Former Jerusalem Center students recall tension, restrictions


    By Tyson Snow

    Riots in the Israeli capital are being called the worst in 10 years, and those at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies are being locked in for their own protection.

    Both the violence and the precautions have been there for years.

    Caroline Kramer, 22, a junior from Orem, majoring in geography, was in Jerusalem during Fall Semester 1998.

    “There were a few times we had to stay inside the center,” Kramer said. “One time, on a field trip, we couldn’t go to the place we wanted to visit because of a riot.”

    Bethany Erickson, 21, a senior from Bountiful majoring in business marketing, said she remembers not being allowed out of the center after dark.

    Public transportation and certain areas of the city are nearly always under some restrictions for the students’ safety, Erickson said.

    But despite the constant threat of violence, students felt safe while they were at the Jerusalem Center.

    “I never really felt threatened, but there was always a tension in the air,” said Ryan Shoemaker, 24, a senior from Auburn, Wash., majoring in English.

    Shoemaker, who attended the center Fall Semester 1999, said he would find it hard to live in a place for a long period of time with the atmosphere of constant and pervasive feelings of hostility.

    “I knew we were safe because of the way they had it set up,” Erickson said. “There were a lot of rules and precautions in place to help protect us.”

    “The center is really secure,” Kramer said. “They have top security.”

    See related story:

    BYU students eyewitness Jerusalem conflicts 10/05/2000

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