(photo credit: Students at the Ariel University Center in Samaria)
Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, head of the Israel Council for Higher
Education's planning and budgetary committee, attacked the
expected decision of the West Bank Council for Higher Education to
recognize Ariel University Center (AUC) as Israel's eighth university
later Tuesday as acting with a conflict of interest.
said Tuesday that the West Bank Council's expected decision will have been based
almost entirely on the basis of information provided by AUC itself.
contrast, typically the decision of recognizing a new university is
made in conjunction with the Israel Council, said Trajtenberg, which
just recently rejected recognizing AUC at this time, recommending
delaying any final decision for at least another year. Currently, AUC is
recognized merely as a college, which restricts its budget and its
standing in academia nationally.
The West Bank Council was
established by the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in the mid 1990s to
oversee issues relating to Ariel and other high learning centers in the
West Bank since it was considered too controversial to incorporate such
institutions beyond the Green Line directly into Israel's Council.
final authorization for making AUC a university would be made by OC
Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, but generally that decision is
expected to go according to the West Bank Council's decision. Ariel was
founded in 1982.
It has been seeking recognition as a
full-fledged Israeli university, rather than its current status as a
college, for some time.
However, it has found itself at the
center of a political and ideological debate about recognizing and
incentivizing large institutions over the Green Line before borders are
set and a peace deal with the Palestinians is signed.
the West Bank Council criticized Trajtenberg and their other critics as
being against AUC's candidacy solely because of what they characterized
as their political views against encouraging settlements and
institutions in the West Bank.
Trajtenberg said that the
committee was the party acting out of political considerations, making
its decision solely based on a quantitative checklist like the number of
students and professors and completely ignoring the quality of the
institutions research, how many publications its professors have
published and the impact it has had on academia nationally.
also added that the premise of AUC's membership had started backwards
from the normal procedure. Instead of asking whether Israel's Council
had a need for another university, whether it be AUC or another
college being upgraded, said Trajtenberg, the committee had asked
whether Ariel should be recognized.
Finally, Trajtenberg noted
that usually committee's deciding on whether to recognize a university
include independent academics from foreign university's who have no
interest in the matter. He said that the West Bank Council had no such