As Ariel University Center, located in Samaria (Shomron) awaits the final decision regarding its status as a full-fledged university, it has appointed a new president, Professor Yehuda Danon.
In the past, Danon was IDF Chief Medical Officer, Director of Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva and the founder of Schneider Children's Hospital. He currently heads Beterem – an organization he founded several years ago, which promotes children's safety.
He has also taught in the Weizmann Institute and elsewhere.
"I see the presidency as a challenge, with the main goal at present to complete more than 20 years' work by the very serious academics who established the college and turned it into a university center," he told Arutz Sheva, "and into an institution that teaches more than 12,000 students."
Prof. Danon said that while he does not have plans to establish a school of medicine on campus, "I hope that we succeed in establishing pre-medical studies, a first degree in medical sciences, which will prepare the students for medical studies in the various designated schools."
Prof. Danon added that the demand by the presidents of existing universities not to approve Ariel as a fully fledged university stems from "jealousy" as well as politics. He acknowledged that some of the opposition is financial, because the other universities fear that their budgets will shrink to accommodate Ariel. However, he said, "It is hard to ignore the political views that are at the base of some of the opposition."