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Tel Aviv U. cancels talk by former Arab prisoner for Land Day

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Tel Aviv University canceled the appearance of a former Arab prisoner jailed by Israel for his activities on behalf of the terrorist Hezbollah organization.

Mohammed Kana’neh, an Arab-Israeli who spent 4 1/2 years in prison, was invited to speak by the left-wing Hadash and Balad student groups at a conference on Monday for Land Day, which marks the deaths of six Galilee Arabs in 1976 during riots over a government decision to expropriate land for what it called security purposes.

Land Day was observed March 30, but events are being held later.

“In light of concern for public order in the Land Day events scheduled to be held tomorrow, and since the request to approve Kana’neh’s participation was only received recently, leaving no time for preparations, the University does not approve his participation in the event,” the university said in a statement released late Sunday. The statement said other Land Day events would go forward as planned.

Jewish student groups protested on campus Sunday seeking cancellation of the appearance by Kana’neh.

The university last week had issued a statement saying it would allow the event to go forward in an effort to respect students’ rights to freedom of speech.

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