Israeli Panel Postpones Hearing on Punishing Universities With Pro-boycott Lecturers

Certain ministries oppose the bill, so the governing coalition needs time to craft a common stance.

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A class in a large lecture hall at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which hired the largest number of returning academics.
A class at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.Credit: Tess Scheflan

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday postponed by a month the hearing of a bill that would let the Council for Higher Education reduce state funding to an academic institution if a lecturer calls for a boycott of Israel.

Sources familiar with the situation told Haaretz last week that the Education Ministry and other ministries opposed the bill, and that they expected it to be postponed. Moreover, the bill was not expected to come before the committee for approval again.

The bill, initiated by MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), does not ban universities from employing such lecturers. But it would empower the Council for Higher Education to deduct the amount of such lecturers’ salaries from budgets allocated to their universities. Parties in the governing coalition had yet to finalize their positions on the matter.

According to the bill, “The chairman of the Council for Higher Education will be eligible, in consultation with the authorized committee, to deduct annually the sums that should be transferred from the state budget to the academic institution, on condition that the staff member or senior employee knowingly publicized a call to boycott Israel when a reasonable possibility existed that the call would result in a boycott.”