update deskSchools & Higher Education

Police mull probe into TAU professor who eulogized terrorist

An investigation could be opened on suspicion of supporting terrorism.

Tel Aviv University in the city's northern Ramat Aviv neighborhood. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.
Tel Aviv University in the city's northern Ramat Aviv neighborhood. Dec. 16, 2022. Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90.

The Israeli police are considering opening an investigation into a Tel Aviv University professor on suspicion of supporting terrorism after she eulogized the murderer of an IDF soldier.

Dr. Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, drew condemnation after she paid tribute in a Facebook post to Walid Deka, an Israeli Arab from Baka al-Gharbiyye who died of cancer at Shamir Medical Center (formerly Assaf Harofeh Medical Center) in Be’er Ya’akov on Sunday at the age of 62. He was serving a life sentence for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.

TAU students demanded Matar’s dismissal and said they would hold a protest at Entin Square, near the main entrance to the school. The university administration denounced her words and said it would investigate whether they were in breach of freedom of speech policies.

The Btsalmo Organization said it would file a complaint against the lecturer for violating the rules of discipline and also file a police complaint for violation of the Counter-Terrorism Law.

The Im Tirtzu organization also expressed outrage, demanding Matar’s immediate termination.

“Goodbye, dear and beloved friend. You were and will be an endless source of inspiration,” the lecturer wrote about Daka. “My heart goes out to you, Sanaa and Milad. With Asad and the whole family. With the entire Palestinian people who lost one of their greatest sons today.”

Amnesty International also whitewashed Daka’s crimes in a post following his death.

 “The death in custody of Walid Deka, a 62-year-old Palestinian author, who was the Palestinian prisoner who spent the longest time in an Israeli prison after 38 years of imprisonment, is a cruel reminder of Israel’s disregard for the Palestinians’ right to life,” the anti-Israel group wrote.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem last month reinstated a law professor who called into question the rapes of women and the other atrocities during the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a dual Israeli-American citizen, also termed Israel’s actions against the Islamist terrorist group genocide.

The university suspended her on March 12 for her inflammatory remarks, pending a retraction.

The decision to allow her to resume teaching was taken following a meeting with the rector of the university, Professor Tamir Sheafer, in which Shalhoub-Kevorkian claimed that “as a critical feminist researcher she believes all victims and does not doubt their words, and that she does not deny the fact that on October 7 there were cases of rape in the south [of Israel],” the school said in a statement.

“Sheafer stressed that the Hebrew University strongly condemns inciting words and threats against students, lecturers, individuals and groups, and calls on all members of the university community to maintain a safe and respectful study and research environment,” the statement read.

The Haifa-born Israeli-Arab lecturer had called the “Zionist entity,” i.e. Israel, “criminal” and a “killing machine” and said that it lied about terrorists committing rapes and killing babies on Oct. 7.

In an earlier letter announcing her suspension, titled “Incitement and hatred led by Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian,” the university wrote that it “rejects all of her distorted statements with disgust.”

“Since the beginning of the war, Prof. Shalhoub-Kevorkian has been speaking out in a disgraceful, anti-Zionist and inflammatory manner. At the beginning of the war, the lecturer signed a petition calling Israel’s actions in Gaza genocide, and [the state] an occupying entity since 1948,” the letter reads.

The university said at the time that it was sorry she was a faculty member, and asked her to consider resigning from her position.

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