Classroom in Israel. [File].
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Education Ministry is set to launch on Sunday a weeklong program to promote common values among students and prevent racism and incitement in schools, it announced on Thursday.
The program, “The other and I,” is part of Tolerance Week in the education system and was developed in collaboration with the Justice Ministry.
“The State of Israel is founded on the values of respect for human dignity and freedom, equality, and tolerance toward others. Unfortunately, we have more than once been witness to racist events, incitement, and an unwillingness to get to know the other. These are unacceptable and dangerous phenomena that we cannot reconcile with,” said Michal Cohen, director- general of the Education Ministry.
“The education system is a crucial factor in preserving society’s values,” she added. “The interpersonal differences among students poses a cultural and social challenge as well as an opportunity to learn and accept the differences and the other.”
As part of the Tolerance Week events, Education Minister Shai Piron and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, along with educators and members of the State Attorney’s Office, will hold workshops for students on the prevention of racism and incitement. The workshops will aim to expose the students to the legal and legislative aspects of racism and of the importance of equality and protection of democracy.
In addition, schools will hold events in collaboration with organizations for the assistance of the elderly, minorities, new olim, and disabled populations in an effort to promote tolerance.
The collaboration between the two ministries on the issue began following the apparent increase in racism and incitement among youths during Operation Protective Edge. The partnership also aims to address the recent escalation and tensions within Israeli society as well as violence at sporting events.
“The Justice Ministry is at the forefront of the struggle against racism, discrimination, and oppression of the other and of the different, and against incitement to racism. The phenomenon of racism – of any kind and towards any group or individual – is an ugly phenomenon that must be condemned and denounced, and the war against this phenomenon is now among the core activity of the ministry,” said Ami Palmor, director-general of the Justice Ministry.
“There are various legal ways to fight against racism – legislation, enforcement, and imposition of penalties. However, the strategy of the Justice Ministry is that the struggle against racism should not only deal with legal enforcement and punishment, but rather with preventative activities and education,” she said.