The College of Judea and Samaria changed its name to Ariel University Center of Samaria in 2007 but was not recognized as an accredited university in Israel until 2012, at which point it changed its name to Ariel University.
It was built in 1982 within an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank by Bar-Ilan University as a regional branch. It is the first college to have been built on an Israeli settlement. After a boycott call was issued against Bar-Ilan University for its ties with the institution, the college began to pursue university accreditation status. Some college officials applauded the boycott call because of the inadvertent gains the college could reap as a result. Marketing itself as a "zionist institution" on its website, the college is a source of constant debate about its legitimacy and legality due to its direct relation with Israel's occupation of Palestine. According to prominent Israeli journalist Gideon Levy: 'In a state that respects the law, the Judea and Samaria Academic College in Ariel would never have been founded in the first place. Its establishment constitutes a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention, which Israel tries to ignore.'
- In 2005 Israeli Professor of History at Tel Aviv University Shlomo Sand called for a boycott of the college. According to Jewish-American analyst Richard Silverstein:
- This represents the further moral decline of Israeli academic life and the nation’s democracy. There is an ever-deepening demand for political consensus within Israel and a growing intolerance for those who violate the norms. Those in Israel who support BDS are the canaries in the coal mine. Their criminalization will speak volumes about the widening disintegration of Israeli democracy.
- In 2009 host country Spain disqualified students from Ariel University Center of Samaria from competing in the Solar Decathlon competition for environmentally sustainable architecture because of the college's support of the Israeli occupation. The campaign was backed by the UK based Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), with support from the UK and international architects and academics and the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in Palestine. The decision was widely criticized by right-wing pro-Israel groups including the Anti-Defamation League. According to ADL National Director Abraham Foxman: "The decision by the Spanish government to disqualify the Israeli researchers is unwarranted, biased and clearly discriminatory...This unacceptable action introduces politics into an important scientific competition where politics has no place." According to Sergio Vega, General Director of Solar Decathlon Europe: "The decision has been taken by the Government of Spain based upon the fact that the University is located in the West Bank. The Government of Spain is obliged to respect the international agreements under the framework of the European Union and the United Nations regarding this geographical area."
- In 2010 the British University and College Union (UCU) passed a motion "to commence the investigatory process associated with the imposition of a boycott of Ariel College."
The Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education voted in July 2012 to recognize the Ariel University Center as a full-fledged university. Israeli education Minister Gideon Sa'ar supported the move over the objections of the Council for Higher Education in Israel itself. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On said the move would "bring about academic boycotts of Israel.” He added:
- “The Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education, which excels in ‘occupation studies,’ has brought Israel to a moral low point by establishing an institution on stolen land which forbids those whose land was stolen to enter through its gates.”
Ariel University lists the following as 'donors':
- The Milken Family Foundation, Los Angeles
- The Raab Family, Toronto
- The Irving and Cherna Moskowitz Foundation, Miami
- The Schlesinger Family, Los Angeles
- Ted Arison, Israel
- Nina and Serge Muller, Antwerp
- Ruth and Conrad Morris, Israel
- Sami and Yuli Ofer, Israel
- The Balint Family, UK
- The Hubert Family, UK
- The Klurman / Ben Aviv Family, Miami
- Russell Berrie, New Jersey
- Rose Lax, Toronto
- Vera and Robert Danos, Melbourne
- Prof. Yeshayahu Lang, Israel
- Linda and Raphael Benaroya, Englewood
- Leon Asseo, Brazil
- Sami Segol, Israel
- German Zaharyaev, Russia
- Anna and Amos Milo, Palm Beach
- David Paslin, San Francisco
- The Greenwald Family Foundation, New York
- Hart Hasten, Indianapolis
- Joel Koschitzky, Israel
- The Syms Foundation, New York
- The Lucien and Louis Arpels Foundation, Israel
- The Orion Foundation, Switzerland
- Daniela Bar-Illan, New York
- The Magbit Foundation of Greater Los Angeles
- The Feher Foundation, Israel
- Julian Geller, Los Angeles
- Stephan Moldovan, Ontario
See also, website, resources, notes
- American Friends of the College of Judea and Samaria/American Friends of Ariel University
- Canadian Friends of Ariel University
- UK Friends of the Ariel University Center of Samaria c/o Education in Israel Trust, 90 Northgate, Regents Park, London, NW8 7EJ/UK Friends of Ariel University Education in Israel Trust 35/37 Brent Street London, NW4 2EF United Kingdom.
- European Friends of the Ariel University Center of Samaria
- Archive of related articles
- Uri Yacobi Keller Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories Economy of the Occupation Socioeconomic Bulletin No. 23-24 October 2009 Published by the Alternative Information Center (AIC) http://www.alternativenews.org/: Jerusalem, Beit Sahour, Palestine.
- Ariel University Center of Samaria, "About"
- Talila Nesher, Ariel academic center recognized as first Israeli university beyond Green Line, Haaretz, 17 July 2012.
- Yoav Stern and Tamara Traubmann, 'Ariel College upgrades itself to "university" status', Haaretz, 2 August 2007
- Chris McGreal, 'West Bank college benefits from backlash against British boycott of Israeli academia', The Guardian, 26 May 2005
- Ariel University Center of Samaria, "About", accessed on 4 August 2010
- Gideon Levy, "What can Israeli Arabs learn at Ariel?", Haaretz, 8 May 2005
- Shlomo Sand, "Boycott Ariel college", Haaretz, 5 March 2005
- Richard Silverstein, "Bar Ilan President Calls for Ouster of Faculty Supporting Academic Boycott", Tikun Olam, 24 July 2010
- The Associated Press, "Spain contest bans Israeli team affiliated with West Bank college", Haaretz, 24 September 2009
- Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, "SPAIN EXCLUDES SETTLEMENT UNIVERSITY FROM ACADEMIC COMPETITION", Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine, 21 September 2009
- ADL Press Release, "ADL Calls On Spain To Reverse Disqualification Of Israeli Research Team From Solar Competition", Anti-Defamation League Website, 25 September 2009
- Events Page, "32 Ariel and West Bank Colonisation - University of Brighton Falmer", UCU Website, accessed on 6 August 2010
- Ariel University Ariel University Projects. Accessed 29 August 2015.