Invited by the University of Birmingham Conservatives, controversial backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visited campus on Friday 9th March, speaking about his views on free speech, housing, mental health, Russia and tuition fees to a packed lecture theatre of around 300 students.Written by Erin Santillo & John Wimperis on 16th March 2018
UoB Student Killed in Jerusalem Tram Attack
Hannah Bladon, a University of Birmingham (UoB) student on exchange in Israel, was murdered on Friday in an attack in Jerusalem
The attack took place on a tram in Tzahal (IDF) Square, near to the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on Good Friday. According to the Times of Israel and the Independent, the area was packed with Good Friday pilgrims, as well as Jews celebrating Passover.
“A spokesperson for Hadassah Hospital said that Bladon died of her wounds two hours after arriving
The attack was reported to take place as the tram was approaching City Hall, when the alleged 57-year-old attacker pulled a kitchen knife out of his bag and stabbed Bladon in the chest. The alleged attacker was arrested after several police officers, as well as an off-duty policeman and another passenger who were both travelling on the tram, were able to apprehend him and remove the knife.
Bladon was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus after medics carried out CPR on her at the scene. A spokesperson for Hadassah Hospital said that Bladon died of her wounds two hours after arriving.
Two other people were treated for their injuries in the attack, but according to the BBC’s Tom Bateman, they were either hurt when the tram came to a sudden stop, or in the panic to get away, so their injuries were much less serious than Bladon’s.
“Bladon was an exchange student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The alleged attacker was quickly identified as a 57-year-old Palestinian man from an Arab neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. According to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the attacker attempted to kill himself earlier this year, and was recently released from a psychiatric hospital.
Bladon was an exchange student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem which is located in East Jerusalem on a campus with high levels of security. At UoB, Bladon is believed to have studied Theology and Religion, and was taking part in a semester exchange programme based in the Rothberg International School.
Sam Bartlett, a UoB History and Political Science student who studied on exchange at Hebrew University last year, said that he was ‘shocked’, but added that throughout his time in Jerusalem, stabbing attacks were frequent. Speaking to Redbrick, he said that the University provided advice on ‘situational awareness’ when he began his studies there, which included remaining alert when travelling on public transport where many attacks take place.
“'the nature of such indiscriminate stabbing attacks means that they're very difficult to prevent and defend yourself against'
‘The attack happened on the Light Rail which is essential for travelling to the University and dorms where we lived from the city centre, a route that I took countless times which is often guarded by soldiers and security officials, but the nature of such indiscriminate stabbing attacks means that they're very difficult to prevent and defend yourself against,’ he told Redbrick.
Bartlett, who is also a Campus Ambassador for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), advised British citizens in Israel to refer to the FCO website on Israel & the Palestinian Territories which has detailed safety advice that is constantly updated.
In a statement, UoB said: ‘We are deeply saddened to hear about the death of our student Hannah Bladon who was killed whilst on an exchange programme in Jerusalem. Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this tragic time and we will be providing support for any student affected by this terrible event.’
Speaking to Redbrick, Guild President Ellie Keiller said: 'The Guild, the Officer Team and I are truly saddened to hear of the passing of Hannah Bladon earlier on today. Hannah was a valued student here and she will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all her family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.'
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem also released a statement following the attack, in which they expressed ‘tremendous sorrow’ regarding the tragic attack, saying, ‘the University condemns such acts of terror, murder and vandalism, which harm innocent people who came to Jerusalem to study and enrich their academic knowledge’.
Speaking of his experience at Hebrew U, Bartlett spoke highly of the institution and the University staff. ‘The Rothberg International School and Student Village nearby to the attack is a truly cosmopolitan environment with people mixing peacefully from all kinds of backgrounds and countries,’ he said.
“Given the large numbers of people visiting Jerusalem at this time of year, security forces have been on high alert in the city
‘The support staff at the Hebrew U are outstanding and I have no doubt that they will be doing the utmost possible to take care of all the students particularly those in the international school at this time. My thoughts are with them and Hannah's family at this time’
Given the large numbers of people visiting Jerusalem at this time of year, security forces have been on high alert in the city. Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, said in a statement: ‘this week thousands have come through the ancient gates of Jerusalem, to celebrate the feasts of Passover and Easter throughout the city - while the security forces work to ensure the safety of the dear residents and visitors to the city. And so we will continue to do’.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mark Regev, took to Twitter on Friday evening saying: ‘My thoughts are with the family and friends of UK student Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in a senseless act of terror in Jerusalem today’. A spokeswoman for the British Consulate in Israel said that they are ‘providing support to her family’ and that the Embassy was ‘in touch with local authorities’.
If you have been affected by this story you can contact Nightline who are running an email service on email@example.com. Alternatively, you can use the Guild Advice service , details of which can be found here when they reopen after the Easter break on Thursday 21st April.
For information on travel advice in the region visit travelaware.campaign.gov.uk