Israel provides a variety of frameworks for the student traveler interested in biblical times or the contemporary Midddle East. To those curious about the beginnings of early man, the notion of an archaeological dig spells romance. Since the modern state of Israel was founded in 1948, excavations have become a national pastime. Anyone, including foreign students, is eligible to join the summer digs sponsored by Israel universities and museums.
The work involves shoveling dirt and cleaning pottery fragments. Volunteers must work for at least two weeks, six days a week, often under a scorching sun. Lectures are given on the sites. A fee of $25 to $80 a week is charged for the volunteer's upkeep.
Only in Israel can one live and work on a kibbutz. These rural communes are scattered throughout the country. Although kibbutzim are mainly agricultural, many are now venturing into manufacturing.
Volunteeers between 18 and 35, Jews and non-Jews alike, may become an kibbutznik for a month or more.Room and board, work clothes, small personal items, and pocket money are provided in exchanges for six days of hard labor. Sightseeing tours are given on Saturday, the only day off.
A volunteer can expect any type of unskilled job. Men and women pick cotton and oranges, do factory work, and toil in the kitchen and dining hall. Three big farm-style meals are provided each day.
Inexpensive tours sponsored by the Israeli Student Tourist Association give a good introduction to the country. One nine-day trip goes to Jerusalem, the Galilee district, and south to the Negev Desert.
For tour details, write the Council on International Educational Exchange, 205 East 42nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10017. The exchange also has information on kibbutz stays and low-cost student charter flights between Tel Aviv and many European cities.
Israel offers excellent summer programs at its schools of higher learning. Students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University can take courses in biblical history, Jewish studies, archaeology, and Middle East politics, plus the Hebrew and Arabic languages. Academic credit can be transferred if prior arrangements are made with the student's own school.
Information on student travel opportunities is available from the Israel Government Tourist Office, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10001.
Details on kibbutz and study programs are available from the American Zionis t Youth Foundation, 515 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022.