Israel never seemed safer for five students from a North Carolina university who feared for their lives in the riots in Egypt.
"Until just a few days ago, I never thought I'd find myself in Israel. Now I am happy to be in a safe and friendly place like this," said student Rachael Borowy, of Elon University.
Ironically, Elon and Haifa universities recently signed a student exchange agreement, but when the street revolution broke out, Elon officials urgently asked Haifa’s International School to bail them out days after they had begun their semester at the American University in Cairo.
Haifa University hastily prepared dormitory rooms in the student dormitory to welcome the new students this past Sunday before they begin their new semester in Israel later this month.
"Our families were most worried of all and they urged us to get out of Egypt as quickly as possible,” said Kate Donovan. “At first there were options like Lebanon or Jordan, but when they heard that Israel was an option they preferred we come here. Once they knew we were on our way here, they were much calmer.”
Student Jonathan Ordog pointed out that although “the American University in Egypt is located on an island on the Nile, it wasn't long before we started hearing gunshots and smelling the tear gas. A representative from the international program of the university in Cairo took us to his home on the shore of the Red Sea and from there we set out on our way to Israel.”
Regardless of what happens in Egypt, the students (pictured) are staying put in Haifa, where they will complete their new semester.
Until it begins, they are getting acquainted with the campus and touring the Haifa area, from the western Galilee hills to the Mediterranean Sea.