Hebrew U marches to Sheikh Jarrah

Celebrated professors and their students protest eviction of locals.

hebrew u sheikh jarrah 311 (photo credit: Abe Selig)
hebrew u sheikh jarrah 311
(photo credit: Abe Selig)
Some 800 Hebrew University students and nearly a dozen professorsmarched from the school’s Mount Scopus campus to Sheikh Jarrah onWednesday afternoon to protest the evictions of Arab families and whatthey called the neighborhood’s “Jewish settlement.”
While protests in the northeast Jerusalem quarter have ballooned overrecent months, and Friday afternoon demonstrations there continue todraw large crowds, Wednesday’s march was the first “academic protest”in Sheikh Jarrah. Although the march was in no way endorsed by theuniversity, students and professors alike said more such efforts wouldfollow.
Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell from the university’s Political ScienceDepartment addressed the crowd in a park inside the neighborhood.Sternhell, who was born in Poland in 1935, told The JerusalemPost that the march was a “new step” for the protest movementin Sheikh Jarrah, and that the student-professor cooperation wassomething 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, alsoshows that we’ve reached a point of crisis [in Sheikh Jarrah] and thatdangerous 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 andothers who fear they will be next,” he said. “The other thing is thepolitical stupidity that allowed it to happen.”
Students told the Post that many of them had neverbeen to a protest in the neighborhood before, but that they had heardof the goings-on in Sheikh Jarrah, and felt obliged to show theirsupport.
“I’m not necessarily the left-wing protester type,” a studentnamed Yoav said. “But I’ve heard about the situation here, and Ithought that it would be a good opportunity to let my voice be heard aswell.
“Just because I or maybe others here haven’t protested in theneighborhood before, it doesn’t mean we approve of what has happenedhere. If anything, it’s the opposite,” he continued.  “We’ve quietlywatched Jerusalem become more right wing, more polarized – and SheikhJarrah 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, asmall counter-demonstration gathered across the street. However, noconfrontations took place.
After about half an hour, the marchers dispersed peacefully. No unusual occurrences were reported by police.