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The legal reform storm is coming to the universities - and the student cells are in conflict: "the opening shot for a long struggle" | Israel today


The video in which a lecturer from Tel Aviv University was recorded cursing and insulting students who support the reform is only the beginning • Protests on campuses mainly consisted of students demonstrating against each other and the professional faculty allows absence from classes to demonstrate • Student and activist if you will: "There is no room for a dialogue of two opinions"

The demonstrations and the controversy over the reform of the legal system reach the academic institutions - and threaten the relationship between the students and the lecturers and also within the groups.

In a video revealed today in Israel Hayom, a senior lecturer was recorded cursing and insulting students who support the reform of the judicial system and called them "disgusting fascists***".

During the demonstration at Tel Aviv University, a lecturer at the university, Benny Trachtenbrot, who is considered a senior academic staff member at the School of Physics and Astronomy, approached the students who support the reform. According to the students, he threatened them and said that he would document them and that they would not receive scholarships. When one of the demonstrators took a picture of him back and claimed that He discriminates on a political basis, the lecturer made a three-finger gesture to the protesters, then turned around and shouted "You are disgusting fascists, you don't belong at the university".

When Trachtenbrot was asked again if he would be fired on political grounds, he said "You don't know what laughter is, you idiot."

When the lecturer was asked to repeat what he said, he attacked: "Your mother is this**". 

A demonstration against the government's reform of the legal system at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, photo: Yonatan Zindel/Flash90

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, photo: Oren Ben Hakon

Align with the lecturers

The last few days have been turbulent at the academy.

Demonstrations were held on various campuses on Monday protesting against the reform of the judicial system.

In front of them, in some institutions, students affiliated with the "If You Want" organization from the right side - which supports reform and changes in the justice system - stood up.

So far, the protests on campuses have mainly consisted of students protesting against each other, but the debate has already started spilling over to the lecturers - which marks a new point of friction between the lecturers and the students who may feel they have to "align" with the lecturers' opinion.

The case in Tel Aviv is not the only case.

After the announcement of the dates of the demonstration that took place on Monday, a female faculty member at Bar-Ilan University wrote to her friends that "the new government intends to carry out a legislative blitz, the result of which are changes that will seriously damage democracy. We must organize at the university-wide level and act together to try to stop the government's dangerous moves." .

The student protest against the revolution at Tel Aviv University, photo: the student protest

She called on them to join the student protest and allow some of them to be absent from class for the purpose of the demonstration.

However, it was harshly criticized by some of the faculty members who actually support the reform: some wrote that raising such issues was "extremely serious", others protested the introduction of political content into the group.

In response to this, the group manager deleted the staff member's message.

The vice chancellor even wrote to the faculty members: "I ask you to accommodate the students' desire to express their position publicly. If a student chooses to leave the classroom to demonstrate, this should be allowed. Please avoid comments that may inflame spirits."

Those leading the protest and demonstrations against the reform are a group called the "Student Protest".

On Tuesday, the members of the group shut down classes for about an hour in some academic institutions and went out to demonstrate against what they call the "regime coup".

According to them, the current plan "threatens to eliminate democracy and dismantle the separation of powers in Israel."

Benny Trachtenbrot, a senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University who cursed students, photo: if you want

According to them, the demonstrations yesterday constitute the opening shot for a long, determined and uncompromising struggle, which is expected to include many and varied protest actions in the coming period inside and outside the campuses.

The song of hope is shared

Shir Lisk, PhD student at the Technion: "We are not against reforms but against the current reforms, because we believe that this will cause inequality and weaken the justice system. If we do not see a retreat from the existing reforms, we will continue the struggle. It is exciting to see that in a busy period, students stopped everything and chose to come."

She said: "The demonstration was divided into two sides - supporters and opponents of the reform. At the end of the demonstration, we invited the people who were happy in front of us to sing the anthem, and they accepted."

The demonstrations led to tensions with students who actually support the reform.

Students and activists of If You Want held demonstrations of support under the title "The rebellion will not help - the reform must pass".

They demonstrated at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and even recorded students demonstrating in front of them and waving the PLO flag and signs against the occupation.

Students at Ben Gurion University protest against the reform, photo: Dodo Greenspan

Shai Rosengarten, head of the education department of the Am Tiretsu movement and a master's student at Tel Aviv University: "I am not specifically afraid or deterred - neither by a student nor by a lecturer, but there are students who are afraid to come and participate in our demonstrations. They explain that it is problematic for them because the academy and many of the lecturers see everyone who supports the government's moves as a destroyer of democracy. There is no room for a discourse of two opinions."

We note that the lecturer Benny Trachtenbrot said that he apologizes for being dragged into inappropriate statements, and says that he is more than happy that male and female students of every gender and every sector participate in his classes, without any distinction whatsoever.

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Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2023-01-17

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