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Forty Israeli Academics back the Arab lecturer who barred Jewish soldier in uniform from his class

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m 

Last update - 02:54 03/12/2007

By Tamara Traubmann

Nizar Hassan, the filmmaker who instructed a student at Sapir College in Sderot not to come to class wearing his army uniform and carrying a gun, "is a talented and courageous artist whose only sin was his attempt to maintain universal civic values" and whose action "pointed to the serious phenomenon of the great involvement of the army in campus life."

These statements are in a petition of support for Hassan signed by dozens of Jewish and Arab university teachers. Hassan was suspended by the college until the disciplinary committee reaches a decision in his case. After a hearing last Thursday, the committee could recommend a punishment ranging from an official reprimand to dismissal.

"The case was blown out of proportion," Hassan's attorney, Eti Livni, said. She questioned the legal foundation for the college's disciplinary committee. A senior college official told Haaretz that the committee would operate in Hassan's case "in accordance with the clear instruction of the college president and of the academic ethos, according to which politics must not be brought into the classroom."

Last month, First Lieutenant (res.) Eyal Cohen, an intelligence officer in the reserves, came to a film class taught by Hassan wearing his Israel Defense Forces uniform. Hassan reportedly told him to leave immediately, saying, "I do not teach soldiers, policemen and officers in uniform." Cohen did not leave, and Hassan continued to make negative comments about the IDF during the class. 



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