Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein believes there is no legal barrier to upgrading the Ariel University Center of Samaria to full university status, Israel Hayom has learned.
The government's ability to approve an upgrade for Ariel is contingent upon Weinstein's legal opinion. On Sept. 9, the cabinet passed a largely symbolic resolution to upgrade the university. The center now essentially only awaits the approval of GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon.
Weinstein's position will be presented to the High Court in coming days along with a decision by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria to grant the center university status. The court has been handling the matter since a petition against upgrading the center's status was submitted by the Committee of University Heads on Aug. 20.
The process of turning the Ariel center into a full-fledged university began in 2005, when the government approved the move. Last July, the Council for Higher Education announced that the center had met all the qualifications and academic standards of a university.
The final stage in the process requires the approval of the GOC Central Command, which represents the government in matters of this kind in Judea and Samaria.
In light of Weinstein's statement, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar intends to move the process forward and obtain Alon's approval. Sa’ar is a prominent supporter of the Ariel Center and proposed a government motion on the matter two months ago. With legal backing, the government is now in a position to instruct Alon to sign the status upgrade.
In a response to Sa’ar's motion, the government said in a statement, "The government determined that it is of national importance that the Ariel University Center of Samaria become a university, and has instructed the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary approvals to implement the decision by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, in accordance with the attorney-general's opinion on the matter."