Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset State Control Committee, July 25, 2016.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
“Excellence and Zionism,” with an emphasis on Bible study, is the root of an education “revolution” the government wants to bring about, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, two days before the start of the new school year.
“Our objective is to carry out an education revolution,” Netanyahu said. “This revolution will be based on two things: excellence and Zionism.”
Excellence, he said, to enable every child to realize their potential; and Zionism, based on the study of the Bible and Jewish heritage, to understand why the Jews are in Israel.
“First of all, the study of the Bible,” he said. “We must make a major effort – this is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.”
In addition, he said, it is important to teach about Jewish contributions to civilization, as well as general history and knowledge.
“Knowledge is a critical word,” he said. “We want to give it to every child in Israel, Jews and non-Jews as one, religious and secular. This is the basis of the new world, and the basis of Israel as a strong nation in the world.”
During the meeting, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman raised the issue of the Tel Aviv municipality’s reported decision to turn the Shevah-Mofet school in south Tel Aviv – which since the 1990s immigration wave has mainly served the children of Russian-speaking immigrants – into a school for the children of migrants living in the area.
When Liberman said that Netanyahu should get involved in the decision to turn the school – which he called a flagship for immigrant absorption – into a school for the “children of refugees,” he was corrected by ministers Miri Regev and Ofer Akunis, who yelled out “infiltrators, not refugees.”
Liberman corrected himself, said this decision articulated wrong priorities, and asked Netanyahu to get involved. The prime minister said the issue would be discussed in the cabinet.