Thursday, December 13, 2007

Strike Four

Yesterday I visited Haifa University library on one of my periodic quests for reading material (my university's library has only textbooks plus a few trashy romance novels and the like). The bus took an unexpected route and let me off far away from the center of campus. Walking towards that center, I saw it was blocked off by construction barriers, partially burnt tires, and other protest paraphernelia.

It's well known that the least favorite part of many professors' lives is teaching undergrads. So don't be surprised that Israeli professors, in their strike, cynically chose to stop teaching classes while continuing with their research. As the strike continues and it looks more and more likely that the semester will be canceled, the Haifa University students have became fed up with being held hostage to the professors' demands. If students' graduation will be delayed six months due to others' convenience, then at least let those others suffer along with them by not being able to work. Hence the attempted closing of campus.

I was lucky enough to take all my required courses last year, and the courses I'm TAing and grading are taught by non-faculty lecturers, so the professor strike has a negligible effect on me.

By the way, did you hear the midrash about Avraham when he left Haran? Eventually he reached Eretz Yisrael and saw that nobody was working - they were all on strike. He said "I hope my portion is not in this land." At that moment Hashem told him, "TOO BAD!!!"

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