The High Court of Justice on Wednesday instructed university heads to revise their petition against the decision to formalize Ariel University Center's status as a university due to the fact that it was filed before the process was completed and authorized by the GOC Central Command.
Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein determined that in light of the fact that the commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon had already approved the decision to upgrade the Ariel University Center to university status, the petition filed by the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities must be revised and that at this point there is no point in issuing an injunction ordering Alon not to recognize the institution.
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Judge Rubinstein, who effectively adopted the State's position, instructed the university heads to amend the petition within a week and scheduled another hearing on the matter for January.
The State told the High Court on Wednesday that the petition should be rejected as it had been filed before the final decision on upgrading the West Bank institution's status was reached.
The university presidents' motion, which was filed on Tuesday, read "These are election days and any decision on this sensitive matter at this time can be interpreted as a political move. There is no logic in acting so urgently."
'We hope court will reverse decision.' Ariel college (Photo: AP)
The Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities said, "Due to technical reasons and in light of the fact that we were informed of (Maj.-Gen. Alon's) decision only this evening, we were asked by the court to submit a revised petition within a week, and this is what we plan to do. We hope the court will reverse the decision and prevent harm to the higher education system."
On Monday Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed GOC Central Command Alon to officially recognize the Ariel University Center of Samaria as a full-fledged university, as per Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's recommendation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the recognition of the Ariel University "a very important addition."
Despite staunch opposition on the part of the Council for Higher Education, the cabinet decided to recognize the institution as the first Israeli university beyond the Green Line this past September. The government then submitted the resolution for the approval of Maj.-Gen. Alon, pending the attorney general's review.
Weinstein, who on Monday finally submitted his official take on the matter, said that there are "no obstacles" that could bar the accreditation, adding that the move to recognize the school was in accordance with the law.