Ono Academic College’s School of Society and the Arts in Netanya has recently completed a 12 lecture program for refugees living in Israel who have a deep desire for academic study but are unable to enroll in organized programs.  The students, who have been in the country for 10 to 14 years and speak Hebrew, included Eritreans who fled that country’s civil war following independence in 1993.


The 12 lectures focused mainly on the social sciences, and included classes on sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science and art.  The format of each session included lectures and discussion. 


The studies took place at the offices of Unitaf, a non-profit organization recognized by Israel’s Ministries of Welfare and Economy, that helps disadvantaged children in early childhood, establishing frameworks and providing welfare and education services.


The overwhelming majority of the lecturers, who participated on a volunteer basis, are Ono faculty and include:

  • Dr. Yali Nativ
  • Dr. Gal Hermet
  • Dr. Tzila Zen Bar
  • Dr. Galia Boneh
  • Dr. Sapir Handelman
  • Prof. Amir Cohen Shalev
  • Dr. Meirav Nakar Sadi
  • Prof. Ariella Friedman
  • Dr. Dan Boneh
  • Dr. Shahar Eyal


The faculty praised the students’ enthusiasm and motivation to learn.  Some of the students are social activists in the refugee community and the training they received will be applicable to their future work. 


At the course’s final, festive meeting, the organizers and faculty awarded diplomas and discussed future projects. The students expressed a desire to delve deeper into certain issues, particularly those related to psychology, leadership and education. They noted their difficulty dealing with the cultural gaps they and their children experience in Israel.  The students said that as word about the course got out, more and more refugees expressed interest in attending.  Ono’s School of Society and the Arts is already planning the next installment.