Adel Hidmi, a convicted terrorist who served two stints in Israeli prison was awarded a doctorate for his work in the field of chemistry by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem earlier this week.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv reports (Hebrew link) that the Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem “lives a double life,” on the one hand studying chemistry at the university, and on the other having “a close relationship with the terror infrastructure aiming to carry out serious terror attacks in Jerusalem.”
A university official confirmed to TheBlaze that Hidmi received his doctorate along with 375 other students at a ceremony on Sunday.
The paper reports that in 1992, Hidmi was convicted and sentenced for belonging to a terrorist group. Israeli law enforcement believed and was able to prove in court that in 2002 while he was writing his doctoral dissertation in chemistry, Hidmi recruited a suicide bomber to carry out an attack in the same city in which he lived and studied.
Hidmi was sentenced to serve three years in jail.
Ma’ariv reports that after Hidmi was released, he asked the Hebrew University to allow him to continue his studies to complete his degree. Concerned Hidmi could exploit his work in chemistry to build sophisticated explosive devices, university officials prohibited him from using its laboratories.
According to Maariv, during the graduation ceremony, Hidmi refused to shake hands with Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson. The paper reports that the audience clapped when Hidmi received his diploma, though it’s unclear if they knew who he was, since hundreds of students along with him were getting their degrees. A spokesman for Hebrew University could not confirm if people clapped precisely when Hidmi received his degree.
The Hebrew University Spokesman’s office tells TheBlaze, “The University does not prohibit those with criminal backgrounds from studying within its gates. The work of Adel Hidmi – who completed serving his sentence – was considered academically worthy and he met all the requirements to receive the doctorate degree. With that, note that Hidmi did not receive permission to use the university labs after his conviction.”
On Monday, Barbra Streisand was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University. The Spokesman’s office tells TheBlaze that the ceremony honoring the famed singer was separate from the larger ceremony in which Hidmi collected his degree, which took place one day earlier.
As a public institution, Hebrew University is supported by both government funds and philanthropy, including funds donated by American Jews.
One of its campus cafeterias was the site of a terrorist bombing in 2002 in which nine students and staff members were killed.
When asked, an official in the spokesman’s office told TheBlaze that the university had not received any widespread or official criticism for allowing Hidmi to earn his degree, but that some people expressed that they did not view it positively.