The Cabinet was set to vote Sunday on whether to instruct an Israel Defense Forces commander to declare the Ariel University Center of Samaria as Israel’s eighth full-fledged university.
The school, located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, was granted the enhanced status by the Council for Higher Education of Judea and Samaria in July, but recognition of the promotion has been held up by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has said he wants to wait to explore the ramifications of such a move.
The High Court and attorney general must also sign off on the matter before it can become official.
The Cabinet vote, which would call on Brig. Gen Nitzan Alon to approve the promotion, will be largely symbolic, according to Haaretz. It is being promoted primarily by Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar.
Recognizing Ariel as a university has become a hot button issue in recent months. Presidents of other universities opposed the move, arguing it would funnel state funds away from their institutions to Ariel, and left-wing Israelis said giving the school the enhanced status would deepen Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and raise objections from the international community.
The school was given the temporary university center status as a compromise five years ago.
Sa’ar said recognizing Ariel as a university would strengthen the higher education system in Israel.
“The government sees the national importance of the conversion of the center to a university and instructs that the necessary measures be taken to confirm the resolution in accordance with the opinion of the attorney general,” the minister said in a statement.