Off campus

Dutch students recalled from Israel

Higher education institutions are recalling students from Israel, with the country in a state of war. Hundreds of people have already died, among them international students.

View of Jerusalem. To illustrate. (Photo: Raimond Klavins / Unsplash)

A number of students from Wageningen University are currently in Israel. “We are in contact with all the students, and they are safe and fine”, says a university spokesperson. “We are advising them to return to the Netherlands. Students who were about to travel to Israel will remain in the Netherlands.”

A spokesperson for Utrecht University reports that they also have a few students in Israel. “The university contacted these students last weekend. They said that they felt safe for the time being.”

Utrecht University has asked its students to return to the Netherlands, if possible. “We are, however, currently assessing with the students whether this is actually the safest option for them at this time”, says a spokesperson.

Delft students
TU Delft is investigating whether there are students and staff in Israel. “But that is not the case as far as we now know”, a spokesperson said.

Delta, however, is in contact with a student who has travelled to Israel. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous (their name is known to the editor), is there for the funeral of a family friend who was killed in the Nova festival attack.

He and other TU Delft students have asked the university for help in a letter. In it, they write that they expect TU Delft to speak out against the Hamas attack and provide help and support to affected students as soon as possible. At the time that this article was published, the students had not yet received a response from the Executive Board. The TU Delft spokesperson does state that ‘people are not alone’. “Students can go to their study advisor and employees to TU Delfts corporate social work.” 

“Do not travel there”
Every year, several dozen Dutch students travel to Israel to complete an entire programme. At the last count (2020), 79 students had opted for this. Students sometimes also travel to Israel on exchange.

And now Israel is suddenly at war again. “Do not go to the border region with Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt”, warns the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Whatever your situation, do not travel there.” The travel advisory colour code for these regions is now red. An orange travel advisory applies to the remainder of Israel: travel only if necessary.

Horrifying stories about the massacres and violence are circulating in the media, with occasional reports of victims from outside Israel. Students from Tanzania, Nepal and Thailand have been killed, abducted or gone missing.

Trapped in Jerusalem
According to reports in the newspaper Nederlands Dagblad, twenty students and three teachers from Ede Christian University of Applied Sciences are trapped in an Arab neighbourhood of Jerusalem. This city is also being struck by missiles. “We are protected by monastery walls several metres thick”, says one of the teachers. “When the air raid sirens sound, we take shelter in a windowless corridor.” He adds that they are worried about being hit by a stray missile.

Leiden University also has five students in Israel. “They are all safe and well”, reports the university. “They are receiving support and assistance, including help in returning to the Netherlands.”

The University of Amsterdam has seven students and three staff members in Israel. “Fortunately, they are all okay”, a spokesperson says with relief. “We strongly advised them to leave the country as soon as possible due to the security risks. We are offering repatriation assistance if they decide to leave.” This takes the form of the university helping them to book a flight or, if necessary, arranging accommodation upon arrival in the Netherlands. “They will be informed about this today.”

Close contact
Neither Tilburg University nor the University of Groningen is willing to say how many of their students are in Israel, owing to GDPR privacy constraints. It is safe to say, therefore, that it concerns very few students. The University of Groningen does say it is in contact with them. A spokesperson for Tilburg University reports: “We are closely discussing their leaving Israel.”

Maastricht University knows of one student who is in Israel. The university is obviously in contact with the individual concerned, a spokesperson says, “with a view to them leaving the country as soon as possible”.

There are also institutions, such as the University of Twente, that have no exchange students at all in Israel. The university was able to confirm this straight away. “That is a standard procedure that is immediately implemented in this type of situation.”

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Eindhoven University of Technology, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Saxion, Avans, Leiden University of Applied Sciences and Codarts University of the Arts also report that, as far as they are aware, none of their students are in Israel.

HOP, Bas Belleman / Delta
Translation: Taalcentrum-VU

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.