No University of Wisconsin-Madison students in line of fire in Gaza

University officials say there are no UW-Madison students studying in Gaza as Israeli air strikes rain down on the area.

But Jennifer Loewenstein, associate director of UW-Madison’s Middle East Studies Program, said she was supposed to be there. After living in Gaza for six months in 2002, Loewenstein said she has been back almost every year since.

She was planning to attend a conference there sponsored by the World Health Organization in October, she said, but Israel banned all foreign participants from entering. Loewenstein postponed her travels until January, but she said she won’t go to the embattled zone now.

UW-Madison’s only program in Israel is at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. There are four students studying there for the 2008-09 academic year, said Matt Geisler, assistant director of International Academic Programs. There is also one student from Gaza who is studying in Madison.

The conflict is being monitored by the university, Geisler said, and students always have the option of deferring their studies.