Quick responses by English language Jewish reporters in Israel, including one from IsraelNN.com, apparently have been responsible for the University of California's altering a program's eligibility requirement that initially barred Israeli Jews. The turnaround in policy also may have saved the State Department, which finances the program, from an embarrassing explanation.
Jerusalem-based writer and businesswoman Miriam Schwab uncovered the bias last week when she checked into applying to the university's San Diego branch Beyster Institute program for Middle East Entrepreneur Training (MEET). She discovered that the program was open citizens of "Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel (limited to Israeli Arab citizens), Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, West Bank/Gaza and Yemen."
In response to an IsraelNN.com question for confirmation of the restriction in Israel, program manager Mona Yousry wrote, "It is only for Arab Israelis." A subsequent question why Israeli Jews are not accepted elicited the a reply from the Institute's Director of Entrepreneurial Programs Rob Fuller, who wrote, "I’m sorry for the unfortunate misunderstanding about eligibility for the new MEET program. To be clear, for the programs for which we are now recruiting to be held in 2008, ALL Israeli citizens are eligible to participate. Sorry for any confusion we may have inadvertently caused."