The mood at Tel Aviv University on Thursday seemed more London than Ramat Aviv, with ultra-Left students protesting outside the classroom where attorney Penina Sharvit-Baruch was lecturing. The students oppose Sharvit-Baruch's teaching at the university's law school due to her IDF service during the recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza. Hours after the demonstration, Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke out in Sharvit-Baruch's defense, condemning the behavior of those who protested her appointment. "Col. Sharvit-Baruch is a talented officer who has contributed a lot to the State of Israel while carrying out her role as head of the international law division in the IDF in a very professional manner, while constantly considering the IDF's activities in accordance with the restrictions and prohibitions of international law," Barak said. Sharvit-Baruch's service, together with other legal minds, as part of the process through which the IDF takes operational decisions "emphasizes the ethical nature of the IDF and the great desire of the political and military establishment to prevent harm to innocent civilians," Barak said. He emphasized that the political echelon - and not those serving in the security forces - were responsible for anything that happened during Operation Cast Lead. But it was exactly this charge - that during Operation Cast Lead Sharvit-Baruch aided in harming civilians - that the protesters cited as a reason to block her from joining the teaching faculty. Dozens of students gathered outside of Sharvit-Baruch's classroom on her first day of teaching to protest her presence, but the reserve colonel avoided confronting them by entering the classroom through a back door, despite the fact that the university administration had placed security guards at the entrance to the classroom. At a counterprotest led by the Im Tirtzu organization, other Tel Aviv students expressed support for Sharvit-Baruch and the university's decision to employ. Backing up the counterprotesters, who held a sign welcoming the lecturer to the opening of the spring semester, were Likud MKs Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely.