Israeli University Cancels Student Party Due to Shabbat, Organizers Charge

One student dubbed the cancellation 'religious coercion,' though the Technion says they rejected the party permit because they weren't given sufficient notice

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The Technion campus in Haifa.
The Technion campus in Haifa. Credit: Dror Artzi / Jini

A northern Israel university cancelled a party on campus because it would desecrate Shabbat, the student union alleged on Friday.

According to the party's organizers, the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology's management decision came after a request from the university rabbi. The Technion, however, said that permission was rejected because it was informed too late, leaving them with too little time to acquire permits for university staff to work Shabbat.

The decision caused uproar among the students. Boaz Briga, a graduate of the Technion who planned on going to the party on Friday night, told Haaretz that he “feels that someone interfered with my life without any right. There is an erosion of the status quo here, not to mention religious coercion.”

David Broiz, the owner of the production company Salsa Beat meant to organize Friday's party, said that this cancellation set a precedent. "This is a change in the [religious] status quo, and the feeling is horrible. I don’t know why it happened and who it bothers. You need to understand that the parties are held in a closed hall, they don’t bother anyone,” Broiz said.

In response, the Technion said an event falling on Shabbat "requires, according to law, preparations in aspects of safety, security and order," and that it would "be happy to act to receive these permits in advance."

The Technion has held parties on Friday nights in the past, but for the last three years – in part because of the coronavirus pandemic – no such parties have been held on Friday night.

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