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.
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.