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A delegation of university officials from the United Kingdom visited universities in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The visit came in the wake of Britain’s University and College Union’s failed attempt to wage an academic boycott of Israel.

The university vice chancellors spent last week learning about potential areas for enhancing academic cooperation.

The visit was organized by the British Embassy, the British Council in Israel and the International Advisory Board for Academic Freedom. It included a meeting with Minister of Education Yuli Tamir; the next Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ron Prosor; the head of the Israel Academy of Sciences, Menachem Yaari; and the head of the Israeli Higher Education Council, Itzak Galnoor.

The delegation agreed that the next step is to encourage the creation of joint research groups between British academics and their Israeli counterparts, as well as a joint research funding organization that would facilitate cooperative projects.

David Newman, a professor in the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, said, “The boycott debate has, paradoxically, opened a window of opportunity for Israeli and British universities to develop new research links and collaborations.”

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