Jerusalem24– Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman seeks to reduce the budget of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba in the wake of a student demonstration by Palestinian citizens of Israel on the campus, during which they raised the Palestinian flag.
Sources close to Lieberman, the head of the nationalist, right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party, said that he had ordered employees in the Finance Ministry to examine the university’s behavior and “exercise its powers” in reducing the university’s budget. Liberman claims the university’s behavior constituted a “violation of fundamental and Jewish values.”
On 15 May, dozens of Palestinian students participated in the demonstration organized to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba, raising Palestinian flags, chanting slogans and Palestinian anthems, as well as protesting against the practices of the Israeli occupation.
According to Lieberman, since the demonstration took place in the campus courtyard it was held with the university’s approval and using its assets and properties. Sources close to Lieberman quoted him as viewing the flag-raising incident as “a denial of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, incitement to racism and violence, and support for the armed struggle against the state in violation of the law.”
According to Israeli law, the finance minister has the right to reduce the budgets allocated from the state budget to an official body if specific violations are committed. Lieberman holds the university responsible for approving the organization of the demonstration, which he said “contained anti-Israel implications.”