Delcararion of Independence on univsity wall
Delcararion of Independence on univsity wallcourtesy

Students at Bar Ilan University are criticizing the administration's decision to hang a large copy of the Declaration of Independence on the walls of one of the buildings on campus, which they claim symbolizes the school's identification with the anti-judicial reform protest movement.

A group of students from the university's Brain Research Center wrote: "We want to express our feelings regarding the sign that is being placed on the university premises. As research students and as people who deal with academic science on a daily basis, we understand the importance of freedom of expression and politics in our public life."

"We feel that the current sign creates an uncomfortable and unbalanced charged environment in the academy and in particular in the building where we work. It is politically identified with a certain party that holds opposing demonstrations. Of course, society and the students of the university have the right to express political opinions, but in the academic context we believe that this should be avoided," they said.

They stated, "We appreciate the activities of the university and the many events it organizes for students, and we believe that we can generally succeed in creating a non-political working and learning environment for all of us. Differences of opinion can change the world, but a framework must be found for it so that it does not interfere with science, and it also must be done in a way that is apolitical, inclusive, and respectful as one Jewish people with a unique character, without hatred and unnecessary stigmas."

In conclusion, they wrote: "We turn to you in the hope of having our voices heard, to change the situation and help create a scientific and pleasant learning environment, in which students can focus solely on their research and learning, without feeling discomfort from a certain political direction that affects the heads of the university."

The university stated in response: "Bar Ilan University, through its senate, made a decision by a majority of votes to support the Jewish and democratic principles of the State of Israel. The principles of the Declaration of Independence, signed by Dr. Zerah Warhaftig from Bar Ilan, like the flags scattered around the campus, are our symbols. In their name, we research and represent Israel with pride."