A Melbourne Jewish donor and an Arab Student from the Galilee

June 13, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Tel Aviv University Arab scholarship recipient, Lana Wahibe has met her Australian benefactor after a year’s wait.

 Gad Ben-Meir and Lana Wehibe

Gad Ben-Meir and Lana Wehibe

Over a year ago,  Meir Buber, TAU’s Resource Development representative, visited TAU Board member, Gad Ben-Meir, a lawyer living in Melbourne.

During their meeting at Gad’s office, Meir noticed some Arabic poetry books on the shelves. When he asked about them, Gad admitted that he writes his own poetry in Arabic and that these were books were in fact his own publications.

Meir suggested that Gad might like to support Tel Aviv University’s Arabic Literature department. Through the Arabic and Islamic Studies Department at the University headed by Dr. Mahmoud Kaayal, a lengthy process of finding a suitable project for Gad to support was initiated, culminating in the selection of Lana Wahibe as the ideal candidate.   

Lana is an Israeli-Arab doctoral student whose research involves the role of women in Syrian literature from 1946 up to the present. Her work greatly impressed Gad and he decided, together with his wife, Judith, to support Lana’s research through a scholarship. When she heard the news, Lana was so grateful that she visited TAU’s Public Affairs Division, where Meir is based, and asked to meet with the donor on his next visit to Israel.

Among Lana’s siblings there is an engineer, an accountant and an occupational therapist. Lana is the first doctoral student among them.

The University was able to fulfill her request this month, during Gad’s visit to Israel in the framework of TAU’s International Board of Governors meeting. The emotional encounter took place at Lana’s home in Gush Halav, the village in northern Israel where she lives with her family, with the participation of Gad and Judith Ben-Meir, together with Meir Buber and colleague Gill Rosner, TAU’s Liaison for Australia.

Lana’s family lavished hospitality upon all of the visitors and showed them around the village. The group was joined by Lana’s mother, her brother and her boss, Afif Araida, who serves as the principal at the school where Lana teaches. Before making their way back down south, the group was forbidden from leaving by Lana’s mother until they accepted a generous parcel of Arabic confectioneries for their journey home.

Gad stated his intention to continue and strengthen the bond with the department. This meeting helped establish a firm bond between scholarship donor and recipient – a bond that could continue for many years to come.

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