BYU evacuates its Jerusalem Center

Students and teachers are flown to Greece.

(Michael Stack | Special to The Tribune) The BYU Jerusalem Center in East Jerusalem, April 11, 2022.

Six days after Hamas attacked Israel, Brigham Young University evacuated its Jerusalem Center.

According to the university, “93 students, faculty and their families, as well as military couples are currently relocating to Greece.” BYU has not reported any violence in or near the eight-story, 125,000-square-foot building, but Americans are being evacuated from Israel. The Biden administration has announced that it is offering charter flights to Europe and that Americans can return home from there.

BYU did not provide details about its plans once its students and faculty reach Greece.

The center is located on Mount Scopus overlooking the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley and the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the center’s website, it is BYU’s “home base for Holy Land studies.” BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; The church’s First Presidency issued a statement Thursday saying it was “devastated by the recent outbreak of violence and loss of life in the Middle East.”

(BYU had previously reported that there were 94 students at its Jerusalem Center, but one of them broke her foot and returned to her home before the fighting began on Saturday.)

The death toll in Israel rose to over 1,300 as of Friday morning, and about 1,800 have died in Gaza. At least 27 Americans were killed – including 24-year-old Utahn Lotan Abir, who died when Hamas attacked a rave party he was attending with several other members of Utah’s Jewish community in southern Israel.

Justin Scaccy

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