Cal State has joined the Ivy League and New York State University in rescinding a ban on its students studying in Israeli universities after 9 years.
The California State University system (CSU or Cal State), which has 23 campuses and some 420,000 students, shut down its Study Abroad program in Israel during the height of the Second Intifada in 2002.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon hailed the decision after meeting with California State Assembly Speaker John Peretz. Ayalon had originally raised the issue during a previous meeting with Peretz in March.
However, the University of California system - with Berkeley and UCLA among its 10 campuses - has left its ban in place saying the US State Department travel advisory that prompted the ban is still in effect. The UC system also bans its students from studying in Mexico, Kenya, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
Earlier this year Leo Van Cleve, director of international programs in the office of Chancellor Charles B. Reed, told the Jewish Journal his his primary responsibility is for “the safety and security of our students” and that the ban will remain in effect until he completes a "risk assessment study" in consultation with Israeli universities.
Van Cleve indicated the UC ban could be lifted in 2012.
Ayalon's meeting, however, was not solely focused on California's curricula ban on Israeli universities. His primary aim was to coordinate economic efforts to isolate Iran.
Ayalon specifically thanked Peretz for his efforts in securing legislation banning California companies - especially those in the oil industry - from investing pension funds in Iranian companies.
California's economy is the eighth largest in the world with a Gross State Product of 1.9 trillion dollars (13% of the US GDP).
"Iran is vulnerable today than ever, and economic pressure by anti-Iranian legislation could bring down the regime," Ayalon told reporters while cupping hands with Peretz.
Peretz's visit was a part of a series of planned contacts between California and Israali officials taking place this week.