Students protest in third week of strikes

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 |  by Sara Fischer

The Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) University students, who were ready to resume their studies, announced on Wednesday they would continue to strike and join a band of nationwide protests, Israel Radio reported.

Students at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design took to the streets of Jerusalem in an unusual demonstration by expressing their outrage of the government’s decision to raise tuition by artistically protesting with a live jazz band performance, forming paper mache projects and making pottery jars, with signs criticizing government leaders.

“We’re not going to stay home, we’re going to be out, we want to influence the government not to raise our tuition,” Shiri Breuer, one of the organizers of the demonstration told Israel Today. “We’re thinking about the students of tomorrow. If the government doesn’t want students of the State, then there won’t be any.”

Students nationwide began striking three weeks ago, following the Shochat Committee on Reform in Higher Education’s recommendation to cut 1.2 billion shekels of its budget designated for higher education. Students, whose tuition has been frozen at 9,000 shekels ($2,500) per year, have been negotiating with government officials.

Most Israeli students work full-time, earning less than $5 an hour and fully support themselves. Paying for school on top of rent and other daily expenses makes it nearly impossible to complete one’s studies.

Meanwhile, universities remain closed as the academic year draws to a close, leaving some students in jeopardy of completing their degree or pursuing an additional degree abroad as their acceptance is dependant on graduation. For others, finals are drawing near and students find it difficult with only having attended few classes.

** The full story will appear in the June 2007 edition of Israel Today. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

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