Is­raeli high court stops Fla. stu­dent de­por­ta­tion

The Palm Beach Post - - OBITUARIES - By David J. Neal

Is­rael’s High Court of Jus­tice stopped Sun­day’s sched­uled de­por­ta­tion of for­mer Uni­ver­sity of Florida stu­dent Lara Alqasem, ac­cord­ing to re­ports from Is­rael.

The Jerusalem Post said Jus­tice Uzi Vo­gel­man told the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment and Alqasem to file re­sponses in writ­ing within 24 hours of a hear­ing sched­uled for Wed­nes­day on her ap­peal against her de­por­ta­tion. At that hear­ing, the court will de­ter­mine whether it will hear Alqasem’s ap­peal.

Alqasem has been frozen at Ben Gu­rion Air­port just out­side Tel Aviv, re­fus­ing to re­turn to the United States but not al­lowed into Is­rael to study in a He­brew Uni­ver­sity master’s pro­gram. She ob­tained a stu­dent visa be­fore Is­rael learned that she was pres­i­dent of UF’s Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine. Is­rael con­sid­ers that group part of the BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment, Sanc­tions) Move­ment, which calls for one or all of those mea­sures against Is­rael for its treat­ment of Pales­tini­ans.

The Con­sul Gen­eral of Is­rael in Mi­ami, Lior Hiat, said, “Once we re­al­ized that Ms. Alqasem is in­volved in anti-Is­rael (and anti-Semitic) ac­tiv­i­ties through the BDS move­ment, she was de­nied en­try.”

Alqasem has said she left the BDS Move­ment in 2017. The Jerusalem Post said lawyers for Is­rael ar­gued in the Tel Aviv Dis­trict Court that she made Face­book posts in 2018 stat­ing she would at­tend BDS events, and then erased them.

The Post said Alqasem’s at­tor­ney, Yo­tam Ben-Hil­lel, ar­gued that many peo­ple post things on Face­book, and then don’t fol­low through or erase them for rea­sons be­yond con­ceal­ment. Alqasem is from the Fort Laud­erdale sub­urb of South­west Ranches.

The Times of Is­rael said Alqasem had been sched­uled to be de­ported at 5 p.m. Is­rael time (10 a.m. EST) af­ter a Tel Aviv Dis­trict Court on Fri­day up­held the gov­ern­ment’s re­fusal to al­low Alqasem en­try.

Lara Alqasem has been in limbo in Is­rael since be­ing de­nied en­try for master’s study. She led a proPales­tine group at UF.

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