Students at the Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel are up in arms after a lecturer allowed a minute of silence to be observed for the Palestinian casualties in Gaza.
During an education consulting class for master's degree students on Monday, an Arab student stood up and asked senior lecturer Dr. Osnat Dor for permission to speak.
"What's going on in Gaza really hurts me. It hurts me that people are ignoring this ongoing event, it hurts me that they're killing children in Gaza and I want to hold a minute of silence to remember all the dead," the student said.
Dr. Dor told her that she understood her emotional torment but also underscored the suffering that children in Sderot, Ashkelon and other Gaza vicinity communities have been undergoing recently.
The student called on all the students in the class to join in and hold a minute of silence and – Jews and Arabs alike – stood up in the class for a whole minute. Afterwards, they held a joint discussion on the goings-on in the Strip.
At the end of the class, rumors began spreading about the event and some students were furious.
"Is it conceivable that an Arab academic institution would stand for a minute to remember slain IDF soldiers?" Student Union spokesman Shimon Agam rhetorically asked in response. "Maybe the next phase is to hang pictures of Palestinian 'shahids' (martyrs) instead of IDF officers."
Dr. Dor said in response that "Sderot's pain is my pain. I wouldn't allow students in my class to only identify with the remembrance of Palestinian children. I immediately put the student that committed this provocation in her place and made it clear to her that Jewish students wouldn't identify with her.
"Those who choose to respond with anger and make accusations against me do this out of a lack of familiarity with the details and a misunderstanding of the situation."
Professor Aliza Shenhar, the president of the college, said that she "believes that the lecturer allowed everyone to express their emotions without forgetting that we are an Israeli college in a democratic society and the need to express opinions on each side is not foreign to her."
Tuesday afternoon, the Student's Union is set to go on strike and hold a rally in support of Sderot and Gaza vicinity residents.