At Dedication of West Bank Medical School, Bennett Decries Israeli University ‘Cartel’

Education minister hits back at council of university heads, which criticized approval of medical school at university in settlement of Ariel, saying it would lead to 'loss of trust'

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a dedication ceremony for the medical school at Ariel University, August 19, 2018.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a dedication ceremony for the medical school at Ariel University, August 19, 2018.Credit: Meged Gozani
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday participated in a dedication ceremony for the new medical school at Ariel University in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, alongside donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz

The medical school is expected to open in 2019, but Ariel has been operating a premed program for four years.

Approval for the medical school in Ariel was criticized by many Israeli academics, who claimed it was rammed through at the insistence of Bennett, the head of the pro-settlement Habayit Hayehudi party, in violation of the usual academic standards.

>> For West Bank settlement marking 40 years, Donald Trump is just another reason to celebrate

Bennett rejected this criticism, even after the council of university heads sent a highly critical letter on the subject warning that it would result in a “loss of trust.”

Bennett responded at the time that the country’s other universities were behaving like a “cartel,” a charge he repeated at Sunday’s ceremony.

“Establishing this faculty was like doing dental work while 20 people are trying to stop it,” he said. “There’s a university cartel in Israel,” Bennett said.

Referring to the Interdisciplinary Center, the private research college in Herzliya, Bennett continued: “They tried to stop us from establishing a private university together with the marvelous Prof. Uriel Reichman, and again here in Ariel. A year and a half ago, we said a medical school would be established here. And today, it has been established.”

Among those attending Sunday’s dedication in addition to Bennett were President Reuven Rivlin, Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and American-Jewish casino magnate and Republican Party financial supporter Sheldon Adelson and his physician wife, Miriam Adelson.

It was the Adelsons’ major financial contribution that made it possible to establish the medical school.

Sheldon Adelson had for many years been a major supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and established a pro-Netanyahu daily newspaper, Israel Hayom. Netanyahu attended the last dedication ceremony but was not invited to Sunday’s event.

At the ceremony, Sheldon Adelson lamented that "young talent has been leaving for alternative universities. In other words, the Jewish state sends Jews abroad to become Jewish doctors [. . .] Ariel University will start changing that."

Rivlin, in his remarks in praise of Ariel University, said in part, “when they were disparaging, all of you built. When they yelled, you created. You created a model institution,” adding that it was an institution “with a place for every student without distinction over race, color, religion or sex.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op