Only Ariel students excluded from Obama’s speech

Despite classification as an official Israeli educational institution of higher learning, West Bank university students are not invited to attend US presidential event in Jerusalem.

MK: The American Embassy taking a unilateral stance.

By Tzvika Brot


US President Barack Obama has not landed in Israel yet, but he has already managed to upset certain Knesset members. The reason: The American Embassy invited student representatives from all universities to the president’s speech at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, save those from the Ariel University.

Ariel University Center of Samaria – Photo: AP

Habayit Hayehudi already responded on Tuesday night, calling it discrimination and demanding clarifications from the embassy regarding the exclusion of students from this institution, which received official recognition as a university just two months ago.

On Wednesday, Habayit Hayehudi‘s Yoni Chetboun met with the Ariel University Student Union chief, who told him the students were angered by the decision to exclude them.

“I can’t understand the decision,” wrote MK Chetboun in a letter addressed to US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro.

“The Ariel University has been recognized by the Israeli government. By banning its students, your government is taking a specific, unilateral stance, while seemingly saying it isn’t.”

The student representatives also expressed their anger regarding the decision, “We were pretty shocked about the discrimination and the way in which they are giving up on a university in Israel,” said head of the Ariel University Student Union Shay Shahaf.

The students are now waiting to see if the decision will be rescinded. Even if it is not, they are planning to arrive at the event to protest the decision.

“Either way we will be present at the event,” Shahaf clarified. “This has caused major unrest amongst the students.”


View original Ynet publication at:,7340,L-4355902,00.html