Barak agrees to upgrade West Bank college


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to recognize a government decision to upgrade a West Bank college.

Barak, whose ministry has jurisdiction over the West Bank, said Tuesday that he would implement the Israeli Cabinet’s controversial 2005 decision to make Ariel College a university.

The decision comes after last week’s threat by the Yisrael Beiteinu party to oppose all Labor-sponsored legislation until the decision is implemented. Recognizing Ariel College as a university was one of the articles of the coalition agreement between Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud.

The college, located in the settlement of Ariel, began calling itself the Ariel University Center of Samaria in August 2007.

Israeli universities receive more government money and can confer doctoral degrees. Israel has seven research universities.

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