Students all over Israel rallied on Wednesday in support of the IDF and its Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The protesters were countered with left-wing demonstrators who called for an end to the Israeli offensive.
Three students were arrested in a demonstration near the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa for rioting.
Protests were held in Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Haifa, the Holon Institute of Technology, the Technion, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, the Ariel University Center of Samaria, and more.
The rallies were organized by the Im Tirtzu movement and the various student unions. Amit Barak, assistant director general of Im Tirtzu said, "It was important that the students had their voices heard.
"In the past week we have seen our Arab fellow students incite, riot and protest against Israel's right to respond. We are here to express our protest and strengthen the residents of the south and the IDF troops."
Some 150 students participated in a support rally for the IDF soldiers and southern residents organized by various political student groups in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
One after another representatives of the different groups cried out, "We are all soldiers", "We are all residents of the south, and "We showed restraint, we opened crossings, we waited, and that is why this operation is so justified".
Demonstrators waved the Israeli flag in a further show of support.
Shlomo Levy, Chairman of the Hebrew University’s Students’ Union received special permission from the military to show up for Wednesday's protest, after being recruited for reserves service in Gaza.
Levy explained the importance of the demonstration, "After Monday, when there were inappropriate protests that included incitement, it was important to show up and renew the ideological dialogue in the university, and show true and genuine support of the southern residents and IDF soldiers.
All the political groups united for this purpose out of a unified message, support and solidarity," he said.
'Must unite in time like this'Yuval Admon, chairman of the Ofek political group said, "The initiative came from the students' political groups out of a genuine desire to show that despite political disputes, we must unite in a time like this.
"The idea is a demonstration of support by the sane voice in the university, in a non provocative and non offensive way and to show that we can unite in a time like this."
Some 300 Haifa University students also rallied in support of Cast Lead, and carrying Israeli flags, yelled out, "Death to terrorists" and cheers supporting the IDF soldiers.
Speaking at the Haifa University protest, Chairman of the National Student Union Boaz Toporovsky addressed the rallies that were held against the Israeli operation in the past few days.
"Those that were silent for eight years and did not say one word about Sderot are better off keeping their mouths shut," Toporovsky said.
Left wing activists handed out fliers condemning the operation and calling for a renewed truce. Shortly after the Haifa University protest ended, another one began at the Technion.
Police said some 800 people took part in the Technion protest, and three students were arrested for rioting.
Outside of Tel Aviv University 400 students rallied in a show of solidarity with the IDF and residents of southern Israel.
Ronen Medzini, Ahiya Raved and Yaheli Moran Zelikovich contributed to this report