המאמר הבא נכתב עבור מגזין סטודנטים בינלאומי ופורסם באינטרנט. קיוויתי שהוא יהיה הראשון מבין כמה מאמרים שיעסקו בפוליטיקה, במדיניות ובבעיות של החברה הישראלית. אך אחרי הפרסום לא קיבלתי אף אימייל מאמלתיאה, העורכת השוודית של המגזין, ונאלצתי להסתפק בכתיבה למגירה.
גם חלק מהפוסטים הבאים הם קטעים שכתבתי בעבר. אגיד לכם כשזה יקרה. מבטיח.
SILENT TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
Political Activities among Israeli Students
By Amir Havkin, a Political Science sophomore at MTA College in Tel Aviv-Jaffa
A CLOSE RELATIVE of mine has gone to Paris a couple of years ago to get her PhD in Philosophy. Being the opinionated person that she is, a well-spoken veteran of many left-wing protests, I found it hard to accept her so-called defeat by the system. Like many other former students and young Israeli citizens, she now finds Israel a hard place to live in. In her recent visit to Tel Aviv-Jaffa, she told me that nine out of ten of her closest friends will be leaving Israel for good the coming year.
IT SEEMS WE only hear about Israeli students, or the higher education system in Israel in general, only during troubled times. From the local version of Black Pantherism of the 1970’s to the great tuition fees strikes of the past three years, students in Israel are known for their activism and involvement. Or are they?
“THE MEDIA IS RESPONSIBLE for the protesters’ agenda”, says a Political Science sophomore at the IDC College in Herzliya. The IDC is located at a former military camp and many of its students were away on reserve service during Cast Lead, the last operation in the Gaza strip. ”It’s true that tuition fees are always an issue. It’s also true that students are more protest-driven than most groups in society. But in recent years we’ve seen them take the fight to the streets only when the situation affects them personally, and in almost all cases – economically.” His classmate took over: “You’d have to look really hard for any real demonstrators around here. To be involved, you have to be a hard-working student, so that you can catch up with your studies after your political activity is done; you have to have some kind of agenda, fed to you by the press, parents, friends, etc.; and you need some kind of support from the system itself. Most students find it difficult to ensure the first two conditions; the third is entirely out of their hands”.
THE IDC COLLEGE does not endorse political activities within the campus. Very few parties and organizations can be heard around here, although most students I have met talk about politics enthusiastically and with real passion. Another classmate, Avishay Peretz, says: “On Democracy Day we had plenty of action. There were forums and discussions about economics, politics, and national defense; we had parliament members at the debates. But most of it was relaxed and by the way. No shouting, nothing in the way of drama or excitement”. One can attribute this lack of drama or excitement to the students’ background; with yearly tuition fees of around 32,000 NIS and close ties with the political and military elite, most IDC goers come from well to do, center- or right-wing families. You can hardly expect them to shout or wave any flags, unless the situation demands immediate involvement. The only party that attracts any attention and some degree of campus activity is Likud, the largest right-wing party in Israel and home of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Says Omri Akunis, a Likud activist and a Government, Diplomacy and Strategy student: “I’d like to see more students and political groups participate in the day-to-day campus life. I’d like the parties themselves to understand that students can be a strong support group, not only during re-elections but throughout the year.” Other students told me they would simply like the political life at IDC to be less reflective and more effective.
A DIFFERENT PICTURE can be seen in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It is a state funded institution, and as such it must allow some form of political action within its campuses. Says Tzachi Raz, a Philosophy-Economics-Political Science student and activist: “During Cast Lead we’ve had clashes between supporters and protesters of the war; we’ve had racist remarks flying in the air; we’ve had security guards attempting to restore order in the campus; everybody caught flak, even the moderate voices. They were accused of being TOO moderate and not taking a stand in the struggle.” Raz is a member of the local Chadash Student Cell, which is closely related to the national Jewish-Arab Chadash party. He is also operating in the name of Campus for All, a new organization whose goal is to drive students into active political roles. “This political body is made out of three leftist groups: Chadash, Meretz and Ein Zo Agada. We are dealing with two major issues, the first being the increase in right-wing, racist extremist action among students. Since most students are still unaware of such problems, we got more and more concerned about the level of participation in the political game – which is our second goal. We want to see some real partnership and solidarity between students”.
CAMPUS FOR ALL can be associated with a current trend in Israeli politics: moving away from narrow, sectorial parties and embracing a broader scope of activity. Israel is notorious for its current abundance of political organizations and the lack of cooperation between them, and this trend might be able to bridge over some gaps – and it might also help a friend of mine. She is studying for a B.A. in Biology and Computers at the Tel Aviv-Jaffa University, and sounds a bit disillusioned: “I can’t talk about the students in general, but as for me – the current political activity in my campus does not effect or shape my opinion or awareness”.