Far-Left and Arab students disrupted Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s lecture last night (Wednesday) at Hebrew University, holding signs and shouting derogatory slogans at the mayor.
Once the lecture began, a number of protesters stood up and began to shout at the mayor, referring to Jerusalem as an occupied city.
“We will not bow our heads to the violence and incitement of the radical Left,” said Barkat. “It is unfortunate that those who claim to promote the values of freedom of expression try to silence those who don’t agree with them.”
Once the protesters were removed, Barkat delivered his speech as planned and added: “There is one law in Jerusalem – for Jews and Arabs alike. We will continue to work, without prejudice or exemptions, to ensure law and order in Israel’s united capital.”
Barkat’s lecture was delivered within the framework of Im Tirtzu’s Seminars for Zionist Thought, the largest Zionist academic extra-curricular program in Israel.
The Seminars for Zionist Thought is the flagship academic program of the Zionist advocacy group Im Tirtzu, which was established to impart pro-Israel and Zionist knowledge to Israeli students and to combat the growing phenomenon of anti-Zionism in Israeli academic curriculum.
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said that this hostile disruption crossed a red line and called on the Education Minister Naftali Bennett to demand from the university president to take action against the protesters.
“What happened tonight was a disgraceful attempt to silence free speech,” said Peleg. “Im Tirtzu has never been deterred by the radical-Left and will never be deterred by them in the future. We will continue running the Seminars for Zionist Thought on campuses throughout the country and will continue to provide students with pro-Israel knowledge from the leading Zionist lectures in Israel.”
Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat spoke about the recent UNSC Resolution 2334 and his support for PM Netanyahu’s “strong stance.”
“They have always said in Israel, from Ben Gurion through Begin, that it does not matter what the nations do, it matters what Israel does. I wish to strengthen the Prime Minister, who stands in front of the national camp as a shield, protecting the rights and status of the Jewish nation and the Torah of Israel, and he stands as a wall against all who would weaken us. I call also upon the President of the United States to act fast and relate to the nations that Jerusalem is not open to negotiation.”
Mayor Nir Barkat is a successful hi-tech entrepreneur that has helped transform Jerusalem into a modern bustling capital while safeguarding access to its holy sites and spiritual atmosphere.
When Jerusalem’s light rail was finally finished and operational, the first worry was how to protect it from a terrorist attack. Over a decade ago, suicide bombers targeted the city’s busses at will, until Ariel Sharon launched operation Defensive Shield. Today Jerusalem witnessed a frighteningly close call when a potential suicide bomber was stopped in his tracks.
A suspicious man carrying a bag was stopped on the train and when the bag was opened, explosives were found. On one hand what happened is testament to the security services successful strategy, on the hand as the mayor Nir Barkat suggested, the city was saved only by a miracle.
Up until now the light rail suffered plenty of rock attacks when he reached Arab neighborhoods. The residents of Jerusalem have grown used to this occurence, but a bombing is a whole different manner. No one wants to relive those dark days of the second intifada, when Jerusalem felt as if it was under siege.
The light rail must have increased security and the mayor may have to do what he has been reluctant to do and that is closing the light rail stops that go through Arabs neighborhoods in order to cut down on flow potential terrorist into the heart of the city.