Grapevine: Talking Ariel

Ariel University is the only university in Israel that, in addition to a president and a dean, also has a chancellor.

General view of Ariel (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
General view of Ariel
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
■ ARIEL WAS in the news last week when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a memorial address honoring Ron Nachman, the West Bank city’s first mayor, on the fourth anniversary of his death. Nachman, who was one of the founders of Ariel and its longtime mayor, died after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Ariel was again in the news this week in a report in TheMarker, which noted that Ariel University is the only university in Israel that, in addition to a president and a dean, also has a chancellor. This chancellor is in the person of former finance minister Yigal Cohen-Orgad, who was one of the founders of Ariel University and fought for it to be accorded university status when it was still a college, which the Council for Higher Education was reluctant to upgrade. When TheMarker reporter Tali Heruti-Sover asked Cohen-Orgad to spell out details of his current role, for which he earns a handsome salary, he refused, and the university’s public relations department was likewise not forthcoming with the desired information.
■ THE CLEVELAND-based Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has over the years invested tens of millions of dollars in advancing Israel’s educational facilities and standards, particularly in peripheral communities where potential exists but needs to be encouraged.
Of the three brothers who established the Mandel Foundation, which has also contributed handsomely to education and culture in Ohio, the one best known in Israel is Mort Mandel, 95, who has been a frequent visitor and who was back again last week to attend the laying of the cornerstone ceremony in Yeroham for a tech incubator, MindCET, to serve as a new center for leadership and innovation in educational technology which it is co-founding with the Yeroham Municipality and the Center for Educational Technology (CET).
The Mandel Foundation has contributed $5.2 million to the $20m. project, which aims to foster innovation and creativity and to boost specialized cooperation between entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers and students with the goal of upgrading Israeli education, and to take its results beyond Israel’s borders. The center will host experiments and research trials.
Joining Mandel at the ceremony were Mayor Michael Biton, Amram Mitzna, the city’s former acting mayor and currently CEO of the New Yeroham Fund, Prof. Jehuda Reinharz, the president of the Mandel Foundation and a former president of Brandeis University, and Gila Ben-Har, CEO of CET.
The Mandel Foundation has had a long association with Yeroham, said Mandel, and it feels privileged to be involved in a project that will also be linked with the relocation of IDF bases in the Negev. Ben-Har spoke of the importance of being part of an innovative process that will not only have an impact on Israel but will also influence the whole world. Mitzna said that this is another forward step in proving and improving Yeroham’s potential for excellence in education and innovation.
■ YEROHAM IS not the only municipality striving for excellence. Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon and members of the Herzliya City Council have launched a new annual prize for excellence. To be known as the Mayor of Herzliya’s Prize for Excellence, the award will be for achievements by people living and/or working in Herzliya or its immediate surrounds.
Four prizes of NIS 30,000 each will be awarded in the fields of the arts and technology. In each category, one will be a lifetime achievement prize and the other for a young promising artist and a young promising technologist or scientist. The prizes are to be awarded for the first time on May 28. Nominations and applications can be made by individuals, groups and organizations. Individuals who believe themselves to be deserving can also nominate themselves.
Full details are available on the Herzliya municipal website at; for further information: [email protected]