The Israeli government is looking to “apply Israeli law to institutions of higher learning in the West Bank”, with a draft bill that has already passed its preliminary vote in the Knesset, reports Haaretz.
According to the paper, Education Minister Naftali Bennett threatened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would block other legislation until this one advanced.
Now, some 220 Israeli academics have backed a campaign “calling on Israel’s Council for Higher Education to oppose the bill that would place Ariel University under its auspices”.
The Haaretz article, written by Amiram Goldblum, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, argues that, if passed, the bill would be “a serious blow” to Israel’s academic institutions.
Specifically, according to Goldblum, “it’s hard to think of a better gift for the BDS movement” describing the bill as “a guaranteed formula for a tsunami against science in Israel”.
Yet, the article notes, there is only “thundering silence” from “the heads of the [Israeli] universities”, in the face of this prospective “annexation” of Ariel University.
“According to the new bill,” the piece explains, “Ariel University would become a de facto part of the State of Israel. This is how the distinction between academic institutions in Israel and a university that was expressly build to deepen the occupation is eliminated.”
Goldblum adds: “There is no other region in which a clear apartheid regime operates as it does over the Green Line, where about 400,000 settlers live under a civilian government while 2.5 million Palestinians suffocate under military rule.”