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Is it possible to live, study, or work in Lebanon after living in Israel?

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I am currently studying abroad in Israel for a year and want to later pursue a PhD in Middle Eastern History (and maybe a Masters degree in History or Middle Eastern Studies prior). In particular, I want to study the Arab-Israeli Conflict and specifically Israeli-Lebanese relations. As a result, I am considering trying to get a Masters/ PhD in Lebanon, perhaps just do a short term program there for a month or so at some point, or at least do some research in the country.


Of course, I would need to get a new passport if I wanted to go to Lebanon because my current one has an Israeli visa in it. However, would I then actually be able to sneak in to Lebanon or not?


Now, I know that most of you will say "well, if Lebanon doesn't know you have been to Israel, how can they deny you admission? Americans who have been to Israel go on vacation in Lebanon all the time!" But, let's think about this for a moment...


Living in Israel for a year and speaking Arabic with a Palestinian accent are not easy things to hide like having simply been to Israel for a week-long vacation. (Also, Palestinian Arabic includes a lot of Hebrew phrases and expressions that are not used in Lebanon.) Sure, when I enter the airport I could speak English or French and I therefore could probably get through the airport fine, but hold on a moment...


If I am applying for a PhD program or networking with a Lebanese scholar, what am I supposed to do? Make up some elaborate story to replace the year I was in Israel? How would I fill out applications/ resumes for work or study, by simply saying I was actually in France or some other place instead of Israel? Am I also supposed to tell all of those people writing my letters of recommendation to not mention that I studied in Israel or can speak Hebrew? It's not as if I am simply trying to visit Lebanon for a few days after having been to Israel (although I am going to try to do that later this year).


In other words, if someone like me applied to a graduate program in Lebanon and my application mentioned that I studied in Israel for a bit or can speak Hebrew, would I be denied admission for that? Do only security agents enforce the anti-Israel bans or is it a sort of phenomenon that all Lebanese people and companies exercise throughout every moment of their lives?


Also, I have an other separate question: until just recently, homosexuality was criminalized in Lebanon. So, if the Lebanese security agents searched through my belongings, Googled me on the internet, or Facebook stalked me, they may notice I have a boyfriend - is there any way they could use that as a reason to deny me admission to the country or a visa for the country?


So, do you see my problem? Has anyone ever tried to do what I am doing? Do you have any thoughts about my situation? Thanks for your help.

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I'm not a Lebanon expert, but I've been there, and I think you might be overthinking this a bit.

I doubt anyone involved in the admissions process at a Lebanese university is going to deny you admission because you've spent time in Israel. I doubt even more that they would inform any border security that you've been there. Beirut is a cosmopolitan place, and people are extremely friendly. No one is going to chase you out of town :P.

If you are truly worried about any backlash with colleagues, maybe try to emphasize any experiences you've had in Palestine (I don't know, I'm just shooting from the hip here), but I would give people the benefit of the doubt and be honest with them.

Border security are going to be the only people who care that you've been to Israel. Get a new passport. Speak English at the airport. 

Also, this is a forum for professional programs, so you might get better advice from people who have been in your shoes on the Interdisciplinary Studies or Political Science forums. 

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beefmaster - that's part my of question: so am I just supposed to leave off studying in Israel from my resumes and applications?


If I applied, for instance, for a Masters degree at a Lebanese university, I would of course have to mention where I have studied. Also, my Statement of Purpose would discuss that I want to become a historian of Israeli-Lebanese relations. So, it's not like I can easily erase Israel from my life.


Do all Lebanese people really hate Israelis that badly? (I tend to think that the hatred between the two is more exaggerated - for example, before I went to Egypt and the UAE, everyone told me Israelis were hated, but I found the situation a lot more complex and when I told people I'm an American living in Israel, no ordinary people seemed to care). Of course I would not tell random people or government people that I lived in Israel, but I don't see why I would need to (or how it would be possible) to hide this reality from close friends or scholars.


If I did a Masters degree in Lebanon, it would be at one of the Francophone universities, like Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth. Is the situation with the French universities a bit different because of the kinds of people who go there?

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It is not everybody. But you have no idea who anyone you know will tell, that is the point. 

The university does not matter (in fact the types of people that go even to Francophone universities are mixed). You have to remember that all sects suffered through the Israeli war....

Anyway, up to you. But I would recommend any people who had done that to tell anyone in Lebanon they had. You are just setting yourself (and close colleagues) up for a world of bullshit. 

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I mean. If you do come to Lebanon, don't tell anyone that you have lived in/studied in/traveled to/have friends or contacts there. 

World of bullshit = deportation and PNG for foreigners. Issues with the internal security forces / community for local people. 

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Everything is possible, of course. I just wouldn't recommend anyone did it. 

If you do, good luck!

Also, contact the university and just ask them straight out. Not like anything bad can come of it. 

Edited by beefmaster
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