Demonstrating students
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Olmert, not ready to meet students
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Thousands of students protest opposite PM's house

Thousands of students, professors demonstrate opposite prime minister's house

Seven days after their strike was launched, students organized a demonstration opposite the house of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The students were joined by university lecturers and high-school teachers.


The thousands of protestors demanded to meet with the prime minister in order to present him with their request to have the billion shekels that were cut from the higher education budget restored.


In addition, they are demanding that the government-established Shochat Committee for reform in higher education be dissolved, and that tuition fees continue to go down in accordance with the decisions of the Winograd Committee of 2001.


Large police forces were deployed along the routes leading to the capital, and stopped busses for security checks before reaching the city. Police found 12 tires, 10 liters (close to 3 gallons) of fuel and 2 torches in one of the busses. The items were confiscated before the bus could continue on its way.


MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), who has joined the students' struggle, told Ynet: "The fact that teaching staffs have joined the strike testifies to the severity of the situation. The government should stop forming committees and just get down to what it should have done a long time ago – allocate funds for universities."


Chairman of the College Students Union, Itai Barda, said that, contrary to popular belief, the number of protestors indicated that students were not indifferent.


"The responsibility for the educational system should be on the government and the prime minister, and not on private, business institutions. We cannot ignore the many cutbacks in the educational system. Olmert must resign," he stated.


Prof Yaron Mizrachi from the Hebrew University criticized the government: "Students mean knowledge and knowledge means power that the government is afraid of."


A week into the strike, the students have achieved one accomplishment: The Knesset's Education Committee has decided to establish a parliamentary committee to examine the level of tuition, in conjunction with the Shochat Committee.


Meanwhile, high school teachers participated in the protest held by University students outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s home in Jerusalem.


High schools have also been on strike for the past few days. However, the high school teachers’ board announced that classes would resume as usual on Wednesday.


The teacher’s also assured that it was only temporary, and that the strike would recommence on Thursday.


Lilach Shoval continued to the report


פרסום ראשון: 04.17.07, 13:59
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