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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Speculations: Israeli Elections Moved Up to February

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to move the next Knesset elections from October to February, 2013.

The Israeli press has been featuring several leaks from Netanyahu’s inner circle on Tuesday and Wednesday regarding the approaching declaration of a February vote, although an official declaration is yet to made.

“We will make a decision by the opening of the winter session” of the Knesset, Netanyahu said on Tuesday. The winter session will start in two weeks.

Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz have been discussing a less severe clipping of the national budget, which was supposed to be trimmed by $3.9 billion. In light of the expected elections, they are likely to reduce the cuts to $2.6 billion.

“Over four years, we have responsibly managed the economy, reduced unemployment, protected growth and added hundreds of workplaces. We coped better than most countries in the Western world with the global economic crisis. For four years we acted as a responsible government and we must continue on this path,” the Prime Minister said, already sounding as if he is campaigning for his next term in office.

It is expected that the early vote will be scheduled for Tuesday, February 12. The last elections were held on February 10, 2009.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai from Shas said his party would rather not have the early elections.

“I told the prime minister that if the budget is passed with compassion, we will support it,” Yishai said, hinting at the need to avoid cuts that would hurt the needy segments of Israel’s population, adding: “We are prepared for elections at any given time, although Shas would be happy to continue its term for the year that remains.”

Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, who spent a short stint in Netanyahu’s coalition government this summer, said that “Netanyahu must be replaced and hope needs to be returned to the people of Israel.”

Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich said that setting an early date for the national elections, because “Israel needs elections to decide between different alternatives and to reset the country’s path.”

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) told Israel Today: “In my opinion, the prime minister does not have a majority to approve a national budget… There is no majority in the coalition to approve the cuts. Without a budget, the government cannot continue to function and therefore there will have to be early elections.”

Universal Education or Universal Competence?

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Education was the defining paradigm of the 20th Century model of social progress, particularly the scientific education distributed through cells and classes where trained educators teach from prepared texts imparting the same knowledge to every students through the same methods.

Our educational system is nothing if not extensive. We, collectively and individually, spend fortunes on it. The average cost of a four year degree is approaching 100,000 dollars and that isn’t counting textbooks (1,100 per year) and the astronomical rates of interest on student loans. Total student loan debt has doubled in the last seven years and is approaching 300 billion dollars. The average student under 30 owes around 20,000 dollars as education has become the new mortgage.

Senior citizens who came of age in the age when college became universalized are having their social security payments reduced to cover their student loan debts proving that a college education really does last for a lifetime.

The individual expenses for an education are trivial compared to the collective burden. The budget for New York City’s Department of Education is 24.4 billion dollars. That is nearly the GDP of Vermont being expended on the schools of a single city. It’s the GDP of 60 percent of the countries on the planet being shoveled into a single school system of 1.1 million children under the banner of “Children First” that amounts to 40 percent of the city budget.

New York spends 11,572 dollars per pupil. For now the home of Wall Street can afford this kind of insane waste, closing the budget shortfall by finding a way to impose a 300 million or 500 million dollar fine on a major bank or brokerage. Most other places can’t. Across the river, New Jersey’s disastrous schools are bleeding taxpayers dry with murderous property taxes to fund failing schools.

The same story is repeated across the nation where homeowners are bled to fund swollen pension funds and failing urban schools. Gimmicks such as “weighed student funding” are used to divert as much money as possible from successful local schools to unsuccessful urban schools. People are losing their homes so that another high school in Newark can roll out more afterschool programs and Michelle Obama’s idea of nutritious lunches.

Politicians take for granted that education is the road to empowerment and equality. Obama has read poems off his teleprompter about the wonders of education as the only means of ensuring “our” children’s future. There is nothing revolutionary about that. Every politician takes it for granted that education means empowerment. But does it really?

Universal education was the panacea of every socialist state. By NEA rankings the Soviet Union had a better education system than we do. Its system routed as much of the population as possible through higher education and degree mills making it better educated, on paper, than the Yankee running dogs of the decadent West. And yet the USSR was behind the United States in every possible area of life.

The more you universalize education, the lower the value of that education becomes. When the goal of education is not to teach, but to graduate, then the educational system becomes a cattle run which exists only to move students through the system and then out the door through classroom promotion. The High School education of today is inferior to the Elementary School education of yesterday and the four year college graduate of today couldn’t even begin to match wits with a high school graduate from 1946. College has become the new High School. Graduate school is the new college. If we keep following the European model, then two decades from now, everyone will be encouraged to get a Master’s Degree which will be the prerequisite for most jobs and also be completely worthless.

The current model is that the more education you have, the better you are and the better that the society you live in will be. Everyone is expected to finish High School and as many as possible are encouraged to go to college, even if they’ll die before they pay off the student debt and even if more people go bankrupt subsidizing other people’s education. And at some point when everyone has six years of higher education, we’ll have a utopia of flying cars, glowing sidewalks in the sky and 5 minute tours of the moon.

How to Retire When You Don’t Have Enough Money

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Very often, life doesn’t turn out the way you expect it. For example, over the years you may have dreamed of having a certain income or level of savings when you retire. For various reasons, however, that has not happened. Maybe certain things occurred within your personal life that meant that you had to spend the savings that you worked so hard to accrue, such as a serious illness, major, unexpected repairs to your home, or more. Perhaps you started investing too late, or you put your money into investments that did not bring you the returns that you anticipated. Or maybe you were just one of those people who spent too much every month.

Whatever the reason, if you reach retirement age and you see that you are not going to have enough money for your anticipated needs, what should you do?

First of all, don’t stress about it. Although this is not the ideal situation, you won’t necessarily end up on the street. There are some steps that you can take to make your life a little easier if your nest egg isn’t as large as you would like it to be:

Keep working part time. Consider partial retirement instead of full retirement. Though older people do not always find it easy to get new employment, there are still places where the experience of a senior citizen is appreciated. Any income you receive means that you will be withdrawing less from your savings account.

Turn down the volume. As you are going to face a cut in your income, learn to cut down your expectations. A trimmed budget doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut out recreation, just find cheaper or free means of entertainment. Visit the library, not a bookstore. Visiting free public museums, going for walks along the sea front, and offering to take your grandchildren for one afternoon may not be as glamorous as a luxury cruise, but they cost a lot less and believe it or not, they can be just as rewarding.

Pay attention to your spending habits. While some people watch their budgets for most of their lives, there are plenty who don’t. If you fall into that second category, it’s time to change. Start taking note of your budget now, even before you retire, and you will be better able to cope with living in reduced circumstances when the time comes.

Keep up with your investments. If you do have a few investments, don’t panic when you retire and start selling them all. Consult with a financial adviser on how to make the best of the investments that you have and what you can do to make the best of your retirement years under the circumstances.

There aren’t any magical solutions to retiring comfortably without adequate savings, but there are certain strategies you can use to avoid and fix personal finance mistakes.

Box Of Chocolates

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The other night, after having a truly bad day where nothing seemed to go right, I jokingly changed my Facebook status to “I have had one of those awful, miserable, terrible days! And there is NO chocolate in the house!”

I immediately received more than 10 responses, offering me sympathy and virtual chocolate. Despite the late hour, my next-door neighbor offered to let me come over to get whatever candy bars she had in her house. I love my online girl friends, but declined the candy bars. However, I enjoyed the sympathy – and ate that all up. But over the next few days, my craving for some real chocolate kept nagging at me.

Thursday rolled around and I was having another stressful day while doing my usual shopping in the local Trader Joe’s grocery store. I had a specific list with a specific cash budget. After loading my cart with the items on my list I made the horrible mistake (or perhaps a part of me intended to do this all along) of going past the store’s amazing chocolate candy section. At least six different containers of fancy chocolate-covered candies called to me, begging to be purchased, and somehow I was able to resist the urge. Though I lingered and salivated, I eventually forced myself to keep to my list and budget and move to the checkout lane. While waiting there, the invisible bubble above my head was working overtime.

I started thinking: “Maybe I should just run out of line and grab the chocolate caramels. After all, $3.99 won’t break the budget. I should have enough money … maybe if I put something else back. Or I can get the chocolate-covered pretzels; they’re less money … Oh, the chocolate-covered cashews sound so delish…” And so it went until, before I knew it, I was completely checked out and it was time to pay. I had spent so much time thinking that my window of opportunity to get any chocolate treat for myself was gone. So I came back to reality and paid the bill. And just as I was about to push my cart away, the cashier handed me a gift-wrapped box.

“These are for you,” she said cheerfully.

“What’s this?” I asked, confused.

“We’re giving out boxes of chocolates today. Enjoy.”

I almost got lightheaded from the shock of what she’d just said, considering what I’d just obsessed over just seconds ago.

“Wait,” I asked, “Why are you giving free chocolate to people?”

“We just are. It’s a goodwill promotion, so enjoy them. They’re really good.”

On the back of the gift-wrapped box was the information sticker with ingredients – and right there was a reliable kosher symbol. I could have cried with joy. Despite the fact that the cashier from Trader Joe’s just handed me the box, I knew from my very soul that God had just handed me this box of chocolate.

“Wow, this is so nice. I am really going to enjoy these [chocolates]. Thank you so much,” I gushed to the cashier. But my sentiments were intended more toward the Almighty!

Then I noticed that the cashier was looking at me in a strange way, and it dawned on me that I might be acting slightly goofy while fussing too long over the candy and lingering in her line, refusing to move on. So I took my spiritual box of chocolate and put it in my cart, and left thinking about how special this experience was. I drove home with a huge smile on my face, knowing that not only did I get a free box of candy but I also got a divine gift that let me know that ultimately I don’t have to post my true feelings on Facebook. I also knew that God is always listening to my heart and knows what’s going on with me. He is with me every step of the way, lending me sympathy and support – even when there is no chocolate in my house!

Jewish Reaction To Romney VP Pick Divides Along Ideological Lines

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Anointing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney attached a name and face to his fiscal policy.

Jewish Republicans, including the House majority leader, say they are thrilled with Wisconsin’s Ryan emerging as the ticket’s fresh face, hailing the lawmaker as a thoughtful and creative budget guru bent on taming out-of-control federal spending.

Ryan’s name is well known to Jewish community leaders who have been grappling with the Republicans’ chief budget shaper since the party retook the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010.

The Washington groups that deal with budget policy have had many interactions with Ryan, who as chairman of the House Budget Committee authors Congress’ proposed budget. They have not been happy ones, though speaking on background, the first thing Ryan’s Jewish and Democratic interlocutors emphasize is that he is as affable and gracious one on one as he appears to be in public.

Many of them see Ryan’s plan threatening Medicare and Medicaid, programs that are cornerstones of care for the Jewish elderly, a population growing faster than among most other religious and ethnic groups.

Ryan and his defenders argue that his proposals will drive down costs by spurring competitive pricing and save popular entitlement programs from eventual bankruptcy.

Outside of his leadership on budget issues, Ryan, 42, has not been preeminent in many of the areas that traditionally have attracted Jewish organizational interest.

Elected in 1998, he visited Israel in 2005 on a trip organized by the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Along with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), he has joined Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, as the “young guns” heralding a more robustly conservative Republican Party, one that appeals more to the Tea Party insurgents who fueled the Republican takeover of the House in 2010.

Cantor has often pointed out the diversity embodied by the trio – Cantor is a Southeastern observant Jew, Ryan is a Midwestern Roman Catholic and McCarthy is a Western Protestant.

“Having worked closely with Paul, I’ve seen firsthand the energy and commitment he brings to pursuing the kind of pro-growth economic policies we need to create jobs and reduce our massive debt,” Cantor said in a statement. “Quite simply, Mitt Romney could not have made a finer choice for the future direction of our country.”

Ryan has followed Cantor’s lead on foreign policy, co-sponsoring signature pieces of legislation that the majority leader initiated, most recently one that enhances security cooperation between the United States and Israel.

“America has no better friend in the Middle East than the nation of Israel. Not only is Israel the region’s only fully functioning democracy, with a government based on popular consent and the rule of law, but it is also a valuable ally against Islamic extremism and terrorism,” Ryan says on his congressional page.

William Kristol, the leading neoconservative thinker, was among those touting Ryan. And according to Politico.com, Dan Senor, Romney’s top Middle East adviser known for his close ties to the pro-Israel community, will be advising Ryan ahead of his convention speech in late August and his debate with Vice President Joe Biden, which is scheduled for Oct. 11 at Centre College in Kentucky.

Ryan has not interacted extensively with the small Jewish community in Wisconsin, but those who have met him say he’s an eager student of the Middle East.

“He’s thought a lot about those issues, although he might not be an expert like he is on the nitty gritty of the budget,” said Nat Sattler, who has been active in Wisconsin Republican politics and has met Ryan at Republican and pro-Israel events. “Knowing his ability to suck up information, I’m sure he is becoming an expert.”

Ryan has backed cuts to the overall foreign assistance budget, though he favors funding at current levels for Israel. AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups generally are committed to maintaining foreign assistance funding overall, not just for Israel.

It is in the area of domestic spending that the clashes between Ryan and the Jewish organizational community have been evident.

In 2011, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs – the two leading policy umbrellas addressing economic issues – were blunt in a joint letter to Congress members slamming plans that originated with Ryan that would transition parts of Medicare, the medical program for the elderly, to a Medicare Exchange in which a variety of private plans would be made available.

Is Ryan Good for the Jews? Make that ‘Are the Jews Good for Ryan’

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The selection of Paul Ryan, with his proposals for a trimmed-down federal budget, may not bode well for the Republican ticket among Jewish voters, wrote Josh Nathan-Kazis in the Forward.

He pointed to Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, in the heart of Jewish South Florida, which he says could be a key neighborhood in the presidential race.

But one early attack in a congressional race in a heavily Jewish Florida district suggests that Democrats will use Ryan’s proposed changes to Medicare and Social Security to bolster Democratic support among Jewish voters.

Lois Frankel, the Democrat running for the 22′s congressional seat, sent a press release just hours after Ryan’s appointment to be Romney’s running mate, tying her presumptive Republican opponent to Ryan’s proposed entitlement cuts.

Florida is the largest of the swing states, says Nathan-Kazis, and its Jewish voters will have a huge impact on the presidential election.

Jonathan S. Tobin is not convinced. Democrats shouldn’t count on the Jews flocking to Obama so easily.

First, he argues, the Jewish voters who fear changes in Mediscare are voting for Obama regardless of Mitt’s pick. On the other hand, those American Jews who consider Israel’s security a major agenda in casting their votes will not favor Obama. “Voters who believe the president will sell out Israel are not the most receptive audience for a Democratic campaign based on the idea that Romney and Ryan will sell out the elderly,” Tobin writes.

“The issue was not whether Obama could hold onto more than 50 percent of Jewish votes, but how much of the 78 percent he got in 2008 would he be able to retain,” he points out. “The most optimistic estimates of the Democrat vote will keep him in the mid-60s, with his share of Jewish ballots in Florida probably being even lower.”

Ronn Torossian of Rightwingnews.com points out that Ryan has co-sponsored pro-Israel legislation, and has been very outspoken against Hamas.

He cites from Ryan’s website: “I believe at least one thing is clear: we cannot advocate for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that jeopardizes Israel’s safety or legitimizes terrorism. Hamas, which is one of the two major Palestinian political factions, is an Islamist terrorist group whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence, and calls Osama Bin Laden a ‘martyr.’”

Torossian also frames the Obama vs. Romney race as being one of secular vs. religious values: “The biggest response from the crowd today during his speech came when he said: ‘Our rights come from nature and God, not from government.’”

Interestingly, the NJDC is framing the competition similarly, except that the values it points to are not so much secular vs. religious, but the more vague non-Jewish vs. Jewish.

Their press release, titled “NJDC on Ryan Pick: Clearest Proof Yet Romney Does Not Reflect Jewish Community Values” reads:

“Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. Ryan’s signature budget plan drew the profound concern and even ire of many in the American Jewish community because of its plans to end Medicare as we know it, slash vital social safety net programs, and increase the burden on seniors, the middle class, and the poor—yet Romney today proudly hitched his horse to Ryan’s dangerous plan. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.”

You’ll notice the absence of any reference to Israel, Iran, Palestinians and other characters in the other story which is of interest to U.S. Jews.

The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake made no bones about Ryan’s staunch politics regarding the rest of the world, in his report “Defense Hawks, Rejoice—Paul Ryan’s Your Man!

“The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Howard ‘Buck’ McKeon, said he was ‘very happy’ with the Ryan pick. McKeon said he has worked closely with Ryan to come up with ways to at least put off what is known as the sequestration cuts, and he praised the Wisconsin lawmaker for his overall philosophy in defense. ‘He understands the Reagan principle of having a strong defense and the Eisenhower principle of having a big enough military that no one would ever think about attacking you,’ McKeon told The Daily Beast.”

Except that, with his reputation as budget slasher, it’s difficult to envision Ryan embarking on making America’s military even bigger. Or, maybe, once in office, Ryan will trade the Congressional Republican view on curbing costs for the Dick Cheney school of the Imperial Presidency and start borrowing till it hurts.

If you ask me, after all the above quotes are copied and pasted, the Romney appointment of Paul Ryan is still a sign of weakness. Normally, a Republican candidate would want to appoint a VP that’s a bit to the left of him, to attract the independent voters at the center. The fact that Romeny chose to appoint someone to his right, politically, suggests that his own pollsters have been telling him that the home base is less than enthusiastic about the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts.

The fact that Romney picked a Catholic for the VP slot could mean either that the evangelicals no longer fear and loath Catholics (fat chance), or that Barack Obama gets four more years at his current residence.

And that, finally, is not very good for the Jews.

Special Report: Bibi Outmaneuvered Obama, Funded Settlements After Freeze

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Though the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instituted an unprecedented 10 month building freeze in Judea and Samaria due to pressure by the US beginning in November 2009, an Israeli business newspaper report shows that financial support for Jewish communities leaped a whopping 38% the following year.

According to the report by Israel’s Calcalist newspaper, the Israeli government invested NIS 10 billion in Jewish life in the biblical heartland to the north and south of Jerusalem between 2003 and 2011. This amount includes the total government investment: financial support to local authorities, cross-investment in infrastructure and lost revenue to the state as a result of tax benefits. In fact, this amount should include all but defense spending on security in the communities, information about which has not been released to the public.

Under Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, government investment in Judea and Samaria reached perhaps its largest levels, with the government in 1993 earmarking 60%of its NIS 2.5 million Judea and Samaria budget on construction alone.  The funding was distributed the same year as the signing of the Oslo Accords.

From 1994-1997, investment took a hit, with governmental investment dropping to just over  1.5 billion annually, and then rose again in 2003 to 2.1 billion, only to begin sinking again.

In 2005, with the announcement of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from the Jewish Gush Katif communities of Gaza, funding took a nose dive.  For the next four years, during the term of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, residents of Judea and Samaria saw a paltry NIS 805 million per year put back into their towns.

Following the second inauguration of Prime Minister Netanyahu, funding to Judea and Samaria began to rise again.  In 2010, an additional 41 million shekels was added to the budget for the region, then an additional NIS 254 million in 2011, an increase of 38% in a year when the whole government budget was raised by just 2.7%, and a return to the levels of investment made prior to the Gaza withdrawal.

According to the report, the education budget for Judea and Samaria grew 272% from 2003 to 2011, and the Yesha Council –  an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria – stated that the number of Jews in the communities grew by 5% every one of those years, with 345 to 360 thousand Jews living in the region, not including eastern Jerusalem.  The Yesha Council was quoted as saying that in the Binyamin Regional Council alone, infrastructure, schools and transportation were needed for an additional 10-15% growth in the number of children entering the first grade.

An official of the organization praised the government for creating a more positive atmosphere in regard to Judea and Samaria, but said that the region received no special benefits other than a reduced cost of public transportation.

While some say the Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal politics are responsible for the increase in budget numbers, others note that the 18 percent growth Judea and Samaria has experienced in the last three years is attributable to the high birth rate, and say the increase in budget is commensurate with the needs of the growing population.

In 2010, Haaretz reported that security sources publicized 28 incidents of building freeze violations, just 4 months into the measure, including in Tekoa, Psago, Emanuel, Kedumim, Beitar Illit, Maale Adumim and Kfar Etzion.  Radical anti-Judea and Samaria development group Peace Now alleged that building on 600 new homes was begun in over 60 communities, a little over what would be built if the freeze had not been instituted.

That same month, MK Danny Danon of the prime minister’s Likud party initiated a bill to compensate residents of Judea and Samaria who suffered losses as a result of the construction freeze.

Though funding for Judea and Samaria is less than half of what it was under Prime Minister Rabin, and given the controversial settlement between the Netanyahu government and the residents of the Ulpana in Beit El, in which residents agreed to peacefully leave their homes the Ulpana mountain in exchange for the promise of 300 new homes in the town following a court case asserting Palestinian ownership of the Ulpana land in the Supreme Court, many view the administration of Netanyahu as pro-Judea and Samaria.  Under his watch, the college in the Samarian city of Ariel received university status, and the Edmund Levy report was celebrated as a major victory in the battle to assert full Israeli sovereignty in all areas in which Israelis make their homes, including Judea, Samaria, and the Golan.

Despite Fervent Objections by All Seven ‘Green Line’ Universities, Ariel U. Becomes a Reality

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Samaria will have its first full university, pending the go-ahead of the Israeli military.

The Ariel University Center on Tuesday was recognized as a full university by the Judea and Samaria Council for Higher Education, which handles educational concerns in the “disputed territories.” The center, which has more than 10,000 students, Jewish and Arab, would be called Ariel University.

The 11-2 vote came despite a vehement recommendation against approval by the planning and budget committee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, as well as opposition from the country’s other seven universities, and from public figures, all of whom objected to upgrading a college which had passed all the prerequisites for the boost, but was still unable to conceal the damning fact that it was located in the “West Bank.”

Last month, in a letter to Netanyahu, the presidents of Israel’s seven universities said that an eighth university would deal a “fatal blow to the higher education system in general, and the universities in particular.”

On Sunday, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced that his ministry would earmark extra funds for the Ariel University Center, so that it would not cut into the funding of Israel’s other universities. Steinitz said he will ask the government to grant an allocation of some $5 million to $7.5 million for the next two fiscal years, with plans to increase the sum in future years.

That’s an approximately $4 million a year fatal blow.

Professor Daniel Zajfman, head of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said he would cancel all academic and professional cooperation with Ariel U.

Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson was concerned about gentile reaction to the move, specifically Norwegians and Swedes, warning: “We are putting the next Nobel Prize in danger.”

MK Einat Wilf, head of the Knesset Education Committee, said it was still all about the money: “If the Finance Minister and the Education Ministry have tens of millions of extra shekels for higher education, they should have been used to assist the existing universities, which are recovering from a decade of tough budget cuts.”

Again, that’s approximately $4 million a year.

For comparison, as of 2010, the Hebrew University deficit was estimated at $2.5 billion.

And the Tel Aviv University salaries and pensions alone have reached $165 million a year.

No doubt, depriving the fledgling Ariel of $4 million a year would go a long way to balance those hemorrhaging deficits.

Of course, the report on the center’s progress that was submitted to the committee of Israel’s academic establishment praises Ariel’s accomplishments and left no doubt as to its ability to take its rightful place as a major academic institution.

The final authorization for making the Ariel center a university will be made by the IDF central commander in the West Bank, Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon. At this point, Alon is expected to back up the Judea and Samaria council’s decision.

The Judea and Samaria council was established in 1997 after the Council for Higher Education refused to discuss academic issues concerning the “West Bank.”

In 2007, the Ariel academic center was granted temporary recognition as a so-called university center, and its status was to be reexamined within five years. The city of Ariel, with a population of about 20,000, is located southwest of the biblical city of Shchem, where the patriarch Jacob was hoping to settle down and study some Torah, when unexpected thing started to happen.

Like it or not, Jacob’s dream is becoming a reality now.

JTA content was used in this report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/welcome-to-the-newly-accredited-ariel-university-population-10000/2012/07/18/

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