MK Oded Forer.
(photo credit: JEREMY JEFFER)
In an attempt to change Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s affirmative-action policy, Israel Beytenu’s Oded Forer went after BGU President Rivka Carmi, demanding the addition of new immigrant candidates, reservists and students who come from a low socioeconomic background to be included in their affirmative- action policy.
“The stench of discrimination arises from your decision to exempt only Arab students from the psychometric exam while ignoring new immigrants, soldiers and reservists,” Forer said in a statement on Sunday.
“The Social Justice Warriors of this country continue to discriminate against the citizens who serve and contribute to the State of Israel,” he said.
“It is impossible to talk about special academic tracks and exemptions from psychometric exams without taking into account new immigrants, people of a low socioeconomic status, or those who have served in the military or national service.”
The university responded to these allegations in a statement later in the day that clarifies the overall goals of this policy: “Four years ago, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev initiated a special program, the first of its kind in Israel, which allows applicants for a bachelor’s degree to apply and even be accepted to Ben-Gurion University without being required to take the psychometric examination. The program, “Path to the Academy,” allows applicants to be accepted into all departments and programs on an alternative track – that is, without the psychometric test.”
Details of the program Forer was referring to, available on the university’s website, confirm this, stating that “the purpose of the program is to enable candidates to submit their candidacy to the university even without passing the psychometric exam. Graduates of the program will be admitted to all departments of the university: medicine, engineering, business administration, etc., based only on [their] course grades and matriculation scores.”
The statement also noted BGU’s location in the Negev and its commitment to promote not only the Beduin community in and around the vicinity of the university, but also other groups, including new immigrants.
“Ben-Gurion University is a multi-disciplinary research university on an international level,” the statement said.
“At the same time, we have a vision to develop the Negev and promote the diverse sectors of Israeli society in both education and social welfare; to close educational gaps and promote access to education in general but particularly in higher education, through supporting immigrant absorption and working within local communities.
“This initiative, as well as the initiative to ease the admission conditions for university students, including the Bedouin sector, is an integral part of the university’s vision and worldview,” BGU’s statement said.
The statement released by the university adds: “It should be emphasized that in the framework of admission criteria for the special track for candidates from the Bedouin sector who do not require a psychometric examination, they will be required to participate in the preparation and enhancement courses. The new track includes an acceptance examination based on the material taught in the high school in that sector.
In addition, there will be direct acceptance to candidates who have met the criteria for admission to outstanding students