Report: Government to Approve Recognizing Ariel as University

Approval is expected when the government votes on a decision to recognize the Ariel University Center as a full-fledged university.

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Elad Benari,

Ariel University Center
Ariel University Center
Ariel University Center

The government will vote on Sunday on a decision to recognize the Ariel University Center as a full-fledged university. A majority is expected to vote in favor, despite the opposition of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, according to a report in Friday's Yisrael Hayom daily.

Approval is supported by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has promised coalition trouble if university status is not approved.

Army Radio reported that the proposal, which was distributed on Thursday by the Cabinet Secretariat, will call on the government to take the necessary actions to fulfill a recent decision on the issue by the Council of Higher Education for Judea and Samaria (CHE-JS).

The heads of other universities recently filed a motion to the Supreme Court against the CHE-JS’ decision to recognize Ariel. The universities have said that they are afraid that the decision will reduce their funding.

Bar Ilan University has retracted its signature on the motion, in which the heads of the universities claim that that the CHE-JS exceeded the bounds of its authority when it decided, against the opinion of the Council of Higher Education's Planning and Finance Committee, to recognize Ariel as a University, and that its decision is riddled with legal faults. These are not academic in nature. 

Barak, who has to sign the decision to make it official since the IDF is the body which has legal authority over Judea and Samaria, took advantage of the motion to advise Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to wait with recognizing Ariel until the court discusses the motion.

Even if the government votes to approve the decision on Ariel, the recognition of the university will still have to wait until the petition is discussed by the Supreme Court. Army Radio noted that the decision mentions that any step taken to recognize Ariel is subject to a legal opinion by the Attorney General.