Ariel (city) - Education and Culture

Education and Culture

Ariel is home to the Ariel University Center of Samaria, founded in 1982. Current enrollment is 12,000, consisting of both Jewish and Arab students. In 2005, the Israeli government voted to support upgrading the College to university status. The change of status was not immediate since the decision only allowed the college to apply for revision by the Council for Higher Education in Israel which must ultimately approve any change. University status is an issue of prestige, increased government funding, as well as the ability to open post-graduate studies (which are already offered at the college) and issue doctorate degrees. Formerly called the 'Academic College of Judea and Samaria', it changed its name in August 2007 in the interim period and anticipation of achieving the more prestigious 'university' status.

The state-funded Ariel Center for the Performing Arts opened on November 8, 2010 with a performance of Piaf by the Beersheba Theater company. These performances were boycotted by sixty Israeli actors, writers, and directors, including Joshua Sobol, who refuse to perform in settlements. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Culture Minister Limor Livnat and the leader of the Kadima Party Tzipi Livni condemned the boycott and proposed cutting government funding those participating in it. The boycott was supported Amos Oz, David Grossman and A. B. Yehoshua, It was opposed by Amnon Shamosh, who suggested that the boycott plays into the hands of right-wing extremists by linking art and politics. 150 U.S. actors supported the boycott. However, five Israeli actors later withdraw from the boycott, indicating that they changed their mind or thought the letter they were signing called for a discussion on the issue rather than outright boycott.

Both religious and secular Jews reside in Ariel. The city has fourteen synagogues.

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