Cinematography lecturer Nizar Hassan is still on suspension from him academic duties at the Sapir College in southern Israel pending a hearing on his divisive decision to bar a student wearing an IDF
uniform from his class – but a new controversy has already reared its head and is further threatening the Hassan's future at the institute.
The letter, penned by a third-year student who attended a director's workshop taught by Hassan, was sent to the committee investigating the reserve soldier's case and may be used to prove the lecturer's behavior towards the reserve soldier was not an isolated incident.
According to the unnamed student identified only as A', she arrived at one of Hassan's classes with a backpack embroidered with the Israeli flag and was promptly asked by the lecturer to turn the bag so that the flag would not be facing him.
"I told him I would not do that – and then he approached me, grabbed the bag and forcefully turned it around," writes A' in her letter, which was also sent to College President Prof. Ze'ev Tzahor.
"When Hassan went back to the front of the class, I returned the bag to its original position, he then came back and turned it again. I picked the bag up a last time and spun it around.
"Nizar stopped the class, walked up to me, forcibly took the bag away from me and stuffed it into his desk."
But the heated battle over the flag was not A's only complaint. According to her letter, she met in private with Hassan some time later to discuss a documentary film she intended to direct. During the meeting the lecturer commented on the Star of David necklace A' was wearing.
"He asked me why I would even wear something like that. I answered that I view it as a Zionist matter. He then told me that he refused to see me wearing the necklace during the meeting," she wrote.
A' notes in her letter that prior to the aforementioned incidents she held Hassan in the highest respect and had a great affinity for his classes. "Hassan, with his charisma, was a great influence on me. Sometimes he would call me after classes to ask how the lecture had gone and he always praised me and my abilities. I remember several occasions where I sat with Nizar and he would analyze my personality instead of my work," she says.
The Sapir College said in response that the student's complaint is being dealt with by the school's disciplinary committee. Hassan declined to comment on the allegations.