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Courage to Refuse > Press > Academics, left-wing activists hold protest in Ariel college - Lily Galili
Academics, left-wing activists hold protest in Ariel college - Lily Galili 04/05/2005
 
 

A group of some 60 Tel Aviv academics and left-wing activists gathered Wednesday morning in front of the Judea and Samaria College of Ariel in the West Bank, to protest a government decision to confer university status on the college.

A group of some 60 Tel Aviv academics and left-wing activists gathered Wednesday morning in front of the Judea and Samaria College of Ariel in the West Bank, to protest a government decision to confer university status on the college.

The protestors spoke to local students, who expressed their surprise at the demonstration. They said they believed Ariel was viewed by the country's majority as being part of Israel in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The members of Tel Aviv University staff spoke of the crisis the country's academic world is experiencing, and of the injustice of the decision to invest money in a new university while existing ones are facing grave financial difficulties and budgets cuts.
 
The left-wing protestors, members of Courage to Refuse, a group whose members refuse to do military service in the territories, spoke of the difficulty in the creation of a university in Ariel on the political level, arguing that the West Bank settlement town is situated on occupied land and surrounded by millions of Palestinians.

The protestors also included student union activist Daniel Safron-Hon, one of those who led the last student struggle against budget cuts.

On Monday, the cabinet voted 13-7 to confer university status on the Ariel college, less than two weeks after a major British lecturers union sparked wide controversy by declaring a boycott against Bar-Ilan University for its links to the West Bank institution.

The Council for Higher Education has also expressed its displeasure with the government's decision, defining it as "an unacceptable and flawed political intervention."

"The problem with the entire higher education system is that research universities are falling apart," Haifa University President Aharon Ben Ze'ev said. "There aren't enough funds nowadays, and with the founding of two new universities [in Ariel as well as in the Galilee], the blow could be fatal."


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