Threatened with boycott, Hebrew U welcomes students in IDF uniform

Following protests and threats of boycott over a lecturer’s harassment of a soldier-student, the Hebrew University put out an advertisement welcoming students in uniform.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Five days after Hebrew University of Jerusalem lecturer Dr. Carola Hilfrich chided a student for wearing her IDF uniform to class, the university released an advertisement encouraging students in uniform to study there.

“Students in Uniform? Welcome!” says the ad. It was signed by the university’s President Asher Cohen and Student Association leader Shir Mordechai.

Not only does the university welcome students serving in various military frameworks, but it is also “proud and supportive” of its faculty members who serve as IDF reservists, are parents of soldiers, and whose partners serve in the Israeli military, the ad said.

“We wanted to clarify that we respect soldiers in uniform. That is the truth,” Cohen said Monday on Army Radio. He also apologized for the incident. “I personally have not talked with Dr. Hilfrich yet, but her behavior was behavior that should have not occurred,” he stated.

When asked if the university had any intention of dismissing the professor, he replied that “this subject is not even on the table.”

The university has faced an outcry, including demands to fire Hilfrich even after the lecturer apologized. The Im Tirtzu Zionist organization, which led the protests, said that during the days following the incident, over 45,000 emails were sent at its initiative to the university administration, calling for a formal university apology and dismissal of the professor.

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A “uniform protest” is planned for Tuesday at the university, where students will come wearing IDF uniforms.

“We are pleased to see that after the university nixed the playing of Hatikvah (Israeli national anthem) at its graduation ceremony, approved inciting protests against IDF soldiers and petitioned the state on behalf of a BDS activist, they remembered the importance of IDF soldiers,” said Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg.

“This is a step in the right direction,” continued Peleg, “and perhaps there is still hope that the university will change its ways and begin combating the widespread anti-Israel activity on its campus.”

The full text of the ad appears below:

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Welcomes Students in Uniform

“The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, together with the Student Union, express wholehearted support for students serving in the Israel Defense Force, including those who combine their studies with IDF service, those who are called to reserve military duty and those who are registered in programs run jointly by Hebrew University and the IDF, as well as any other national security-related programs. We stand behind all of our students and faculty, and welcome them in any clothing they may choose.

“We are proud and supportive of our faculty members who perform reserve duty, parents or partners of soldiers on active duty, in everyday life and in times of crisis.

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“The Hebrew University and the Student Union operate numerous programs supporting students serving in the IDF, including reservists. We will continue to support these deserving students and to fulfil our obligations to them as we have done in the past.

“The Hebrew University stands for fair treatment and respect for all of our faculty members, staff and students, and expresses regret for the recent and unusual incident with apologies for all those who may have been adversely affected.”