Radical Group ‘Academia for Equality’ Calls to Boycott Ariel U Medical School

17.02.21

Editorial Note

The shortages of medical staff in Israel are well known. The need for a medical school is the first step in alleviating this problem.  With this in mind, in August 2018, the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University was established. 

As reported by Ariel University, the medical school is based on a four-year course of post-graduate studies: The first year includes courses in basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, epidemiology, and clinical pharmacology; The second year focuses on integrative teaching of the body systems in health and disease. The clinical and basic science-related aspects of body systems, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, infection, and immunity, will be highlighted; The third and fourth years are devoted to hands-on clinical studies, based on small group bed-side interaction in hospitals and the community.  

The school emphasizes that a “Great effort went into designing an advanced educational program that will empower students with comprehensive knowledge both in medical sciences and clinical medicine to ensure delivery of total patient care.” Real medical scenarios will be initiated from the early stages of the program. Medical studies with an integrative approach on personalized medicine such as robotics, digitalized medicine, and evidence-based decision-making aim to encourage graduates to be “inquisitive, research-oriented and resolute physicians with excellent interpersonal and communication skills,” with a special emphasis on “comprehensive courses in translational bioinformatics using big data, clinical molecular biology and human genetics.”  

However, the founding of the Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University was not smooth, facing opposition for several years. First, other medical schools wanted to see this money going to existing schools and not new ones. However, the Adelsons preferred to invest in Ariel University.

The most significant opposition came from political activist-academics who perceive Ariel’s settlement in Judea and Samaria as illegitimate, including the university. For them, this territory is occupied and not disputed, and as a result, Jews are not allowed to live there.

Also, a committee under the Council for Higher Education (CHE) voted in February 2019 in opposition to establishing the medical school at Ariel University. Nevertheless, in another round of votes two months later, the CHE approved the school’s founding.

As IAM reported in February 2020, there was another boycott attempt against Ariel University. The Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education has urged the international academic community to reject cooperation with Ariel University. In a campaign titled “No Academic Business as Usual with Ariel University and all other Israeli Academic Institutions Illegally Built on Occupied Palestinian Land,” also joined by the Council of Palestinian Universities’ Presidents and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees. It was first published on November 29, 2018, calling on states, academic institutions, and research bodies to end institutional relations with Ariel University and “other Israeli academic institutions illegally built on occupied Palestinian land.”  The campaign cited the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which stated 

that Ariel was “seized under the false pretext of imperative military needs and on land that was declared state land.”

The “Ariel University non-recognition and non-collaboration” campaign was backed by an International Advisory Board, which included Prof. David Harel of Weizmann Institute of Science. As stated by the organizers, the Advisory Board members provide “strategic input and serve as public advocates of the campaign.”   

Similarly, Academia for Equality, a radical-leftist group of academics based at Tel Aviv University, also embraced the “Ariel University non-recognition and non-collaboration” campaign and posted a letter from Israeli psychologists and social workers who refuse to participate in a series of seminars organized by Ariel University. The signatories included Dr. Ruchama Merton and other radical Israeli academics such as Prof. Uri Hadar, Dr. Kim Yuval, and Dr. Julia Chaitin, among the 68 signatories. 

Not easily discouraged, Academia for Equality is now running a similar campaign. On January 23, 2021, Academia for Equality voiced its reservations about a “collaboration outline” between the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the academic institute in Ariel, which will operate from August 2021. In a public declaration, Academia for Equality wrote a letter to the TAU’s administration claiming that “this institutional cooperation, obtained without open debate in the University Senate, is alarming for a variety of moral, legal, professional and technical reasons. First and foremost, the very existence of this institution, which stands on occupied land and serves the population of the occupying nation exclusively, is a war crime and a clear example of apartheid. The recognition of this institution by far-right forces around the world which overlook its inhuman aspect is neither a victory nor an achievement for Israeli society but the opposite. We keep working against this cooperation and call upon our colleagues worldwide to join us.”

The Council for Higher Education should sanction Academia for Equality and warn its supporters at Tel Aviv University. As IAM repeatedly argued, boycotting Ariel University is illegal in Israel since the anti-Boycott Law was enacted.

אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة· 

23 January at 14:43
Academia for Equality voiced in October its reservations about the “collaboration outline” between the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and the academic institute in Ariel, which is planned to operate starting from August 2021. See comments for our full letter to TAU’s administration (in Hebrew).This institutional cooperation, obtained without open debate in the University Senate, is alarming for a variety of moral, legal, professional and technical reasons. First and foremost, the very existence of this institution, which stands on occupied land and serves the population of the occupying nation exclusively, is a war crime and a clear example of apartheid. The recognition of this institution by far-right forces around the world which overlook its inhuman aspect is neither a victory nor an achievement for Israeli society but the opposite. We keep working against this cooperation and call upon our colleagues worldwide to join us.Read Meron Rapoport’s report at +972 Magazine for all the details (link in comments).

https://tinyurl.com/y22djn45
أكاديميون من أجل المساواة | Academia for Equality | אקדמיה לשוויון
https://www.academia4equality.com
info@academia4equality.com
1
לכבוד: 1 באוקטובר, 2020
פרופ’ אהוד גרוסמן, דיקאן הפקולטה לרפואה, אוניברסיטת תל אביב
פרופ’ אריאל פורת, נשיא אוניברסיטת תל אביב
פרופ’ מרק שטייף, רקטור אוניברסיטת תל-אביב
העתקים:
פרופ׳ שגב ברק, יו״ר ארגון הסגל הבכיר, אוניברסיטת תל אביב
מר פלג מיכאלי, יו״ר ארגון הסגל הזוטר, אוניברסיטת תל אביב
גב׳ אבלין מילוא, יו״ר ארגון הסגל המנהלי, אוניברסיטת תל אביב
אנו פונים אליכם בשם “אקדמיה לשוויון”, ארגון המאגד כ- 600 חברים וחברות בקהילה האקדמית ופועל למען
דמוקרטיזציה של המוסדות האקדמיים בישראל ושל החברה הישראלית בכללה . לאחרונה התבשרנו
שהפקולטה לרפואה באוניברסיטת ת”א חתמה עם המוסד האקדמי באריאל על “מתווה” לשיתוף פעולה,
שמתוכנן להתחיל לפעול מאוגוסט 2021 . ברצוננו להאיר את תשומת לבכם לבעייתיות שבמהלך כזה ולדרוש
מכם לסגת ממנו, מהסיבות הבאות :
המוסד האקדמי באריאל איננו ממוקם בשטחה הריבוני של מדינת ישראל אלא נבנה בלב הגדה המערבית, כחלק
מההתנחלות אריאל. בשל כך, הוא נמצא בלב הקונפליקט הלאומי והפוליטי שמפלג את החברה הישראלית כבר
עשורים. שיתוף פעולה מערכתי, מטעם האוניברסיטה או הפקולטה לרפואה, מציב את חברי הסגל והסטודנטים
שמתנגדים להתנחלויות ולכיבוש בדילמה בלתי-אפשרית. יש הבדל מהותי בין שיתופי פעולה אינדיבידואלים עם
אריאל, שכל חוקר/ת יכולים לבצע לפי ראות עיניהם, לבין מהלך קולקטיבי מטעם הפקולטה כולה. שיתוף פעולה
ממוסד כזה מכריח אנשי סגל וסטודנטים בתל-אביב לעזור להתנחלויות ולכיבוש להתבסס וכופה עליהם אימוץ
בפועל של עמדה פוליטית, אשר חלקם מתנגדים לה בכל מאודם. עירוב כזה של האקדמי והפוליטי יוצר דילמה
מוסרית חריפה, כזו שאינה קיימת בהקשר של אף מוסד אקדמי אחר במדינת ישראל, ופוגע בזכויותיהם
הבסיסיות ביותר כאזרחים וכעובדים.
כידוע, הקמתו של המוסד האקדמי באריאל, ביסוסו כ”אוניברסיטה” וכינונה של פקולטה לרפואה במסגרתו
היו כולם מהלכים פוליטיים לעילא, שמטרתם הייתה ל”הלבין”, לנרמל ולתת ארשת מכובדות להתנחלויות –
ובכך להפכן לעובדה שאין לערער עליה. מהלכים אלה בוצעו בראשית הדרך באמצעות גוף מומצא בשם “מל”ג-
יו”ש”, כאשר את האישור ה”אקדמי” הסופי נתן בשם המדינה אלוף פיקוד מרכז, ולא המועצה להשכלה
הגבוהה. כדי ל”תקן” את המעוות הזה, עודכן ב- 2018 חוק המל”ג כך שסמכות המועצה הורחבה אל מעבר
לגבולות המדינה והיא נפרשת מאז על כל הישראלים הנמצאים בשטחים הכבושים. “תיקון” זה הפך את
האקדמיה הישראלית לשותפה פעילה בחוקי ההפרדה האתנית המתקיימים בשטחים הכבושים. לא מיותר
להזכיר גם את התנגדותם הנחרצת של כל דיקני הפקולטות לרפואה בישראל להקמת הפקולטה באריאל ואת
הגיבוי שנתנו בכך להחלטת ות”ת שלא להקים את הפקולטה, וכן את המניפולציות הפוליטיות שננקטו באיוש
מחודש של הוועדה לתכנון ולתקצוב כדי להפוך את ההחלטה על פיה .
ההתנחלויות בשטחים נחשבות ע”י חלק גדול מהציבור בישראל וע”י הרוב המוחלט של הקהילה הבינלאומית
כהפרה של אמנת ז’נבה האוסרת על המדינה הכובשת ליישב את אוכלוסייתה בשטח הכבוש. אי-חוקיות
ההתנחלויות אושרה מחדש בהחלטת מועצת הביטחון 2334 ב- 2016 . בשל עובדות אלו, קרנות המחקר
הבינלאומיות הראשיות הפועלות בישראל, כדוגמת ה – ERC וה BSF , לא נותנות מענקי מחקר וכל מימון שהוא
למוסדות בשטחים הכבושים. יש לשאול האם בכך שהפקולטה לרפואה באוניברסיטת ת”א מעמידה במסגרת
ה”מתווה” הנדון את משאביה לטובת המוסד באריאל אין היא מפירה את תנאי הקרנות שמהן נהנים חוקרים
בפקולטה. ציוד וכוח אדם שמתקיימים בזכות כספי הקרנות הללו יעמדו לרשות אריאל, אף שבתנאי הקרנות
אסור שכספיהן יעברו את הקו הירוק .
מכל הסיבות הללו, אנו דורשים מכם לסגת משיתוף פעולה ממוסד עם הפקולטה לרפואה באריאל .
בברכה ,
הוועד
אקדמיה לשוויון
أكاديميون من أجل المساواة | Academia for Equality | אקדמיה לשוויון
https://www.academia4equality.com
info@academia4equality.com

https://www.972mag.com/ariel-tel-aviv-medical-school-settlements/?fbclid=IwAR09xhLG73o0WiIQrJRU-YGaMcatoLFMjA8CIPF5USX7ceMY
Tel Aviv University faculty condemn deal with settlement medical schoolThe deal will allow students from Ariel University to do clinical work in TAU’s affiliated hospitals. ‘We’re being forced to support the occupation.’By Meron Rapoport January 21, 2021

Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine has signed a student exchange agreement with Ariel University, located in the settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank. The deal will allow students from Ariel University’s Adelson School of Medicine to be placed in hospitals affiliated with Tel Aviv University for their clinical practice.

Tel Aviv University spokesperson Tomer Velmer hinted that the agreement was signed as a result of external pressure by Israel’s Council for Higher Education, the supervisory body for universities and colleges in Israel that is headed by the education minister. However, the Council denies that it demanded or coerced Tel Aviv University to agree to this cooperation.

Sackler’s dean, Prof. Ehud Grossman, sent a letter to faculty members in September 2020 to inform them that the university’s medical school will “begin teaching students from the faculty of medicine at Ariel University in the run-up to August 2021,” in accordance with the deal. In the letter, Grossman also explained that the agreement was reached “with the goal of maintaining the quality and level of instruction and allowing both faculties to operate optimally.”

The Sackler Faculty of Medicine is affiliated with several hospitals in the center of the country, which medical students are placed in during the clinical phase of their studies. During this practice, the students spend time in various hospital wards shadowing doctors who teach at Tel Aviv University and keeping up with patients’ progress.

Since the faculty at Ariel University is not “affiliated” with any hospital, it therefore needs assistance from an existing medical school to allow its students clinical access. The lack of affiliation seems to be the impetus for the letter from the dean of Tel Aviv University’s medical school.

According to a source who was involved in the discussions between the Council for Higher Education and the Planning and Budgeting Committee, a subcommittee responsible for funding Israel’s higher education institutions, Ariel University is paying Tel Aviv University a “high fee” for teaching students from Ariel. The source asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. However, both universities refused to say how much money Tel Aviv University will make from the agreement.

Israel’s first settlement medical school

The Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University was established in August 2018. The cornerstone for the faculty building, which received funding from American pro-settlement billionaire Sheldon Adelson, was laid even before Ariel University obtained the necessary authorization for the faculty’s establishment.

According to Tel Aviv faculty members, the school’s opening was politically motivated and pushed along by far-right leader Naftali Bennett during his tenure as education minister between 2015 and 2019. For example, the Committee of University Heads, a voluntary body composed of the presidents, rectors, and directors-general of Israel’s universities, opposed the establishment of the school. In a letter it sent to the Council for Higher Education, it claimed the decision was abrupt and seemed “to be dictated by the political echelon.”

Three university representatives who sit on the Planning and Budgeting Committee claimed that Bennett’s actions amounted to “political intervention in the committee’s work.” In a discussion the Planning and Budgeting Committee held in 2019, the professional echelon expressed reservations about establishing a medical faculty in Ariel, due to the lack of hospitals in the area that medical students can undergo clinical training in. “It was clear that Ariel did not have the infrastructure and capabilities, but the political echelon pushed for it,” says a source who was involved in the discussions and asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.

Despite the professionals’ opposition, the Planning and Budgeting Committee approved the establishment of Ariel’s medical school. But in February 2019, Israel’s attorney general ordered the committee to hold a re-vote, after it was revealed that one of the members of the committee was up for promotion by Ariel University.

Days later, the committee voted to reverse its decision to open a medical school in Ariel. Yet Bennett was determined not to give up.

That same February, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria — a body that used to operate under the auspices of the military commander of the West Bank, and that supervised Israeli higher education in the West Bank under a similar authority to that of the Council for Higher Education in Israel proper — convened to approve the establishment of the faculty in Ariel. Just two days after the vote, the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria was dissolved, when the Knesset voted to place Ariel University and other West Bank institutions under the control of the Council for Higher Education.

In November 2019, the Planning and Budgeting Committee approved the school’s budget, after then-Education Minister Rafi Peretz replaced some of the committee’s members for previously opposing the school’s establishment. With that, Ariel University’s Adelson School of Medicine was ready to officially open.

‘Cooperation forces faculty to support the occupation’

The letter from the dean of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine provoked resentment among some faculty members at Tel Aviv University. “They try to whitewash [the issue], as if the occupied territories and Israel are the same thing,” said a faculty member at the medical school who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. “They want to stick to a seemingly non-political agenda, when in fact it is actually political. Now I’m being forced to cooperate with this.”

The faculty member explained that the deal prevents him from opting out of the collaboration with Ariel University. “Once we receive the students, I will not be able to refuse to teach them. I will not be able to tell students from Ariel ‘do not enter the department.’”

Academia for Equality, an organization that includes 600 academics in Israel working to promote democratization, equality, and access to higher education for all communities living in Israel, demanded Sackler withdraw from the agreement. In a letter sent to the university administration on Jan. 10, the group said: “Cooperation with such an institution forces faculty and students at Tel Aviv [university] to support the settlements and the occupation, and forces them to adopt a political position that some [faculty and students] strongly oppose.”

The letter stated that many international research funds do not provide grants or funding to institutions in the occupied territories. “One must ask whether the fact that the Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv diverts its resources toward the institution in Ariel as part of the ‘deal’ in question does not violate the conditions attached to the funds, which are enjoyed by researchers in the faculty,” since the “equipment and manpower made available by these funds will be made available to Ariel.”

The letter further states that Ariel University is “putting faculty members and students who oppose settlements and occupation in an impossible dilemma,” and that the deal “violates their most basic rights.” The letter claims that there is a “substantial difference” between individual lecturers who collaborate with Ariel and a “collective process on behalf of the entire faculty.”

Senior lecturers at Tel Aviv University also wondered why the decision to collaborate with Ariel did not come up for discussion in the university’s academic senate, which approves new curricula, among other things. The university explained that the deal was not part of a new curriculum, but rather would allow Ariel to use their clinical facilities at various affiliated hospitals. However, according to the Sackler faculty member, Ariel’s faculty members will likely make use of “resources that belong to the doctors and patients” at Tel Aviv University.

Tel Aviv University spokesperson Tomer Velmer hinted that the Council for Higher Education had forced the university into the deal with Ariel. “The deal was signed more than a year ago, after the opening of a medical school in Ariel was approved in principle by the Council for Higher Education,” said Velmer. “The agreement was required at the request of the Council and the Planning and Budgeting Committee.”

The Council of Higher Education offers a different version of the events. “The deal does not require the authorization of the Planning and Budgeting Committee,” Beata Krantz, the Council’s spokesperson said, “but rather the committee is required to ensure during the authorization process that there are enough practicum spaces for students who are beginning their studies, and therefore Ariel University was requested to present before the committee where it was planning to carry out the practicum. The Planning and Budgeting Committee neither demands nor requires the signing of the agreement, and the institutions have administrative freedom to do as they please in this context.”

In other words, the Council of Higher Education claims it never demanded Tel Aviv University sign the agreement, and that the understanding was reached between the two institutions so that Ariel’s medical students could have a place to conduct their practical training.

Velmer’s comment did not address a concern raised by Academia for Equality regarding grants from international research foundations such as the European Research Council and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, both of which deny funding for academic research initiatives beyond the Green Line. The EU’s Horizon 2020 plan — a seven-year, 80 billion euros fund that provides financial support for research, technological development, and innovation — also refers to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories, and thus those areas are not included in its agreement with Israel.

“Clinical training for students in Ariel will not harm the high level of clinical training of the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University,” Velmer said in his response.

“According to the agreement, the hospitals in question are affiliated with Tel Aviv University only, and the allocation of students is determined by Tel Aviv University’s dean of medicine with regard to the needs and capacity of the hospitals,” Velmer said. “It should be emphasized that according to the agreement, the training of the students is done separately, with Ariel using the hospitals only when not in use by Tel Aviv University, and in any case, as stated there will be no harm to the training of students at Tel Aviv University.”

Ariel University Spokesperson Naama Cohen Yehezkeli stated in response that “the agreement signed a few years ago between the universities is intended to ensure that the training of medical students is optimal and professional, as part of the national effort to increase the number of doctors in Israel, while giving young men and women a proper opportunity to study medicine in Israel.”

A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Meron Rapoport is an editor at Local Call.  

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Yaara Benger Alaluf shared a photo.  

21 January at 13:50  

אקדמיה לשוויון Academia for Equality أكاديميون من أجل ألمساواة· 

ביום שני הקרוב תקיים עמותת “זוכרות” סיור וירטואלי ביישוב הפלסטיני ההרוס אלשֵיח’ מֻוַנִּס. היישוב, בו חיו למעלה מ-2200 תושבים, נכבש במרץ 1948, תושביו גורשו ולא הותר להם לשוב, בתיהם יושבו זמנית על ידי משפחות יהודיות והחל משנות הששים הרסו השלטונות הישראליים את המבנים והקימו על חורבותיהם את אוניברסיטת תל אביב ומוסדות נוספים.זו הזדמנות עבור כולנו, ובעיקר עבור חברות וחברי הקהילה האקדמית של אוניברסיטת תל אביב, ללמוד על ההיסטוריה של אלשֵיח’ מֻוַנִּס ועל הווה של הסתרה ומחיקה. זו הזדמנות לחשוב על המשמעות של שיתוף פעולה קולוניאלי ועל הדרכים להתנגד לו.

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התנצלויות פומביות, הסרת פסלים, מימון מחקרים לבירור המעורבות של המוסד עם עוולות, הענקת מלגות לבנות ובני קהילות ילידיות או מדוכאות, תשלום פיצויים על שימוש באדמות – אלו הן חלק מהפרקטיקות בהן נוקטים בשנים האחרונות לא מעט (אבל בוודאי לא מספיק) מוסדות אקדמיים ברחבי העולם כחלק מההכרה בשיתוף הפעולה ההיסטורי והמתמשך שלהם עם עוולות שונים לרבות גזל אדמות של עמים ילידיים, תמיכה בסחר עבדים וקבלת “תרומות מזוהמות”.נראה שהאקדמיה הישראלית רחוקה שנות אור מתהליך כן של הכרה ותיקון. קמפוסים בנויים על כפרים מחוקים וקברים מתפוררים ללא כל אזכור של ההיסטוריה של המקום ושל ההווה של תושביו הפליטים, תמיכה והכרה במוסד אקדמי בעל מאפייני אפרטהייד מובהקים, שיתוף פעולה צמוד עם תעשיית הנשק והביון ועוד ועוד… במציאות הזו אנחנו גאות במיוחד בחברות וחברי אקדמיה לשוויון שלוקחות אחריות וחושפות את היסודות הרקובים של האקדמיה הישראלית, בין היתר באמצעות הובלת סיורים ביקורתיים בשטח הקמפוסים.בנוסף, חברות וחברי אקדמיה לשוויון מתעדים באופן שוטף את התמיכה רחבת ההיקף של מוסדות אקדמיים ישראליים בכיבוש ובשימור מבני כוח אי-שוויוניים בגבולות 1948 באמצעות מאגר המידע המקוון “אקדמיה מגויסת”. לא מאוחר לעצור, לקחת אחריות ולתקן.

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בתגובות: קישור לסיור של זוכרות (ישודר גם בעמוד הפייסבוק Zochrot / זוכרות / ذاكرات)קישור למאגר המידע #אקדמיה_מגויסתבתמונה: לוחמים אחרי כיבוש היישוב ליד ביתו של אברהים אבו כחיל, הבית הידוע היום בכינויו “הבית הירוק” ומשמש כמועדון לסגל האוניברסיטה, מסעדה, אולם אירועים ואולם כנסים. אוסף יהודה זיו, יד בן צבי.

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https://www.ariel.ac.il/wp/med/en/

The Adelson School of Medicine

The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson School of Medicine at Ariel University was established in August 2018 and will begin accepting medical students in the 2018-2019 academic year. Great effort went into designing an advanced educational program that will empower students with comprehensive knowledge both in medical sciences and clinical medicine to ensure delivery of total patient care. Our integrative approach to medical studies highlights personalized medicine, robotics, digitalized medicine and evidence-based decision making to encourage graduates to be inquisitive, research-oriented and resolute physicians with excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Self-learning is of prime importance in our program to keep abreast of the ever-expanding body of medical knowledge. Special emphasis will be given to comprehensive courses in translational bioinformatics using big data, clinical molecular biology and human genetics. To nurture excellent communication skills, exposure to patients and real medical scenarios will be initiated from the early stages of the program.

The medical school is based on a four-year course of post-graduate studies. The first year includes courses in basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, epidemiology and clinical pharmacology. The second year focuses on integrative teaching of the body systems in health and disease. The clinical and basic science-related aspects of body systems, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, infection and immunity, will be highlighted. The third and fourth years are devoted to hands-on clinical studies, based on small group bed-side interaction in hospitals and in the community.

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  https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/education-committee-votes-against-creation-of-ariel-university-med-school-579999

Higher Education Committee blocks medical school at Ariel

The Yesha Council accused the Council of Higher Education of “damaging the future of Israel’s medicine.”

By MAAYAN JAFFE-HOFFMAN, YVETTE J. DEANE   FEBRUARY 7, 2019 14:57
   

The future of Israeli healthcare took a blow on Thursday when the Council for Higher Education voted against the establishment of a medical school at Ariel University.
“This was to be an essential and critical component in increasing the number of medical students in Israel,” said Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman regarding the decision.

According to the Israel Medical Association, Israel faces a severe healthcare crisis, largely due to a lack of both licensed medical personnel and training vacancies for students.
“It is inconceivable that more than half of Israel’s medical graduates come from abroad in schools that are not always satisfactory,” Litzman said.
Thursday’s vote undoes a previous decision made by the council’s Planning and Budgeting Committee in July 2018, when it voted 4-2 to establish the medical school at Ariel University, which is in the West Bank’s Area C – under Israeli civil and military control.
Six months later in December, Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber ordered a re-vote due to an alleged conflict of interests. One of the members of the committee, Dr. Rivka Wadmany Shauman, had originally voted in favor of establishing the faculty of medicine at Ariel University – even though she was a candidate to teach at the institution as part of the teacher training program.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out at Thursday’s decision, stating that he intends to “fight the university cartel until we establish the Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University.

“Israel is crying out for doctors, and [the committee is] holding it back,” he continued.
The Yesha Council accused the Council of Higher Education of “damaging the future of Israel’s medicine.”
“Israeli academia is motivated by extraneous considerations and has stopped the scientific development of the State of Israel with its own hands,” the Yesha statement said.
The council had previously found that Ariel University’s medical program meets all the requirements for quality training of medical practitioners in Israel. As such, despite the committee’s decision, the university said medical studies will begin in October, as planned.
Ariel held an inaugural ceremony for the new medical school in summer 2018, shortly after the initial vote.
The school was founded in 1982 as a branch of Bar-Ilan University. It became an independent college in 2004 and in 2012 was granted accreditation by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria.
Today, Ariel University is home to more than 15,000 students and 300 faculty members. In the field of health sciences, the university already offers a pre-med program and has 30 research labs.
The new medical faculty is named after Sheldon Adelson, the American billionaire and his Israeli-born wife, Miriam. It was reported that the Adelsons donated $5 million to the medical school, nearly a quarter of the estimated $28.4 million price tag.
Israel currently has five other medical schools: the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Safed; the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa; the Sackler Faculty of Medicine of Tel Aviv University; the Hadassah School of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.
Ariel University said in a statement: “We are confident that the competent authorities will support us through this legal process to ensure we can move forward without hindrance.”

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