Canadian ex-Senator Jerry Grafstein and his wife Carole have launched two projects that bring together researchers and academics from Israel and Canada.
The Grafsteins are hoping the projects will strengthen ties and the transfer of knowledge between the two countries. The underlying goal of the support is to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment by publicizing Israel’s medical and scholarly contributions to society.
“We have to fight political correctness,” Grafstein explained this week in an interview this week with The Canadian Jewish News. “The people who are arraigned against [Israel on university campuses] are hiding under the guise of academic freedom. Our battle starts at the university.”
The first project supports cancer research at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, and will eventually facilitate collaboration on cancer research with Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
The second initiative is an annual project to bring a “noted scholar” to the University of Toronto’s Centre for Jewish Studies to teach two courses. Under the program, a Hebrew University doctoral graduate will also be supported to come to Toronto for a post-doctoral fellowship at the centre.
According to the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, which is promoting the programs, the projects will cost some $1.5 million. Together with support from the Grafsteins and other fundraising efforts, approximately two-thirds of the money has been found.