The High Court ruled Tuesday that terrorist security prisoners were not eligible for free university education in Israeli schools. The permission and assistance extended to prisoners convicted of criminal activities that supplies them with free courses and degree programs at Israel's Open University does not apply to prisoners convicted of terror activities, the court ruled.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by three terrorist prisoners who claimed they were being discriminated against because prison authorities refused to enroll them in an Open University program and pay their tuition. The Open University offers extensive distance-learning programs, enabling students to do coursework via the Internet, with scheduled meetings with mentors.
The court said that discrimination was not an issue in the case. “The court has ruled in the past and continues to rule that the differences in treatment of criminal and terrorist prisoners is not due to discrimination. We believe the same applies to education,” said the three judges who heard the case.
With that, the court said that the prison system should be “considerate” in deciding what to do with terrorists who are already in the midst of academic programs. “We think it would be worthy to consider those in the midst or close to the end of an academic program separately from those who have not yet begun a course of study,” the court said. “If the prisons decide not to continue funding the education of those prisoners, they will be free to file petitions with district courts on the matter.”
In the past, Israeli prisons provided terrorists with free college education, but the practice was halted recently.