In peacetime and wartime, Ben-Gurion University supports the South
In peacetime, Ben –Gurion University is a catalyst in southern Israel, all the more so in wartime. When news began to trickle in on Saturday October 7 of the massacre and it became clear hundreds of wounded people were being brought to Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, hundreds of medical faculty and students raced to the hospital to lend a hand. They treated people in the exam rooms, but also in the hallways, for days as the hospital treated more than 700 people on that first Saturday alone.
Since then, University activities have only increased. This week, dozens of faculty and staff volunteered for a special event with the Kan broadcaster and One Heart organization. They volunteered to raise money for the rehabilitation of the Western Negev. Like an old-fashioned telethon, rooms were turned into call centers and faculty and staff raised funds for the day after the war to rebuild the Western Negev.
Hadas Moshe Barat, head of the Department of Public Affairs, lent her dulcet tones,
“I was deeply moved by the amazing Israeli spirit, people from all over Israel trying to help as much as they can, sometimes crying, sometimes praying over the phone. As much as this tragedy breaks our hearts, we are somewhat comforted in the knowledge that we have such caring and loving people," she says.
Ben-Gurion University has also opened its doors to those who need a place to stay – whether evacuees from around Gaza or family members visiting those in the hospital. The University’s U-Tel and any empty dorm rooms have been filled, free of charge of course, to provide shelter in this time of need.
A logistics center to coordinate the collection and distribution of foodstuffs and supplies sprang up on campus overnight. It has no lack of volunteers.
The University community has been hard hit by the war and the Administration has been traveling to attend funerals and visit with the bereaved families. These days, the BGU family has pulled together to offer comfort and support to each other and to step up to help the wider community of the Negev and Israel.
Zionist to its core, many of the University faculty and students have been called up for reserve duty. While official numbers are still not final, many naturally rushed to serve without informing the University, between a third and a half of the student body has reported for duty, according to University estimates.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has spent over 50 years looking out for the residents of the South and the region. We continue to do so ardently, passionately, and compassionately.
May the memory of the murdered be blessed and we know better days soon.