NEGEV INSTITUTE Midreshet Sde Boker claims the Education Ministry wants to shut it down. The ministry charges it with mismanagement..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Education Ministry spokesman denied claims by Midreshet Sde Boker on Sunday that the ministry intends to close the educational institution that was set up near the home of David Ben-Gurion to advance the vision of Israel’s first prime minister.
The school and desert research center made its claims after the Education Ministry canceled a meeting set for Sunday that was intended to discuss financing the institution.
It called Monday a sad birthday for Ben-Gurion, who was born on October 16, 1886.
“Instead of celebrating Ben-Gurion’s birthday, we are fighting for the life of the school that carries out his legacy,” Midreshet Sde Boker director- general Ori Disatnik said.
“Due to the lack of progress with the ministry, we are preparing for the school to go on strike and all its operations to be suspended.”
Education Ministry spokesman Amos Shavit responded that the ministry is making every effort to save Midreshet Sde Boker but requires more help from the institution itself.
Due to chronic mismanagement and debts, he said, the education and finance ministries decided that Midreshet Sde Boker requires a program to rehabilitate the institution financially.
“The institution unfortunately continues to refuse to accept any framework, and to demand additional funding beyond what is coming to it by law,” Shavit said. “The ministry invites Midreshet Sde Boker to take steps to work better financially on behalf of its students and teachers.”
Officials at Midreshet Sde Boker denied Shavit’s claim that the ministry continues to fund the institution during the dispute. The officials said no funding has been provided since June for the school, which in the past received NIS 1 million shekels monthly from the ministry.
“The ministry is trying to mislead the public,” Disatnik said. “The ministry wants to cut a fifth of our funding every year for five years and leave us without any funding at all.
This would mean that Midreshet Sde Boker would have no choice but to close, which would be very sad.”
Disatnik called upon Education Minister Naftali Bennett and ministry director-general Shmuel Abuav to intervene on behalf of Midreshet Sde Boker.
He hinted that Bennett was not intervening for ideological reasons.
Labor leader Avi Gabbay spoke about the issue with Bennett, who vowed to him that Midreshet Sde Boker would not close, and he would help the institute continue to function financially.
“We will continue to stand beside Midreshet Sde Boker,” Gabbay said. “We will not abandon the vision of Ben-Gurion.”