Daily Israel Report

Council for Higher Education Rejects Lapid's PhD Acceptance

Council for Higher Education rules that Yair Lapid’s acceptance into doctoral studies without any prior academic degree is invalid.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/24/2012, 8:08 AM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

The Council for Higher Education ruled on Monday that Yair Lapid’s acceptance into doctoral studies at Bar Ilan University although he has never held any academic degree is invalid, the Ma’ariv newspaper reported.

According to the report, the Council for Higher Education, which on Sunday announced it would be looking into the matter, rejected Bar Ilan University’s claims that that Lapid’s acceptance to doctoral studies was carried out “in the regular manner and according to the rules, on the basis of his achievements in journalism and literature and of recommendations, as part of a permanent and orderly procedure for students who do not have a bachelors’ degree but excel in their field.”

The Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday that Lapid was accepted into the Advanced Degree Program for Study of Commentary and Culture based solely upon his “literary and journalistic achievements,” despite the fact that the program is officially intended for students who completed their bachelor’s degree with excellence.

The requirements for acceptance state that “the track is only offered to master’s and PhD students, based upon the assumption that interdisciplinary study will only be meaningful and effective for a student who thoroughly studied one of two disciplines in the bachelor’s degree.”

The specific track that Lapid was accepted into last June requires completion of two years’ studies in the master’s degree track.

“An examination by the Council for Higher Education’s academic division found that the graduate program in the Study of Commentary and Culture has not been approved by the Council,” Ma’ariv quoted the Council as having said in a statement.

Regarding Bar Ilan’s clarification that Lapid was accepted based on his achievements in journalism and literature, the Council said “the answers provided so far by the institution are not sufficient.”

In response, Bar Ilan University said, “The university expresses its great surprise at the announcement of the Council for Higher Education.”

The university added that “all programs at Bar Ilan are approved by the Council for Higher Education, including the program in the Study of Commentary and Culture. The admission of students without a bachelor’s degree to graduate studies is grounded in university policies. In recent years, about 20 students were accepted into the various programs this way, including managers, accountants, writers and journalists.”

Lapid, who announced his entry onto the political ring just over two weeks ago, responded on Sunday to the allegations on his Facebook page. Answering a question by another user, Lapid wrote, “Someone is concerned about my entering the political arena. I wonder why.”

Last week Lapid ruled out the possibility that he will be joining the Kadima party, even after chairwoman Tzipi Livni called him to do so in the wake of polls which show that if Lapid runs under a new party, he would achieve many seats as Kadima’s expense.

Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that there’s “no way” he would join Kadima, adding that its members are “are a bunch of cynical politicians who left other parties, and no one has any idea what - if anything - they believe in.”