Islamist students at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev set up a chastity patrol that took on the responsibility of enforcing the dress codes of Arab female students on campus, BGU President, Prof. Daniel Chamovitz (pronounced Chayimovitch) told an audience during the Shabbat interview show ShabaTarbut, March 26.
Speaking to the host, journalist Roy Katz, President Chamovitch exposed the shocking phenomenon, describing how the cell members photographed male and female students from Bedouin society who were not dressed “modestly” and threatened to send the photos to their families.
Chamovitch declined to comment on whether the Islamist students were still enrolled in the university, but said the matter had been handled exceptionally well. “We have found ways to address this,” he said. “We threatened them and they got scared.”
“We didn’t file a complaint with the police, because the victims should complain,” he added, and
admitted he did not know whether such a complaint had been filed.
Ynet reporter Ilana Kuriel published an interview six months ago with R., 21, a female Bedouin student at BGU, resident of the Bedouin city of Rahat, who became the victim of an anonymous photographer while waiting for the bus.
“I was standing and talking to friends and I noticed someone was photographing me,” she recalled. “The next day, when I woke up in the morning, I saw a lot of messages. They wrote me, ‘Did you see yourself in TikTok?’
In the video, R. is seen talking to two of her girlfriends while two men are watching them from a distance. The caption criticized her for not paying attention to the fact that those two men were lurking at her. This kind of public rebuke can end up causing humiliation to the family, that in Arab society may end up in tragedy.
Indeed, Prof. Aliyan al-Karinawi, lecturer in the Department of Social Work at Ben-Gurion University, told Ynet on Sunday that the university professor was being irresponsible in revealing the phenomenon. He believes Chamovitch should have avoided sharing sordid information with an audience. “Such things should be dealt with within the university, and if there was such a thing, these people should be summoned if they are students, and thrown to hell,” he said.
“I have been at this university for over 25 years,” said Prof. al-Karinawi. “In the past three years, we’ve managed to recruit some 153 female Bedouin students with fully paid tuition. I think the things that were said were out of place. I think the Arab girls, including the Bedouin, in the Negev, the Arab triangle, and Galilee, are behaving in an exemplary manner. There are cultural and religious codes and they respect them. I see it, I teach them and accompany them. What was said here can certainly hurt these Arab girls.”