A political storm erupted at the Hebrew University on Tuesday when a senior lecturer berated a female student who arrived for class clad in her IDF uniform, the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Dr. Carola Hilfrich of the university's Faculty of Humanities was caught on camera lambasting the student after an Arab member of the class said they were offended by her attire.
Hilfrich approached the soldier and scolded her after the class was over: "You can't be naïve enough to ask to be treated as a civilian when you are in uniform. You are a soldier in the Israeli army and people treat you accordingly."
The lecturer's reprimand was videotaped by a fellow student on his cell phone.
In response to the rebuke, the soldier said she had no interest in discussing politics and emphasized that she is serving in the army to protect the state of Israel.
"Does it bother you that I'm wearing uniform in class?" the soldier asked, to which Dr. Hilfrich replied: "There are people whose civil society is as important to them as the army is to you, and you must accept their priorities as tolerantly as they accept yours."
"I witnessed the most outrageous scene at the university on Tuesday, and there were plenty to choose from. A student came to Dr. Hilfrich's class wearing an army uniform. A fellow student took offense and kept remarking on her attire throughout class. Instead of reprimanding the student for interrupting the class, the distinguished lecturer chose to rebuke the soldier for coming to class in uniform," said a student who saw the incident.
The University issued a statement after the incident apologizing for any hurt caused to the student in uniform.
"The Hebrew University honors all its students, including those who attend classes during their military service, whether they are drafted soldiers, career soldiers, or reservists," the university said. "The Hebrew University's management condemns disrespectful behavior between fellow students, and between faculty members and students. Both the university and the lecturer apologize to the student who was hurt by the incident."
The National Union of Israeli Students also criticized the lecturer's behavior.
"It is shameful that students are humiliated because of their uniforms. In recent years, we have been promoting the rights of students who serve as military reservists, to guarantee that their service doesn't interfere with their studies."
"It is inconceivable to us that an army uniform offended a member of the faculty. A situation in which students feel unsafe on campus grounds is unacceptable. Despite differences of opinion, we emphasize that both faculty members and students should express their opinions freely in a respectful and dignified manner," the union added.