The University of Haifa's Executive Committee decided not to grant an honorary doctorate to Professor Robert Aumann because of his political beliefs, Haaretz reported last Friday. The university explained that Aumann -- winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics -- holds right-wing political positions that contradict the university's values.
The university awards an honorary doctorate every year for outstanding achievement in the sciences, academic initiatives and philanthropic and public activities. Last year, the university awarded the degree to Professor Dan Shechtman, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry; and singer-songwriter Shlomo Artzi, among others.
Adi Arbel of the Institute for Zionist Strategies (Aumann is a contributing member of the organization) dismissed the news, saying the honor was unimportant to Aumann.
"There's no doubt that this makes no difference to Nobel prize winner Professor Yisrael [Robert] Aumann. But this unacceptable phenomenon raises questions about the way decision-making was done in the past, at present and in the future. It's clear to all who the current decision has slighted," said Arbel.
The University of Haifa issued a statement, saying, "The process of choosing candidates to receive the honorary doctorate is a several-phased process. Only at its end are the recipients announced and reasons offered. The process is not over yet. Deliberations are internal and not meant for publication."