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Israel Study Abroad Programs Take Measures To Protect American Students Amid Gaza Conflict

11/20/2012 10:20 am ET

The escalating conflict in Gaza has caused some American students studying abroad in Israel to head for cover in bomb shelters, while others are evacuating to Europe.

Diplomats are attempting to broker a cease-fire agreement, according to Reuters, after six days of exchanged airstrikes that have endangered civilians in Israel and destroyed homes of Hamas activists in Gaza.

In the meantime, New York University has evacuated students studying abroad in Israel as a precaution. NYU suspended its study abroad program in Tel Aviv over the weekend and sent participating students to London, Inside Higher Ed reports. NYU spokesman John Beckman said the school didn't believe its students were in immediate danger, but wanted to take action before things got worse.

"We wanted to avoid a situation where the students would get [to] the end of the semester and have difficulties returning home," Beckman told Inside Higher Ed. "Given that consideration, the high priority we always place on student safety, and our confidence that we were at a point in the semester where we could ensure they would be able to satisfactorily finish out the semester's work, we thought this was the prudent course."

Other American students in Israel are still heading to class. The Brown Daily Herald reports Brown University students' host universities are keeping in close contact with Israeli security authorities. One Brown student studying at Tel Aviv University told the student newspaper they had to use the bomb shelter near the dorms after three rockets were fired at the city. Another Brown student at the University of Haifa said things were carrying on as normal.

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