Three weeks after The Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria decided
to grant Ariel University Center full university status, Defense Minister Ehud
Barak is delaying any progress toward realizing the decision.
is in the West Bank, which is under the IDF’s authority, OC Central Command
Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon must sign the declaration, and may only do so after
receiving instructions from Barak.
Barak plans to hold meetings in the
next few weeks to decide whether he supports Ariel University Center’s
transition to a full university, but his office would not say when the defense
minister plans to announce his stance on the matter.
minister has to make a decision as the sovereign over the West Bank, and he will
base his decision on meetings in the coming weeks,” Barak’s spokesman, Barak
Serry, explained. “There are many aspects to this issue, including security and
In 2010, Barak approved upgrading Ariel’s
status from college to university center.
Right-wing MKs slammed Barak
for delaying his decision, accusing him of having ulterior motives and promoting
his own political agenda.
“No delay is acceptable,” said MK Alex Miller
(Yisrael Beytenu), an Ariel resident who heads the Knesset Caucus for Turning
Ariel University Center into a University.
He added: “I want to remind
Ehud Barak that the coalition agreement with Yisrael Beytenu says that Ariel
must be recognized as a university, and any delay will be treated as a
violation, including in the Knesset Finance Committee.”
MK Danny Danon
(Likud) said he plans to call a meeting of Likud Central Committee members in
Ariel, calling for the university center to be made a university.
the destroyer of settlements, is trying to extort Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu for his own political gain by preventing Alon from signing the
declaration,” Danon stated.
The Likud MK hopes that his planned meeting
will put pressure on Netanyahu to personally intervene and “stop Barak’s
attempts to harm settlements once again.”
“The Left, under Barak’s
leadership, is trying to delay the decision in order to harm Ariel, settlements
in Judea and Samaria and the Likud,” Danon added. “The government’s decision
must be upheld, and Ariel must be declared a university, without delay.”