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Israeli Professors/Lecturers Support "Refuseniks"

Israeli Professors And Lecturers Support "Refuseniks"

Also published on Spectator.co.nz…

Professors and lecturers from universities around Israel have signed a petition supporting students who are refusing to fight in the Palestinian territories.

Two hundred and forty four professors and lecturers have signed so far. The professors said they would help students who encounter academic, administrative and financial problems as a result of their refusal.

The incentive was begun by professors at Hebrew University, who organized 40 faculty members for their support. The Minister of Education's Pavlovian reaction - asking to indict the signatories - had an interesting effect: 200 additional faculty from other universities joined the statement, and there are additional signatories every day.

The current unrest on campuses has brought further actions: an ad taken out by Hebrew University making its official stand explicit; disciplinary complaints brought against lecturers; a conference on conscientious objection at the Law School at Hebrew University; protest vigils of students and faculty at Tel Aviv University for freedom of speech.

The organisers, including Prof. Motty Perry from Hebrew University and Prof. Anat Biletzki from Tel Aviv University, emphasized that help and support for objectors in no way contradicts support for reservist students. "We value the courage, the integrity, and the sacrifice of the conscientious objectors, and we're willing to display equal courage, integrity and sacrifice - in order to support and defend them," say the organizers.

The following statement and also names of signatories have been published on the web-site of "Courage to Refuse" (http://seruv.org.il/) .

OPEN LETTER
We, faculty members from a number of Israeli universities, wish to express our appreciation and support for those of our students and lecturers who refuse to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories. Such service too often involves carrying out orders that have no place in a democratic society founded on the sanctity of human life.

For thirty five years an entire people, some three and a half million in number, have been held without basic human rights. The occupation and oppression of another people have brought the State of Israel to where it is today.

Without an Israeli declaration of an end to the occupation, accompanied by appropriate action--unilateral, if necessary--the present war is not being fought for our home but for the settlements beyond the green line and for the continued oppression of another people.

We hereby express our readiness to do everything in our power to help students who encounter academic, administrative or economic difficulties as a result of their refusal to serve in the territories. We call on the University community at large to support them.

[The list of 244 signatories comes from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Haifa University, Ben-Gurion University, Technion, Weizmann Institute, colleges].

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© Spectator News Agency, Multimedia Investments Limited, 2002.

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