hebrew u sheikh jarrah 311.
(photo credit: Abe Selig)
Some 800 Hebrew University students and nearly a dozen professors
marched from the school’s Mount Scopus campus to Sheikh Jarrah on
Wednesday afternoon to protest the evictions of Arab families and what
they called the neighborhood’s “Jewish settlement.”
While protests in the northeast Jerusalem quarter have ballooned over
recent months, and Friday afternoon demonstrations there continue to
draw large crowds, Wednesday’s march was the first “academic protest”
in Sheikh Jarrah. Although the march was in no way endorsed by the
university, students and professors alike said more such efforts would
Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell from the university’s Political Science
Department addressed the crowd in a park inside the neighborhood.
Sternhell, who was born in Poland in 1935, told The Jerusalem
that the march was a “new step” for the protest movement
in Sheikh Jarrah, and that the student-professor cooperation was
something new for demonstrations in Israel.
“I can’t remember when there was ever something like it, he said. “And I’m very happy to see it.
“And I think the fact that we’re seeing so many people here today, also
shows that we’ve reached a point of crisis [in Sheikh Jarrah] and that
dangerous things are happening here that need to stop.”
Sternhell said that he and his fellow protesters had come out for two reasons.
“One is the suffering of those who were kicked out of their homes and
others who fear they will be next,” he said. “The other thing is the
political stupidity that allowed it to happen.”
Students told the Post
that many of them had never
been to a protest in the neighborhood before, but that they had heard
of the goings-on in Sheikh Jarrah, and felt obliged to show their
“I’m not necessarily the left-wing protester type,” a student
named Yoav said. “But I’ve heard about the situation here, and I
thought that it would be a good opportunity to let my voice be heard as
“Just because I or maybe others here haven’t protested in the
neighborhood before, it doesn’t mean we approve of what has happened
here. If anything, it’s the opposite,” he continued. “We’ve quietly
watched Jerusalem become more right wing, more polarized – and Sheikh
Jarrah is a big, symbolic part of that. Now it’s time for us to say,
enough is enough!”
As speakers addressed the crowd during the final leg of the protest, a
small counter-demonstration gathered across the street. However, no
confrontations took place.
After about half an hour, the marchers dispersed peacefully. No unusual occurrences were reported by police.