Students at the Tel Hai Academic College discovered Wednesday that Nakba Day, Land Day and a day commemorating the Arab-Israelis killed during the October 2000 events are marked on the Student Union's calendar.
On Nakba Day Palestinians commemorate the 'catastrophe' of Israel's inception in 1948, while Land Day commemorates the Israeli government's announcement in 1976 of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes."
'Sunday - Nakba Day.' Page from Tel Hai College calendar
The outraged students returned their student cards as an act of protest and said, "It cannot be that in a community which symbolizes Zionism the symbols of Israel's enemies are sanctified."
Thousands of students at Tel-Hai received the calendar as a gift from the Student Union for the beginning of the academic year. "I was sitting in class with some friends, and out of boredom we looked through the calendar. We came across a page in which Nakba Day was marked proudly, as if it were the Jewish New Year or Passover eve," said one of the students. "It was so bizarre that at first we didn't comprehend what we were seeing."
Page marking memorial day for student killed during October 2000 events
Nelson Mandela's statement, "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others" was written under "Nakba Day," leading the protesting students to believe that the Palestinian days of commemoration were purposely marked on the calendar.
"As students we have no problem with any political affiliation, and the calendar should of course include dates that are important to all religions, but marking the Palestinian commemoration days is disrespectful and shames the State of Israel," another student said.
"What's next? Will they mark the Six Day War as the 'Day of national occupation'? There are those in our college who are ashamed of our Zionist identity, but we are proud to be studying in Yosef Trumpeldor's community," he added.
Zeev Greenberg, dean of students at Tel Hai College, said the chairman of the Student Union was not aware that the Palestinian days of commemoration were marked in the calendar.
"The union was told that if another such incident repeats itself the college will stop funding it," he stressed.
The Student Union expressed regret over the "unfortunate mishap," but added, "We represent the entire student body at the college, Arabs and Jews alike, and therefore it was important for us to mark the holidays of all the students who are enrolled here."
The Student Union said the calendar was produced off campus, adding that it did not sanction the addition of the Palestinian commemoration days to the calendar.
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