University of Ariel
University of Ariel Kobi Weizman

The Forum of Heads of Universities on Sunday officially recognized Ariel University in Samaria and accepted it as a full member of the Committee of University Heads.

To date, only eight academic institutions have been members of the Committee, including Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University, the Weizmann Institute and the Technion.

Ariel University President, Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld, said that the university joining the Committee of University Heads is "a big step for academia and another step towards the unity of the people. The decision is a recognition of Ariel University's significant contribution to academia and science."

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, "Done. Ariel University is no longer a 'stepchild'; it has been officially admitted to the Committee of University Heads. Everyone knows my love for Ariel University. At the time I fought and managed to bring about the approval of the Faculty of Medicine at the university, in the face of much opposition. A few years ago, I also initiated the process of having Ariel join the Committee of University Heads, and that too has encountered great difficulties. Thank goodness, now it has also been done. That's how things are moved!"

"I congratulate the Committee of University Heads on the justified and very important move," said Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton in response to the announcement. "Ariel University is a university with excellent researchers and impressive academic achievements. It belongs on the Committee of University Heads, just like all other universities. This is an overwhelming response to all those who called only a few weeks ago for a boycott of academia, commerce and life in Ariel."

MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope), chair of the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee, said in response to the decision that "it is inconceivable that we fight boycotts in the international arena and eventually discover that there is a declared boycott of Zionist institutions within the State of Israel. Ariel University was boycotted for years by the Committee of University Heads. I will not allow such things to take place in our country."