Title elevation considered

October 13, 2006

Israel's Council for Higher Education is to consider creating a "university college" category in response to demands for university status from a college in the disputed West Bank.

The recommendation has come from a council committee that considered the Government's view that the College of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank city of Ariel should become a university.

Yehezkel Teller, deputy chairman of the council and a vociferous opponent of the idea, said the Government saw university status for the college as a way "to enhance and strengthen its Jewish population in the West Bank".

Ariel, which lies 40km north of Jersualem, was founded in the late 1970s.

It has a population of 20,000, mainly from the former Soviet Union. The college has 8,500 students. The Israeli flag has to be displayed in every classroom, lecture theatre and laboratory on campus. Students are required to take a course related to Judaism or Jewish heritage each semester.

The regional Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria has designated the college a "university centre".

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