Israel to establish college in Arab town, education chief says


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Council of Higher Education will vote on a call for proposals to establish a college for Arab-Israelis in an Arab town, the nation’s education minister said.

“For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, we will establish a general academic college in an Arab town,” Naftali Bennett, who heads the Council of Higher Education, said Monday at his Jewish Home Party’s faction meeting, Israeli media reported. “This is historic for the Arab sector and it is historic for the State of Israel.

“There is no doubt that the Arab public lacks an academic institution of excellence, which is suited to the demand and will advance equality within Israeli society.”

Bennett added that such colleges would prevent Arab-Israelis from becoming radicalized.

“I want to say here clearly: There is no reason to send young Arabs to study in Hebron or in Arab countries. Sometimes this results in radicalization, and the right thing is that Israelis will learn in Israel. It is good for them as individuals and it is good for all of Israeli society,” he said.

The recommendation for such colleges in Arab towns was made by the council last year, according to The Jerusalem Post.

More than 10,000 Arab-Israelis attend institutions of higher learning in Jordan or in the West Bank, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing Haifa’s Mossawa Center-The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

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