Hebrew University protest 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Hebrew University Student Union)
A spate of vandalism and attacks against Hebrew University students around the
Mount Scopus campus prompted more than 150 students to take to the streets
Tuesday for a candlelight march from the campus to the French Hill
The march followed an increase in stone-throwing incidents,
vandalism against students’ cars, and even physical and sexual attacks against
students walking from their classes to the French Hill neighborhood.
February 29, police arrested a youth from the Isawiya neighborhood who sexually
assaulted at least four female students and is suspected of assaulting
“This is not a new issue,” said Hebrew University Student Union
president Itai Gutler on Thursday. “But during the last semester there were a
lot of difficult events, worse than normal, and we wanted to demonstrate against
Gutler said students are forced to travel to and from campus armed
with pepper spray and their cellphones open in case they are
“After months of discussion, it’s time to show the authorities
that we came here to live and study and not to battle for our survival,” Gutler
said ahead of the protest.
Inbar Admon, who is in charge of the social
involvement branch of the student union, said that because many students do not
file formal complaints with the police, there are no numbers that point to an
increase in attacks or vandalism.
“But this is a phenomenon that’s
growing in terms of what students are feeling,” she said.
University spokeswoman Orit Sulitzeanu said it was the responsibility of the
police, and not the university, to patrol the areas and cut down on vandalism
and break-ins. She added that the police had responded favorably to a recent
request by the university to increase their presence in the area.
impoverished Arab neighborhoods of Isawiya and a-Tur located next to Hebrew
University are contributing to the problem, said students. Admon said the
neighborhood youth are not given the resources or support they need, and
therefore get into trouble in the area around the university. She called on the
university to not “flee from their responsibility” as an educational institution
to improve the areas surrounding the campus.
On Wednesday, student
representatives met with Zion Precinct Chief Nissan Aderi to voice their
They demanded an increased police presence as well as
infrastructure changes, such as better lighting outside of the campus, a fence
around the parking lot, and more security cameras.
asked police to stand by their promise to send a patrol car to the site of every
attack in order to take a formal complaint from the student. Sometimes, police
ask students to report smashed windshields and other vandalism or other attacks
at the precinct station, which is located in downtown Jerusalem. Often, students
are so focused on fixing the vandalism or getting over an attack that they don’t
file a formal police complaint.
“We understand there’s a problem that
girls aren’t filing complaints [about sexual assault], but that doesn’t mean
they can’t work on a solution to the whole issue,” said Admon. The students
bristled at the police’s suggestion to join the volunteer civilian guard in the
“That’s a part of the solution, but that’s not the whole
solution,” said Admon.
“We came here to learn, we’re already having
difficulty finding apartments and paying high prices for them.
here is to finish our degrees, it’s unacceptable that we say we’re not feeling
safe and they tell us to join civilian guard.”