Students Arrested as Thousands Protest Across Israel against Far-Right Gov’t

Four students at the Bezalel Academy for Arts in Jerusalem were arrested on Monday as thousands of students from university campuses across the country protested against the far-right government and Netanyahu’s plan to curb the authority of the Israeli judiciary.

Students in more than a dozen university and college campuses around the country held a one-hour coordinated strike in the continuation of mass demonstrations held over the last two weekends, which organizers aim to continue.

Students at Tel-Aviv University protest against the government’s planned judicial overhaul, January 16, 2022 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

The rallies were held at the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, University of Haifa, Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Reichman University, the Technion and others. Many of the institutions formally or informally allowed students to participate in the demonstrations, initiated by a new organization named the Student Protest, which describes itself as a “nonpartisan group fighting for democracy.” The group said in a statement that the rallies were the start of “a long, determined and uncompromising battle against regime change” that will entail more protest actions inside and outside campuses

One thousand students and lecturers attended the rally at Tel Aviv University. “It is known around the world that students are waking up. Nobody can stop them,” law professor Issi Rosen-Zvi said at the protest. “You are our strength, our future. Nobody is more important than you in the battle for democracy. I’m used to only speaking publicly in the classroom, but this is an emergency.”

The National Student Union said it wasn’t joining any of the rallies, with far-right union chairman Elchanan Felhimar saying the organization “represents all the students, many of whom supported the government.”