Obama criticized for not inviting Ariel students to speech

(JNS.org) In a letter sent to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Member of Knesset Yoni Chetboun of the Habayit Hayehudi party criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for not inviting students from Ariel University of Samaria to his speech at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem next week, Israel Hayom reported.

Knesset member Yoni Chetboun. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from JNS.org.

Ariel University was recognized last year as Israel’s eighth full-fledged state university and the first located on the other side of the Green Line, the 1949 armistice line that served as a de facto border before 1967. The Obama administration has been a consistent critic of Israel’s decisions to expand construction in Jewish communities situated beyond the Green Line.

“And I ask, is the decision to boycott Ariel not political?” Chetboun said. “On one hand, the president says his speech isn’t political, but on the other hand, he rejects and boycotts the students from Ariel.”

Head of the Ariel University Student Union Shay Shahaf said of not receiving invitations to the speech, “We were pretty shocked about the discrimination and the way in which they are giving up on a university in Israel,” according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

Posted on March 13, 2013 .