Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the heads of Israel’s universities, calling them a “cartel” that “seeks to control everything about education.” Bennett was responding on social media to a report in Haaretz that the university heads were seeking to reverse a decision by the Ministry to establish a medical school at Ariel University. In response to the report, Bennett said that “the request for a reconsideration of this decision is rejected. The decision to open a medical program at Ariel University was taken in a professional manner, and is final. There will be no further discussion about it,” Bennett said.
The behavior of university heads, who have been opposed to the medical program, and were opposed to the establishment and accreditation of a university in Samaria in the first place, smacks of elitism, said Bennett. “Unfortunately the university heads act as a cartel, a closed group that gets NIS 10 billion a year and is used to setting the agenda, without interference. For years they were opposed to the issuance of doctorates by the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center until we authorized it; they opposed the accreditation of Ariel University until we authorized it. Now they are trying to do the same thing in another context. The days of the cartel are over.”
Former Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar congratulated Bennett for his stance. “The universities were opposed to this move because they wanted to preserve their cartel,” he wrote in a social media post. “The filed a petition with the High Court against the establishment of the university, and that petition was rejected unanimously by the court. The establishment of a medical school is important not just for Ariel University, but for all of Israel,” he added.