by Efrat Forsher
Labor Ministry initially recognized degrees awarded by the Palestinian university to address the shortage of accredited social workers in east Jerusalem, despite it being associated with incitement against Israel
Following an Israel Hayom inquiry, the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry said it would no longer recognize bachelor's degrees in social work from Al-Quds University because of its incitement of terrorism.
Thousands of Palestinians and east Jerusalem residents study at Al-Quds University, which has campuses in the capital as well as in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. The institution has been repeatedly accused of being a hotbed for incitement against Israel and a vehicle for undermining Israeli sovereignty through Hamas-affiliated student groups.
In the past, many perpetrators of Palestinian terrorist attacks turned out to have been students there.
A document recently obtained by Israel Hayom suggests that, in light of a dire shortage of social workers in east Jerusalem, the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry decided to recognize the university's diplomas in social work.
The document, signed by Labor Minister Haim Katz, states that "pursuant to my authority under law and following consultation with the Council on Social Work, I have decided to recognize this foreign school and its degree for social work for accreditation purposes."
After being confronted about this policy, Katz said he would review the matter and told Israel Hayom: "I will not recognize a school that supports terrorism; we will tackle the shortage of social workers without the help of an institution that undermines Israel's legitimacy."
Maor Tzemach, who heads the Lach Yerushalayim organization that promotes Israeli sovereignty over all parts of Jerusalem, told Israel Hayom: "Recognizing Al-Quds University as a foreign institution, even though some of its campuses are physically in Jerusalem, essentially recognizes the Palestinian Authority's foothold in Jerusalem. Moreover, because of the climate of incitement on its campuses, some of the terrorists who have killed Israelis on Jerusalem's streets in recent years have come from that university."
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