eWENR, March/April 2000: Middle East (Regional News)


The Israeli government is planning to admit students from neighboring Arab countries to a new university in Eilat. The new institution, to be built over a five-year period, will probably be an extension of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

It is hoped that the university, which will most likely offer programs in hotel management and marine biology, will attract applicants from Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Student enrollments in Israel have more than doubled in the past decade, from 76,000 in 1990 to 200,000 this year, including 32,000 part-time students at the Open University.

However, Arabs make up only seven percent of the total number of all students currently enrolled at Israeli institutions of higher education. In 1991, they accounted for six percent of first-year students; but in 1996 this number rose to eight percent.

The total number of female Arab students in Israel increased from 36 percent to 44 percent between 1991 and 1996.

— The Times Higher Education Supplement
March 31, 2000

West Bank

Students and teachers at Bir Zeit University are currently on strike to protest the arrests of several students by Palestinian security forces after French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was stoned during a campus visit. The students were angered by remarks Jospin made in Israel denouncing Hezbollah, the guerrilla organization fighting the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon, as terrorists.

According to an official at Bir Zeit’s office of student affairs, of the 60 students who were rounded up by security forces, 28 remain in detention. He said students and teachers will not resume classes until all those in custody are released. The administration believes the university should be allowed to handle the stoning incident without the intervention of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.

But a representative of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service in the West Bank said the security forces had a right to act because “the university belongs to the Ministry of Higher Education.”

— New York Times
March 3, 2000