Daily Israel Report

College in Samaria to Receive University Status

Ariel College, based in central Samaria, is finally to become a full-fledged university despite left-wing opposition.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/27/2012, 10:22 AM

The city of Ariel
The city of Ariel
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Ariel College, based in central Samaria, is finally to become a full-fledged university despite left-wing opposition.

Previous attempts to declare it a university have been thwarted by academics against a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, but a special committee set up to examine the issue is expected to recommend university status next week, Yisrael HaYom reported.

The report will state that Ariel College has achieved all of the criteria needed for it to become a university.

Left-wing opponents have claimed that promoting Ariel College to a regular university would be seen as another blow to the moribund diplomatic process intended to help the Palestinian Authority achieve independent status through negotiations with Israel.

However, more than 600 Arab Muslim students are enrolled at the college, reflecting its academic reputation.

The move to grant university status to Ariel dates back to 2005, when the government voted in favor of the change, but academic institutions opposed the decision on political grounds and because it would dilute the concentration of power among the country’s seven existing universities.


The move to grant university status to Ariel dates back to 2005, when the government voted in favor of the change, but academic institutions opposed the decision on political grounds and because it would dilute the concentration of power among the country’s seven existing universities.

Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Daniel Zajfman said this week will cut off academic ties with Ariel if it is granted university status. He explained his objections are not political but that the new status would divert funds from other institutions.

The Council for Higher Education in 2006 rejected the proposal and barred any new university from being established until at least 2011.  

Formerly known as the College of Judea and Samaria, it has changed its official name to the Ariel University Center of Samaria despite the lack of official designation as a university.