Israeli university backs boycott supporting student

Hebrew University stands by a US student barred from entering the country for having advocated sanctions against Israel

October 17, 2018
West Bank
Source: iStock

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is continuing to support a US student, Lara Alqasem, who was barred from entering Israel because she supports the boycott of the country.

Ms Alqasem was detained earlier this month while entering the country to begin a master’s course at Hebrew University, Israel’s second-oldest institution. She faces deportation after her first appeal was rejected, but she has lodged a last-ditch appeal for entry.

A 2017 law bars the entry of foreigners who publicly support anti-Israel boycotts. Israel has cited her role as president of the group Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Florida as reason for barring her.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Hebrew University’s lawyer explained that the institution was backing Ms Alqasem because one of the goals of bringing researchers and students to Israel was to expose them to life in the country. “When they return home to their own countries, they’ll help us combat boycotts,” he said.

However, the education minister, Naftali Bennett, criticised the university for its position and for taking a side in a political matter.

“It is the right of a state to decide who may and may not enter its borders,” he said. “Anybody aiming to harm the state loses that right.”

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