Barak authorizes upgrading Ariel college to university
By YONAH JEREMY BOB, YONI DAYAN
Outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday authorized upgrading Ariel
University Center (AUC) official university status, just hours after
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein reiterate his support for the move.
Barak had approved upgrading Arielís status from college to university in
2010, but had since delayed the implementation of that decision. Right-wing
MKs have criticized him over the issue, accusing him of having ulterior
motives and promoting his own political agenda.
Earlier in the day, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein penned a letter to OC
Central Command Maj.- Gen. Nitzan Alon, recommending he proceed with the
process of recognizing Ariel College (AUC) as a university.
Weinstein advised that there was no reason to delay to process of granting
AUC university status, in line with a July decision by the Council for
Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, and despite petitions filed with the
High Court of Justice by Israeli university presidents.
Since Ariel is in the West Bank, which is under the IDFís authority, the
signature of Alon is required for the change in status. However, Alon can
sign only after receiving instructions from Barak, and the defense minister
had until now refused to issue any directives in the matter.
Israelís largest public college, AUC was founded in 1982 as a branch of
Bar-Ilan University but became independent in 2004 when it began to seek
Eighty-five percent of its students live within the Green Line.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar expressed "satisfaction" over the decision.
"An important process has been completed during the current government
term - a process which I led despite numerous irrelevant objections," Sa'ar
said. "Making the AUC Israel's eighth university is the right move for the
country's higher education system."