Far-left and Arab students disrupted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s lecture Wednesday night at Hebrew University, holding signs and shouting derogatory slogans at the mayor.
Once the lecture began, a number of protesters stood up and began to shout at the mayor, referring to Jerusalem as an occupied city.
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“We will not bow our heads to the violence and incitement of the radical Left,” Barkat stated in response. “It is unfortunate that those who claim to promote the values of freedom of expression try to silence those who don’t agree with them.”
Once the protesters were removed, Barkat delivered his speech as planned and added: “There is one law in Jerusalem – for Jews and Arabs alike. We will continue to work, without prejudice or exemptions, to ensure law and order in Israel’s united capital.”
Barkat’s lecture was delivered as part of rightwing Zionist advocacy group Im Tirtzu’s Seminars for Zionist Thought, the largest Zionist academic extra-curricular program in Israel.
Seminars for Zionist Thought is the flagship academic program of Im Tirtzu, which was established to impart pro-Israel and Zionist knowledge to Israeli students and to combat the growing phenomenon of anti-Zionism in Israeli academia and academic curriculum.
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said that Wednesday night’s hostile disruption crossed a red line, and called on Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) to demand that the university president take action against the protesters.
“What happened tonight was a disgraceful attempt to silence free speech,” said Peleg. “Im Tirtzu has never been deterred by the radical-left and will never be deterred by them in the future. We will continue running the Seminars for Zionist Thought on campuses throughout the country and will continue to provide students with pro-Israel knowledge from the leading Zionist lectures in Israel.”