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25 Iyar 5760 - May 31, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Religious Teachers To Boycott Education Ministry Convention In Non-Kosher Hotel

by S. Baruchi

Religious teachers will boycott a nationwide gathering organized by the Education Ministry for teachers and other professionals working with visually impaired children. The convention is slated to take place in a non-kosher hotel in Nazareth.

Two weeks ago teachers received invitations to the convention, coordinated by the Education Ministry and the Israeli Center for the Blind in conjunction with the Israeli chapter of the Lions international organization. Among the speakers on the agenda are Education Minster Yossi Sarid and Arabs, who will discuss the bridge between Israeli and Arab cultures.

Religious teachers were surprised to discover that the convention is to take place in Nazareth's non-kosher Howard Johnson Hotel. Teachers contacted the city mayor who said that there are many kosher hotels in Nazareth but that this particular hotel lacks rabbinical supervision.

Religious teachers and professionals who were supposed to participate in the day-long seminar have joined together to boycott the seminar and to protest the fact that the Education Ministry chose a non-kosher hotel. For years, all Education Ministry meetings have been held in kosher hotels. The teachers question why the policy has changed since Yossi Sarid gained control of the Education Ministry.

Education Ministry Spokesperson Rivka Shraga said that she has no doubt that the reservation was made by mistake. She added that the policy of the Education Ministry as well as its head is to hold meetings in locations where all teachers are able to attend. "The Education Ministry doesn't check to see how each employee behaves at home," she added, "but surely all teachers should be able to participate in government-sponsored meetings. Meetings should be held in a kosher places." She added that the Ministry would investigate how the error occurred.

Knesset member Rabbi Moshe Gafni said that if the Education Ministry does not transfer the convention to a kosher hotel he will ask the gedolei Yisroel whether a no- confidence motion should be presented. This offense joins a series of others committed by the Education Minister: his unprovoked public statement that he works on Shabbos; the award of the Israel Prize to Shulamit Aloni; and the inclusion of the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish in the school curriculum. UTJ voiced its lack of confidence in the Government on the last issue at the instructions of gedolei haTorah.

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