Bar-Ilan’s Community Initiatives


During the first month of the war, Bar-Ilan has set up a hotline for emotional support, a school for evacuee children, free vision tests and glasses, an emergency fund to assist students, and much more.

In these challenging times, the Bar-Ilan community has rallied to support and aid the residents of the South and the North of Israel, as well as the entire Israeli society, in various ways. A month into the conflict, the university has initiated and promoted 56 initiatives for the community.

Since 7th October, the emotional strain on each and every one of us has been considerable. To strengthen the community, a hotline providing emotional support was established. This hotline is staffed by 40 psychologists and social workers who volunteer to provide assistance throughout the week for most hours of the day. To date, the hotline has received and handled 800 calls.

Another hotline, operated by volunteer translators proficient in ten languages, offers emergency translation services. This centre serves professionals, first aid providers, institutions, organizations, and emergency centres by translating vital phone calls in real-time for non-Hebrew speakers. The centre is staffed by approximately 40 translators.

Bar-Ilan personnel has also entered the field. Many of the October 7th evacuees left their homes, sometimes even leaving their eyeglasses behind. Bar-Ilan’s School of Optometry’s mobile units reach families in scattered areas within Israel, and the optometry team performs vision tests, adjusts prescriptions, and provides new glasses for the evacuees.

To support the pressing needs from the field, Bar-Ilan University initiated a campaign to raise donations in order to acquire and equip frontline medical teams with 200 portable ultrasound devices. The Bar-Ilan Azrieli Faculty of Medicine spearheaded this project, training medical teams to use these devices in the combat zone.

Besides aiding the displaced and soldiers, the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Social Work collaborated to establish the “Bear Hospital.” In this project, children aged 3-12 arrived with their parents and teddy bears to participate in activities designed to relieve tension and anxiety and boost mental resilience. During these activities, the teams taught the children basic medical concepts, helped them care for the teddy bears, and process their emotions.

The Faculty of Education’s personnel volunteered to engage with evacuee children residing in Kfar HaMaccabiah and opened a school where faculty members, students, and volunteer educators conduct educational activities. This project is carried out in collaboration with the Ramat Gan Municipality and the Ministry of Education.

The vast experience and knowledge of Bar-Ilan personnel have also been put to use in the realm of media awareness. To assist the national effort of influencing global audience perspectives, university experts have been interviewed by dozens of media outlets, both in Israel and internationally. They also support Israeli and Jewish academics at the forefront of the “media war”. Researchers from the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies are working on explaining Israeli perspectives to the international community and the diplomatic community in Israel, while personnel from the Lookstein Center in the United States are engaged in fighting anti-Semitism. Additionally, a content-rich website was set up, focusing on research and articles to influence the academic community and global public opinion.

Bar-Ilan hosts weekly lectures for the general public and seminar days by the University’s Youth Center. The lectures cover all areas of life and especially focuses on the Israeli society’s ability to cope with the national disaster and build up its resilience. So far, lectures focused on communication, information sciences, psychology, Judaism, and humanities.

Zohar Yinon, CEO of Bar-Ilan, stated:

“It’s inspiring to witness the immediate mobilization, the initiatives and activities by university employees and students, who are lending a hand to those affected by the war. As CEO, the challenge of these days is even stronger. We are supporting and providing managerial and other resources for various volunteering initiatives.”