Tel Aviv U Dismantles Tent Protest Set Up on Campus

Dozens of student activists who set up tents on campus to protest the growing cost of living in the city were evicted by security personnel.

Dozens of Tel Aviv University security guards on Wednesday dismantled a tent encampment set up on campus by student activists protesting the high cost of living in Israel.

Under directive of the university administration, the guards took down the tents and removed protest sign posted in the area. The activists were given until 8 P.M. Wednesday night to complete their evacuation.

The dean's office said on Wednesday that it had authorized the protest, but limited it in time. "We authorized Barak Levy-Segal's request to set up a tent encampment on campus on Wednesday and Thursday between 2-8 P.M. In addition, we authorized a rally at the [university's] main plaza between 8-11 P.M.," a spokesperson said.

Levy-Segal, a 29-year-old graduate student, launched a campaign on the social media, urging fellow students to join him. "I can't afford it anymore – I'm moving to the university," he wrote on Facebook. "I, like many of you, was the victim of the same old story: my landlord raised the rent. I can look for something smaller than my one-bedroom apartment, or pack myself like a sardine in a rundown apartment with two roommates."

"But I'm almost 30," he continued, "and I've had enough. I'm not running away anymore. I've decided to confront my situation head-on."

On Wednesday, he was joined by dozens of TAU students.

Uri Eisenberg, a philosophy graduate student and a member of the student council, condemned the university's harsh reaction. "Sending security guards to evacuate us is a gross overreaction," he said. "The university has indeed authorized our protest, but at the same time hired people to bully us and prevent a legitimate demonstration."