From the dawn of history the Middle East has been a source of attraction for many nations and a range of different religions. The varied combination of Semitic and Indo-European peoples and different languages that became permanently fixed in the sacred writings of the different religions altogether created a multi-dimensional identity for the Middle East that was effervescent, bleeding, tempestuous, turbulent and intriguing. This uncompromising identity of the peoples living in Middle East and its neighboring regions of North Africa and Central Asia is presenting the modern world with different thinking patterns and cultures that is shifting the world order out of its comfort zone into ongoing and unavoidable confrontations.
Much has been written and much more will be written about the Middle East by those who write the current protocols – the press, academic scholars, think tanks, and prominent researchers – all of whom together have been trying to understand what took place and how it happened and some of whom have even been creating academic paradigms and predictive methods in order to assess situations and know how to deal with the important issues of the many conflicts. In addition to this they are trying to understand how different, mostly western, countries, which have thinking and cultural patterns that are different from Middle Eastern ones, try to explain to themselves how they can include the nations and religions of the Middle Eastern region into the Western World.
On the face of things, The Center for the Study of the Middle East and Central Asia is continuing the traditions of being an academic research center in Israel and the Western World. Its location at Ariel University enables research scholars from the center of Israel to experience being researchers inside the beating heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, to closely experience the similarities and dissimilarities between us and our neighbors and to be committed to the ethics and professionalism demanded by research work. Another advantage of the center is the connection its researchers have with the world of students and teaching, on the one hand, and the cooperation with colleagues in Israel and overseas on the other. The research scholars in the center are totally involved in the ongoing, and even successful, attempts to answer the questions that are raised in real time through being in close contact with the historical processes taking place and the contemporary scientific work in the area.
The authentic voice that the center wishes to broadcast is the voice of modern, contemporary research that spreads it research coverage in the geographical manner of mapping – beginning with the satellite states of the former USSR, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the fertile crescent, onto North Africa, and the sub-Arabian peninsula with Yemen, Oman, and the gulf states. Additional coverage will involve the interdisciplinary links between researchers who come from different disciplines such as Political Science, Sociology, Communications and others who contribute their necessary theoretical knowledge to the endless number of test cases in the Middle East.