Hebrew University, Mount Scopus
Hebrew University, Mount Scopus Flash90

Israel's national governing body for academic institutions, the Council for Higher Education (CHE), will investigate whether Israeli universities have implemented the academic code of ethics that they were required to start enforcing in 2019.

The code of ethics, written by Israel Prize laureate Professor Asa Kasher at the behest of former Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Yamina), was adopted by the CHE in May 2018 amid growing complaints of anti-Israel and left-wing politicization on campuses.

The code prohibits professors from promoting BDS and from discriminating against students for their political views.

The code also prohibits professors from "misusing their positions as teachers to systematically and improperly advocate for a political view, in a manner that clearly diverges from what is required to teach the class’s subject."

Spearheaded by the Zionist watchdog organization Im Tirtzu, the code drew sharp criticism from many on the left, who decried it as an attempt to stifle free speech.

Kasher, who also authored the IDF's code of ethics, accused critics of being "afraid to teach in a professional manner." He also noted that Israeli academia was largely slanted to the left and those who attacked the code did so because "they don't want anything to change."

Following a request filed by Im Tirtzu to the Education Ministry via the Freedom of Information Law, the CHE responded this week that it would proceed to investigate whether the universities have implemented the code.

"The code is a correct and necessary measure toward ending politicization in academia and ensuring that students receive an unbiased and pluralistic education," said Alon Schvartzer, Im Tirtzu's Director of Policy.

Schvartzer added that "it is a shame that the CHE only started to investigate this matter because of a request filed by Im Tirtzu's Legal Division."

"The CHE needs to begin enforcing its own decisions and to create a policy in which universities will stop doing whatever they please."

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