Israeli academia slams barring political opinion in class


Jerusalem, June 11: Israeli academia has slammed a possible new ethical code to bar professors from speaking about politics in classrooms.

On Friday, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced the new guidelines for higher education institutions, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bennett said he expects the Higher Education Council, a body that oversees Israel’s higher education system, would discuss and approve the code “soon”.

The proposed code, was drafted by Asa Kasher, a professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University.

Under the code, professors would be forbidden from “promoting their political worldview in class”. Each institution would be required “to establish a unit that would monitor political activity” on campus.

The code would also bar lecturers from calling for academic boycotts against Israel.

The academic community reacted angrily, denouncing the move as anti-democratic.

VERA, the umbrella organisation of the heads of Israel’s universities, released a statement on Saturday saying they “vehemently object” the code.

It “undermines institutes of higher education’s freedom to decide their own codes of conduct for their academic staffs, and thus infringes on academic freedom in the most serious and fundamental way,” the statement added.


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