Nazi Salutes at Hebrew University

Student council elections at Hebrew University deteriorated into Nazi salutes by far-left students, says a leader of a Zionist campus movement.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

Zionist rally at Hebrew University (archive)
Zionist rally at Hebrew University (archive)
Israel News Photo: (file)

Student council electioneering on the campus of Hebrew University in Jerusalem deteriorated into Nazi salutes by far-left and Communist students, according to one of the leaders of a Zionist youth movement. University President Menachem Megidor was called upon to take action against those students who used the raised-arm salutes.

In a letter to Professor Megidor, Amit Barak, vice-chairman of Im Tirtzu, wrote that campus representatives of the campus branch of his movement toured the campus on election day singing songs such as "Am Yisrael Chai" and "Jerusalem of Gold", and waving Israeli flags. "In two separate incidents during this circuit," Barak continued, "activists from the Campus for Us All faction (made up Meretz, Hadash and others) stood before the Im Tirtzu activists and reacted with the raised-arm salute, before the eyes of the entire public."

The members of Im Tirtzu, self-defined as "a moderate centrist extra-parliamentary movement" for "on-campus Zionist advocacy", expressed shock at the offensive behavior, as did other student witnesses to the encounters.

In his letter, Barak said the Nazi salute was "far outside the bounds of any ideological dispute or confrontation, no matter how strong and intense they may be. ...The intolerable ease with which those students used the Nazi symbol as part of the civil and political discourse at the university, with complete disregard for the feelings of other students and citizens, deserves every condemnation."

Barak went on to express his support for a bill tabled in 2007 calling for outlawing the use of Nazi symbols outside of educational or historical contexts. The one exception in the proposed law allowing Nazi symbols in the context of political protest is "for the purpose of protesting racist phenomena". The law was proposed in response to use of Nazi symbols and name-calling by right-wing protesters during and after the 2005 eviction of the Jews of Gaza by the Israeli government.