ISRAEL: Universities lost heavily in global credit crisis

The global financial crisis has cost Israeli universities some NIS 900 million (US$219 million) so far, due to both a decline in contributions and losses by university research and development funds that invested in the capital markets, according to an initial estimate prepared by the Council for Higher Education, reports

University research and development funds "have been hurt drastically", a senior official on the council's Planning and Budgeting Committee told Haaretz. "This is money that financed research, construction and ongoing activities. And from what we understand, donations to the universities have ceased almost entirely." One significant factor in the universities' losses was the collapse of Bernard Madoff's investment fund. That alone cost universities an estimated NIS 200 million, the council found.

In October, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to give additional state funding to cash-strapped universities. But the worldwide crash of the past four months has significantly worsened their financial situation, and now, the promised funds are no longer enough, council officials said.
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