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Hebrew University Professors Criticize IDF Training Program In University

Several Hebrew University professors have come out against a new training program for IDF soldiers in the university’s Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

Explaining the opposition, Dr. Liat Kozma, director of Hebrew University’s Nehemia Levtzion Center for Islamic Studies, wrote on Facebook that having 150 soldiers from the IDF’s Intelligence Corps in the department “harms the teaching and research.”

“I’m thinking about our Palestinian students, but not only,” wrote Kozma in a post that she later deleted. “To study the history of the Middle East in a mixed classroom with soldiers and civilians significantly harms what can or cannot be said.”

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it was only a handful [of soldiers],” continued Kozma. “I would not like it, I admit, but I wouldn’t feel that they are suffocating my teaching and research.”

Senior lecturer in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Dr. Abigail Jacobson, added that the soldiers have a harmful effect on the “feeling of security” of Palestinian students.

“What bothers us, among other things,” wrote Jacobson, “is the expected (and very hard, in my opinion) impact of this move on the dynamic between Israeli and Palestinian students in the class.”

In response to the controversy, Hebrew University Rector, Professor Barak Medina, defended the program on KAN Reshet Bet radio and said that “there is no question” that soldiers have a place in the university.

“We are not from the United Nations,” said Medina. “We have a social responsibility. We are a public institution funded by public funds. We do not view the participation of soldiers or civil servants in academic programs as someone’s personal interest. We have a public interest.”

Medina added that the opposition to the program comes from a “very small minority” of professors, and that the program will provide Arab students the ability to see IDF soldiers in a positive light.

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu, said that “it is inconceivable how every few months there is another story about Hebrew University professors who are bothered by IDF soldiers. This antagonism against our soldiers needs to stop.”

“The university’s administration needs to conduct a serious examination of its professors,” added Peleg.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

6 Responses

  1. I suppose we shouldn’t wait for any indignant responses from outraged commenters about these traitorous, back-stabbing university professors who ought to be deported to Gaza or Iran. They are the secular Neturei Karta. And their words and opinions carry a great deal more weight than the usual gang of NK clowns who are regularly denounced on YWN as a risk to Israel’s security. Folks, these academics — and many others like them — are a MUCH greater threat. All the opponents of NK should be vehemently opposed to these university professors. Anything else is unmitigated hypocrisy, writing horrid remarks about the frum opponents to the medina, while excusing or ignoring the secular enemies. Enemies who are far more influential, and potentially dangerous.

  2. Anything that can’t be said in the classroom in front of soldiers shouldn’t be said even without them. Academic freedom, especially in a country at war, should not include sedition.

  3. Amer_yerushalmi,
    Yes, they are traitorous and should be deported to Iran.Why do you assume that anti- Netura Karta people agree with these traitorous lefties who hurt Israel to the core? BTW… they aren’t Zionists, but self- hating drivel, not unlike US radical lefties who hate America.
    As a religious Zionist, I’m sickened by these dregs, many of whom push BDS all over the world , teach, write , publish books with a post- Zionist agenda.
    They’re kapos… and yes, they’re worse than NKs

  4. ZionGate: wow, I’m actually agreeing with your comment. You ask, “Why do you assume that anti- Netura Karta people agree with these traitorous lefties.”
    Here’s why I assume so. Because every article about NK that appears on YWN is generally accompanied by a plethora of often grisly comments calling for violent retribution against a group that — at worst — is a gang of attention-seeking idiots who have zero rabbinical backing for their words and actions. In the eyes of some commenters, NK are worse than the Nazis.
    While at the same time, the very strong and influential lefty attitude toward Israel, which — minus the religious vocabulary — is identical to what NK espouses. This group includes professors, historians, writers, media people, and politicians, who have a much greater impact on world opinion. And, yes, as you mentioned, many are BDS advocates and supporters.
    I think it’s hypocrisy to speak out with such vehemence against the NK buffoons, who are noisy and annoying, but otherwise harmless; while ignoring the MUCH greater threat: the daily rag “Ha’aretz,” and the entire radical left-wing movement which is more influential, and hence dangerous, than anything NK ostensibly poses. It starts with the tone and language used by YWN in presenting the latest NK demonstration, nearly always followed by some really terrible comments.
    All I”m asking for is consistency in opposing the opposers. All of them. Especially a group than carries a lot more clout than NK. Either they are ALL bad, or none are. The same way people are able to “look aside” when confronted with the radical secular lefty anti-zionism — the same ought to be for religious anti-zionism.

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