Hebrew University students protested on Wednesday against a lecturer’s reprimand of a student, who was an active duty soldier, for wearing her IDF uniform to class.
The protest’s organizers called the incident an embarrassment to the university, and called on students not to accept such treatment of soldiers. They waved Israeli flags and chanted “We love the IDF.”
Dr. Carola Hilfrich, a lecturer at the university, criticized the student earlier on Wednesday after an argument broke out between the soldier and an Arab student, according to a report by Ynet.
“You cannot be naïve and ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform,” Hilfrich told the soldier after class, according to the report. “You are a soldier in the Israeli army, and they will treat you accordingly.”
“Does it bother you that I wear my uniform to class?” the student asked, telling Hilfrich that she must be tolerant and respectful of others.
The student union protested, which led Hilfrich to later apologize.
“It is shameful to see that students receive humiliating reactions only because they wear uniforms,” the student union said in response to the incident. “In recent years, we have been working hard to promote the rights of students and those who serve in the reserves to ensure that the service does not harm them academically.”
“Despite the political differences and arguments, we expect lecturers and students to show empathy,” the statement said. “We expect them to express their opinions, but to preserve human dignity.”
Protesters on Wednesday held signs saying, “We salute our soldiers. Be proud of your uniform,” and, “Students demand: Honor for those who wear uniforms.”
“Enough moral deterioration,” the protesters demanded. “Enough surrendering our values.”
The demonstration was initiated by right wing NGO Im Tirtzu, which regularly protests on university campuses and clashes with left wing NGOs.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) called on the university to take disciplinary measures against Hilfrich.
“It is unimaginable that IDF soldiers be placed in such humiliating situations,” Gamliel wrote. “Members of all the security services should be able to study in the university and wear their official uniforms.”
“The State of Israel and Israeli society should express their thanks for those who serve in the security services, not humiliate them,” she said.
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