Mar 7, 2010

The kids won, but was the fight about them?

One of the unfortunate results of the recent dispute between Mayor Moshe Abutbol and the Haredi council members with Minister of Education Gideon Saar is the way Saar is now being painted in the haredi press as being anti-Haredi and simply out to get them.

Until now he has been considered a friend, relatively at least, and sympathetic to the needs of the Haredi community. It is a shame that anyone who does not automatically give in to a demand is considered anti, no matter what else he may have done or in what other ways he may have tried to help that same community.

There can be other reasons, other than hatred for Haredim, to oppose a demand.

It is especially a shame because making this dispute over the school building into such a major fight could have had dangerous repercussions. The way Abutbol escalated the fight, I believe after being pushed by his buddies in Degel who made this seem like the most important of all battles to take over this building, didn't really deserve to be fought at that level.

The building, even if it had been transferred to a Haredi school, would have hardly solved the crisis in the Haredi school system. This building houses in the range of about 400 students. The Haredi reps are saying their shortage is of 250 classrooms and close to 3000 students who suffer because of the classroom shortage - this school building would have been a drop in the bucket compared to the needs of the community. Definitely not worth escalating the fight to the level it was escalated to.

Hopefully nothing bad will come out of it, but that remains to be seen. Tensions were calmed, Saar made some promises for classrooms to be built which is far better than taking over this one school building (if he actually follows through and approves the construction of the classes and buildings) and life goes one, hopefully for the better.

That is, if the actual gain for classrooms was actually the objective. if the objective was something else, the taking over of the building just to have more control in the neighborhood, then maybe it was worth the fight. But then it is a shame that the kids were being used as pawns in a stupid fight.

As of right now, assuming the classrooms actually get built as per the promises, the real winners are the kids.


  1. which kids won?

    Do you think that there will be enough buildings for the chareidi kids come september - ellul 1 ? If you do, youre dreaming. Nice dreams. But dreams.

    And thats assuming that they will be there at all within the next few years

  2. if the promise is kept, 100 classrooms over the next two years is a lot better than 10 classrooms next year.

    again, it all depends on if the promise is kept, and how much of a promise it really was.

  3. in order to keep the promise someone has to approve building sites? or allocate money to bet shemesh?


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