JERUSALEM (Jan. 1)
Eight Arab students departed from the Hebrew University campus at Ein Karem yesterday, choosing to leave rather than stand compulsory guard duty with their Jewish dormitory mates. The Arab youths said their refusal was a “principle of conscience” and noted that Israeli Arabs are not conscripted for compulsory duty in the armed forces. The Ein Karem campus houses mainly pre-medical students.
The Arab students had volunteered to perform non-security related services on the campus such as first aid in lieu of guard duty. But the University Student Union, dominated by the militant Likud and National Religious Party, rejected the offer. They insisted that in addition to first aid duties, the Arabs patrol the campus. The University authorities who would have preferred a compromise, said they could only accept one that was agreed to by the Student Union which they recognize as the sole official representative of the student body, including the Arabs.
Amin Riad, head of the Arab Students Committee warned. “If we are forced to leave the campus the issue will be brought to the Arab public and then it will be hard to stop it from rolling.”