Worthy lessons in UI ties with Israel

Worthy lessons in UI ties with Israel

Three cheers for the University of Illinois President Tim Killeen's leadership in establishing ties with universities in Israel and for The News-Gazette's excellent editorial applauding this move. The achievements of researchers and entrepreneurs in Israel are so impressive and the fact that so much has been accomplished in this tiny state in so short a time is amazing.

My late husband and I first lived in Israel in 1968, he on sabbatical from the Economics Department and me to do my Ph.D. research. At that time, Israel was primarily an agricultural economy and had made impressive gains in that field in just the 20 years since its establishment.

But it was definitely not part of the developed world and I remember well that getting hot water and heat in the house we rented was not an easy matter. I also remember that we were delighted to learn we could order pizza to carry out, but when my husband went to pick it up he was told he needed to bring his own plate or tray. Luxuries such as hot water, home heating and paper products were in short supply in what was still a developing economy.

But now our great university has recognized what Israel stands for today: a multicultural and multireligious little country highly developed in agriculture, technology, science, business and the arts.

Our state of Illinois might learn a few lessons from the relationship the University of Illinois has established with Israel in how to overcome adversity and remain strong, vibrant and grow an economy.