Impact of Scholarships to Student Immigrants “Humbling”
By Sharon Samber, HIAS.org
Jan 30, 2023
HIAS Israel awarded 44 scholarships this year to student immigrants.
The winners were selected by an external team of judges based on academic achievement, social involvement, and economic need. They came from Ethiopia, France, the United States, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Ecuador.
For many of the students, the $2,500 scholarship enables them to complete another year in school — whether college, graduate, or doctoral level. HIAS Israel has given scholarships to student immigrants, or olim, since the 1970s.
At the scholarship ceremony on December 28 at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, HIAS Israel’s country director Sivan Carmel spoke of HIAS’ values and the importance of solidarity, equality, and justice.
“When people are forced to leave their home country because it can no longer protect them — or may even be their persecutor — these very values guide the country of asylum as it draws its protection over these refugees,” she said. “From the perspective of over 100 years of existence and so many refugee crises, our organization knows all too well what happens when these values are not upheld.”
Carmel said HIAS Israel would like to start to build an alumni group with the scholarship recipients. Many students who apply for scholarships come from a medium or low socioeconomic status.
“Every year, we’re humbled to see the real impact of the scholarship program,” said Tamar Deddi, the scholarship’s program manager. Deddi noted that the war in Ukraine has resulted in a massive increase in Ukrainian and Russian immigrants in Israel, which will likely lead to a significant number of applicants from those groups next year.
The scholarship ceremony took place at a volatile time in Israel, just one day before the current government, one of the most right-wing in Israel’s history, was sworn in. HIAS Israel is monitoring the new government’s attempts to resurrect anti-immigration laws, such as the unlimited incarceration of asylum seekers, targeting asylum seekers with strict economic measures, and limiting asylum seekers’ access to the court system.