OK, let me get this straight . . . the most left-wing politically charged education minister in the history of Israel, a former leader of the radical "Peace Now" movement who wants to include "Nakba" in Israeli schoolbooks, is accusing the heads of religious seminaries of trying to "politicize" the complete elimination of an entire sector of National Service Placements?
If they even MENTION this issue, they are making the situation worse? How much worse can the situation be than "NO PLACEMENTS," Ms. Minister?
Me thinks she doth protest too much.
She is clearly the political one here, and she knows EXACTLY what she is doing. This is shaping up to be a battle between the rabbis and the ministers--again.
Here's Rabbi Aviner in a recent article on A7:
- "Swimming against the current is an experience, but don't swim in a muddied stream," Aviner wrote. "We need you for the Nation of Israel for your whole life and not just for these two years. We need you to function as a clean and pure woman, without a dark record from the past. Do not harm the building of your delicate, pure, spiritual personality. The army is a place where others make decisions for you and you are not free. The general atmosphere is far from pure, too. What could be fun and experiences for other girls may turn out to be a deep scar for your whole life."
Rabbi Aviner goes on to suggest a different type of organized experience for the young women, and shows that this fight has moved to a full gloves-off fistfight:
- "If it is a challenge you are looking for," he wrote in an open letter to religious girls, "we have a wonderful challenge for you: cancellation of young women's military service, until there is 'national service' for all of them, including the secular girls, just as secular women's groups demand. Create a movement of girls for cancelling the draft for young women. What a great challenge!"
Under the headline – "Don't Enlist, G-d Forbid!," Rabbi Aviner wrote: "Never enlist to the army, in any framework and in any way. G-d forbid! Never!" He mentioned that all of the great sages of modern Israel forbade women's service in the IDF, including the chief rabbis and religious-Zionist rabbis, some of whom served in the IDF and attained senior rank. "It is forbidden! Forbidden like kashrut! Forbidden like Shabbat! And especially, forbidden like tzniut [modesty]!," he explained.
Soon, I fear, it will be very important for our young women, as well as our young men, to be well trained in military matters in order to protect the land of Israel from our enemies--both within and without Israel.
The education minister thinks she is playing a clever game as a schoolyard bully. What she doesn't realize, however, is the world beyond the schoolyard isn't playing a game--and they are playing for keeps.
National Service placements cut
Education Ministry pulls budget, cancels National Service placement for 3,000 seminary teachers. 'Yuli Tamir preventing these girls from serving thier country to best of their ability,' says National Religious Party MK.
The Education Ministry has decided to cancel National Service placements in schools, starting in the next school year. The National Service failed to receive any formal notice of the cancellation, which may result in 3000 placements being annulled.
According to a Wednesday report in Hazofe Newspaper, one of the heads of the religious seminary schools for girls volunteering with the National Service, called the ministry asking about the number of school placements his seminary is supposed to fill in the coming year. "No National Service school placements are available next year," he was told.
The National Service headquarters soon found out that all placements were pulled. Education Minister Yuli Tamir, they said, is trying to cripple the religious-Zionist educational system; adding that since 2006, religious-Zionist education has taken a 35% budget cut, from NIS 60 million, to NIS 38 million ($17.5 million to $11.1 million) a year.
In recent years, more than 3,000 seminary schools' graduates have been employed as teachers by the Israeli educational system, as part of the National Service – which is an alternative to those unable to perform mandatory IDF service.
Tamir vs. Religious Zionism?
Seminary schools' graduates have been placed as special-education teachers and seminary school teachers all across Israel; as well as caregivers to children at risk, or children living in the periphery.
In many cases, in order no to cut back on the number of volunteers, the National Service has made up the budget deficit by using its own funds, causing it to run through in budget almost completely. The proverbial well, it said, has run dry.
"The education minister is knowingly and willfully, and in the name of an ideological fight against religious-Zionism, has drastically cut back on the funding of all religious-Zionism establishments, including National Service," MK Nissan Slomiansky (NU-NRP) told Ynet Wednesday.
"It is unthinkable that she would prevent these girls from serving their country to the best of their ability. The special education system stands to suffer greatly because of Tamir's ideological wars," he added.
"Any attempt to turn the seminary schools' placements crisis into a political strife is useless and harmful to the National Service," said Tamir's office in a statement.
"By portraying (National Service) as the domain of one social sector, it does nothing but diminish its national importance… The said budget has been cut as part of the overall cut placed on the Education Ministry since 2000. This cut has affected all of the ministry's operations equally.
"The fact that some are trying to politicized the situation is regrettable," concluded the statement.