Arab MKs walk out of hearing they initiated

The hearing was called after media reports that Arab students who completed Nat'l Service would receive preferential status in educational system.

Arab school children (photo credit: Courtesy)
Arab school children
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Arab MKs stormed out of a hearing that they themselves initiated Tuesday, when the Education, Culture and Sport Committee met to discuss a recent decision by the Education Ministry to grant preferential status in employing Arab teachers to candidates who volunteered for National Service.
Students from the Lewinsky Teachers’ Seminar looked on as Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Masud Gnaim (United Arab List) and Muhammad Barakei (Hadash) left the hearing in protest. The Arab MKs called for the hearing after reading reports in the media that Arab students who completed National Service would receive preferential status when applying to programs in the educational system.
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“This hearing is not political,” Barakei said. “I request that the committee chairman only refer to the decision by the Education Ministry to give 30 credits to Arab graduates of National Service, compared to 15 credits to those who hold a BA. This is a disproportional situation that harms the education system.”
Zahalka added that due to the system of giving priority to National Service graduates, candidates who did not excel in their studies will be employed in schools and will have a bad influence on the entire system.
Tzion Shabat from the Education Ministry said that the information that had been given to the MKs was simply inaccurate.
“The topic of criteria in preferring candidates is currently under oversight at the highest levels of the ministry,” said Shevet.
“There is an agreement, both within the political echelons as well as in the professional echelons that giving 30 credits for National Service is too much.”
The subject, he added, is currently being checked by the ministry’s legal department.
Shabat’s comments, however, irked Danny Danon (Likud), who accused him of being too apologetic rather than expressing pride in encouraging National Service volunteers. Danon said that he would continue submitting a bill that would grant priority to National Service veterans applying to government positions.
In response, Barakei asked Committee chairman Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) to conclude the hearing, but Miller refused, saying that he would allow other hearing participants to also make their voices heard. It was at that point that the three MKs left the meeting in protest.