Three students were arrested Tuesday afternoon at a demonstration at the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus against Israel’s efforts to enlist Christian Arabs.
The protest was forcefully dispersed by police, after the university declared the demonstration unauthorized.
The detained students — Farah Bayadsy, Majd Hamdan, and Khalil Garra — were released later Tuesday.
“It was a silent protest, we were 20 people carrying signs peacefully when university security lashed out at us and yelled at us to leave,” Hala Marshood, a participant, told The Times of Israel.
Numerous security guards surrounded the protest, accosted the students and demanded that they evacuate the premises, she maintained.
“Then the police got there, and they were even more aggressive than university security; they violently arrested my friends,” Marshood said.
According to a statement from the university, a security guard was hit in the face in a scuffle with the demonstrators, which led them to notify the police.
While the university permits political demonstrations on campus, all rallies must be coordinated in advance, the statement said.
However, Marshood maintained that there were no clashes with security personnel before police arrived.
“Not true, they are saying that only to create an excuse for calling the cops, which is what the university always does whenever we speak up against the military draft for Arabs,” she said.
“Unfortunately, the protest organizers deliberately ignored the regulations and chose not to submit a request to hold the rally. Worse than that, as stated, they refused security officers’ request to identify themselves and leave,” the statement from the university said.
Demonstrations against Arab enlistment also took place at Haifa University and Ben Gurion University at the same time.
Though IDF conscription of Christian Arabs remains voluntary, the army has increased its efforts to recruit soldiers from the population, and announced last week it will send military enlistment papers directly to their homes, leading Arab MKs to accuse the government of attempting to “divide and conquer” the Arab community.
The year 2013 saw a threefold increase in IDF enlistment among the Christian population.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.