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Arts strengthens relationship with Israeli University

Page last published: 07 Jun 2012

L-R: Director of the Ancient Israel Studies Program Dr Gil Davis; Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts Prof. John Symons; Prof Oded Lipschits Prof. of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University; His Excellency Mr Yuval Rotem, Israeli Ambassador to Australia, and Macquarie University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Piper.Macquarie and Tel Aviv Universities have announced a formal Memorandum of Understanding that will provide for cooperation and greater ties between the two universities.

The announcement was made at an event held May 21 at Macquarie that was attended by prominent members of the Jewish community, including Israel’s ambassador Mr Yuval Rotem, as well as Macquarie academics and staff.

The Ambassador endorsed this important initiative between two leading universities saying it would further encourage the strong academic links developing between Australia and Israel.

Archaeology Professor Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University launched Macquarie’s new program in Ancient Israel archaeology at the event. He noted that the main aim of the program is to provide opportunities for study from the Neolithic and Second Temple period at all academic levels and to interested members of the public.

Professor Lipschits especially welcomed the more than a dozen students who will go to Israel in July to gain practical experience participating in Tel Aviv’s exciting new excavations at Tel Azekah.

Professor Lipschits, who is also the Director of the Tel Azekah Expedition, said the participation in the forthcoming dig by so many Macquarie students was a very exciting start for the co-operation agreement which will later extend to Macquarie students studying in Israel, joint research and further academic interchange.

Macquarie Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Professor Jim Piper, who hosted the event, said he was particularly pleased with the cooperation between two such dynamic institutions. He also said he expected to see a widening of links in areas of mutual excellence such as environmental research.

Professor Piper noted that Macquarie has one of the largest and most successful Ancient History departments in Australia and he acknowledged the drive and enthusiasm of its Head of Department, Professor Alanna Nobbs, who was instrumental in getting the new program established.

Likewise, David Dinte, President of the Friends of Tel Aviv University in NSW and also a Macquarie alumnus, welcomed the announcement.

“One of Tel Aviv University’s top priorities is to establish joint collaborations with other universities and I strongly believe this Memorandum of Understanding will stand as the ideal model. These joint projects will be of mutual benefit to both universities and with the goodwill that has been exhibited, I am certain that these strong links will only grow in the future,” he said.

The Memorandum builds on increasing cooperation between the universities that was started by the late Sir Asher Joel in the 1970s and has continued with the generous support of his family.

The new Ancient Israel archaeology program has been generously funded by the Pratt Foundation at the instigation of its CEO Sam Lipski. In addition, the Jewish Board of Deputies was vital in getting the new program off the ground.

It’s past president and educational director, Peter Wertheim, said he was delighted to see Israel’s history being taught at Macquarie.

For further information about the new program please contact its Director Dr Gil Davis on 0439 817 299.

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