Category Archives: Israel
October 19, 2012, 2:16 pm
More than 600 academics worldwide are protesting the threatened closure of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s department of politics and government, sending a petition to Gideon Sa’ar, Israel’s education minister, to halt the move. A subcommittee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education has recommended suspending registration of students for the next academic year after it said the department had failed to carry out the recommendations of an international quality-assurance committee. But the petition letter to Mr. Sa’ar argues the move is an attempt to silence the department’s faculty members who have criticized the Israeli government.
“This attack on the department quite transparently has nothing to do with the quality of its staff, or of their teaching or research. It has everything to do with the fact that some of them have publicly taken brave and locally unpopular…
October 18, 2012, 12:02 pm
Israel plans to spend about $47-million to double the college enrollment of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students to 12,000 by 2017, reports Ynet News. Twelve new campuses for the students will be built near existing colleges. They will offer similar courses as the host institutions but maintain a strict separation of male and female students.
September 27, 2012, 10:07 am
Israel’s top court upheld on Monday the government’s decision to not allow four female master’s students from the Gaza Strip to study at Birzeit University, in the West Bank, reports Haaretz. Since 2000, Israel has barred Gaza residents from traveling to study in the other Palestinian territory, though it has made exceptions for a handful of students who have received U.S. government scholarships. While the ban has been criticized by human-rights groups and in several court petitions, in its latest ruling the High Court of Justice accepted the state’s argument that it was under no obligation to give Gaza residents the right to study in the West Bank.
September 9, 2012, 8:24 pm
Israel’s cabinet on Sunday endorsed a controversial proposal to upgrade the Ariel University Center of Samaria, a higher-education institution near Nablus, in the West Bank, to full university status, despite the opposition of Israel’s top higher education official and the heads of six of the country’s seven existing research universities. The university leaders have lodged an appeal against the move with the High Court of Justice.
The education minister, Gideon Saar Saar, presented the resolution to the cabinet and argued that the establishment of an eighth university would “enhance the higher-education system in Israel.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also supports the change, said he enjoyed “breaking cartels”—a swipe at the existing universities that oppose the move.
The cabinet resolution is symbolic, the newspaper Ha’aretz reported, since the change of status is now…
August 20, 2012, 11:52 am
The leaders of Israel’s public universities have filed a petition with the country’s highest court demanding that it overturn a controversial decision to grant university status to an Israeli college in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, reports The Times of Israel. The petition, submitted to the High Court of Justice by the Committee of University Heads, argues that the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria overstepped its authority last month by upgrading the Ariel University Center.
The upgrade also requires the approval of the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, who said last week that he would examine the political and security implications before reaching a decision.
July 17, 2012, 3:29 pm
The Ariel University Center, an Israeli college in a West Bank settlement near Nablus, was given full university status on Tuesday, in a controversial move opposed by the leaders of Israel’s seven research universities, reports Haaretz. Ariel is the only Israeli higher-education institution in the occupied territories. Critics warned that the upgrade could reinvigorate a worldwide campaign to boycott Israeli academe. The decision was made by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria and was backed by settler leaders and the Israeli education minister, Gideon Saar. It came two weeks after Israel’s Council for Higher Education recommended that the college not be upgraded.
July 12, 2012, 3:14 pm
Israel’s foreign ministry is criticizing a decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to establish an academic chair at the Islamic University of Gaza, reports the Associated Press. The ministry said Hamas uses the university’s labs to build explosives and rockets. Unesco said the position is in astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences and will be used to promote the fields throughout the Palestinian territories.
July 4, 2012, 7:35 pm
A higher-education planning commission in Israel has recommended against granting university status to a controversial institution in the West Bank, a suggestion that was welcomed by Israeli university leaders but criticized by some members the government, according to reports by The Jerusalem Post and Ynet News.
The Higher Education Council’s planning and budget committee recommended on Wednesday deferring until next year a decision on upgrading the status of the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which would make it Israel’s eighth university. Leaders of the existing universities, in a letter to the government last month, had opposed upgrading the center’s status, saying such a move would further strain the sector’s already tight finances.
Limor Livnat, Israel’s minister of culture and sport, slammed the panel’s recommendation as politically tainted. Ms. Livnat, a former…
June 28, 2012, 10:51 am
The presidents of Israeli public universities and about one-third of Israeli faculty are fighting a government plan to confer university status on a college in a West Bank settlement, reports The Jerusalem Post. The Ariel University Center of Samaria, near Nablus, is expected to be upgraded to university status in July.
The heads of Israel’s universities have written a joint letter to the government saying the move would “deal a mortal blow to the higher-education system in Israel” by further straining already tight finances. More than 1,000 faculty members have signed a similar petition. Some university leaders have threatened to cut existing joint programs and other ties with the Ariel institution if the upgrade is confirmed.
The move is strongly supported by the education minister, Gideon Saar, of the ruling Likud Party. The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu …
May 2, 2012, 11:50 am
A report by Israel’s state comptroller has sharply criticized Israeli colleges for bypassing regulations that limit professors’ remuneration and allow public facilities to be used for degree courses in which students pay more than the standard fees, which are regulated by the government-appointed Council for Higher Education.
According to Haaretz, the report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss cited what it said were improprieties at Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan universities that ran counter to basic budgeting requirements. Lecturers in the special courses, which were often for professional degrees, were paid without the council’s approval at rates that were in some cases substantially higher than permitted.
Other institutions under fire include Emek Yezreel College, which was criticized for hiring a Swiss lecturer on a full-time salary even though he spent only 180 days a year…