UMW News BureauUniversity of Montana Western students tackled a controversial and timely topic for their Block Four Intro to Global Politics class, focusing on U.S. aid to Israel. By Wally Feldt University of Montana Western students tackled a controversial and timely topic for their Block Four Intro to Global Politics class. Focusing on U.S. aid to Israel, the students looked past the politics and directly to the facts as they gathered information showing the positive and negative effects of aid to Israel and the Middle East. They presented their work on the final day of Block Four classes. In her introductory remarks, the class’ professor, Sara Glasgow, praised her students' efforts. “I am very proud of these students,” Glasgow said. “They worked very hard in assembling the information for their presentation. There is a tremendous amount of material available. They were amazing in how they gleaned the information and condensed it into a very informative presentation.” Glasgow said the students discovered there were two or more views of the subject and the information usually showed a slanted view depending on the source. The students presented information from the U.S. Congressional Research Service showing that the United States has given Israel over $100 billion in aid since 1949 with the majority of dollars coming in the form of military aid. The students pointed out military aid will increase from just under $2 billion in 2001 to $3.1 billion by 2018. The students elaborated further saying the military aid has had a pronounced negative effect on the region because it is directly harmful to Israeli-Palestinian relations. The students said the positive side of the U.S. aid package includes humanitarian, educational and economic aid. The students also presented U.S. Central Intelligence Agency data stating over 21 percent of the Israeli population lives below the poverty line. Much of the U.S. humanitarian aid is used to help support this portion of the population. On the education front, the students illustrated how American Schools and Hospital Abroad works with the Israeli government and has invested nearly $17 million in the country’s schools and hospitals. The students also showed that Israel is one of the few countries to be a recipient of foreign aid as well as a provider. A spirited question-and-answer segment with the audience followed the presentation, and the students tried to answer all the questions by presenting both sides of the discussion. The class was part of the department of history, philosophy and social sciences.
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