The Council for Higher Education in Israel (CHE) has launched a Study in Israel initiative aiming todouble the number of international students enrolled in Israeli colleges and universities.

Currently, 11,853 international students are studying in Israel.

“Approximately 6,000 are short-term students coming for a semester or summer courses,” says Marissa Gross Yarm, CHE’s Head of International Student Affairs. “We have around 5,000 studying for full degrees in Israel.”

Yarm’s statistics show nearly 2,000 bachelor’s degree students, more than 1,800 master’s degree students, nearly 1,300 postdocs and almost 800 PhD students from other countries are studying in Israel.

“The top sending countries are the US, Canada, Germany, France, China, India and South Korea,” says Yarm.

“The international postdoc students primarily are from Asia. We’re seeing more students from China and India now in short-term and full-degree programs as well,” she adds.

 “Israel is now more attractive than ever for students in North America and beyond.”

The Study in Israel campaign initially is targeting students in North America, China and India.

While Israel has 62 institutions of higher education, most international students are enrolled in one of the eight public universities (Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Ariel University) or in the private Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and Jerusalem College of Technology.

“We also see many short-term students in Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and Shenkar College of Engineering and Design,” Yarm tells ISRAEL21c.

26 new international degree programs

In keeping with the Study in Israel goal, The CHE recently authorized 26 new international degree programs.

They include STEM, innovation and entrepreneurship, Jewish studies, Middle Eastern studies, agriculture, urban studies, environmental studies and design. These disciplines attract the most international students, says Yarm.

In addition, the CHE has earmarked funds to help the public universities bolster marketing and recruitment efforts, create new courses in English and develop international student services.

“Part of our program is encouraging Israelis to study in English alongside international students,” says Yarm.

Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chair of the CHE's Planning and Budgeting Committee. Photo courtesy of the Council for Higher Education
Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chair of the CHE’s Planning and Budgeting Committee. Photo courtesy of the Council for Higher Education

“We have committed to making Israel a ‘brain gain’ country for excellent students and researchers from around the world — North and South America, Europe, and Asia,” said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, chair of the CHE’s Planning & Budgeting Committee.

Recently, four Israeli universities (Tel Aviv, Hebrew, Technion and Ben-Gurion) were ranked among the top 50 undergraduate programs globally that produce the most venture capital-backed entrepreneurs, according to a PitchBook study.

For more information on the new Study in Israel initiative, click here.