Combining Jewish values with academic studies (illustration)
Photo: Amit Shabi
Thirteen young Jewish men from Morocco began their studies at the Machon Lev academic institution for men in the Jerusalem College of Technology this year.
These youngsters are part of a fast-growing phenomenon of Moroccan Jewish families sending their children to study in Israel, particularly at the Jerusalem institute.
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These 13 men join 25 other young Moroccan Jews who arrived in Israel in a secret operation in the past three years. Machon Lev helps them maintain their Jewish tradition and values while engaging in academic studies.
On their way to Israel they pass through several countries, in an attempt to cover their tracks and ensure that the Moroccan authorities are unaware of their real destination.
Encouraging their arrival, the State of Israel lets them in without stamping their passports, thus protecting the families left behind and allowing them to return safely to Morocco after completing their degree.
The young men study engineering and high-tech for four years, and most of them decide to immigrate to Israel upon completing their degree.
"There is no future for us in Morocco," explains Yitzhak, an accounting student. "I came to Israel and I see myself staying here in the future and starting a family."
According to Machon Lev President Professor Noah Dana-Picard, the students from Morocco are integrating very well into the academic institution. "They have managed to quickly adjust to the language and mentality of the rest of the students," he says.