Higher Education Group in Talks to ‘Legalize’ Ariel University

YERUSHALAYIM -
A partial view of the Ariel University campus in the Shomron region of Israel. (Wiki)
A partial view of the Ariel University campus in the Shomron region of Israel. (Wiki)

The Israel University Association has opened discussions with the administrators of Ariel University in order to discuss officially including the university in its organization. In a statement, the Association said that the meeting was meant “to examine the relationship between the Association and Ariel University,” with the intent of including it in the organization.

The meeting is an about face from the previous position of the organization, which in 2012 filed a petition with the High Court against the Knesset’s decision to charter Ariel as Israel’s seventh university. Located in the Shomron city of Ariel, the university was for years blackballed not only in the international community, but in the Israeli academic community as well for its location, despite the fact that Ariel host more Palestinian students than any other Israeli university.

Despite that, Ariel University has participated in numerous local and international seminars and programs. Last week, it sponsored a seminar on “Modern Jewish life in a world of threats and hostility.” Far Left group Gush Shalom sent out letters to dozens of academics from abroad who were set to participate in the event that the university “is not located in Israel, but in lands conquered by Israel in 1967 and ruled by military law.

“Not one country recognizes Ariel University as being in Israel, and neither does the State of Israel itself, which has never annexed the area. Your participation in this event is a political statement on a topic that is in dispute in Israel and in the international community,” Gush Shalom wrote to the academics. According to the university, only one of the international participants canceled their participation in the event.