Gal-on criticizes closure of BGU’s politics program

Professor from university labels Meretz leader’s comments as "pre-election farting...nothing to do with any factual issue."

October 15, 2012 01:09
1 minute read.
Ben-Gurion University.

ben gurion university building 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

As the debate over Ben-Gurion University’s politics department continues, Meretz head Zehava Gal-On declared on Saturday that “the Likud wants to scalp the academia and show it off to [Likud activist] Moshe Feiglin’s camp during the primary.”

BGU’s political science department has strongly divided the Left and Right, as the issue has been very much politicized in the past few weeks.

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The department has been criticized for the radical left-wing opinions of some of its faculty members, by rightwing organizations such as the Zionist NGO Im Tirzu – which called the program “unbalanced” and “very disturbing.”

Additionally, the Council for Higher Education appointed an international committee, headed by Prof. Thomas Risse of the University of Berlin, to evaluate the department last year. Following this, CHE decided to shut down the program and not allow students to register for the 2013-2014 academic year.

BGU started a petition last month signed by faculty from universities across the country, saying that “Israeli academic freedom is under severe attack.”

“The Right continues to lead a destructive campaign for Israeli academia,” Gal-On said. “Instead of embracing and protecting academic freedom, the Minister of Education Gideon Sa’ar [of Likud]’s leadership is undemocratic and seriously damages the international image of Israeli academia.”

Sa’ar’s office has not responded to The Jerusalem Post’s requests for comment.

Prof. Dan Censor, who specializes in electrical engineering at BGU, called the comment by Gal-On “pre-election farting” and said it has “nothing to do with any factual issue.”

“In her statement there is no fact other than that Gideon Sa’ar is the minister of education,” he added. “If anything, Gal-On pretends to help in putting out the fire by dousing it with fuel.”

The CHE subcommittee is expected to meet next on October 30 and reconsider the fate of the program. Students registered for the current school year will start their studies next week as planned.

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