´Nakba Day´? Not in our classroom (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Tzvika Brot Latest Update: 05.16.12, 12:38)
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Knesset contemplating bill that would deny budgets from universities
that permit ´anti-Israel´ events
Right-wing groups were not the only people upset by a Nakba Day
ceremony held at Tel Aviv University on Monday. On Wednesday, Yisrael
Beiteinu MKs were due to submit a new bill that would allow the
government to deny or revoke budgets from universities that allow
such ceremonies on their premises.
The bill is meant to bolster the Nakba Law, which the Knesset passed
a year ago and that allows the Finance Ministry to withhold
government funds from organizations that organize or allow events
that violate "the principles of the state."
The Nakba Law defines such events as ceremonies that deny the
existence of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state; that support
terror or racist propaganda; that mark the founding of the state as a
day of mourning; or damage the symbols or flag of Israel.
Education Minister Gideon Saar has looked into the question of
whether it was legally possible to withhold funds from Tel Aviv
University because of the Nakba Day ceremony, but found that since
the university hadn´t funded the event, it was not. The new
legislation from Yisrael Beiteinu, authored by Education Committee
Chairman Alex Miller – who also wrote the Nakba Law – is designed to
close this loophole.
The new bill would allow the education minister, who also serves as
the chairman of the Council for Higher Education Council, to rescind
funds from academic institutions that allow such activities, even if
they don´t organize or fund them. The bill has garnered support among
both coalition and opposition MKs.
"Institutions of higher education are one of the most important tools
for social and economic advancement," Miller wrote. "In addition,
these institutions sometimes give a platform to political activity.
These activities are welcome so long as they are democratic and
"However, it is unacceptable that any event violate the basic
principles on which the nation was founded. It is unacceptable that
an institution lend its hand to dangerous activity intended to de-
legitimize the state of Israel," Miller continued.
A first Knesset plenum debate on the new legislation is expected to
be held a few weeks from now.
Tel Aviv University said in response that "the university has always
operated and will always operate in accordance with the laws of
Israel." (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/16/12)
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