Barak: Ariel college can be university

Peace Now: Decision favors higher educational institutions in West Bank over rest of Israel.

January 20, 2010 17:52
Barak: Ariel college can be university

ariel college 298. (photo credit: Courtesy photo)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Wednesday that he would recognize a five-year old government decision to officially turn Israel's largest public college, located in Ariel, into a full-fledged university.

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MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Unity) welcomed the decision and said that the real test will be in reversing the settlement construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Peace Now released a statement saying that Barak's decision is a blight on academia and shows favoritism for higher educational institutions in the West Bank over other parts of Israel.

"Only in Israel is the defense minister the authority on academic issues in conquered territories in which the army is the only sovereign," stated Peace Now.

The Ariel University Center of Samaria was founded in 1982 as Bar-Ilan University's regional West Bank branch. Originally located in Kedumim, it moved to Ariel to expand.

In August 2007, the college declared itself a 'university center', and prime minister Ehud Olmert endorsed the change.

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