Only about 30 students demonstrated Sunday at Tel Aviv University against the yeshiva students' bill. A few dozen others demonstrated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba.
The students, who burned tires at the campus gates, explained this was just preparation for a big demonstration which will begin in front of the Prime Minister's Residence and continue towards Zion Square. Many students are indifferent, and say they will not attend the demonstration.
During the protests in Tel Aviv, student leaders handed out manifestos which included the claim that "giving grants to yeshiva students means a yeshiva student contributes more to the State than a (regular) student. This is a serious claim and a slap in the face for the (regular) student body which bears the burden of reserve duty, works for a living and funds its own studies."
"We burned tires so that all the students, without exception, will see the anger and black smoke – which will leave the universities in the coming weeks and go out directly to the streets, until the discriminatory bill is cancelled," the chairman of the Student Union at Tel Aviv University, Ran Livneh, said. "Tomorrow (Monday) the largest demonstration since the struggle against the Shohat Committee is expected, and we are determined to stand by the aims we have set ourselves, including equality between yeshiva students and (regular) students."
Just a handful demonstrated (Photo: Ofer Amram)
"The burning of tires represents the burning expected in the streets in the coming weeks," the deputy chairman of the Union at Tel Aviv University, Ofri Raviv, said. "Happily, there is a great response among the students to the struggle in general and to the demonstration tomorrow in particular. We are struggling not just for the students, but for the future of the entire State."
But the students seemed indifferent. "It’s great they have the energy to go out onto the streets and demonstrate," one of the students said. "It certainly is annoying that the yeshiva students get assistance and (regular) students don't, but I'm more interested in succeeding in my studies and I certainly don't have time to demonstrate."
'Bibi is scared of haredim '"I have a small child at home and anyway I struggle to combine studies, motherhood and work," another student said. "I have great respect for those who are demonstrating, but I prefer to use my free time to be at home with my small child."
Just a handful of students at Ben-Gurion University set fire to tires Sunday, and these were soon extinguished. The chairman of the Student Union at the university, Uri Kedar, said the protest Sunday was just the opening shot in the struggle. "The protest opens a week of struggle," he said. "We are going to struggle for the State of Israel's image and we don’t intend to give in."
Not all students believe the struggle has a chance. "These struggles are unnecessary," one student from Bar-Ilan University said to Ynet. "If Bibi (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) wants to give money to the yeshiva students, he'll give it. He's scared of the haredim and the stability of the government is much more important to him than the equality of students, most of whom are anyway indifferent to what goes on around them."
The demonstration in Jerusalem is to begin Monday at 7 pm in Paris Square, in front of the Prime Minister's Residence, and continue towards Zion Square. Dozens of buses will bring students from institutions of higher education around the country. In many universities, lessons will be cancelled from 6 pm to enable the students to attend the demonstration.
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