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Weizmann Institute Head Warns of Boycott Against Ariel

Head of Weizmann Institute said he will boycott the Ariel University Center of Samaria if it is granted full university status.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 6/28/2012, 4:05 PM

Ariel University Center
Ariel University Center
Ariel University Center

The dead of the Weizmann Institute of Science said he will boycott the Ariel University Center of Samaria if it is granted full university status.

The “university center,” a title that came about due a government compromise that upgraded the institution from a “college,” is due to be promoted to university next month.

Professor Daniel Zajfman told a group of university heads that he would cancel any academic or professional cooperation with the school, Maariv reported Wednesday.

“We will cut all ties if it is declared a university,” Zajfman said.

The move has thus far been met with opposition as university heads claim that if the center is granted full status it would divert funds from their institutions to Ariel.

Academics have also voiced concern that the school is tied to the Israel Defense Forces and that it is location outside of the Green Line.

Earlier this year, over 1,000 university faculty members signed a letter against the upgrade.

“There is no place for political debate here,” he said, claiming his objection is not political. “Is there a need for another university in Israel? That question has not been discussed in any forum. It will be interesting to see if adding a university will be met with an increased budget for higher education.”

In support of Zajfman's comments, the heads of Israel's seven research universities sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying such a move "will inflict a fatal blow on higher education in Israel."

A statement by Ariel College noted a report commissioned by the Council of Higher Education found the campus had met the requirements to become a university and said it hopes the decisions will be based only on academic criteria.