In a highly controversial move, Israeli officials have decided to give a West Bank settlement its first Israeli university. The move is not popular with Palestinian activists. Israeli academics are also worried that the move will be unpopular in the international community and lead to more boycotts against Israel, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
"It's a strategic threat to the state," announced Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson, according to the Monitor. "We are putting the next Nobel Prize in danger."
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The problem is that Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law, although the Israeli government disagrees. The new university is in Ariel, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank, BBC News reported.
Israeli officials are not actually building a new school. An Israeli college that attracts 13,000 students already exists in the settlement of Ariel, but it did not have university accreditation until today, the BBC reported. The Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education made its landmark decision today to upgrade the college to university status. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced the upgrade in a text message to reporters, Bloomberg News said.