U.S. student Lara Alqasem will be released from Ben-Gurion Airport after a ruling from Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the pending deportation order against the alleged Palestinian supporter Thursday.
Israeli authorities said denying the student from entering the country due to past associations with various organizations in the United States gave “the unavoidable impression” that she was barred for her political opinions.
"If this is truly the case, then we are talking about an extreme and dangerous step, which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy in Israel stands," the court verdict said.
The 22-year-old graduate of the University of Florida, was denied entry into the country on October 2, despite obtaining a student visa from the Israeli consulate in Miami. Security officials cited her role as president of a small local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Florida.
Alqasem appealed the decision by the Israeli ministry and in a trial Thursday, said that; although she had participated in various campaigns boycotting Israel, its exported goods, and companies conducting business with the Arabic country, these activities had ended in 2017.
The student declared that her decision to study at an Israeli university was proof that she was not a boycott supporter.
A statement from the institution, cheered her release, saying, “The Hebrew University of Jerusalem looks forward to welcoming our newest student, Lara Alqasem, as she begins her M.A. in Human Rights and Transitional Justice at our law school next week.”
Alqasem’s attorney told Reuters, “The supreme court’s decision is a victory for free speech, academic freedom, and the rule of law.”
Alqasem told Haarets, “I'm relieved at the court’s decision and incredibly grateful for the work of my amazing and tireless lawyers Yotam Ben Hillel and Leora Bechor, as well as the support of my family and friends. I will be happy to say more when I've had a chance to rest and process."