Daily Israel Report

Boycott of Ariel U Condemned by Universities, Ed. Minister

150 Israeli professors add fuel to Israel-PA fire by calling for boycott of Israel’s Judea/Samaria university. Ed. Minister Saar: 'A provocation.'
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/10/2011, 10:47 AM / Last Update: 1/10/2011, 11:27 AM

Israel news photo

While the PA refuses to enter into negotiations with Israel, demanding a complete halt to construction in Jewish towns in Judea/Samaria (Yesha) and refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, 150 Israeli professors add fuel to the fire by calling for a boycott of Israel’s only university in Yesha.

The academics, said to have been led by a group from Weizman Institute of Science, signed a petition stating they are unwilling to take part in any activities at Ariel University Center. They said that Ariel – the 4th biggest town in Yesha, with 18,000 people – is an "illegal settlement" in “occupied territory.” Ironically, Tel Aviv University, many of whose professors are notorious for their anti-settlement views, was built on the area of a former Arab town named Sheikh Yunis.

Ron Nachman, the long-time Mayor of Ariel, has vowed that the more academics boycott, the more he will build up his city.

The attempted boycott has been condemned by the Education Minister, the Council of University Heads, the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, the Israel Our Home party, and others. 

Education Minister Gideon Saar announced categorically that he “negates and condemns public dialogue that is based on attempts to boycott and delegitimize.” Saar said that the attempted boycott of Ariel University is simply a “provocation” with “no practical significance, since the signatories are not partners to the academic activity [there] and it is doubtful that they were ever asked to take part thereof.”

The President of Bar Ilan University, Prof. Moshe Kaveh, also condemned the boycott of his sister institution, calling it “solely politically motivated.” “Just like we respond firmly against European academic boycott initiatives,” Kaveh told Arutz-7 on Sunday, “so too we do not accept this latest attempt. We call upon the entire academic network to reject any attempt to harm the academic activity, freedom and cooperation that is so important for research and knowledge.”