The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem formally opened its doors on April 1, 1925. Dr. Chaim Weizmann, then President of the World Zionist Organization, presided over the event which marked the achievement of a long-time goal of the Zionist movement. From a Zionist perspective, it was necessary to create an institution which would allow Jews to study and to make their own contribution to world scholarship. Under the leadership of the American rabbi Judah Magnes, the focus of the university was placed first on teaching, with the hope that quality research would later come from the newly qualified students.
Zionists' plans were countered by a different proposal for a "Palestine University." The suggestion was made by Colonel Ronald Storrs, the British Military Governor of Jerusalem. His vision of the new university was one which would include both a Hebrew and an Arabic department. Concerned that the Jewish character of the university would be affected, Chairman of the Zionist Executive Menahem Ussishkin rejected the idea.
On the day that the opening ceremony was held, Arab groups held a strike in protest. They were particularly disappointed with the presence of Lord Balfour at the ceremony. Balfour delievered the inaugural address, welcoming the establishment of the long-awaited university.
Today, the Hebrew University has facilities on four different campuses, three of which are in Jerusalem (the fourth is located in Rehovot). Some 24,000 people study at the university, including a number of Israeli Arab and Druze students. The senior staff numbers approximately 1,400.
Source: The Jewish Agency for Israel and The World Zionist Organization.