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Obama boycotts West Bank university ahead of Israel visit

By Mason White 3:05 PM March 13, 2013
Ariel University 

By: David Ross
Students at a West Bank university are fuming after students at all Israeli universities were invited to attend a speech to be given by president Obama except students from Ariel University.

U.S. President Barack Obama has not yet landed in Israel, but has already managed to upset some members of the Knesset after the U.S. Embassy invited representatives of students of all universities to attend the president’s speech at the International Convention in Jerusalem, but not representatives from Ariel University.

The Habayit Hayehudi party already responded on Tuesday night, calling it discrimination and demanding clarification of the embassy on the exclusion of students from this institution, which was officially recognized as a university just two months ago.

On Wednesday, a leader of Habayit Hayehudi met with the head of Ariel University Student Union, who said that the students were angered by the decision to exclude them.

“I cannot understand the decision,” MK Chetboun wrote in a letter to the U.S. Ambassador in Israel, Dan Shapiro.
“Ariel University has been recognized by the Israeli government. By prohibiting its students, the government is taking a specific unilateral stance,” he continued.

The students’ representatives also expressed their anger at the decision. “We were quite surprised by the discrimination,” the head of the Union of Students of the University of Ariel, said.

Students are now waiting to see if the decision will be overturned. Even if not, they plan to arrive at the event in protest of the decision.
“Either way we will be present at the event,” the head of Ariel University Student Union, said.