The Education Ministry will summon the principal of a Beit Shemesh elementary
school to a disciplinary hearing after students were given letters printed on
school letterhead encouraging parents to vote for Mayor Moshe
“The school’s actions were quite serious, as it used school
property and infrastructure for election campaigning, which is against election
laws which clearly prohibit political activity within school frameworks,” a
spokesman for the Education Ministry wrote in a statement.
said it would also review “the laws and procedures pertaining to election
campaigning” with school supervisors prior to next week’s election.
letters, given to students in sealed envelopes at the Darchei Noam school on
Tuesday, featured the school’s logo in the header and the logo for the
ultra-Orthodox Chen electoral list at the bottom. It was signed by Lavey
Freedman and Moshe Pinchas, co-founders of the organization that created the
“On behalf of the entire Darchei Noam family and all the children
in the school, we ask that everyone show their hakaras hatov [gratitude] and
support Mayor Moshe Abutbol and the accompanying Chen party in next week’s
municipal election,” the letter read.
In a “clarification” email sent to
parents on Wednesday, Freedman and Pinchas said they were speaking as
individuals and not on behalf of the school. But they reiterated their support
for Abutbol, writing that “it is our obligation to inform the parents of certain
facts relating to the upcoming elections.”
A spokesman for Abutbol,
Hanoch Bressler, distanced the mayor’s reelection campaign from the Chen
“This is not connected to us at all,” he wrote The Jerusalem Post
in an email. “This is an initiative of the Chen party.”
The Chen party
could not be reached for comment.
A representative for Eli Cohen,
Abutbol’s opponent, praised the ministry’s decision to investigate the actions
of the school.
“This attempt to apply unlawful pressure on residents is
just another attempt to subvert the democratic process along with other
practices implemented by the Abutbul campaign,” the representative said in an
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