Orlev pushes bill to promote IDF service in Arab schools

Proposed legislation to change the goals of state-funded education is authorized by Education C'tee with only one MK present.

July 25, 2011 16:30
2 minute read.
MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi)

Orlev 311. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


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The Education, Culture and Sports Committee authorized a bill that would add encouraging military, civilian or national service to the goals of state-funded education – including Arab schools – under law.

The bill, proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), would amend the 1953 State Education Law, adding a twelfth goal for education, which reads as follows: “To cultivate involvement in Israeli society through...responsibility and helping others by contributing to the community and serving the country through the military, national service, civilian service and volunteering, and through striving for social justice in the State of Israel.”

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After committee chairman MK Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) opened the meeting, he left, and Orlev was the only MK in the room. Representatives from the Education Ministry said they fully support the addition, and the meeting was closed within five minutes, with the bill prepared for its second and third (final) readings in the plenum.

Orlev expressed surprise that Arab MKs did not participate in the discussion.

“Maybe they understand that this is a bill they cannot oppose,” he said.

The final vote on the bill is unlikely to take place during the current Knesset session, which ends on August 7. The Habayit Hayehudi MK said he is sure the bill will pass, because it’s a “consensus law,” that has the government’s approval.

One minister, according to Orlev, opposed the bill only because it equates national and civilian service with IDF service.

“The bill gives legitimation and incentive to educational institutions to encourage national and IDF service,” Orlev explained.

On a more practical level, “it tells schools what they need to teach.”

After the meeting’s abrupt ending, UTJ MK Moshe Gafni entered the committee room and expressed concern over the bill.

“The Education Minister has to make an active decision to in order to apply the goals to haredi schools,” Orlev told Gafni. “Look at me. Would I lie to you?” Gafni retorted: “You told me I have to respect the rule of law. I didn’t learn that at kollel. Now I want to understand the law.”

Orlev and the committee’s legal adviser assured him the change in the bill does not apply to haredi schools in that, unless the Education Ministry instructs otherwise, haredi schools do not have to educate according to the goals listed in the State Education Law.

However, the bill applies to Arab schools, much to the dismay of MK Muhammad Barakei (Hadash), an outspoken opponent of civilian service for Israeli-Arabs.

“The Arab education system will not be a greenhouse for national service,” Barakei said. “This is an anti-pedagogical outlook that wants to turn schools into factories manufacturing soldiers.”

Barakei added that the Knesset Education Committee “serves the agenda of its chairman, who has no connection to education. I boycotted this meeting intentionally,” he explained. “I will not be part of a political marketing ploy on the part of right-wing politicians.

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