Arab MK Hanin Zuabi, Hagai Fried
Arab MK Hanin Zuabi in Haifa University, Nov. 15, 2010. Photo by Hagai Fried
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Arab lawmaker Hanin Zuabi (Balad) visited the University of Haifa on Monday, despite being banned by the university from participating in a student political activity on the campus.

Zuabi became a subject of controversy after her participation in a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel's blockade of Gaza in May, which ended with an Israeli naval raid and on-board skirmish that left nine Turkish citizens dead.

Zuabi's arrival on campus Monday sparked verbal confrontations between Jewish students and the Balad student activists with whom Zuabi met.

Some Jewish students attempted to block Zuabi from entering the university, shouted "terrorists" and "Go to Gaza" at Arab students, and singing the national anthem.

Zuabi had been barred by the university from participating in a Balad student activity focusing on the political situation over the past year.

The university ended up providing Zuabi a small lecture hall where she met with students.

During the meeting with students, Zuabi charged that the university fundraises on its image of pluralism and coexistence between Arab and Jewish students on the campus but that it had denied her that freedom. Zuabi called on students to bring the matter to the attention of donors.

At the end of her speech, Zuabi left via a backdoor accompanied by police in order to avoid friction between her and protesting Jewish students who were shouting insults at her.

"The university's position is part of the activity of censorship and mouth gagging in the academy," Zoabi said.

The University of Haifa said Zuabi had been barred from participating in the planned student political event solely due to the threat to public security.

Haifa University said in response to the event that "the vice president of the university escorted Zoabi throughout her visit and let her known that the only reason the activity was not approved was out of fear for her safety."