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20.03.2024 | י אדר ב' התשפד

Combining Technology with Middle Eastern Reality

Meet Hillel Gonen, an MA student in Middle Eastern studies, heading an R&D team in the IDF Air Force

Hillel Gonen

Meet Hillel Gonen, who is studying for an MA in the Bar-Ilan University Department of Middle Eastern Studies. "In recent years, I’ve been interested in geopolitics, and particularly in everything that is happening around us in the Middle East. I focus on economics, sociology, and the culture that connects them. I feel that the degree in the field of the Middle East connects all of these," he shares.

Hillel, who holds a BA in computer science, serves as an officer in a technology unit in the IDF Air Force as head of an R&D team. In his role, he is responsible for developing operational capabilities for the Air Force. "As a team leader, I believe in the abilities of my people. I provide them with independence in their tasks, while leading the teaming aspects and supporting them in everything they need," he says.

Hillel decided on the field of study for his MA based on his desire to combine the tools and technological knowledge he acquired in his BA, his professional experience in the military service, and the domain of the Middle East which he is studying. “Although my studies create an intense workload, as they occur simultaneously with my service in the IDF, it’s a positive thing for me,” says Hillel.

Hillel is studying in the 'Literary Arabic' course, taught by lecturer Mor Shapira, and according to him, her enthusiasm and love for the profession are very evident, along with her professionalism. "I chose to study at Bar-Ilan University as I’ve often come across lecturers from the Bar-Ilan Department of Middle Eastern Studies in the podcasts I listen to, and I was impressed by them. In general, all my lecturers deliver the content professionally, while also showing significant compassion."

Hillel lives in Kibbutz Sha'alvim. He likes to play guitar and piano, as well as travel. He also enjoys campus life: "The social atmosphere at Bar-Ilan is great, and the meticulous upkeep of the campus stands out. I also feel that there is a significant diversity in the population at the university, with respect for everyone."

The Department of Middle Eastern Studies, which includes world-renowned lecturers and researchers, enables students to gain a more profound understanding of the historical, political, social, economic, religious and cultural processes that have shaped the Middle East, since the rise of Islam in the 7th century until today. Department graduates  assume positions in  government, the security system, academic research, teaching, media, business and more.