JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ariel University in the West Bank opened Israel’s sixth medical school.
The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson School of Medicine opened at a ceremony attended by the Adelsons.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was among the speakers.
“A new medical school has opened in Samaria. It’s worth saying that again: A new medical school has opened in Samaria! How many people ever thought those words would be spoken?” Friedman said, using a biblical term for the West Bank.
“The lives of people everywhere, in this region, whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Christian — they have now been improved and will continue to be improved in so many profound ways.”
Seventy students, chosen from nearly 700 applicants, began their studies this week, the beginning of the academic year for higher education in Israel. The current medical schools in Israel are insufficient to train enough Israeli doctors.
Israel’s Council for Higher Education approved accreditation for the school in April — a third vote. Two months earlier, the council voted against opening the school after initially approving it in July 2018. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had ordered the second vote after discovering that one of the voting members had a conflict of interest.
Adelson, a casino magnate and philanthropist, and his wife, a physician who was born in Israel, donated $20 million to the university in 2017 to expand, including building the medical school.