While university students around the country staged demonstrations on Wednesday in protest of the Israel Defense Forces military campaign in the Gaza Strip, students in areas that are subject to an onslaught of Hamas rockets, including Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva and Sapir College in Sderot, are fleeing in droves.
Large crowds of students boarded trains at the Be'er Sheva railroad station to catch the shuttle to the center of the country. Both BGU and Sapir announced that classes were suspended indefinitely due to the continued rocket fire.
The city's train station was overflowing with passengers shouldering one another in the rush to find a spot on the next train. "My parents are calling every day," Roi, a student from Ra'anana, said. "We're not used to this situation in Be'er Sheva, where there is rocket fire on the city and we are slightly afraid and so we go home."
Students said the train's conductor was forced to delay the departure from the station due to the overcrowding.
Tel Aviv University students held a rally on Wednesday in support of the residents of the south and the IDF operation. Hundreds gathered at the entrance to the campus waving Israeli flags and chanting, "Tel Aviv is not a bubble," and "We are one nation."
Approximately 400 students held two rallies - one in favor of the operation, and one against with both groups facing one another - at the Technion in Haifa. Rightist students at Haifa University held a solidarity march declaring their support for the operation in Gaza.
Left-wing students at Haifa University plan on holding a rally of their own, during which they will bear stickers calling on the army to cease killing innocent civilians. Organizers say the protest will be a quiet one so as to distinguish it from the rightist's vocal demonstration.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now