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Oct 8, 2006

schools needs merits or connections

It takes time to get full accreditation from the Ministry of Education, and I am not familiar with the process nro with the various stages and levels of accreditation, so in the aspect of the issue my post will be incomplete.

A new school opened up last year. The school is trying to cater to a public that mostly considers itself being some level of Haredi. They are mostly families of Western Immigrants who want a strong Torah education in the Haredi style but also want a strong secular education. The two generally do not go together. There are a number of schools around that have been trying this niche and all have had success and this new school is trying to join the crowd. In its second year, I am told it has been successful and parents are happy.

The school has been applying for accreditation and full recognition. The response they were given was that if the parents in the school (x number of them) sign up as members of (the ruling) Kadima party, they will be awarded a full license to operate as a school.

I am sure this happens all the time and whatever party in power uses their influence in similar fashion. However, right now Kadima is in power and right now I am blogging and this blatant abuse of power upsets me.

A school should be licensed and accredited based on its merits. If it fits the requirements (I would venture to say most of those requirements would be academic based) it should be given accredation, and if it fails to meet the requirements, accredation should be denied. In no way should any such decision be based on political affiliation.

When Kadima was started and was clearly going to win the largest amount of votes, reps of Kadima met with various mayors from around Israel. They basically threatened the mayors by saying that any moyor who switches affiliation and joins Kadima, his/her city will be given priority and funding from the Interior Ministry. Any mayor who does not switch to Kadima can expect to not advance too many projects in his city.

Many mayors made the switch to Kadima. Recently there have been talks and rumors of some of those mayors discussing the option of switching back due to their dissatisfaction with Kadima. These mayors are clearly opportunists and they see the way the wind is blowing. Polls currently show (whether or not you believe in polls makes no difference as they are a very large part of the Israeli media and political scene) that Olmert only has support of about 7% of the general public and if elections were held today Kadima might not even pass the electoral threshold. The mayors know all this and that is why they are talking about leaving Kadima. But the only reason they joined Kadima is because of the threats they received prior to the last elections.

There is clearly an abuse of power going on. When it involves which party a mayor is affiliated with it is bad enough. Just because a mayor is not part of Kadima does not mean his city should not be able to promote business or build schools or start other projects. It is worse (in my eyes) when the ruling party attempts to force individuals to sign up as party members under the threat of school accredation.
Do we live in Communist Russia? Do we live in North Korea or Iran? A school should be licensed based on its merits, not based on party affiliation.


  1. I hate to tell you, but the old-time Israeli elite was very partial to Stalin and totalitarianistic communisim.


  2. Well Rafi, the thing to keep in mind is that the Israeli left doesn't exactly care about niceties such as democtracy and the rule of law, or at least not inanmuch as it applies to them. They did the same thing in the early days an dmost of the crime we have now in Israel is due to the fact that the socialist government ripped immigrant children away from Judaism without giving them any kind of comparable ethical system to replace it.

  3. Rafi,

    while I believe that every political system has and is open to corruption this story sounds morelike an exxageratted urban legend. Especially for a religious community in a parlimentary system which has religious groups. I would do more research before I made those types of claims....and if they are accurate then as we've seen with the pres of israel, corruption can and should be fought.

    First of all, I have no idea what you are talking about, ripping children away?
    Second, was it ethical when meah shearim had a week of riots because the police dared to arrest a "religious" baby killer. I can understand why the religious has no problem with a baby murderer; the religious are commanded to murder babies...but typically not their own.
    You can choose the be "orthodox" whatever works for you. But it is the hieght of racisim and misunderstanding and ignorance and hypocrisy to claim that the "orthodox" are any more moral or ethical than any other group.

  4. Danny - the claims are accurate. I confirmed it from someone on the school admin (a friend of mine) and from anothe rperson involved. Obviously I do not have all the details of what is goign on, but in general that s the story and it is true.

    I can try to get some more details and post them here when I do..

  5. danny - The Isralei left was no better to the religious than you claim the right is now. They used to seperate families enetring Israel and put the kids in special group homes to get them away from the religious. There are thousands of these stories and children out there. Many parents were told their kids were sick and needed special schooling and treatment. These kids were almost never reunited with their religious families. ETC..... Not gonna argue about the Right being perfect (they're not), but the left has been pretty bad as well.

    On an even smaller scale, In colleges around the country, ask any religious Jew, when we needed extra time for yom Tov or what not, the only teachers to give a hard time were the non-religious ones. I never had a goy tell me, too bad!

  6. Shaya,

    we have no disagreement. I do not claim that any group is better than the other. That is my point.

    I am happy to debate the issue of which philosopical ideology is more suited to a healthy and happy and fufilled life. However, the point of my philosophy is esentially that there is no 'chosen' people. All groups have issues, failings and poor representatives.
    Shemuel's point implied that the orthodox system is the best ethical system and the the left's crimes were somehow worse by virtue of their second class ethical system.

    As for holidays, I've never once been told "too bad." And I was in school a long long time. Of course people like me and that may account for the disparity in reaction. :-)

    Also, the basketball pole fell down at dads...you want to put up a new one with me?

  7. rafi, i told the story at peters house and they said that if the school calls a newspaper(not hamodia) and makes it public then it'll get taken care of.


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