Dismissed Israeli Professor Claims Political Views Behind Ariel University Decision

Amir Hetsroni suggests university taking revenge for his Haaretz op-ed; ostensibly, he was fired due to comments written on Facebook.

Yarden Skop
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Ariel University.Credit: AP
Yarden Skop

Ariel University informed Prof. Amir Hetsroni Wednesday that he was being dismissed from his post for “conduct inappropriate for a member of the faculty,” ostensibly relating to comments he made that were deemed insulting to women and other groups.

The decision was made by the Academic Faculty’s Discipline and Ethics Committee, which had been weighing the case for several months. The announcement did not specify what conduct of Hetsroni’s it was referring to.

The affair began last October, with a complaint to the university’s disciplinary board claiming that Hetsroni had posted insulting comments on his Facebook page about an Internet forum for female victims of sexual assault.

Hetsroni insists he is being dismissed for his political views. Just Wednesday he wrote an opinion piece in Haaretz that decried “undeniable attempts by academic management to prevent students and faculty from speaking their minds and punishing those who protest against the war.” He cited Ariel as an example, along with several other academic institutions.

“The proximity in timing between the piece that I wrote against silencing people in Ariel and the unsubstantiated announcement of my dismissal shows the university’s lack of good faith,” Hetsroni told Haaretz.

Ariel University said, “The special disciplinary committee that had been established at the behest of the Tel Aviv Labor Court completed its deliberations on Tuesday, 26.8.2014, and decided to immediately end his employment at the university. He has the right to appeal the decision to the appeals committee.”