Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Hebrew U Building Occupied in Protest Against Police Gassing of Panthers

May 3, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

More than 200 supporters of the Black Panthers, many students among them, occupied the Hebrew University Senate Hall today to enforce their demand that the University protest police action against the Panthers last night in the streets of Jerusalem. Police officials confirmed today that an American-made tear gas which has a momentary numbing effect was used for the first time against the Panthers who were allegedly blocking traffic and refused to move. A number of Panthers were arrested but have since been released.

The campus protestors, said to include followers of Matzpen and SIAH groups, occupied the University hall after a confrontation with the Rector, Prof. Yaacov Katz. He had agreed to receive a delegation but the-protestors failed to delegate anyone. Instead, they moved into the hall where the University Senate normally meets. Prof. Katz told them they could not force the University to express views on political matters.

The Panthers demonstrated last night to protest the social and economic gap and social injustices in Israel. Lt. Col. Avraham Turgeman, deputy commander of the Jerusalem Police District, said the gas, known as "paralyzer." was used because police were outnumbered by the Panthers.

Turgeman said that according to police regulations the gas was to be used only to aid arrests by a single policeman or a small group of police threatened by violence. He said only three policemen were at the scene of the Panther demonstration. Turgeman added that according to his information, the gas capsule is used by housewives and grocery clerks in New York City to ward off attackers. He did not know if any other police force in the world used it.


May Day, the traditional labor holiday, sparked other demonstrations in Jerusalem yesterday, none of which required intervention by police. The largest was by some 100 students, recent emigres from the Soviet Union, who protested outside the Knesset building against the suspension of parliamentary business in observance of May Day. The students waved white flags and carried banners reading, "The first of May is not our holiday" and "The red flag is not our flag."

Some 50 American students, some waving Viet Cong flags, demonstrated outside the US Consulate here against the American bombing of North Vietnam. They sang protest songs and dispersed quietly. A bomb threat received at the Consulate turned out to be a hoax. About 50 women gathered in down-town Jerusalem yesterday afternoon to protest "discrimination" against women. They demanded free abortions, equal pay for equal work and civil marriage.

The Soviet students demonstrating outside the Knesset building were received by leaders of the right-wing Gahal opposition faction and the National Religious Party. The two political parties also objected to the suspension of the Knesset for May Day which the Labor Party leadership initiated. Some labor unions observed the holiday but most shops and offices remained open.

Recommended from JTA