Czech envoy is first ambassador from EU to visit Ariel University
Tomas Pojar says he visited campus West Bank because it is in the news, wanted to see it for himself.
Czech ambassador Tomas Pojar paid a visit to Ariel University on Thursday, even though the European Union bars any EU financial cooperation with Israeli entities beyond the Green Line.
Pojar’s visit was the first that an ambassador from an EU country has ever paid to the school, which also cannot participate in any of the EU’s Horizon 2020 R&D projects.
The ambassador, who said his country “upholds everything agreed upon on the European level,” told The Jerusalem Posthe was visiting the campus because “Ariel is in the news, and I wanted to see for myself what the situation is, and how the university functions.”
Asked for his impressions, he said it was a functioning university with “a lot of interesting research.” He added that he was interested in seeing what type of student studied there, and how the university “functions in the surrounding areas.”
Pojar said he had not received any backlash about his visit, and that he had gone there – as he has gone to many other universities in Israel and the PA – to get “firsthand experience.”
In meetings with the university’s officials, he said, he had “openly discussed the European Union and the Czech Republic’s positions regarding the settlement issue.”
He said the Czech Republic was in step with the EU on this issue, and added that he did not know of any academic cooperation between Ariel and universities in the Czech Republic.
The ambassador met with the school’s top administration and visited its Medical Radiation Protection and Research Center.
A communiqué from the university said the envoy had taken a special interest in research done in cooperation with Palestinian villages in the area, as well as in the “hundreds of Arab students studying on the campus.”