The Israel Field-Research Network

The SOAS Israel Society has begun building a networking circle targeting the needs of young researchers, students, activists and others visiting the region. The circle will provide access to opportunities for engagement with Israeli politics, learning sites, home-stays and communities outside those offered through established state-supported and state-affiliated programmes.

The Israel Field-Research Network is geared toward those coming to Israel without key support systems in place, as well as those who visit the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), who might otherwise be left unaware of extensive learning opportunities inside Israel. The grounding principle of the project is to encourage a deeper, more critical and constructive understanding of Israel, Israelis and Israeli society, among their visitors.

The plan of action for development of the network is three-phased:

  1. The pilot phase of the project will be built around a set of meetings with current University of London students, before and after they return from research in Israel/oPt this summer. Based on student-defined needs, the network organisers (all of whom have extensive contacts in the region) will share key contacts, enable meetings, and provide information on accommodation, language courses, fellowships, internships and volunteer opportunities. The students will also be linked with already existing circles and networks in Israel, relevant to their specific research and community interests.
  2. Feedback from the pilot group will help refine research and implementation of on-the-ground networks. Building from this first stage, the project organisers will seek a permanent seeking funding and hiring staff. They will also organise an Israeli site to house the project and act as a site of first contact for incoming members. At this stage, the organisers will also begin development of a sister network in the oPt , as well as opportunities for a reciprocal network for Israeli students, researchers and travellers to the UK.
  3. The third tier of the project incorporates an expansion of the project to other London, UK and global campuses.

Underlying the network is a desire to enhance academic and inter-community relationships inside and outside Israel, and open opportunities for communication beyond the currently available frameworks.

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