Month after decision to upgrade status, Barak keeping Ariel a ‘university center’

Defense minister says he needs to study implications of move before signing off

Ariel University in the West Bank (CC-BY Michael Jacobson/Wikipedia)
Ariel University in the West Bank (CC-BY Michael Jacobson/Wikipedia)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Defense Minister Ehud Barak is holding up the politically charged upgrade of the only West Bank settlement college to a full-fledged university.

A month after a settler council approved the upgrade, a spokesman said Defense Minister Ehud Barak has to study the security and diplomatic implications before signing off on the move.

Without his go-ahead, the upgrade cannot be finalized.

Barak’s spokesman, Barak Serry, said Monday the defense minister plans to meet with an array of people “to understand the various aspects” of the upgrade, including “security and diplomatic aspects.”

Hawkish lawmaker Danny Danon of the ruling Likud Party charged that Barak is deliberately blocking the upgrade. He says he’s organizing his party to press for the school’s immediate recognition as a university.

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