BYU Jerusalem Center: students and staff are safe
Oct 9, 2023, 10:02 AM | Updated: Oct 10, 2023, 10:27 am
(Mark A. Philbrick/Brigham Young University)
Editor’s note: Previously this article said students and American staff members were expected to arrive home by the end of the week. It has been updated to clarify that the BYU Jerusalem Center has announced there are no plans for students or staff members to leave.
JERUSALEM– According to a security update from the BYU Jerusalem Center, all of the Center’s students and staff members are safe. Their return follows an attack on Israel by the terrorist group Hamas that began on Saturday.
Eric Huntsman, the Center’s academic director and a BYU professor of ancient scripture, said in a Sunday post on X that Jerusalem has so far avoided the chaos in southern Israel.
Now that we have gone several hours without sirens or alarms, and because the city is, for the moment, calm, we have opened our balconies and our lovely Level 7 terrace. It is a cool, beautiful afternoon, and because it is still Shabbat, the city itself is quiet. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/XSg4JwqqlG
— Eric D. Huntsman (@EricDHuntsman) October 7, 2023
The update came at the beginning of the deadliest war Israel has seen in decades. The conflict began Saturday when the terrorist group Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israel and infiltrated nearby towns by land, sea, and air.
So far, the militants and missiles have steered clear of Jerusalem and focused instead on coastal towns as far North as Tel Aviv. The most recent attack as of the writing of this article is a rocket strike against the Israeli city of Ashkelon, which has a population of 13,000 people.
“Students and others were at the Center all of Monday and have been asked to remain at the Center on Tuesday,” the BYU Jerusalem Center said in the latest update to its website. “Students were in classes much of Monday and will be in classes much of each day this week. Following classes there are some student-organized activities and study time.”
The administrative team of the Center briefed the students, faculty and their spouses, and service couples on Monday. “While we have tried to keep everyone at the Center well-informed,” said the website, “this was an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. Academic plans for the coming weeks were also discussed.”
The Center has announced no plans to evacuate students or staff, and said on its website “decisions on travel outside of the Center will be made on a day-by-day basis.”
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- Israel declares war and approves ‘significant’ steps to retaliate for surprise attack by Hamas