Hebrew University pushes back on Hatikvah criticism

Hebrew University defends itself from criticism over refusal to play national anthem at graduation ceremony.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Hebrew University
Hebrew University
Hezki Baruch

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem rejected Thursday the accusations leveled at the university by a number of Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, over the refusal to play the Israel national anthem, 'Hatikvah,' graduation ceremony tonight for the faculty of humanities.

"The academic ceremony in the Faculty of Humanities took place in its current form during previous years, and no new decision was made to cut the anthem, so there is no justification for the harsh criticism directed at the Hebrew University," the university said in a statement.

The school addressed a conversation which Hebrew University President Menachem Ben-Sasson held with with Education Minister Naftali Bennett. "At every state ceremony held at the university, the national anthem of the State of Israel is played as usual, and this was clarified by president of the university to the Education Minister in their conversation. In addition, the President made clear that the decision as to how to manage the hundreds of academic ceremonies which take place at the university is given to the heads of the academic and administrative units - and for years there has been a variety in their patterns of conduct. "

"The Hebrew University operates in accordance with the laws and regulations of the State and its institutions, while preserving the pluralism and dignity of all those who come through its gates. The university provides academic freedom and freedom of expression in of all its frameworks, and these values ​​are among the cornerstones of the Hebrew University." the university added.

In recordings published this morning on Army Radio, an employee of the department explained that the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah,” will not be played at the ceremony, and cited “consideration for others” - Arabs students and guests coming to the ceremony - as the reason.

This is the second time in a row that the national anthem will not be played at the ceremony, following years during which the ceremony had concluded with the singing of Hatikvah.

Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed the refusal to play the national anthem at the ceremony.

The decision of the faculty of humanities at Hebrew University is disgraceful,” he said in an official announcement.

“It’s the height of servility, the opposite of national pride,” he said, adding, “We are proud of our country, our flag - our anthem.”

The Prime Minister said that university decision demonstrated the need for the Nationality Law. “It just strengthens my opinion on the need to pass the Nationality Law that we’re spearheading, in order to anchor in law the national symbols so dear to us.”