SYRACUSE STUDENTS STUDY COUNTER- TERRORISM IN ISRAEL by Todd Fine


This summer thirteen Syracuse University graduate students attended a three-week executive pro- gram in Counter-Terrorism Studies at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Israel. The Institute is a component of the Interdisciplinary Center, a prestigious private university located in Herzliya, a comfortable beach town north of Tel Aviv. The foreign study arrangement was coordinated by the similarly-named Institute for National Security and Counter-Terrorism (INSCT), a program sponsored by the College of Law and the Maxwell School. Together with the Maxwell School, INSCT has initi- ated a relationship between Syracuse and the Interdisciplinary Center.

The Syracuse group was diverse, with students representing the Maxwell International Relations and Public Administration programs, the Law School, the History Department, and the Newhouse School of Public Communications. The executive program provided instruction on a broad array of terrorism issues, including finance, communications, and history. While many of the instructors were Israeli academics and military officials, there were also American experts like Bruce Hoffman of George- town University and Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Syracuse Law Professor William Banks also visited and delivered lectures on terrorism and international law.

The course took place at a critical time in the region, just as Hamas had taken control of Gaza. Natu- rally, the Syracuse contingent engaged in vigorous debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many students went out of their way to visit the Palestinian territories and learn different perspec- tives regarding the historical conflict in the region. Students frequently took a critical, but amicable, approach when processing how Israel’s experience with terrorism could inform the United States and other countries. Before the program itself, students spent two weeks traveling throughout Israel, go- ing to places like Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tiberius. One group of six students went to Jordan for several days, visiting Aqaba, Petra, and Wadi Rum.