Academics oppose 'U. of Judea and Samaria' [pg. 4]

A group of 24 academics petitioned the High Court of Justice Sunday to issue a temporary injunction against the evaluation committee that is considering the transformation of the College of Judea and Samaria into a university. The appeal submitted to the court argues that the creation of the evaluation committee and its members "clearly show that what is at stake is a political move whose purpose is strengthening the Jewish settlement project in the West Bank." The petition argued that former education minister Limor Livnat, in creating the evaluation committee, was attempting to circumvent the authority of the Council for Higher Education, which opposed the move. Furthermore, the petition argued, the committee was created "without taking into consideration academic and budgetary concerns." The defendants in the appeal are the College of Judea and Samaria, the Council for Higher Education of Judea and Samaria, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh, Education Minister Yuli Tamir and a number of individual academics who are members of the evaluation committee. In response to the appeal, the Council for Higher Education announced Sunday that it was opposed to the evaluation committee. The council also said that it had already come to the decision several months ago that the Council for Higher Education of Judea and Samaria should be reassembled and composed solely of members who sit on the Council for Higher Education. According to a spokesperson for Tamir, "The matter is being examined by the minister in a comprehensive, thorough, and relevant manner." Last February, the same group of academics appealed to Naveh to disband the evaluation committee, which was appointed in 2005 by the Council for Higher Education of Judea and Samaria. The appeal argued that, since the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria is not legally overseen by the Council of Higher Education but rather by the IDF command, Livnat did not have the legal authority to instruct the council to appoint the committee. The appeal also argued that the members of the evaluation committee, which include recent Nobel Prize winner Prof. Robert Aumann, "were identified directly or indirectly with parties on the right of the political map, sometimes even the extreme right.