JERUSALEM (JTA) — A decision on granting Ariel University Center official university status has been delayed until at least 2013.
The Planning and Budgeting Committee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education recommended Wednesday to defer the decision until a comprehensive evaluation is undertaken in the next year, according to Israeli media reports.
In 2007, the Ariel academic center was granted temporary recognition as a so-called university center, and to reexamine its status within five years. It will retain its status as a university center until a decision is made.
Last month the presidents of Israel’s seven existing universities called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prevent the establishment of an eighth research university in Israel, citing a scarcity of resources. In a letter to Netanyahu the presidents said that an eighth university would deal a "fatal blow to the higher education system in general, and the universities in particular."
Other public figures have opposed the upgrading of the Ariel center because it is located in the West Bank. The center has faced academic boycotts in the past.
The Ariel University Center has more than 10,000 students, both Jewish and Arab. Ariel, with a population of about 20,000, is located southwest of the Palestinian city of Nablus.