alum has decided to ditch his alma mater by giving a $260 million donation to an Israeli university as protests continue to plague the ivy league college’s campus, according to a Monday announcement.

The donation was given to Bar-Ilan University in Israel, a public research university, by an American Jewish donor who was active in World War II, according to the announcement from Bar-Ilan’s President Prof. Arie Zaban during a Board of Trustees meeting. The donor, who wished to remain anonymous, formerly attended Columbia, which has been rocked by weeks of pro-Palestinian protests that have led to arrests and violent clashes with police. (RELATED: Columbia Protesters Demanded Deliveries Of ‘Humanitarian Aid.’ The NYPD Delivered Justice Instead)

The donor, a man of broad academic education, believed that the development of Israel’s technological resilience relies primarily on breakthrough science,” Zaban said in the announcement. “During his visits to Israel, he recognized the significant impact Bar-Ilan University has made in key areas thanks to its science-based infrastructure and deep connections to all sectors of Israeli society.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 02: Protestors demonstrate near Columbia University on February 02, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

The donation will be used to develop “Deep Tech sciences” in the “energy, environment, cryptography, bio-convergence, quantum, AI, and natural language processing” fields, according to the announcement.

“We have a mission,” Zaban told the university’s board, according to the announcement. “Today, more than ever, Israel needs support and investment in its science and human capital. Our research-driven technological resilience is the key to a thriving society and economy.”

Amid weeks of tension on American university campuses, centering largely around Columbia, pro-Palestinian protesters have demanded that the university completely divest from Israel in opposition to its war with the terrorist organization Hamas. Columbia was forced to cancel their main commencement ceremony in May due to safety concerns and ongoing protests and police just recently broke up another encampment on school grounds over the weekend.

Other universities have also been chastised by donors for allowing the protests to get out of hand. Barry Sternlicht, a real estate mogul, called out his alma mater, Brown University, in May for conceding to protesters by agreeing to discuss divestment options, according to The New York Times.

Top donors to Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania also threatened to pull donations in protest of the universities’ administrations’ tepid response to the protests, according to CNN.

Columbia declined to comment.

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