Ordinary students support the strike

Support for the strikes runs deeper than the student unions' political leadership.

April 20, 2007 18:28
2 minute read.


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Halfway through its second week, the student strike that has shut down Israel's universities and colleges has a lot of strength left to go, if the conversation among the students is any indication. While National Union of Israeli Students head Itay Shonshine spoke with gusto about the Shochat Committee's "right-wing economic views" and believed the committee was certain to recommend raising tuition - "[committee chairman Avraham] Beige Shochat already said it would rise" - it was conversations with ordinary students that showed that support for the strikes ran deeper than the student unions' political leadership. "The education minister [Yuli Tamir] lied to the voter," insisted Hebrew University chemistry major Moshe Ben Shoshan. "She was at a conference at [the Hebrew University campus at] Givat Ram before the elections, and she talked about a social agenda, saying the government would not raise tuition," he said, echoing Shonshine's view that tuition would be raised for most students. Ben Shoshan doesn't necessarily trust the unions on political issues - "they're controlled by people close to Kadima," he complains - but he's fully behind them when it comes to the current strikes. If tuition is raised, he believes "people I know won't be able to do a masters degree. The average student won't be able to fund their studies. Poor students just won't be students anymore." Ben Shoshan also agrees with the unions on the question of blame. The unions insist Tamir and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are the cause of the crisis and have demanded a meeting with the prime minister. Ben Shoshan similarly blames the "dishonesty" of the current political leadership for the current crisis. "She lied to the voter," he said of Tamir, "when she promised students wouldn't be hurt. But then again, the head of the Labor party promised $1000 minimum wage, and their first law was to raise the price of bread. The direction is obvious." While students demonstrated throughout Beersheba's intersections and along the Ayalon highway Thursday, Tel Aviv University archaeology and sociology student Carmel Sivan felt guilty that he had to work and could not join "the struggle." If anything, he says, the student unions' goals were too small. "I think the problem with this struggle, as with most of the fights in this country, is that it isn't connected to a general ideology, to a broader idea of equality," he believes. But he still "undoubtedly" supports the strikes "because I think that beyond the question of raising tuition - and I have a clear opinion on this - the idea that you can establish a [state] committee whose conclusions are preordained is dishonest and misses the true purpose of state committees. It's not a fair solution." Anna Usvitsky, a Masters student in psychology at Hebrew University, says she doesn't know "if I agree with the strike ideologically," since she's distrustful of the "socialist motives behind it." But, she adds, while she has shied away from the rallies, she hasn't formed strong opinions on the issue and does not oppose the actions of the unions. "They got a larger turnout than they expected at the demonstrations," she notes. Speaking of the unions' campaigns to bring students to the rallies, she hints at one possible cause. "They gave me a popsicle," she summarizes, smiling.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town