January 29, 2007 / 10 Shevat 5767
Jewish Agency Scholarship Enables Galilee Student to Continue Her Studies
Liron Maor is one of the very few Israeli women who received a “Tzav 8” emergency call up in July when the Second Lebanon War broke out. A lieutenant in the Home Guard who specializes in the disposal of hazardous materials, the 25 year-old student was drafted to help evacuate sensitive chemicals from factories in the Haifa Bay region and to be on hand in case there was a direct hit to one of the plants.
Ambitious and articulate, Liron is a second year undergraduate student in Industrial Management at ORT Braude College in Karmiel in the Galilee. The war ruined her summer plans to work long hours and save money for the expensive year of studies ahead of her. But the Jewish Agency came to her rescue. She is one of 8,700 students who served in the IDF reserves during the war who received Jewish Agency scholarships at a total cost of over $8 million from the UJC's Israel Emergency Fund.
“The scholarship compensates for the difficult memories from the summer,” explains Liron. “I never imagined I’d ever see missiles falling on Haifa. It felt very lonely up here in the North when the rockets were raining down so the fact that Jews around the world care about us so much means a lot.”
Liron had arranged to work around the clock during the summer as a gas station attendant during the day and as a waitress at night. Instead she found herself in uniform for 35 days and on duty around the clock waiting for an environmental catastrophe that thankfully never came.
“There were a few close calls,” she recalls, “but fortunately there were no disasters. A direct hit by a missile on one of the factories could have resulted not only in a high cost to human life but also enormous environmental damage. We were always on standby for such a situation and worked closely with the fire, ambulance and police services.”
Liron herself hails from Haifa and her parents remained at home in the city throughout the war to be close to their daughter. She was horrified when she returned to the Galilee city of Karmiel after the summer and saw the damage wreaked by Hezbullah missiles there. “Karmiel was hit harder than Haifa,” she observes.
Students called up for reserve duty receiving
their Jewish Agency scholarships.
Liron was one of the 2,500 students receiving Jewish Agency scholarships who gathered at the Hangar Club in Tel Aviv in early January together with Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski to receive her check for $1,190 (NIS 5,000). Students also enjoyed a free concert by two of the country’s most popular singers – Keren Peles and Ivri Lidar – arranged as a tribute by the Jewish people to the young Israelis who gave up their summer and risked their lives in Israel’s defense.
Liron describes herself as “very ambitious.” “I guess the sky is the limit,” she says. “I’d like to be the CEO of a high-tech company. I was always ambitious as a kid and my success in the army where I became an officer showed me that I can be a decision maker and lead people.”
Because of her ambitions Liron was reluctant to forego her studies, even though she saw no way to complete the year financially. “I was just running out of money when friends told me about the Jewish Agency scholarships,” she remarks. “Now I’ll be able to make it through the year.”