After all the coalition money was dealt out following the last round of elections, Ariel University received 24 million shekel from the Jewish Home faction at the head of which sits Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
Army Radio reported on Monday that an initial agreement has been reached between the Finance Ministry and Ariel University will see the University receive an additional 86 million shekel. The money is to be transferred in order to help the University reach an equal level of research and scholarship as the other Israeli universities.
DR. Ofir Haivry, a member of the Council for Higher Education emphasized the importance of the additional funds to the University. “This step is most certainly a strengthening of the University. Ariel University is surviving under abnormal conditions since the other Universities have removed their rejection of it under the condition that the budget for the University does not impinge upon their budgets.” Haivry,an Israeli historian and political theorist who is currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Herzl Institute and the Director of its National Strategy Initiative, explained that the development of Ariel University will also benefit the development of Samaria as a whole. “This will obviously greatly help the financial development of the towns in the area around the University as well.”
The additional budget is set to be split between the development of existing projects and buildings, the creation of new projects and buildings and financial aid on behalf of the government for students who attend the University.
Academics in other institutions feel that the extra finances that are being given to the University will harm other institutions of higher learning in the long run.
Professor Peretz Lavie, Director of the Committee of Universities and the President of the Technion, said that “I sincerely hope that this increase in funding for Ariel University does not come at the expense of universities on ‘this side of the green line’. I can only hope that we will not be forced to split a budget with another University that comes from a pie which is already too small.”
The Finance Ministry responded by saying that in the past few weeks a deal has been struck which is set to increase the budget allocated for Ariel University for the next two years.
It is important to note that the financial support for Ariel University began in earnest when the institution was recognized as a full fledged university in 2012.