The University of Maryland is planning to use private grants to have a fully functioning studies program by 2010 dedicated to Israeli culture, not just the nation's conflict with Palestine.
Though there are Israeli studies programs at other universities — including Wesleyan University, American University and the University of Pennsylvania — many of them focus only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said associate professor Hayim Lapin, director of the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies. In contrast, this program will offer classes on language, literature, sociology, economics and ecology, he added.
"The way Israeli studies gets played out is it becomes extremely politicized," Lapin said. "We don't have that problem right now. There are plenty of people with very strongly held political views, but we don't have a highly politicized program in one way or the other."
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