The High Court of Justice ordered the state to respond to an injunction request
to block formalizing Ariel University Center's status as a university filed Tuesday by most of Israel's university presidents, the courts announced Wednesday morning.
The actual decision was made late Tuesday night and gave the state only until 2:00 p.m. Wednesday to file a response.
Tuesday’s motion, signed by the heads of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the University of Haifa and the Open University, argues against the substance of decision, and also its timing.
“These are election days and any decision on this sensitive matter at this time can be interpreted as a political move. There is no logic in acting so urgently,” the document states. Among other arguments, the members of the council wrote that they worry that Ariel’s new status will lead to budget cuts for the other universities in the country.
While there are many scenarios where the injunction request may be rejected or temporarily granted but with AUC still becoming a university, the quick move by the court signals that it is taking the university presidents' request seriously.
Barak on Monday ordered the upgrade of Ariel University Center to a fully accredited university.
This would be the first time since the Open University officially recognized in 1980 that an Israeli institute of higher learning has been accredited.
Ariel University Center said following Monday’s decision: “We are pleased to see that all those concerned were never diverted by the false arguments of those with extraneous interests.
Netanyahu on Tuesday called the recognition of the Ariel University “a very important addition.”