Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Friday dispelled media reports that he had
offered the Ariel University Center NIS 100 million for the 2013 budgetary
cycle, but said that his ministry would provide at least some level of financial
support for the institution in its quest to be recognized as Israel’s eighth
“The headline talking about NIS 100m. for the AUC is
baseless,” he said.
“This sum is a complete fabrication, and there is
nothing even resembling it that has been offered to the AUC.”
however, reaffirmed his support for the ongoing efforts to grant official
university status to the AUC.
On Thursday, Education Minister Gideon
Sa’ar announced his sponsorship of the AUC.
“Israel can support eight
universities,” he said. “There is nothing holy about the number seven,” which is
the current number of recognized Israeli universities.
announcement contradicted recommendations made by the Council for Higher
Education’s planning and budgetary committee, which on Wednesday came out
against the institution’s quest to become a university.
MK Alex Miller
(Yisrael Beytenu) praised Sa’ar on Friday for his announcement.
statement of the education minister confirms what we have known now for a long
time – that the Ariel University Center has for all intents and purposes been a
university,” he said.
Miller, who heads a Knesset faction devoted to
making the AUC a university, also slammed the Council for Higher Education. He
called the council’s recommendation against the AUC “a disgraceful decision,”
which he chalked up to the committee members’ “surrender to narrow political
Miller drafted legislation earlier last week, a copy of which
was obtained on Thursday by The Jerusalem Post, which would try to circumvent
the Council for Higher Education and allow the matter to be taken up directly by