Letter from the Chairman

May 3, 2024

Dear Friends,

The anti-Israel protests and antisemitism on university campuses across the US, Canada, and Europe amount to nothing less than domestic terrorism. This has become quite personal, not only because I am a Jew, but also because I have a son graduating from USC in a week (thank G-d), where there has been unconscionable antisemitism. Hiding behind free speech and moral equivalence, the failure of university presidents (with a few notable exceptions) to take a stand and protect Jewish students has been a travesty of justice.

Professor Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University (TAU), along with the presidents of other Israeli universities, recently signed a letter condemning the anti-Israel protests on US and Canadian campuses. As you will read, they invite support for the Jewish and Israeli students and faculty facing these difficult circumstances, saying, "We will do our best to assist those of them who wish to join Israeli universities and find a welcoming academic and personal home."

There is comfort and strength in looking to TAU as a beacon of light, knowing that by supporting TAU we are helping to build a strong Israel. This will be one of the pillars of our efforts of support after the war. From Security & Diplomacy and Neuroscience to Gap Year Programs and full degrees, the Tel Aviv University International team can help any student find the right program at TAU.

A new study from Professor Neta Erez's lab combined two existing drugs to hinder the development of bone metastasis that occurs in 75% of breast cancer patients and is incurable in most cases. The research showed that, in lab models receiving the drugs, there were reduced bone metastases and significantly improved survival rates compared to untreated controls. According to Professor Erez, this combined treatment can also effectively treat other types of cancer. And, because both drugs are already available on the market, the process of obtaining permits to test them in humans can be relatively short.

Three TAU professors were among 14 Israeli university researchers awarded top EU Research Grants. The grants are among the most prestigious and competitive grants offered by the European Union. One grant was awarded to Professor Yair Bar-Haim, Director of TAU's National Center for Traumatic Stress and Resilience and Director of the Adler Center for Development and Psychopathology at the Sagol School of Neuroscience. Two researchers from the Blavatnik School of Computer Science were also awarded grants: Professor Rafael Pass, Director of the Checkpoint Institute for Information Security, and Professor Amir Shpilka.

The University's Entrepreneurship Center, led by Managing Director Yair Sakov, has multiple programs covering all areas of entrepreneurship, including a hands-on workshop to help women bring their startup ideas to fruition with the help of experienced mentors. Shira Burg, a graduate of the TAU program, is creating a medical device that personalizes the treatment of heart disease. Shira's startup, Symbiosis CM, has raised $1.9M since last year and won several competitions. According to Yair, TAU's responsibility is to help drive change and empower students with the tools to create solutions to global challenges. To learn more about the work of the Center, please listen to this podcast that features Yair and covers the roots of Israel's creative spirit.

Later this month I will travel to Israel for Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors meeting. I look forward to seeing fellow governors from around the world and to see your generosity in action. Thank you for all that you do to support TAU and for being a partner at the highest level. Together we are providing Tel Aviv University with the support it needs to remain a world-class leader in education.

In gratitude,

Shabbat Shalom.


Dr. Garry A. Rayant
Chair, American Friends of Tel Aviv University