Despite deploring his opinions, I couldn’t help feeling some sympathy for civics teacher Adam Verete in recent weeks. After all, he was only following Education Ministry policy; how was he to know that doing so risked dismissal?The ministry long ago adopted the 1996 Kremnitzer Report on civics education, which explicitly says “a teacher is permitted to take a stand on a controversial issue, as long as he doesn’t give his stand the status of an obligatory view.” Verete thus saw no harm in sharing his own far-left views with his 12th-grade civics class. But a student with far-right views complained to both the ministry and a Knesset member of feeling intimidated, and the school began proceedings to fire him, backtracking only after a public outcry.Thus the fundamental problem is the ministry’s own policy – because when one party wields enormous power over another, it’s almost impossible for the powerful party to express opinions without the weaker party feeling pressured to acquiesce. That’s precisely why, for instance, most Western legal systems allow employers to be convicted of sexual harassment or assault even if an employee didn’t explicitly object: Employees terrified of losing their livelihood might be afraid to object. And high-school teachers wield enormous power over their students’ future: The teacher’s grade comprises 50% of the student’s final score on the matriculation exam in that subject, and matriculation scores affect not only what colleges students can get into, but even what subjects they can study.