Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Ellul 5766 - August 30, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











MK Gafni: Education Minister Declared War Against Chareidi Education

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A meeting of the Knesset Education Committee on Monday to discuss including kindergartens in the extended-school-day program (yom limmudim aroch) grew heated when MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni accused Education Minister Yuli Tamir (Labor) of effectively declaring war on chareidi education. Ms. Tamir replied that she does not intend to fund any private kindergartens, whether they belong to the chareidi or the Arab sectors.

Rabbi Gafni said that the chareidi public is discriminated against in matters of education more than any other sector, whether on the issue of busing, construction, renovation, licensing or early retirement. "You bear the responsibility for the extreme statements made to the media by the director of your ministry," he told Ms. Tamir. "[He said] one-third of all Israeli kindergartners are [enrolled] in the recognized but not official education system, which is mostly chareidi, and receive greater funding. That's what the Ministry Director said.

"Boruch Hashem we are blessed with a high natural birth rate, which is something you cannot prevent. Everybody knows the chareidi public is discriminated against more than any other sector.

"Arab education is different. There they have the option of government education, which does not exist for us. No matter what you do, even if you try to force me to do otherwise, I will send my child to the chareidi education system. Under no circumstances will I send my child to a government school, even if a decision is made not to provide me funding."

Minister Tamir's decision has international ramifications, said Rabbi Gafni, since it means that a chareidi family cannot educate its children in keeping with its way of life. "If the chareidi child in his place of residence does not receive Education Ministry funding, this is a declaration of war," he said, adding that through her decision Ms. Tamir goes beyond any of her predecessors, including Limor Livnat, Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid.

Rabbi Gafni asked to cut the meeting short before the vote on adding kindergartens to the extended-school-day program in order to consult with other party members. The committee chairman granted a recess during which Rabbi Gafni worked feverishly to induce the Prime Minister's Office and the Coalition Chairman to postpone the vote until Wednesday so that he could garner additional support. UTJ is now a partial member of the government: it holds the chair of the Knesset Finance Committee but it does not have the ministerial positions that it would get if a full member of the coalition. Negotiations towards a full membership of UTJ in the coalition have not progressed in months, but they are still open.


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