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Students’ Anger as Student Union Plans Meeting with Abbas

Growing controversy over planned student delegation to Ramallah.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 11/28/2013, 11:34 AM

Livni with PA Chairman Abbas (archive)
Livni with PA Chairman Abbas (archive)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Controversy is growing over the Israeli Student Union’s plan to send a delegation of 200 students to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Maariv/nrg reports.

The plan to send the delegates was controversial from the moment the decision was made early this week, with students accusing the Student Union of promoting a left-wing political agenda.

However, according to the report, the student response moved up a notch Wednesday with an angry letter from 25 Student Union representatives across the country to the organization’s head.

The letter emphasized that the Student Union is not supposed to be affiliated with any political party. But now, the letter-writers said, “we’ve learned through websites that political factions and politicians in the Knesset are presenting this initiative as a success for the Labor party.”

Labor party member MK Hilik Bar was reportedly involved in the Student Union initiative.

The letter-writers also complained that the Student Union did not inform senior Student Union officials of its plan, or involve them in the decision-making process.

The controversy follows reports in recent years of the previously hard-left Student Union becoming more politically diverse, with more right-wing student union branches opening in Hebrew University and Haifa University.

But at least one student is planning to join the Ramallah delegation in order to ensure that it is not solely a left-wing initiative.

Matan Bar-Noy, a resident of Samaria (Shomron), told Maariv that he plans to take part and to challenge Abbas with tough questions about his support for murderers and his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.