HomeJuly 2011Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands

In July members of the Orange County Jewish community will have the chance to get an update on Israel and the rest of the Middle East from an esteemed general.  At the same time they will be helping to support an innovative Israeli university that helps diverse members of society to learn and be part of the social fabric of Israel.

Retired Major General Herzle Bodinger will speak at both Chabad of North Orange County (Yorba Linda) and Temple Bat Yahm as a benefit for Ariel University Center.  His topic will be “Shifting Sands in the Middle East: Israel at the Crossroads between Changes in the Arab World and the UN General Assembly in September.”

Major General Bodinger, who has a record of 451 combat sorties over enemy territory, is currently president, chairman and CEO of RADA Electronics Industries.  During his 35 years in the Israeli Air Force, Major General Bodinger fought as a combat fighter pilot in IAF operations beginning in 1963, including the Six Day War (1967), War of Attrition (1969-1971), Yom Kippur War (1973) and the Peace for Galilee Operation (1982).

In addition to being on the International Board of Governors of Ariel University Center, chairman of Israel’s Missile Defense Association and a successful entrepreneur, Voluntary Activities, Major General Bodinger is on the board of directors of the Center for Riding Therapy, the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, Kfar Tikva (“Village of Hope”) for developmentally and emotionally disabled adults and Technoda Science & Technology Education Center in Givat Olga.  He also serves on the board of governors of the Jerusalem College of Engineering.

Established in 1982, the Ariel University Center has grown and diversified to meet the new challenges of a burgeoning society with rapidly changing needs.  With more than 12,000 students, Ariel University Center (AUC) is Israel’s fastest growing institution of higher learning, representing the full spectrum of Israeli society: Jews and Arabs, secular and observant, new immigrants and veteran Israelis. As such, the school is truly a national institution and serves as a melting pot of all levels of Israeli society.

Located east of Ariel, a bustling community of 20,000 people in the Samarian hills, the University Center is pioneering a new future for Israel and its younger generation by providing students with the skills they need to compete in today’s hi-tech marketplace that is Israel.  AUC currently has four faculties: natural sciences, engineering, health sciences and social sciences and a wide variety of programs, ranging from civil engineering to architecture, Israeli heritage to mass communications, molecular biology to applied physics, physiotherapy to health management.  AUC offers programs for young people worldwide, geared toward ensuring the future of World Jewry. It is proud to be a Zionist institution that believes that every student deserves strong roots of personal identity with Israel and Jewish heritage.

Two of the more unique aspects of the University Center deal with the institution’s desire and commitment to incorporate awareness and knowledge of Jewish heritage, the Jewish people, the Land of Israel, its history and its relevance for the future.  Every student is required to take one course per semester in the field of Jewish heritage or Jewish history.  The school is also the only institution of higher education that requires an Israeli flag to be displayed in every classroom, auditorium and laboratory.

With more than 240 scientists, of whom 71 are professors, AUC’s senior faculty members are leading extensive research, assisted by about 150 Ph.D. and Master’s degree students who have chosen to carry out their research in AUC’s laboratories under the supervision of the school’s senior faculty, though they are registered in more veteran universities in Israel.  Research is being done in areas such as robotics, electro-optics, crystal growth, cancer, immunology, environmental studies and social sciences.  With nearly 60 percent of the Israeli economy’s output being technology driven, scientific research provides the key to securing the Jewish state’s future and prosperity.  The school’s research staff has published more than 400 articles in international journals dealing with science and technology, and has presented a similar number of papers at international conferences and seminars.

AUC’s efforts to help with the absorption of immigrant students and professionals from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and elsewhere serve as a model for educational institutions throughout Israel.  New immigrants are well represented among the student population, with more than 300 Ethiopian students attending AUC (more than at any other Israeli college or university) and an even greater number of immigrant students from the former Soviet Union.

Helping many immigrant students and veteran soldiers integrate into academic life on campus, AUC offers financial scholarships, social counseling, tutoring assistance and housing subsidies.  There are also a large number of immigrant professionals involved in the school’s faculty and research programs.  With an ever-increasing number of high school graduates seeking higher education in Israel, AUC is attempting to rise to the challenge of meeting the need.

AUC is an emerging center of high-end research and academic excellence, according to its website, www.ariel.ac.il/site/portals/english/.  AUC is a true melting pot, bringing together a culturally diverse student body learning, living and working together.  The university combines a passion for research and development with the desire to embrace students from every corner of Israeli society.  Its researchers are discovering new processes and innovations for industry and services to create a healthier and greener environment, a better world and a stronger Israel.

Major General Bodinger will speak at Chabad of Yorba Linda, 19045 Yorba Linda Boulevard; (714) 693- 0770, on Sunday, July 17, at 9 a.m.  The lecture and breakfast are $18.  On the same day at 7 p.m. he will speak at Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach; (949) 644-1999.  Contact: Mali Leitner, (714) 771-5357 for more information on the event and Lily Steiner, ( 310) 505-1058, www.afauc.org, westcoast@afauc.org, American Friends of Ariel University Center, West Coast Office, 8950 Olympic Blvd. #412, Beverly Hills, CA 90211, for more information on the university.


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