Ariel University in the West Bank.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett is moving forward with a general master plan to double the size of Ariel University. The NIS 135 million plan includes opening a faculty of medicine.
According to a Education Ministry statement, Bennett, who is also the chairman of the Council for Higher Education, has been working in the past few months with different officials to approve the founding of a new faculty of medicine in Israel.
Moreover, it was decided by the council and the Forum of Medicine Faculties Deans to gradually expand the number of students that are being accepted to medicine studies in Israel by 100 students per year, starting the next academic year. It was explained that the move is due to a shortage of doctors in Israel.
As for today, some 4,000 students are studying medicine in Israel.
Opening the faculty is a part of a larger plan to double the size of the West Bank university over the next five years and it will include the construction of 10 new buildings. Since the institution was announced as a university in 2012, four new buildings were added to the campus.
The plan will be funded mainly by donations that were raised by the institution itself. According to a report in The Marker, one of the main donors of the new faculty is Israel Hayom owner Sheldon Adelson.
It was reported that Adelson donated some NIS 20m. to the project.
In the Bayit Yehudi weekly faction meeting at the Knesset, Bennett said that opening a new faculty for medicine studies in Israel will be one of the solutions to the shortage of physicians on the one hand, and will reduce the costs of studying on the other.
“It is a meaningful move that will strengthen the university in Ariel, and will be a great contribution to the medicine studies in Israel,” he said.
“Israel needs more doctors, and instead of sending them to study medicine in Eastern Europe – and pay a fortune – we will make sure that they could study here.”
MK Dov Henin (Joint List) slammed Bennett, and claimed that his sole interest is to satisfy his constituency.
“Instead of dealing with budget deficits of Israel’s universities and the ramifications of that on the quality of research and students, Bennett prefers dealing with advancing the only thing that he really cares about – Bayit Yehudi’s political agenda, that aims to promote the de facto annexation of the occupied territories,” he said.
“It is about time that the Israeli government will start investing in the State of Israel,” he added.