Israeli activist Hen Mazzig returns to UCL after violent 2016 demo

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israeli activist Hen Mazzig returns to UCL after violent 2016 demo

Former soldier said the university 'didn't want to publicise the event' and called for a more open debate next time

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Anti-Israel protesters outside the Hen Mazzig speech
Anti-Israel protesters outside the Hen Mazzig speech

A former Israeli soldier, whose appearance at a London campus back in 2016 sparked violent scenes, returned to speak at the university this week.

Hen Mazzig spoke at University College, London (UCL), but was critical of the university for not making the event more public.

After a disciplinary probe into the clashes found fault on both sides, UCL invited him to return under very tight security, making the event ticketed and only open to students.

Mazzig told Jewish News, after speaking to roughly 60 students about his role as a former humanitarian officer in the IDF, that “the university didn’t want to publicise the event. They didn’t want another incident like 2016.

“That’s something I protested. I told them that’s not the right way to go to celebrate free speech on campus and show they are able to allow free speech and protect Jewish students.”

Although thankful for being invited, he said he was unhappy the event took place “behind closed doors with very intense security, and with a guest list that was screened in advance”.

He added, that “until an hour before the event, I didn’t even know where the event was going
to be”.

In a statement following the event, the university said  it was a “demonstration of our commitment to freedom of speech.”

Pro-Israel students demonstrated with Israeli flags for the event
Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more: