In recording, outgoing head of university association admits resignation was a media ploy

Israel's Association of University Heads admits in leaked recording that his resignation was media ploy to protest creation of new ministry.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Resignation (stock)
Resignation (stock)

In a leaked recording published by Kan 11, the outgoing chairman of Israel's Association of University Heads (VERA), Prof. Ron Robin, admitted that his public resignation last week was largely a "media ploy" in protest over the newly created Higher Education Ministry headed by Zeev Elkin.

VERA is a voluntary body comprising of the presidents, rectors, and directors-general from Israel's research universities excluding Ariel University aimed to "promote and to improve the management of aspects of common interest to all the universities."

Last week, Prof. Robin submitted his resignation as head of VERA alongside a scathing letter titled "Turkey is Here," labeling Elkin a "commissar" who is attempting to stifle academic freedom.

However, in the leaked recording Prof. Robin admitted that his resignation was "in large part a media ploy" and hinted that it was because VERA feels threatened that the new Higher Education Minister will limit its autonomy.

"All of a sudden we have someone who wakes up in the morning and the first thing he thinks about is higher education. The thing that is supposed to advance him is his ability to shape higher education according to his worldview, and we never had this before."

Prof. Robin also stated that in his view the situation was worse under former Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who oversaw higher education.

"Previous ministers, for example Bennett, had very severe remarks. We have only been with this minister [Elkin] a short time."

Prof. Robin also addressed the association's refusal to include Ariel University, and stated that it cannot continue to exclude the university without offering explanation.

"We cannot, in my opinion, do this indefinitely without alienating a large part of the public," stated Prof. Robin.

In 2012, VERA worked unsuccessfully to torpedo the recognition of Ariel University as a fully accredited university. Similarly in 2018, VERA unsuccessfully lobbied against the establishment of Ariel University's School of Medicine.

Ariel University president Dr. Yehuda Danon has accused VERA of boycotting the university due to its location in Samaria over the Green Line.

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu that pushed for the establishment of the Higher Education Ministry, called VERA "a politicized organization that has no right to exist."

"VERA should be ashamed of working so blatantly against Ariel University, and the time has come to end the post-Zionist grip that this cartel has on Israeli academia," said Peleg.