Initiator: Shuli Mualem (Jewish Home)
Bill No. 4824/20/F
After midnight on 30 January 2018, the Knesset Plenum approved in the first reading a bill, which provides for extending the powers of the Council for Higher Education in Israel to the occupied West Bank. Accordingly, instead of having its own ad hoc committee, the Ariel University at the Ariel settlement in the western Nablus governorate will report to the council. This is one of the annexation bills initiated by right wing MKs.
The bill was initiated by MK Shuli Mualem of the Jewish Home party and MK Ya’akov Margi of the Shas party. In 2012, the Israeli Minister of Defence Ehud Barak signed a decision on the transformation of the academic college at the Ariel settlement into a university. Supported by the occupying government, the decision was then opposed by the Council for Higher Education in Israel, which feared that it would pave the way to expanding the boycott on Israeli universities around the world.
To overcome this problem, an ad hoc committee was established for the university. Reporting to the Council for Higher Education in Israel, the committee’s powers applied to any academic college that exists, or will exist, in the West Bank.
According to recent reports, the Council for High Education in Israel, usually chaired by Minister of Education, Naftali Bennett, who is currently head of the coalition of settler parties (Jewish Home) has reversed his former position and announced his opposition to the law. Years ago, the council was concerned that dealing with the Ariel University would result in foreign academic institutions boycotting Israeli universities.