Hebrew U students march for neighborhood safety (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 03/23/12)
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A spate of vandalism and attacks against Hebrew University students
around the Mount Scopus campus prompted more than 150 students to
take to the streets Tuesday for a candlelight march from the campus
to the French Hill neighborhood.
The march followed an increase in stone-throwing incidents, vandalism
against students’ cars, and even physical and sexual attacks against
students walking from their classes to the French Hill neighborhood.
On February 29, police arrested a youth from the Isawiya neighborhood
who sexually assaulted at least four female students and is suspected
of assaulting more.
“This is not a new issue,” said Hebrew University Student Union
president Itai Gutler on Thursday. “But during the last semester
there were a lot of difficult events, worse than normal, and we
wanted to demonstrate against them.”
Gutler said students are forced to travel to and from campus armed
with pepper spray and their cellphones open in case they are attacked.
“After months of discussion, it’s time to show the authorities that
we came here to live and study and not to battle for our survival,”
Gutler said ahead of the protest.
Inbar Admon, who is in charge of the social involvement branch of the
student union, said that because many students do not file formal
complaints with the police, there are no numbers that point to an
increase in attacks or vandalism.
“But this is a phenomenon that’s growing in terms of what students
are feeling,” she said.
Hebrew University spokeswoman Orit Sulitzeanu said it was the
responsibility of the police, and not the university, to patrol the
areas and cut down on vandalism and break-ins. She added that the
police had responded favorably to a recent request by the university
to increase their presence in the area.
The impoverished Arab neighborhoods of Isawiya and a-Tur located next
to Hebrew University are contributing to the problem, said students.
Admon said the neighborhood youth are not given the resources or
support they need, and therefore get into trouble in the area around
the university. She called on the university to not “flee from their
responsibility” as an educational institution to improve the areas
surrounding the campus.
On Wednesday, student representatives met with Zion Precinct Chief
Nissan Aderi to voice their complaints.
They demanded an increased police presence as well as infrastructure
changes, such as better lighting outside of the campus, a fence
around the parking lot, and more security cameras.
Additionally, students asked police to stand by their promise to send
a patrol car to the site of every attack in order to take a formal
complaint from the student. Sometimes, police ask students to report
smashed windshields and other vandalism or other attacks at the
precinct station, which is located in downtown Jerusalem. Often,
students are so focused on fixing the vandalism or getting over an
attack that they don’t file a formal police complaint.
“We understand there’s a problem that girls aren’t filing complaints
[about sexual assault], but that doesn’t mean they can’t work on a
solution to the whole issue,” said Admon. The students bristled at
the police’s suggestion to join the volunteer civilian guard in the
“That’s a part of the solution, but that’s not the whole solution,”
“We came here to learn, we’re already having difficulty finding
apartments and paying high prices for them.
Our goal here is to finish our degrees, it’s unacceptable that we say
we’re not feeling safe and they tell us to join civilian guard.” (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/23/12)
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