Finance Minister Calls to Cut Israeli University's Funding After Nakba Day Rally

Several officials slammed the university for allowing students to wave Palestinian flags during the rally, which commemorated the displacement of Palestinians during the Israeli War of Independence

Haaretz
Nati Yefet
Finance Minister Liberman calls to cut funding to Ben Gurion University after students waved Palestinian flags during Nakba Day rally on Monday.
Finance Minister Liberman calls to cut funding to Ben Gurion University after students waved Palestinian flags during Nakba Day rally on Monday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Haaretz
Nati Yefet

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman called Wednesday to reduce funding to Ben Gurion University following a Nakba Day rally in which Palestinian flags were flown.

The minister wrote on Twitter that during the rally things were said that "negated the existence of Israel as a Jewish democratic state."

Liberman said he requested to examine the university's conduct, with the goal of cutting its budget in mind.

Dozens of students took part in a Nakba Day rally at the university's campus in Be'er Sheva on Monday, some of them waving Palestinian flags, to the chagrin of other students and several public figures.

    Nakba Day commemorates the displacement of the majority of Palestinian people during the Israeli War of Independence between 1947-1949.

    Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton said that Monday's events will be looked into as part of an examination the ministry is conducting with the Higher Education Council’s legal counsel regarding students who take part in incitement. Meanwhile, Be'er Sheva mayor said he was "shamed and shocked" at the sight of "Palestinian flags being proudly waved after the demonstration," adding that the university's approval was a sign of "weakness."

    The university said in response that it had approved the rally, and allowed students to wave Palestinian flags based on the opinion of the attorney general. The university went on to acknowledge the difficulty this has caused to some people on campus but said it was "proud of our students, on both ends of the political divide, who managed to express their views and protest democratically."

    "The events of today show that there is room for a plethora of opinions at a university which is public in the State of Israel, a Jewish and democratic state" the university concluded in its statement.

    The university chapter of the Israeli communist party, Hadash, which organized the event, also responded to the criticism and said: "Our message is the commemoration of Nakba Day and nothing beyond that."

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