TAU students protest by not lighting 8th candle

Hanukka candle will be lit once the "Shochat Committee is disbanded."

tel aviv university  (photo credit: Channel 2)
tel aviv university
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Tel Aviv University students will march with torches from their campus to Namir Road on Thursday afternoon in protest over the lack of student and faculty representation on the Shochat Committee, which was established in November to examine the future of higher education. "Our protests will get worse, even if it means a general higher education strike," threatened Tel Aviv University Student Union chairman Boaz Toporovsky. The march will end with a candle lighting ceremony for the Hanukka ("dedication") of the higher education system. The eighth candle - representing the future of higher education - will remain unlit. "This will be a candle for the future of higher education and the country," read a statement released by the Tel Aviv University Student Union on Wednesday. The statement announced that "the lecturers and students of Tel Aviv University will light this candle once the Shochat Committee is disbanded and in its stead there is a committee that will include the senior and junior faculty and the student leadership." The demonstration will mark the end of a series of two-hour strikes carried out by student organizations and lecturers' unions on campuses throughout the country over the past week in protest against the lack of representation of students and faculty on the committee. On Wednesday, Bar-Ilan University students demonstrating against the Shochat Committee blocked Rehov Bar-Ilan near the university and were forcibly removed by police. Students held signs reading "Yuli Tamir - the Trouble of Education," a Hebrew play on the words "minister of education." A similar protest took place on Tuesday at Beersheba's Ben-Gurion University, where students and faculty went on strike for two hours at 2 p.m. Some 200 students demonstrated at the same time, holding signs that read, "education is an investment, not an expense," and "no education, no country." Meanwhile, there were early signs of possible strikes among elementary and secondary school teachers Wednesday. In a statement released in the afternoon, the teachers' unions threatened nationwide strikes if the Finance Ministry remained steadfast in its refusal to negotiate a collective salary agreement for teachers, which has been lacking since 2001. Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson told the Knesset Education Committee in early December that he refused to "throw money out to sea," and demanded that the Education Ministry develop a plan to reform the educational system. In such a case, he said, "I'm not ruling out adding to the education budget." In response to the threats of the teacher strikes, Education Minister Yuli Tamir called for the immediate opening of negotiations between the teachers' unions and the Finance Ministry in order "to reach a new agreement that will improve the working conditions of teachers in Israel."