JERUSALEM (JTA) — A former Knesset member has been elected president of Hebrew University.
Menaham Ben-Sasson, a former rector and professor at the university, was elected Wednesday at the closing session of the 72nd meeting of the university’s board of governors. He succeeds Menachem Magidor, who served three four-year terms.
Ben Sasson, who served in the Knesset from 2006 to 2009 as a member of the Kadima Party, told the board of governors that the world financial crisis has hit the university.
“The financial situation is so severe as to cast doubt even on the opening of the coming academic year," he said. "I call upon the government of Israel to honor its obligations and keep its commitments so as to ensure the further development of the university and to ensure the strengthening of the mother of Israeli higher education.”
Ben-Sasson, a professor of the history of the Jewish people at the university who had completed his doctorate there, served as rector from 1997 to 2001.
He has taught or served as a fellow at Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the University of Pennsylvania and the Russian National Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on the history of Jews in Islamic lands and on research on Maimonides.