The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that some 60 university academics and lefts wing activists protested on Wednesday in front Ariel College against a government decision to change the status of the university to a college.

Left wing protestors and members of the Courage to Refuse movement, who reject the military service for ideological reasons, expressed surprise of the government’s decision to invest more money in a new university instead of investing money in Israeli universities which are already facing financial problems.

The budgets of Israeli universities were repeatedly slashed by the Israeli government.

Left wing activists argued that Ariel College is located in the occupied territories and surrounded by millions of Palestinians in their own areas.

The Israeli cabinet voted 13-7 on Monday to confer the status of Ariel College to a university.

The voting came less than two weeks after major universities in the UK   boycotted Bar Illan University for its ties with Ariel College.

The Israeli Council for Higher Education also expressed disapproval with the government’s decision since it is “motivated by political intervention’.

Haifa university president Aharon Ben Ze’ev said that the research universities in Israel are falling apart as a result of the lack of funds, “founding two more universities (Ariel and other on in the Galilee) would be a fatal blow”, Ben Ze’ev added.

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