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Hebrew University
Ill-Treatment of a Student-Soldier by HUJ Carola Hilfrich


10.01.19
Editorial Note

Last week, Kan TV News broke out with the story of a student in a course by Dr. Carola Hilfrich at the Hebrew University wearing IDF uniform claimed to be harassed by an Arab student. The soldier complained after class to Dr. Hilfrich who, in turn, lambasted her for being a soldier in the Israeli army, which hurts other students' feelings: "You can't be naïve enough to ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform. You are a soldier in the Israeli army and people treat you accordingly," the lecturer said. Then the student asked: "Does it bother you that I'm wearing the uniform in class?" Hilfrich replied: "There are people whose civil society is as important to them as the army is to you, and you must accept their priorities as tolerantly as they accept yours.” The video recording of the incident clearly indicates that Hilfrich raised her voice at the student-soldier.

 

Following the incident, the HUJ placed ads in various newspapers assuring students that they are welcome wearing uniforms and apologizing for the incident. Subsequent media reports revealed that the student-soldier was a former member of the student group Im Tirtzu; some even implied that the woman soldier staged the incident in order to trap the professor.  These revelations were enough to prompt some HUJ faculty to circulate petitions in support of Dr. Hilfrich.  Professor Asher Cohen, the president of HUJ issued a statement on TV Channel 2 News: “The Hebrew University embraces and supports students who serve as soldiers. Unfortunately, this happened because of the false manipulations and disinformation spread around this video, especially by the truly despicable organization called Im Tirtzu that created these manipulations... The army's most prestigious programs are run by us, we have always supported servicemen and will always support servicemen. And yet we live in very challenging times, of social networks, disinformation and false manipulations which can create a false impression... We did not abandon the lecturer. In my opinion, both the lecturer and the student are victims of the same manipulation done by that organization. There is also a third victim, the Hebrew University, and we wanted to end this saga and clarify. We also did not express an apology in the simplest sense. We said that we were sorry if someone was hurt."

 

Claims about the alleged stunt operation by the Im Tirtzu is not relevant to the case. The complaint stands on its own; the student claims of harassment by another student and, regardless whether she is a right-winger, left-winger, or centrist, the professor needed to investigate the complaint just like any other complaint of harassment.  Students should be treated as equal, regardless of their political affiliation.  In fact, the various HUJ codes assure this right. The faculty who signed a petition in support of Dr. Hilfrich should also know that.  But as IAM documented over and over again, Israeli social science and humanities faculty are skewed left-wing and tend to protect their radical peers. 

 

Unquestionably, Dr. Hiflrich has a long history of radical activism. In 2003, she was among Israeli Academics who supported students refusing to serve as soldiers in the occupied territories. In 2004, she was among the signatories of the Olga Document, recognizing the right to return.  In 2014 she was among the academic signatories in the petition blaming Israel for the war with Gaza.

 

Hilfrich is also not the only one who took offense to soldiers wearing the uniform.  In 2007, IAM reported on a cinematography student at Sapir College who entered the class wearing IDF uniform and was ordered to leave by the Arab lecturer Nizar Hassan. The administration stood by the soldier. Soon-after the story broke out, petitions circulated in support of the lecturer, signed by dozens of Jewish and Arab university lecturers, praising Hassan as "a talented and courageous artist whose only sin was his attempt to maintain universal civic values, [who] pointed to the serious phenomenon of the great involvement of the army in campus life." Quite similar to the case of Hilfrich.

 

In response to Dr. Hilfrich treatment of the soldier, Shmuel Slavin, a member of a committee monitoring the implementation of the Recovery Plan to the Hebrew University (part of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education), sent a harsh letter in protest and also suspended his membership on the committee. The role of the committee is to supervise the recovery plan initiated by the Ministry of Finance for the Hebrew University, which was facing heavy financial deficits. The plan was launched in February 2018, and the state is expected to transfer to the Hebrew University a total of NIS 700 million over a decade. The plan also includes a reduction in the number of jobs, with the university committing itself to cover deficits in the amount of NIS 900 million, including by selling assets worth NIS 400 million. 

 

While Hebrew University is depended on the state for financial support, it is expected in return to treat with respect the taxpayers. To prevent such incidents reoccurring in the future, university administrations need to emphasize that students in uniform, regardless of their political affiliation, should be afforded equal treatment.  Radical academics should be put on notice that they are violating the regulations by taking matters into their own hands. 

 

 




Female IDF soldier shamed for wearing army uniform to lecture
Hebrew University apologizes after political storm erupts as senior lecturer scolds student after for making Arab member of the class uncomfortable
Inbar Tvizer, Tamar Trabelsi-Hadad|Published:  01.02.19 , 14:24
A political storm erupted at the Hebrew University on Tuesday when a senior lecturer berated a female student who arrived for class clad in her IDF uniform, the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Dr. Carola Hilfrich of the university's Faculty of Humanities was caught on camera lambasting the student after an Arab member of the class said they were offended by her attire.

Hilfrich approached the soldier and scolded her after the class was over: "You can't be naïve enough to ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform. You are a soldier in the Israeli army and people treat you accordingly."

The lecturer's reprimand was videotaped by a fellow student on his cell phone.

In response to the rebuke, the soldier said she had no interest in discussing politics and emphasized that she is serving in the army to protect the state of Israel.

"Does it bother you that I'm wearing uniform in class?" the soldier asked, to which Dr. Hilfrich replied: "There are people whose civil society is as important to them as the army is to you, and you must accept their priorities as tolerantly as they accept yours."

"I witnessed the most outrageous scene at the university on Tuesday, and there were plenty to choose from. A student came to Dr. Hilfrich's class wearing an army uniform. A fellow student took offense and kept remarking on her attire throughout class. Instead of reprimanding the student for interrupting the class, the distinguished lecturer chose to rebuke the soldier for coming to class in uniform," said a student who saw the incident.

The University issued a statement after the incident apologizing for any hurt caused to the student in uniform.

"The Hebrew University honors all its students, including those who attend classes during their military service, whether they are drafted soldiers, career soldiers, or reservists," the university said. "The Hebrew University's management condemns disrespectful behavior between fellow students, and between faculty members and students. Both the university and the lecturer apologize to the student who was hurt by the incident."  

The National Union of Israeli Students also criticized the lecturer's behavior.

"It is shameful that students are humiliated because of their uniforms. In recent years, we have been promoting the rights of students who serve as military reservists, to guarantee that their service doesn't interfere with their studies."

"It is inconceivable to us that an army uniform offended a member of the faculty. A situation in which students feel unsafe on campus grounds is unacceptable. Despite differences of opinion, we emphasize that both faculty members and students should express their opinions freely in a respectful and dignified manner," the union added.

 
חבר בות"ת השעה עצמו במחאה על תקרית המרצה והחיילת באוניברסיטה העברית
שמואל סלבין, חבר הוועדה למעקב אחר ביצוע תכנית ההבראה באוניברסיטה העברית של הוועדה לתכנון ותקצוב (ות"ת), שלח מכתב חריף ליו"ר הות"ת: "אינני מוכן שגרמנייה תטיף מוסר לקצינה בצה"ל"

 


במחאה על הנזיפה שקיבלה סטודנטית חיילת ממרצה באוניברסיטה העברית על כך שהגיעה לקמפוס במדי צה"ל, הודיע היום (א') שמואל סלבין, חבר הוועדה למעקב אחר ביצוע תכנית ההבראה באוניברסיטה העברית של הוועדה לתכנון ותקצוב (ות"ת), כי הוא משעה עצמו מתפקידו בוועדה.

 

ביום חמישי שוחח סלבין עם פרופ' יפה זילברשץ, יו"ר הות"ת והודיע לה על כוונתו. לטענתו של סלבין, זילברשץ "הסכימה עם רוח הדברים". במועצה להשכלה גבוהה (מל"ג) אשר ות"ת פועלת תחתיה – סירבו להגיב לדברים. בנוסף, בסוף השבוע הודיע סלבין גם לאוניברסיטה העברית על החלטתו להשעות עצמו מדיוני הוועדה.

 

האירוע התרחש בשבוע שעבר, כאשר הסטודנטית הגיעה לשיעור כשהיא לבושה במדים. לאחר מכן העירה לה על כך סטודנטית ערבייה ובין השתיים פרץ ויכוח. בתום השיעור, הסטודנטית שוחחה במסדרון עם המרצה מהחוג לספרות כללית והשוואתית באוניברסיטה, ד"ר קרולה הילפריך, וזו אמרה לה: "את לא יכולה להיות נאיבית ולבקש שיתייחסו אלייך כאזרחית כשאת מבקשת להיות במדים. את חיילת בצבא של ישראל, ויתייחסו אלייך בהתאם". 

 

המקרה גרר תגובות רבות באקדמיה, כמו גם במערכת הפוליטית. בעקבות המקרה החליט כאמור סלבין, שהיה חבר הוועדה מאז הקמתה בפברואר, להשעות עצמו מדיוניה. במכתב ששיגר סלבין לפרופ' זילברשץ הוא כתב כי "עד שלא אוודא כי האוניברסיטה העברית אכן טיפלה במקרה החמור באופן שיתאם את עזות המצח הקיצונית שנתגלתה כאן - החלטתי כי אני משעה את השתתפותי בוועדה".

 

בנוסף, בחר סלבין גם להתייחס למוצאה הגרמני של ד"ר הילפריך: "אינני מוכן בשום אופן שאזרחית גרמניה, בת לעם שלא חסך במאמצים להשמיד את עמנו, תטיף מוסר ותנזוף בקצינה בצה"ל, שהוא חלק ממערכי ההגנה שבנינו על מנת שלא תתרחש בשנית הזוועה שעשו לנו הגרמנים ועוזריהם לפני למעלה מ-75 שנים".

 

השעייתו של סלבין מדיוני הוועדה לא אמורה לפגוע בתפקודה, והיא צפויה להמשיך את פעילותה כרגיל. תפקיד הוועדה הוא לפקח על תכנית ההבראה שיזם משרד האוצר לאוניברסיטה העברית שנקלעה לגירעונות כספיים כבדים. התכנית יצאה לדרך בפברואר 2018 ובמסגרתה צפויה המדינה להעביר למוסד האקדמי סכום כולל של 700 מיליון שקלים במשך עשור. התכנית תכלול גם צמצום בהיקף המשרות, כאשר האוניברסיטה התחייבה לכסות בעצמה גירעונות בסכום של 900 מיליון שקלים, בין היתר על ידי מכירת נכסים בגובה 400 מיליון שקלים.

 

במל"ג סרבו להגיב לבחירתו של סלבין להשעות עצמו מדיוני הוועדה. גם מהאוניברסיטה העברית לא התקבלה תגובה לדברים.




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