More than 50 local authorities announced on Saturday that they will not cooperate with the policies of far-right MK Avi Maoz’s Noam Party.
The heads of a large number of the “rebellious” authorities have announced that they will self-fund the plans that will be affected as a result of an Education Ministry department’s transition to external programs in the hands of Maoz.
According to the coalition agreement between Likud and Noam, the unit for external programs and promoting partnerships in the ministry will be transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office and then handed over to Maoz’s authority. The Noam chairman has often expressed extreme positions regarding the LGBTQ community and women’s rights.
The announcement of the agreement caused grave concern among educational authorities, parents and students from the LGBTQ community fearing damage to areas that help prevent prejudices against the community.
Maoz also recently said that the advisory unit to the chief of staff regarding the status of women in the IDF should be abolished.
Which local authorities will be going against Maoz?
The municipalities that joined the call include Rosh Ha’ayin, Arad, Rishon Lezion, Ramat Gan, Kiryat Bialik, Holon, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Nesher, Ashdod, Ganei Tikva, Bat Yam, Hod Hasharon, Zichron Yaakov, Ness Ziona, Kiryat Ono, Givatayim, Mevaseret Zion, Alfei Menashe, Ramat HaNegev, Kfar Saba and Herzliya.
Also voicing their intention to go against Maoz were Ramat Hasharon, Eshkol, Emek Hefer, Mateh Yehuda, Jezreel Valley, Gezer, Kiryat Tivon, Darom Hasharon, Kfar Yona, Neve Monosson, Tel Mond, Savyon, Pardess Hanna, Gilboa, Hof HaCarmel, Megiddo, Givat Brenner, Ramat Yishai, Pardesiya, Meta Asher, Ramat Yishai, Yoav, Kochav Yair-Tzur Yigal, Yehud, Bnei Shimon, Ibn Yehuda, Upper Galilee, Zebulon and Menashe.
The response in Tel Aviv was not limited to Mayor Ron Huldai alone, who was one of the first to respond. The head of the education administration in the Tel Aviv municipality, Shirley Rimon Bracha, sent a letter to the administrators in the city following the transfer of powers to Maoz, stating: “This is not a minor event – it is an administrative drama that may also turn into a value drama” story. “I suppose we all fear a unilateral and extreme political intervention in the content that enters the schools.”
The 14th Forum, which is composed of women who head local authorities, sent a letter to prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, which reads: “We, the members of the 14th Forum of Heads of Local Authorities in Israel, turn to you with great concern following the decision to remove the unit for external programs from the Education Ministry and transfer it to the Noam Party. In fact, the decision to remove from the Education Ministry a division entrusted with the education of Israeli children and transfer it within a political agreement creates great discomfort, when the education of our children is at stake.
“The education system must remain free of political interests and give expression to the variety of opinions and voices that exist in Israeli society. It cannot be divided like a puzzle for the ‘need [for] a coalition agreement’ of one kind or another.”
Lapid opens hotline for people affected by Maoz's position
Yesh Atid leader Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced on Saturday that his party is opening a hotline for the guidance of parents who wish to make sure that Noam’s extreme and dangerous content does not enter their children’s schools.
“Maoz will be not allowed to instill the dark, homophobic, nationalist and violent teachings of his party into the schools of every child in Israel,” the party stated on Facebook.
According to the official statement, parents who wish to influence the content of their children’s education should do the following:
- Contact the local authority with a demand for transparency and information on the programs that are expected to enter their children’s schools.
- Contact the school principal and the local authority to maintain the parents’ right to influence the curriculum and school regulations, which will define the school as an inclusive, protected environment that accepts all children.
- Demand early notification and examine administrative and legal options that do not oblige children to be present during the hours in which these new programs will be taught, and to instead promote the instilling of liberal content, dealing with human rights, acceptance of difference and education for tolerance.