The Technion and Tel Aviv University on Monday announced that they would agree to increase the number of students admitted to their medical schools next academic year, if only the state agrees to quash the new medical school at Ariel University. The two universities would take in 70 new students – the number of students who were supposed to begin their studies in the Ariel University medical school.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right party) tweeted in response: “The university cartel does not stop kicking. Unbelievable. Due to the huge shortage of doctors in Israel, we turned time and again to the universities, asking them to increase the number of [medical school] students and they did not pay attention. So we acted. We decided to establish a school in Ariel. Now they have the audacity to tell stories. I will not give up until we establish the Faculty of Medicine in Ariel.”
The battle over the Ariel University new medical school (see: Higher Education Council Reverses Ariel Med School Vote, Bennett Vows to ‘Fight the Cartel’) continues, with both sides – the Jews of Judea and Samaria and the established universities west of the 1949 ceasefire line – trying to create facts on the ground.
Following a brute intervention by AG Avichai Mandelblit’s Deputies Dina Zilber and Raz Nazri, who removed two members of Israel’s Council for Higher Education, forcing a reversal of the approval of a medical school at Ariel University, The Council for Higher Education in the Territories (CHE-YOSH) is preparing to approve the establishment of the same medical school.
CHE-Yosh planned to convene on Monday to approve the school, but the meeting was postponed to Wednesday, which happens to be one day before the council’s dismantling and the transfer of its powers to CHE west of the green line.
According to The Marker, an increase of 70 medical students is a drop in the bucket. Today there are some 730 medical students in all the universities put together. The Planning and Budgeting Committee of CHE says the number of students must be increased to 950 each year—as soon as possible. The health ministry says there should be 1,200 medical students each year.
The Marker reported that the deans of Israel’s medical schools say they can’t increase the numbers because of a shortage of accredited hospitals to be affiliated with each school. However, those same deans are using their clinical experience slots for foreign students, who pay a higher tuition than their Israeli counterparts.
Now, for the prospect of killing the Ariel medical school, those same deans are prepared to make a little more room for local medical students.