|To the University of Miami Community,
As ’Canes gathered on our campus for Family Weekend, this past Saturday Hamas led a surprise and unprecedented attack on Israel, resulting in casualties to date of more than 800 Israelis killed, more than 130 kidnapped or held hostage, and more than 2,400 injured, mostly civilians. Israel declared war against Hamas that same day.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Israel, with all those impacted by the violence, and with all who seek peace. The images emerging from the war are harrowing. Our hearts break for Israelis and for the Jewish state, as well as for the innocent Palestinians, Druze, Bedouins, and others who live within its borders and the region. The most recent reports indicate more than 1,200 lives have been lost so far. We condemn any form of aggression targeting civilians, including the taking of hostages.
The University of Miami has deep ties to Israel. The first president of Tel Aviv University, Dr. George S. Wise, was a UM trustee. Several distinguished members of our faculty are Israeli citizens, and we maintain academic collaboration with many scholars in Israel. Approximately 40 current UM students, faculty and staff, as well as nearly 200 of our alumni and supporters, call Israel their home. Many more have loved ones living in the region.
Just this past July I was part of a delegation of U.S. college presidents who traveled to Israel on a trip sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee aimed at advancing understanding, human rights, and democratic values. Having been inspired by the exchange of ideas with our counterparts and efforts to forge partnerships among students and faculty from both nations, the timing of this escalation—at the close of the Jewish festival season and a moment of hopeful expectations about the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel—is particularly painful.
For those members of the UM community concerned about family and friends in harm’s way, I know that it may be difficult for you to get in touch with your loved ones, and we hope for their safety. For anyone experiencing anxiety and stress and needing assistance, please know that the University of Miami community cares about you and supports you. The Counseling Center is available to help students 24/7 (305-284-5511), and the
Faculty and Staff Assistance Program is also available (305-284-6604).
As a university community, we are committed to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding as the most powerful means to improve the lives of everyone in our shared world. We uphold these values with the firm belief that there is a peaceful path for a better future. As the current complex crisis unfolds, we at the University of Miami will remain resolute in our support of democracy, freedom, and peace.