OHIO — Over the last several weeks, people have taken to the streets around the country in support of Israel and in support of Palestinians living in Gaza. A good number here in Ohio have been young college students.

What You Need To Know

  • Professor Ori Yehudai said the first few weeks after the initial attack on Israel created a tense, classroom atmosphere 

  • He made sure students knew they had a safe space to express their viewpoints in a safe space during discussions

  • He also gave students who struggling the chance to get their questions addressed within office hours if they needed to take their concerns beyond the classroom

While much has taken place in the streets, a good bit is also playing out in the classroom on campuses, like Ohio State University.

Ori Yehudai, author and associate professor in the Department of History, teaches two different classes on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said when the attack on Israel happened just a few weeks ago, he shifted gears and put extra emphasis on discussing what happened.

“It was a difficult discussion because everyone was concerned. People were shocked and afraid. But I addressed the issues and I provided students with historical background to give them context," he said.

As he gave students the opportunity to ask questions and express their views, he said he, along with the students, were able to have productive conversations. 

During the discussions, Yehudai said as he addressed the historical context and questions were raised, he made sure students in the classroom knew it was a safe space where everyone could “feel comfortable to express their views and opinions,” and debate, while being “respectful of each other in a civilized discussion.”

He also opened the door for office hours to students who had more in-depth questions about the issues they wanted to discuss personally, became even more important as the war continues.

“I think it's also very helpful for some of them," he said.