The Judea and Samaria Higher Education Council approved the establishment of Ariel University's medical school on Wednesday, a necessary step on the road to becoming an accredited institution.
Not to be confused with Israel's Higher Education Council, the Judea and Samaria Higher Education Council is a regional council in the West Bank, where Ariel University's medical school would be located.
In order for the decision to be final, the Israel's Higher Education Council will need to decide on the issue.
"I am happy that the [Judea and Samaria] Higher Education Council has made the right decision in favor of the State of Israel," Education Minister and chairman of the Higher Education Council Naftali Bennett said, according to Ynet. "There is a serious shortage of doctors in Israel. There is a need to establish a school, and here is a university that fits that need. This is the right thing for academia, the medical world and the Israeli public."
Ariel University was grateful for the committee's decision because, as Bennett said, “Israel is crying out for doctors."
"The opening and the expansion of the school solves the problem of the lack of educational opportunities for young doctors in Israel," Ariel University said after the vote.
Deputy Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman echoed Bennett's sentiments, saying: “It is inconceivable that more than half of Israel’s medical graduates come from abroad in schools that are not always satisfactory.”
The decision of this local council reverses last Thursday's decision by the Israel's Council for Higher Education's Planning and Budgeting Committee, which voted against the establishment of a medical school at Ariel University.
Last Thursday’s vote undoes a previous decision made by the council’s Planning and Budgeting Committee in July 2018, when it voted 4-2 to establish the medical school at Ariel University, which is in the West Bank’s Area C – under Israeli civil and military control.
Six months later, in December, Deputy Attorney-General Dina Zilber ordered a re-vote due to an alleged conflict of interests. One of the members of the committee, Dr. Rivka Wadmany Shauman, had originally voted in favor of establishing the faculty of medicine at Ariel University – even though she was a candidate to teach at the institution as part of the teacher training program.