Nearly two-thirds of the Israeli public support recognizing Ariel University Center in Samaria as an official state university, according to a Geocartography poll published on Thursday.
According to the poll, of the 500 surveyed, 65 percent said they support recognition while 15% said they were opposed to it. Among those who voiced their opposition, 76% said they believed the university status upgrade was motivated by external factors such as politics and money.
Around half (53%) of those polled believe that the other university heads oppose recognizing Ariel University Center as an official university due to their own interests in maintaining their power as a small and elitist community. Of those surveyed, 59% said that had Ariel University Center been located within the Green Line, it would not have had to face as many hurdles as it did to upgrade its status.
On Tuesday, the Council for Higher Education's plenum met to discuss finalizing the process to recognize the university. Shortly beforehand, a number of council members spoke with Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, asking him to postpone the discussion. Their request was denied.
Opponents of the decision to upgrade Ariel University Center's status say it will only lead to further isolation of Israel in the international community and to an academic boycott.