As someone who is familiar with an entirely different reality, my decision to study at the Sapir College in southern Israel involved great hesitation and family pressure.
On the face of it, Sapir is an amazing college, with the kind of staff and atmosphere that cannot be found in Central Israel. However, below the kibbutz-like surface and the relaxed atmosphere, one can find a shocking and horrifying reality when it comes to student life.
In a country where students have gone on strike because of very small amounts of money, the students of Sapir are living in a mad reality that is not described in any academic literature (and by the way, this reality is only 40 minutes away from Tel Aviv.) I invite you to visit campus, so you can see it for yourself.
What you will find if you come to Sapir is reinforced police presence, red signs that include instructions for cases of emergency, and loudspeakers that on occasion sound a hair-raising alarm that gives us less than 10 seconds to seek cover in the face of incoming rockets.
At Sapir College you will not find students sitting on the grass. They are scared to be left without shelter should rockets land. But you will find great fear here.
Sacrificing our lifeIt happens almost every day: A “Color Red” alert, Qassam rockets landing, and all this followed by tears, mass panic, and concerned phone calls from home. It happens to us during classes, it happens during breaks, and it happens during difficult exams.
We have already sustained property damage to the college before, but this time we are dealing with the worst possible scenario – the death of a student. To my regret, despite our army and the reinforced security deployment at school, I do not have the confidence to say that tomorrow’s Qassam rocket will not hit me or any one of my friends at the college.
Can you comprehend that this is how students in Israel go about their studies? Do we need to sacrifice our lives for the sake of an academic degree? I am saddened to say this, but Wednesday’s reality proved that this question has already claimed its first victim.