Israel’s six most prestigious universities are fighting a limitation imposed by the military that would make them justify the acceptance of more than 70 Palestinian students as students. There is also a bar on these students taking certain courses. The restrictions raise core academic freedom — as well as raw discrimination — questions. Academics at Tel Aviv, Hebrew, Ben-Gurion and Haifa universities along with the Weizmann Institute and the Technion are launching a public campaign against the regulations. Israeli academics are concerned that the latest controversy could expand the current boycott of Israeli universities in the West.
In a letter, academics at the schools note that “Since its establishment, the State of Israel has carefully maintained a tradition of academic freedom… We expect the military to maintain this tradition and to limit its involvement to matters in its area of authority, meaning security evaluations only.”
Professor Tzvi Mazeh of Tel Aviv University has gone so far as to accuse the government of imposing restrictions reminiscent of the infamous German “numerus clausus.”
After the Supreme Court ordered the government to allow a West Bank woman, Sawsan Salameh, to study for her chemistry PhD at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, here, the military was supposed to reform the harsh regulations. Instead, it made them more harsh. Under the regulations, a Palestinian can only take PhD and MA slots if they can show “there is no practical alternative for the requested field of study other than Israel.”
For the full story, click here.