UGent rector wants to end cooperation with three Israeli organisations

The rector of Ghent University (UGent) wants his institution to stop cooperating with three Israeli institutions that produce military equipment or are part of government ministries, he announced on Thursday. 

Students and staff at UGent have been occupying a university building for 11 days now, demanding that the university end all cooperation with Israeli universities and organisations. 

The university had previously refused to do so, saying that it "does not cooperate with parties involved in serious human rights violations committed by the government". 

However, this information was updated on Thursday, after the university's human rights committee had published a list of collaborations with Israeli institutions on 6 May.

Military and government ties

In a written statement, rector Rik Van de Walle said on Thursday that a new investigation by the committee found that several of the listed institutions produce military equipment or are part of government ministries.

The institutions in question are the Holon Institute of Technology, the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute and the Volcani Centre, Israel's agricultural research organisation. 

Van de Walle is now asking the committee to formally issue a new opinion on the partnerships. He urged the commission, which will discuss the matter on Thursday, to "do everything possible to stop these cooperations". 

VUB and UAntwerp

In doing so, Van de Walle is following in the footsteps of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), which announced last week that it wanted to stop cooperating with two Israeli institutions in a research project on artificial intelligence.

On Thursday, the VUB provided "full transparency" on seven cooperations with Israeli institutions, including the AI project. The project is called Multispin.AI and is a collaboration with Israel's Bar-Ilan University. Two other projects, Thermobreast and Aluna, are currently still being reviewed by the university's ethics committee. 

The University of Antwerp, whose students have been occupying part of the campus since Monday, published a list of collaborations with Israeli organisations on Wednesday. The university has not yet decided to end any of the listed collaborations.


Day 10 of the occupation of the Ghent University's Ufo building. Students and staff want the university to end all cooperation with Israeli universities and organisations © BELGA PHOTO JONAS D'HOLLANDER

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels