Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The National Academy of Sciences decried on Sunday the recent decision by the
Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria to recognize the Ariel
University Center as a full-fledged university.
The council held a
special session to discuss the decision, which it said was taken without a
“fundamental and in-depth international examination” of the proposal to establish
an eighth Israeli university.
The academy was founded in 1960 and
functions according to law, acting as an adviser to the government in the fields
of scientific research and planning of national importance, and is charged with
protecting and advancing scientific excellence in the country.
academy said it regarded the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria’s
decision as “serious,” since it contradicted a decision made a few weeks ago by
the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee – as well as
the heads of the existing seven universities, who oppose such a move.
academy said the decision on Ariel was “an irregular move that is liable to
endanger the structure of the whole system of higher education and disregards
the Planning and Budgeting Committee, which decides on funding for the
“It was blatant government interference in the system of
higher education whose independence we are bound to protect.”
on the committee to refuse to accept any government allocation whose
implementation is not according to its planning schedule. Finance Minister Yuval
Steinitz and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar reportedly agreed to make special
allocations to upgrade the Ariel University Center.
The academy called on
the state to halt the process and make a “responsible, professional and
objective decision to protect the outstanding and vital system of research
universities and the whole system of higher education.”