Minister of Education Advances Founding of Medical School in OPT

Far-right Minister of Education Naftali Bennett (HaBayit HaYehudi –The Jewish Home) is advancing a general master plan to double the size of Ariel University in the settlement of that name in the occupied West Bank. The NIS 135 million plan includes opening a faculty of medicine. According to an Education Ministry statement, Bennett, who also chairs the Council for Higher Education, has been working during the past few months with different officials to approve the founding of a new faculty of medicine in “Israel,” read: “the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) held by Israel since 1967.”


The plan will be funded mainly by donations raised by the institution itself. According to a report in the Israeli economy newspaper The Marker, one of the main donors for the new faculty is the owner of the pro-government, freely-distributed daily Israel Hayom, Sheldon Adelson. It was reported that Adelson has donated some NIS 20 million to the project.

Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) slammed Bennett, and claimed that his sole interest is to satisfy his constituency. “Instead of dealing with budget deficits of Israel’s universities and their ramifications on the quality of research and on the [enrolled] students, Bennett prefers dealing with advancing the only thing that he really cares about – HaBayit HaYehudi’s political agenda  – that aims to promote the de facto annexation of the Palestinian occupied territories,” said Khenin. “It’s about time that the Israeli government starts investing in the State of Israel,” he added.

Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and Republican mega-donor who is close to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stands to benefit significantly from the US House of Representative’s plan to overhaul America’s healthcare system. A new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Tax March found that Adelson could see his tax bill slashed by millions of dollars if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) becomes law.  A Business Insider analysis of the report determined that Adelson could see his tax bill decline by about $43.5 million in 2017 if the AHCA is passed and the effect on taxation is retroactive to the current year.

Based on Adelson’s most recent Form 4 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the mega-donor and his family own 392,735,403 shares of his casino company, Las Vegas Sands.  Las Vegas Sands pays an annualized dividend of $2.92 per share, meaning that with Adelson’s current ownership stake he would receive about $1.14 billion in income via those dividends in 2017.  The money from this tax goes to fund the expenditures like the expansion of Medicaid and tax credits that offset the cost for people to get insurance from the individual health insurance exchanges.  Adelson is worth roughly $36 billion. Based on the spending per Medicaid recipient in 2014, a $44 million break would be equivalent to the government’s Medicaid bill for covering about 7,670 Americans.  The primary way Adelson would benefit is the repeal of Obamacare’s Net Investment Income Tax, which adds a 3.8% tax to investment income — from dividends and capital gains — for people with over $200,000 in annual earnings (or couples with over $250,000).