West Bank medical school gets OK in override of state’s rejection


JERUSALEM (JTA) — It looks like Ariel University in the West Bank may get its accredited medical school after all.

The West Bank’s Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria voted Wednesday to approve the school, overriding a vote last week by Israel’s Council for Higher Education aimed at preventing the school from opening in the fall.

A final decision will be up to the Council for Higher Education, which is slated to absorb the Judea and Samaria council this month. It is expected to pass in the final vote.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had said the 3-2 vote by Israel’s council rejecting the school was not binding. That vote had overturned one in July that approved the medical school. Mandelblit ordered the second vote in January after it was discovered last year that one of the voting members had a conflict of interest.

The university had said it would still open the school in October, as planned, with an inaugural class of 70 students.

American casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson donated $20 million to the university in 2017 to expand, including building the medical school that is to be named for him and his wife, Miriam, a physician who was born in Israel. The couple attended the inauguration ceremony for the school in August.

Ariel had fought for many years to be considered a full-fledged university, and faced opposition from Israel’s other public universities, which feared splitting government funds more ways and an increase in calls for academic boycotts of all Israeli professors because of its West Bank location.

There are five other medical schools in Israel, which are insufficient to train the number of doctors needed in the country.

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