Academic freedom for whom?

 The meaning of “academic freedom” is fairly obvious. It is something that is associated with democratic societies, and it is universally held in high esteem, even though its boundaries and limits are often unclear. Basically, where there is freedom to teach, study and carry out research in academic institutions, and to publish research-related books and articles, then academic freedom exists.

It is clear that there can be no real academic freedom in higher education unless it is possible to reach the institutions where one studies, teaches, and carries out research. Academics within the State of Israel are able to do this, but those working in the higher education institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not. There, checkpoints, blockades, walls and fences prevent thousands of students and teachers from leading a normal academic life, and lecturers with non-Palestinian passports, who wish to teach in those institutions, are prevented from staying for long enough to carry out meaningful continuous teaching.

The academic community of the State of Israel, which rightly demands academic freedom for its members both inside Israel and within the international academic community, has generally disregarded the demand for a similar freedom for Palestinian academics in the Occupied Territories for which the State of Israel is responsible. Because of this, and in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Territories during the last couple of years, we approached all the senior faculty members in the major higher education and scientific research institutions in Israel: Bar Ilan University, Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, The Hebrew University, The Open University, the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute for Science. We sent them the following letter and petition:

Dear colleagues:

As academics and citizens of the State of Israel, whatever our political opinions may be, we see ourselves as having a duty to fight for the academic freedom of our Palestinian colleagues. We call upon the Government of Israel to honour and implement the right of freedom of movement, academic study and instruction in the State of Israel and the territories controlled by it. Academic freedom is not divisible and cannot be selective. The State of Israel and we its citizens are directly responsible for upholding that freedom.

We call upon you to actively accept that responsibility and to add your support to the attached petition, which is being distributed among all senior staff members in all institutions of higher education in Israel. After the signatures have been gathered, we intend to seek the support of the Committee of University Presidents and members of the Israeli Academy of Science, and to submit the petition to the following government ministries: Defence, Education, Science, Foreign Affairs, and the Interior.


 The initiators of the petition:

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University


Text of the petition

We, past and present members of academic staff of Israeli universities, express great concern regarding the ongoing deterioration of the system of higher education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We protest against the policy of our government which is causing restrictions of freedom of movement, study and instruction, and we call upon the government to allow students and lecturers free access to all the campuses in the Territories, and to allow lecturers and students who hold foreign passports to teach and study without being threatened with withdrawal of residence visas. To leave the situation as it is will cause serious harm to freedom of movement, study and instruction – harm to the foundation of academic freedom, to which we are committed.

We sent about 9000 emails, of which around 5000 were to senior faculty and the rest to emeriti and junior faculty at some of the institutions. These numbers should be reduced by about 5% to allow for the emails that were returned. In order not to misuse the internal all-university lists, all email addresses were manually downloaded from the open-to-the-public sites of university departments. A total of 407 people, 403 of whom are mostly active senior faculty, (but also include emeriti and junior staff) from the above institutions, as well as 4 signatures from senior faculty of Colleges who became aware of our petition, responded to our call and signed the petition. It is our intention to publicize the list of signatories on the web.

The number of signatories from each university is as follows:

Bar Ilan University 10

Ben Gurion University 77

Haifa University 20

Hebrew University 110

Open University 7

Technion 14

Tel Aviv University 155

Weizmann Institute of Science 10

Sapir College  2

Oranim   1

Bezalel   1

We received a number of letters objecting to our call: some of the authors sent reasoned responses, arguing their case against our petition; others chose to send insulting hate mail.

At the Weitzman Institute of Science, one of the heads of the departments sent a letter via the Academic Affairs Office to all the senior faculty of that institute. In it, he warned the faculty of the danger lurking in our call, basing his argument on very inaccurate rumours about the political stance of the initiators of the petition.

In March 2008 we wrote to the Committee of University Presidents and to the Directorial Board of the Israeli Academy of Science asking them to support our petition. So far, the only answer received has been that our request would be considered.

We are well aware that only rarely do petitions cause a change in a political state of affairs. However, we do not doubt that when there are enough people in the Israeli academic community who are prepared to voice their objection to the conditions under which their colleagues in Palestinian higher education institutions have to work, and do all they can to ensure that their Palestinian counterparts have the same academic freedom that they enjoy, we shall all benefit – Israeli and Palestinian academics alike. 

Prof. Menachem Fisch, Tel-Aviv University

Prof. Raphael Falk, The Hebrew University

Prof. Eva Jablonka, Tel-Aviv University

Dr. Snait Gissis, Tel-Aviv University


List of Signatories 
      Dr. Aref Abu-Rabia BGU 
      Dr. Tabat Abu Ras BGU
      Prof. Zach Adam HUJI
      Prof. Hanna Adoni HUJI
      Dr. Riad Agrabia BGU
      Prof. Ron Aharoni  Technion
      Dr. Iris Agmon BGU
      Prof. Joseph Agassi TAU
      Prof. Amotz Agnin HUJI
      Prof. Ofer Aharoni  Weizmann
      Prof. Niv Ahituv  TAU
      Prof. Gadi Algazi TAU
      Dr. Karen Alkalay Gut TAU
      Dr. Yoav Alon TAU
      Prof. Ehud Altman  Weizmann 
      Dr. Tammy Amiel – Hauser  TAU
      Dr. Eleanor Amit TAU
      Prof. Gannit Ankori HU
      Prof. Yonathan Anson BGU
      Dr. Ruth Arav OPU 
      Prof. Mira Ariel TAU
      Dr. Amos Arieli Weizmann
      Prof.  Boaz Arpaly TAU 
      Dr. Ruth Ashery-Padan TAU
      Dr. Nurit Ashkenasy BGU
      Dr. Daniel Attas  HUJ
      Prof. Judy Auerbach BGU
      Dr. Michal Aviad TAU
      Dr. Yoram Ayal BGU
      Dr. Prof. Amir Ayali TAU
      Dr. Ariela Azoulay BIU
      Prof. Roi Baer HUJI 
      Prof. Shalom Baer HUJI
      Dr. Amir Banbaji BGU
      Prof. Gad Baneth HUJI
      Prof. Ilan Bank TAU
      Prof. Maya Bar-Hillel HUJI
      Prof.  Eitan Bar Yosef BGU
      Dr. Oren Barak HUJI 
      Prof. Isaac Barash,  TAU
      Prof. Ron Barkai  TAU 
      Prof.  Yacob Barnai   Haifa U
      Prof. Shosh Bar-Nun  TAU 
      Prof. Arie Bass TAU
      Prof.  Outi Bat-El TAU
      Prof. Hava Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot  TAU
      Prof. Yehuda Bauer HUJI
      Dr. Dalia Beck BGU
      Prof.  Yhuda Beeton  BGU
      Dr.  Guy Beiner BGU
      Prof. Shimshon Belkin HUJI
      Prof. Avner Ben-Amos TAU
      Prof. Eyal Ben Ari  HUJI
      Dr Hagit Benbaji BGU
      Prof. Yemima Ben-Menachem HUJI
      Prof. Ziva Ben-Porat, TAU
      Prof. Yinon Ben-Neriah,  HUJI 
      Prof. Simon Benninga TAU
      Prof. Zvi Bentwich BGU
      Dr. Yael Benyamini TAU
      Dr. Yael Ben-Zvi BGU
      Prof. Benjamin Isaac TAU        
      Dr. Nitza Berkovitch BGU
      Dr. Louise Bethlehem HUJI
      Prof. Anat Biletzki TAU
      Prof. Yoram Bilu HUJI
      Prof. David Blanc  Haifa U 
      Prof. Rony Blum HUJI
      Prof. Shoshana Blum-Kulka HUJI
      Prof. Irena Botwinik-Rotem BGU 
      Prof.  Yohanan Brada HUJI
      Prof. Michael Brandeis HUJI
      Prof. Yigal Bronner  TAU
      Prof.  Jose Brunner TAU
      Prof. Judith Buber Agassi  HUJI
      Prof. Victoria Buch HUJI
      Dr. Naama Carmi  Haifa U
      Dr. Julia Chaitin Sapir College 
      Prof. Reuven Chayoth  BGU
      Dr. Raz Chen- Morris  BIU
      Prof. Mottie Chevion HUJI
      Dr. Tamar Cholcman TAU
      Dr. Eyal Chowers TAU
      Prof. Esther Cohen HUJI 
      Prof. Michael J. Cohen  BIU  
      Prof.  Yerachmiel Cohen  HUJI
      Dr. Yinon Cohen TAU
      Mrs. Anat Danziger HUJI
      Prof. Marcelo Dascal TAU
      Prof. Nathan Dascal TAU
      Prof. David Degani Technion
      Prof. Sahul Dollberg  TAU 
      Prof. Fanny Dolzhansky HUJI
      Dr. Daniel Dor TAU
      Prof. Yuval Dor HUJI
      Dr. Iris Dotan TAU
      Prof. Tommy Dreyfus TAU
      Prof. Amos Dreyfus  HUJI 
      Dr Eli Dresner TAU
      Dr Otniel Dror HUJI
      Dr Tammy Eilat  Yagoury TAU
      Prof. Gerda Elata-Alster BGU
      Prof. Miri Eliav-Feldon TAU
      Prof. David Enoch HUJ
      Prof. Yehouda Enzel HUJI
      Prof. Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan  Haifa U
      Prof. Ilan Eshel TAU 
      Prof. Aharon Eviatar TAU
     Dr. Zohar Eytan TAU
     Dr. Ovadia Ezra TAU
     Prof. Raphael Falk  HUJI
     Prof. Ruma Falk HUJI                  
     Prof. Emmanuel Farjoun HUJI
     Prof. Celia Fassberg HUJI
     Prof.  Steve Fassberg HUJI
     Dr. Jackie Feldman BG
     Prof. Rivka Feldhay TAU
     Dr. Tovi Fenster,  TAU
     Dr. Dani Filc  BGU
     Dr. Lizzie Fireman TAU
     Prof. Menachem Fisch TAU
     Dr. Susie Fisher Open U
     Prof. Hanan Frenk  TAU
    Prof. Gideon Freudenthal  TAU
    Prof. Ariela Fridman  TAU
    Prof. Ehud Friedgut HUJI
    Prof. Eli Friedlander TAU
    Dr. Alon Friedman  BGU
    Dr. Paul Frosh  HUJI
    Dr. Iris Fry Technion
    Prof. Michael Fry Technion
    Dr. Michalle Gal TAU
    Prof. Yolanda Gampel TAU
    Prof. Uri Gat HUJI
    Prof. Nima Geffen TAU
    Dr. Ido Geiger HUJI
    Prof. Deborah Gera HUJI
   Prof. Israel Gershoni TAU
   Dr. Mahmud Ghanayim TAU
   Prof. Avner Giladi  Haifa U
   Dr. Asaf Gilboa Haifa U
   Dr. Jack Gilrom BGU
   Prof. Ruth Ginsburg HUJI
   Prof. Simona Ginsburg  OU
   Prof. Rachel Giora TAU
   Dr. Snait Gissis TAU
   Prof.essor Eli Glasner TAU
   Prof. Ruth Glasner HUJI
   Prof. Marek Glezerman TAU  
   Mr.    Shuka Glotman BGU
   Prof. Michael Gluzman TAU
   Dr. Tamar Golan BGU
   Dr. Menachem Goldenberg TAU
   Prof. Haim Goldfus BGU
   Prof. Amiram Goldblum HUJI
   Prof. Oded Goldreich Weizmann
   Prof. Hari Golomb TAU
   Dr. Neve Gordon BGU
   Dr. Tresa Grauer BGU
   Dr. Moki Greefeld  TAU    
   Dr. Matine Grenak-Katrivs  TAU
   Prof.  Nachum Gross HUJI
   Prof. Yosef Gruenbaum HUJI
   Prof. Guretzki-Bilu  TAU
   Prof. Zali Gurevitch HUJI
   Prof. David Gurwitz TAU
   Prof. Yossi Guttmann Haifa U
   Dr. Ran Hacohen  TAU
   Prof. Uri Hadar TAU
   Dr. Abdulla Haj Ichia HUJI
   Prof. Aviva Halamish TAU
   Dr. Masud Hamdan Haifa U
   Dr. Talma Handler TAU
   Dr. Oren Harman BI
   Prof. Alon Harel HUJI
   Prof. Ran Hassin HUJI
   Prof. Galit Hazan-Rokem  HUJI
   Prof. Shlomo Hasson HUJI
   Prof. Abraham Hefetz TAU
   Prof. Moti Heiblum Weizmann
   Dr. Sibyl Heilbron   Haifa U
   Dr. Eyal Heifetz TAU
   Dr. Sara Helman BGU
   Prof. Yitzhak Hen BGU
   Dr. Omri Herzog   HUJI
   Dr. Tamar Hess HUJI
   Prof. Hannan Hever TAU
   Dr. Sylvie Honigman TAU
   Prof. Ehud Hrushovski HUJI
   Prof. Boaz Huss BGU
   Prof. Eva Illuz  HUJI
   Dr. Anat Israeli, Oranim
   Prof. Eva Jablonka TAU
   Prof. Dan Jacobson TAU
   Prof. Sulaiman Jubran  TAU
   Prof. Edouard Jurkevitch HUJI
   Dr.  Nirit Kadmon TAU
   Dr. Devora Kalekin Haifa U
   Dr. Itay Kama TAU 
   Dr. Avi Kaplan BGU
   Dr. Nahum Karlinsky  BGU
   Prof. Steve Karlish Weizmann
   Prof. Rimon Kasher BIU
   Prof. Tamar Katriel Haifa U
   Prof. Yaakov Katriel Technion
   Dr. Roni Kaufman BGU
   Prof. Gad Kaynar TAU
   Dr. Chen Keasar BGU
   Ms. Ruth Kener  TAU
   Prof. Michael Keren HUJI
   Dr Nadera Shalhov-Kevorkian  HUJI
   Prof. Hanan J. Kisch BGU
   Dr. Menachem Klein BI
   Prof. Sara Klein Breslavy TAU
   Dr. Yoel Klemes Open U
   Prof.  Ruth Klinov  HUJI
   Dr. Ariel Knafo HUJI
   Prof. Yehoshua Kolodny,  HUJI
   Prof. Mordechai Kremnizer HUJI
   Prof. David Kretzmer HUJI
   Dr. Michal Krumer-Nevo BGU
   Prof. Richard Kulka  HUJI
   Dr.  Orna Kupferman HUJI
   Dr.   Raz  Kupferman HUJI
   Dr. Ron Kuzar Haifa U
   Dr. Ori Lahav  Technion
   Prof. Lius Landa BGU
   Prof. Idan Landau  BGU
   MS. Tali Latowicki BGU
   Dr. Shai Lavi TAU
   Prof. Boaz Lazar HUJI
   Dr. Gerardo Leibner, TAU
   Prof. Aaron Lerner Haifa U
   Prof. Haim Levanon HUJI
   Prof. Iris Levin TAU
   Prof.  Yakir Levin BGU
   Prof. Shimon Levy TAU
   Prof. David Lior HUJI
   Dr Orly Lubin TAU
   Prof. Yael Lubin BGU
   Dr. Menachem Luz Haifa U
   Prof. M. Machover  HUJI
   Dr. Daniel Maman BGU
   Dr. Shmuel Marco TAU
   Prof. Avishai Margalit HUJI
   Prof. Moshe Margalith  TAU
   Prof. Shimon Marom Technion
   Prof. Imauel Marx TAU
   Dr. Anat Matar  TAU
   Prof.  Tsevi Mazeh TAU
   Prof. Raphael Mechoulam HUJI
   Prof. Gidon Medini TAU
   Prof. Avinoam Meir BGU
   Prof. Ron Meir Technion
   Prof. Yoram Meital BGU
   Dr. Eran Meshorer HUJI
   Mr. Avi Mograbi Bezalel
   Prof. Raya Morag HUJI
   Dr. Efrat Morin HUJI
   Prof. Uzi Motro, HUJI
   Prof. Guy Mundlak TAU
   Prof. Ben Zion Munitz TAU
   Dr Eti Nachliel TAU
   Prof. Zvi Neeman  TAU
   Prof. Yosef Neuman TAU
   Dr. Yitshak Nevo BGU
   Dr. Gidi Nevo BGU
   Prof. David Newman BGU
   Prof.. Ariel Novoplanky BGU
   Prof. Avi Ohry  TAU
   Prof. Dalia Ofer HUJI
   Dr. Yanai Ofran  BIU
   Prof. Adi Ophir TAU
   Prof. Aharon Oppenheimer TAU
   Prof. Avi Oz Haifa U
   Prof. Iris Parush BGU
   Dr. Galia Patt Shamir TAU
   Dr. Einat Peled TAU
   Dr. Yoav Peled TAU
   Prof. Bezalel Peleg HUJI
   Prof. Hana Peres TAU
   Prof. Mordechai Perl BGU
   Prof. Kobi Peter( Peterzil) Haifa U
   Dr. Amit Pichevski HUJI
   Dr. Yona Pinson  TAU
   Prof. Nava Pliskin BGU
   Prof.. Francis Dov Por HUJI
   Prof.. Dan Rabinowitz  TAU
   Prof. Gad Rabinowitz BGU
   Prof.  Chaim Rachman Technion
   Prof. Yoel Rak TAU
   Dr. Hagai Ram BGU
   Prof. Uri Ram BGU
   Prof.  Mauro Rathaous  TAU
   Prof.  Shalom Ratzabi TAU
   Dr. Tal Raviv TAU
   Prof. Jacob Raz, TAU
   Prof. Elchanan Reiner TAU
   Prof. Omer Reingold Weizmann
   Prof. Meir Rigby HUJI
   Prof.  Ruth Rigby HUJI
   Dr. Roer-Strier HUJI
   Prof. Freddie Rokem TAU
   Prof. Dana Ron  TAU
   Prof.   Moshe Ron  HUJI
   Dr. Ayala Ronal TAU
   Prof. Steven Rosen BGU
   Prof. Tova Rosen BGU
   Dr. Zeev Rosenhek OPU
   Dr. Issachar Rosen-Zvi TAU
   Prof. Susan Rothstein BI
   Prof. Elisheva Rosen TAU
   Dr. Avi Rubin BGU
   Dr. Prof. Bella Rubin TAU
   Mr. Daniel Rubinstein BGU
   Dr.  Ilan Saban Haifa U
   Prof. Yosef Sadan  TAU
   Dr. Hanna Safran  Haifa U
   Prof. Shlomo Sand TAU
   Prof. Shifra Sagi BGU
   Dr. Lilach Sagiv HUJI
   Prof. Edwin Seroussi HUJI
   Dr. Zvi Schuldiner Sapir College
   Dr. Sara Schwartz Open U
   Dr. Yossef Schwartz TAU
   Dr. Shlomi Segall HUJ
   Dr. Ella Segev  Technion
   Prof. Idan Segev HUJI
   Prof.  Ruben Seroussi  TAU
   Dr. Alla Shainskaya, Weizmann
   Dr.  Yeala Shaked  HUJI
   Dr. Milette Shamir TAU
   Prof. Michal Shamir TAU
   Dr. Ronen Shamir TAU
   Dr. Yaakov Shamir HUJI
   Prof. Benny Shanon HUJI
   Prof. Itzhak Shapira TAU
   MS. Noa Shashar  HUJI
   Dr. Relli Shechter BGU
   Prof.. Gaby Shefler HUJI
   Prof. Miriam Shlesinger  BI
   Prof. Yehuda Shenhav TAU
   Prof. Yosef  Shiloh TAU
   Prof. Tal Siloni TAU
   Dr. Eyal Shimoni  Weizmann
   Prof. Naomi Shir  BGU     
   Prof. Moshe Shokeid TAU
   Prof. Boaz Shushan BGU
   Dr. Tal Shuval TAU
   Prof. Moshe Silberbush, BGU
   Dr. Ivy Sichel  HUJI
   Dr. Rosalie Sitman TAU
   Dr. Vered Slonim Nevo BGU
   Prof. Varda Soskolne  BIU
   Prof. Avishai Stark  TAU
   Prof. Wilfo Stein HUJI
   Prof. Shamai Speiser  Technion
   Prof. W. D. Zeev  Stein HUJI
   Prof. Carlo Strenger TAU
   Dr. Deborah Sweeney, TAU
   Dr. Daniella Talmon-Heller BGU
   Prof. David Talshir BGU
   Dr. Daphne Tsimhoni Technion
   Prof. Gideon Toury, TAU
   Dr. Hamoutal Tsamir BGU
   Prof. Yoav Tsori  BGU
   Dr. Rachel Tzelnik-Abramovitch  TAU
   Prof. Joseph Tzelgov BGU
   Dr. Jehuda (Dudy) Tzfati HUJI
   Prof. Edna Ullmann Margalit HUJI
   Prof. Sabetai Unguru TAU
   Dr. Vered Vitizky-Seroussi HUJI
   Prof. Naphtali Wagner HUJI
   Prof. Alon Warburg HUJI
   Dr. Eynel Wardi HUJI
   Prof. Henry Wassermann OPU
   Dr. Nathan Wasserman HUJI
   Prof.. Ruth Weintraub  TAU
   Dr. Barak Weiss BGU
   Dr. Haim Weiss BGU
   Prof. Sasha Weitman TAU
   Prof. Haim Werner TAU
   Prof. Yehuda Werner HUJI
   Prof. Paul Wexler TAU
   Prof.. Yoad Winter Technion
   Dr. Nurit Yaari TAU
   Prof. Yoel Yaari HUJI
   Dr. Haim Yacobi BGU
   Dr. Niza Yanay  BGU
   Prof. Eli Yassif TAU
   Dr. Mahmoud Yazbak Haifa U
   Dr. Edit Yerushalmi  Weizmann
   Prof. Oren Yiftachel BGU
   Dr. Daphna Yoel TAU
   Prof. Yuval Yonay Haifa U
   Prof. Mira Zakai TAU
   Dr. Michael Zakim TAU
   Prof. Shmuel Zamir HUJI
   Prof. Anat Zanger TAU
   Prof. Joseph Zeira HUJI
   Dr. Dina Zilberg BGU
   Prof. Moshe Zimmermann HUJI
   Dr. Michal Zion BIU
   Dr. Amalia Ziv TAU
   Dr. Ouriel Zohar Technion
   Dr. Tsaffrir Zor  TAU
   Prof. Moshe Zuckermann TAU  

File Size: 106 kb
File Type: rtf
Download File