Israeli supreme court overturns entry ban on US student

Alqasem's defence stated that she is not a boycott supporter illustrated by her choice to study at an Israeli university

Israel's leading judges overturned an entry ban on an American student on Thursday, after courts ruled she would be barred from the country due to her past support for a pro-Palestine boycott movement. Erdan said the senate's support of Alqasem was "another politicization of the Israeli academia for the sake of someone who actively works to harm the State of Israel and its citizens".

When she was barred entry at Ben Gurion airport, Ms Alqasem chose to stay and overturn the decision through legal appeals.

Lara Alqasem, who was born in the U.S. but is of Palestinian descent, entered Israel on a student visa earlier this month, but was barred from entering and has been held in Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport since.

"Why would she want to enter Israel to call for a boycott?" "If this is truly the case, then we are talking about an extreme and unsafe step, which could lead to the crumbling of the pillars upon which democracy in Israel stands", the verdict continued.

The justices asked Ben Hillel if his client now supports a boycott of Israel and whether she is committed to refrain from calling for a boycott.

"In this case, denying the applicant's entry does not advance the objective of the law, and it is argued, for example, by the Hebrew University that it harms Israeli academia", it said, going on to criticise the immigration authorities.

Alqasem has fought her expulsion order for two weeks. She insists she no longer participates in boycott activities and promises not to engage in boycott activities in the future. State lawyers argued that Alqasem's deletion of her social media aroused suspicion and that she remains a threat. She had hoped to study Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, but Israeli officials issued a deportation order when it was discovered that she had once been president of the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Florida.

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In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the state's evidence was not enough to justify its use of the anti-boycott law.

Her lawyers called the court's ruling a victory for free speech, academic freedom and the rule of law.

"Lara has ensured that no one else should be denied the right to enter Israel based on sloppy Google searches and dossiers by shadowy smear groups", lawyers Yotam Ben-Hillel and Leora Bechor said.

Alqasem said she was no longer part of BDS, which should exclude her from a new law in Israel that bars any member of the BDS movement from entering the country.

"I'm deeply disappointed", he said. "Would she in the United States act against the state and demand to stay and study there?"

Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri lamented the court's decision on Twitter, calling it a national embarrassment.

Hebrew University, which has vigorously backed Alqasem and joined in her appeals, said it looks forward to welcoming her to classes next week.

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