Israel’s minister of welfare and social services reversed a decision granting recognition for social work degrees from Al-Quds University following reports of the school’s anti-Israel activity.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz decided to revoke his ministry’s earlier recognition of of bachelor’s degrees in social work from Al-Quds University, despite Israel’s need for more Arab social workers, due to the school’s rabid anti-Israel campus environment, Israel Hayom reported Tuesday.
The Palestinian university has its main campus in Abu Dis, a village that lies only a few kilometers from Jerusalem’s Old City, with branches in Ramallah and eastern Jerusalem.
The school is known for its anti-Israel activity, hosting cells of Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Al-Quds’ students have been arrested for belonging to these terror cells and planning attacks against Israeli civilians.
Officials in the welfare and social services ministry attempted to fill a need for Arab social workers to service Jerusalem’s large Arab population. But when daily paper Israel Hayom inquired about the recognition given to Al-Quds in light of its anti-Israel environment, Minister Katz withdrew the government’s recognition.
“I will not recognize an institution that supports terrorism,” he said. “We’ll deal with the issue of the shortage of social workers, but not through institutions that undermine the legitimacy of Israel.”
In June, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Katz’s ministry was delaying its recognition of social work degrees from the university for political reasons.
As a public institution of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Al-Quds operates as a foreign university yet has campuses on the eastern side of Israel’s capital. The PA is not supposed to run any operations in Jerusalem, which is seen as a breach of Israeli sovereignty.
The Health Ministry recognized Al-Quds’ medical degrees a few years ago – after prolonged legal battles – but the condition for recognition rested on the fact that these departments could not be in the Jerusalem branch of Al-Quds.
Social work students still study in Jerusalem, however, and therefore, according to the Haaretz report, the education and welfare and social services ministries refused to accept their degrees.
In the end, it wasn’t the location of the school that impacted the welfare and social services ministry’s final decision, but the anti-Israel incitement on campus.