Education Minister Gidon Sa'ar (Likud) visited the Ariel University of Samaria on Wednesday, his first visit to the educational center since it was officially recognized as a full-fledged university.

Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed a government decision to officially recognize the Ariel University Center as a university, after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein upheld the Judea and Samaria Higher Education Council's (CHE-JS) decision to accredit the school.

Major General Nitzan Alon, the Head of the IDF's Central Command, later signed a document that grants the center formal approval as a full-fledged university.

The heads of the other universities in Israel have filed a motion with the Supreme Court, claiming that the CHE-JS' recognition of Ariel was riddled with the faults. The motion has yet to be discussed by the Court, but Bar Ilan University has already withdrawn its support for the motion.

The other universities fear that having a new university in Israel would affect their government funding. Leftist groups have also condemned the decision to establish a university on "occupied territory".

During his visit to Ariel on Wednesday, Sa'ar called on the other universities to follow Bar Ilan, saying, "After Bar Ilan made ​​the right move and withdrew from the Supreme Court motion, I call on the heads of the other universities to embrace their little sister Ariel, and pull the petition."

Sa'ar added that "The Ariel University is backed by the entire government, not just by me."

credit: יח"צ
credit: יח"צ
credit: יח"צ