Haifa University cancels event marking the Nakba

School cancels event despite initial approval when it discovers students' intention is to commemorate the Nakba.

Nakba Day event at Tel Aviv University 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Nakba Day event at Tel Aviv University 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Haifa University canceled a student-organized event that the school had initially approved after the administration discovered it was intended to commemorate the Nakba, or the Catastrophe in Arabic, Army Radio reported on Wednesday
A member of the Haifa University administration told Army Radio that the students involved had initially just requested approval to perform a play, which was approved.
Only later the administration learned that the true plan was to hold an event in conjunction with Nakba Day, an annual commemoration when Palestinians mourn the creation of the Palestinian diaspora following Israel's independence in 1948.
Once the university administration learned the students' intention, they canceled the event.
It was unclear from the report if the university was funding the student event.
Last year, the government passed a law that allows the Foreign Ministry to fine any government-funded body that sponsors an event mourning Israel's day of independence, which proponents of the law argue is the purpose of the Nakba.
Haifa University's decision to cancel the event came after students at Tel Aviv University on Monday held a school-approved ceremony on campus grounds to commemorate Nakba Day.
TAU's permitted the event so long as organizers hired security guards and agreed not to use amplified speakers.
While the university did not fund the event, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar called the ceremony "outrageous" and urged TAU President Joseph Klafter to reconsider his decision to allow students to organize around the Nakba on an Israeli campus.
By the time the commemoration - which was held the day prior to the annual commemoration of the Nakba on May 15 - began, a sizable and spirited counter-demonstration developed adjacent to the Nakba ceremony, where people stood waving Israeli flags, singing the national anthem and occasionally chanting “Havenu Nakba Alechem” (“We brought a Nakba upon you”).