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Israeli Students Stage Protest for and Against Blockade of Gaza

Last week, protests occurred worldwide, both in support of Israel's blockade of Gaza and against it.

Students were among those who participated in these protests, including demonstrations in several U.S. cities. People under 30 are the largest age group in the Middle East, and usually have a lot to say about its politics. Now they are showing their feelings with regard to the flotilla crisis off Gaza.

Im Tirtzu, a centrist Zionist movement focused on students, organized protests on nine university campuses across Israel to show its support of the government.

"This week we took out thousands of thousands of students all over Israel, all over the universities the campuses, the collages," said Erez Tadmor, one of its founders, and spokesperson for the organization. "We took, almost in every city in Israel, the hundreds and thousands of people went out to support Israel and support the IDF [Israel Defense Forces]."

On its website, Im Tirtzu states that it "believes the younger generation, and especially the university student population, holds the key to the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and that it is the duty and responsibility of this population to lead Israeli society."

Tadmor hopes that the internet will help the students realize this responsibility and become more united. The group also tries to mobilize and inform students through YouTube videos and Facebook posts. "Every demonstration we've had and every film that the IDF or Israel has taken out, we distribute it on Facebook and on YouTube," he said.

Pro-Palestinian groups are also using Facebook to connect with each other, which is especially important for Palestinian students living outside of the country. Noor Awad, a Palestinian living in the United Arab Emirates posted a Facebook status on Monday, incensed over the Israeli actions.

She wrote, "If we've chosen to stay silent and do nothing after the war on Gaza, it's no surprise to watch our world leaders still do nothing when Gaza is under siege for the third year. This is no longer a fight for who is right or wrong, it's a fight for Palestinians' basic human rights."

Student groups in the United States, such as Students for Justice in Palestine, are also involved in mobilizing students in each of its 25 U.S. chapters.

Students have been passionately vocal on recent events. Whether it is commenting through media uploads or through Facebook posts, students have learned how to protest using the tools they are most familiar with.