The government, not Defense Minister Ehud Barak, must make the final decision on
whether Ariel University Center can become a university, Education Minister
Gideon Sa’ar said on Monday.
After nearly two months of deliberation
since the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria granted Ariel
University Center full university status, Barak wrote a letter to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu recommending that the decision be made after a Supreme Court
ruling on the matter.
Since Ariel is in the West Bank, which is under IDF
authority, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon must sign the document
making Ariel a university, and may only do so after receiving instructions from
“This is a transparent trick by Barak, which is meant to delay the
recognition of Ariel as a university,” Sa’ar said.
According to Sa’ar, it
is likely that the Supreme Court would wait for Alon’s signature before ruling,
and the government, not Barak, should tell Alon what to do.
chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said that Barak is using his power illegitimately,
and that the defense minister may have breached the coalition agreement. As
such, Elkin added, Barak should not be surprised if other coalition partners no
longer feel obligated to him in votes that are important to his Independence
Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), co-chairwoman of the Knesset Caucus to Turn
Ariel into a University, said Barak behaved outside of his authority.
long as there is no security issue, Barak cannot make the judgment, and doing so
for political gain and sabotaging decisions of those authorized to do so is
anti-democratic,” Hotovely said.
She called for Barak to take care of
defense and leave higher education alone.
MK Alex Miller (Yisrael
Beytenu), the second chairman of the Knesset caucus, also accused Barak and
Independence of breaking coalition agreements.
“The defense minister used
his authority, the IDF and the OC Central Command improperly in order to promote
his political opinions,” Miller said.
“He is making a mockery of the
prime minister, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria and
thousands of students.”
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