For 3L Kelly Duff, Regent Law’s Summer Program in Israel was the capstone on her graduate work in Middle East studies and law. For three years, she has been immersed in legal analysis and in learning the political landscape of the Middle East. For her, studying in Israel tied it all together.
“When I ‘met’ Israel,” she said, “everything came alive. It was an exciting country, a traditional country, a beautiful country, a country that represents so many paradoxes.”
Duff joined approximately 25 other students from Regent University to study Qur’anic and Biblical law and Israel’s unique international legal environment. From mid-May to early June, the group toured the country while studying the legal aspects of each site.
The itinerary included Abu Ghosh, Bethlehem, Masada, En Gedi, Modi’in, Tiberias, Capernaum, Metulla, Caesarea, and Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem and Haifa served as home base.
“The professors did a wonderful job weaving legal education into the historic surroundings and trips we took,” said Terah Gaertner, a first year law student. “Being able to see and experience something you learned about in a classroom setting the day before made the lesson more concrete.”
Another first year student, John Tipton, recounted influential visits which he said helped him to see the legal significance of the surrounding area. “We visited the Israeli Supreme Court, the Knesset, which is the Israeli Parliament, and a Military Court in the West Bank where we were able to talk with a Military Judge. “
Students also had the chance to hear an Israeli Supreme Court Justice discuss the problems he faces in making decisions on controversial relations issues affecting religious and ethnic groups within the country. Walking out the door into the geographic context within which the issues develop greatly impacted the students’ education.
“Seeing that people with different values are living on top of one another,” said Tipton, “made it easy to understand how other countries can recommend policies that are difficult for Israel to carry out without sacrificing the safety and well being of their citizens.”
And for Duff, actually visiting the Golan Heights gave her the ability to draw lines she had not been able to before her trip. “I know it’s a minute observation, but it was important for me to see how strategically important the Golan Heights are,” she said. “They are very significant for Israel’s negotiations with Syria.”
The political, relational, geographic and legal lessons were not the only highlights of the trip, though. Floating in the Dead Sea, swimming in En Gedi pools and waterfalls, and studying by the Mediterranean are experiences none of the students will soon forget.
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