Last Tuesday, it became official: the IDF (following approval from Defense Minister Barak) recognized the academic center in the settlement of Ariel as a full-fledged university. International condemnation soon followed. A UK minister, for instance, expressed disappointment regarding Israel’s decision, and labeled it an obstacle to peace. In response, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) argued that “[o]ur connection to Ariel is at least as strong as the UK’s connection to the Falkland Islands.” This comparison is quite apt because Ariel, like the Falklands, is the product of a colonial enterprise, meant to place a metropolitan population amidst a weaker…Read More... | 19 Comments
University Center at Ariel
In the U.S. slavery was an accepted, normal institution for the first 140 years of the country's existence. While American universities are now trying to come to terms with their historical corroboration with slavery, Israel is just beginning to institutionalize its system of oppression through accreditation of the Ariel settlement college. By Louis Frankenthaler Universities are meant to be institutions of higher learning and safe places for students to challenge the system, or support it as they see fit. In a democratic society we must accept and promote these principles zealously. In Israel, these principles are constantly threatened, most recently by the…Read More... | 9 Comments
For the past two decades or so, Israel has been on a feverish mission to send young people - all of them, if possible - to visit the death camps of Poland, to cement the notion that the Holocaust is the primary basis for Israel’s existence. I find this inherently problematic. It is even more disturbing to learn that some concentration-camp programs are designed with the intention of strengthening “Jewish” and “national” values; ironically, one such program may have backfired. A study reported in Haaretz on January 20 explained that one program had the opposite effect among IDF officers, setting…Read More... | 17 Comments
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