Wednesday, February 16, 2011
'Kids should know more of King David than 'Big Brother''
Education minister defends plan to bring school children to Hebron; former MKs Amnon Rubenstein and Uri Avnery slam decision.
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar defended his newly-unveiled plan to bring school children to the Tomb of the Patriarch in Hebron in an Army Radio interview on Wednesday.
The point of the tours, he said, is to create a historic connection with a place that Jews have lived in throughout all the generations.
The education minister said he wanted the youth to know as much about their history, about King David for example, as they know about Big Brother or Beauty and the Geek (reality television shows).
Questioned about whether the children should be taught also about the problems faced by the Palestinians of Hebron, Sa'ar quickly dismissed the notion, saying it would turn a historical and educational issue into a political one. He added that full security arrangements will exist.
Following Sa'ar's interview, former education minister Professor Amnon Rubenstein took issue with the idea of taking children to see the Tomb of the Patriarchs without "showing them the price paid by Palestinians in Hebron."
Rubenstein also said he thinks it is very bad for an education minister to involve himself in matters such as field trips. He noted that there are managers and heads of departments who are closely engaged with schools and their principles on those issues.
Former MK and Gush Shalom activist Uri Avnery responded to Sa'ar's plan on Wednesday, saying: "Gideon Sa'ar ceased to be the minister of education, and turned into Israel's minister of propaganda, with the purpose of instilling an extreme right-wing ideology into the Israeli education system."
Avnery continued, "Every year we hear the heart rendering stories of pupils whose parents can't afford the fee required, and therefore can't participate in the school trips with their classmates, and feel ashamed and humiliated. Instead of helping these cases, Minister Sa'ar opens wide the public treasury to finance 'trips' which are nothing but a political provocation in the service of the settlers."