Historic First Session of Israel Knesset Adjourns; Free Public Education Law Passed

The achievements of the historic first session of the Israel Knesset were reviewed by Speaker Yosef Sprinzak last night in the closing hours of the session. Before the body adjourned until November 7, however, it adopted Israel’s first free public education bill.

In the seven months of its first session the Knesset adopted 70 bills, some of extreme importance, Mr. Sprinzak declared. He pointed out that the Parliament took shape in the heat of debate and praised the deputies for maintaining “friendly relations and good manners” despite some basic disagreements. In closing he extended holiday greetings to the members of the Knesset, the army, the government service, the people of Israel, the Jews in countries outside Israel, and to the nations of the world.

The education bill, which provides for free education of all children between five and thirteen years of age, was opposed only by members of the General Zionist and Progressive Parties. The latter voted against the bill because it perpetuated the quadruple school system now in existence–separate systems maintained by the Mizrachi Labor, General Zionists and Agudas Israel.

During the debate preceding passage of the bill, Minister of Education Zalman Shazar reported that while only 66,000 children attended school last year there are already 100,000 Jewish children enrolled this year, plus 15,000 Arab children and 12,000 children in immigrant reception camps who must receive schooling. He stated that at least 700 more teachers were needed to handle the enlarged enrollment and the government must spend 1,750,000 pounds ($5,225,000) to build new schools with about 1,000 additional classrooms.

Herman Hollander, whose resignation from all posts in the world Mizrachi organization was announced last week, revealed today that he has withdrawn his resignation. Israel Feinstein’s resignation from the Mizrachi, which was made public at the same time as Mr. Hollander’s has not been cancelled. The resignations were originally submitted because of “divergencies of opinion on the party’s policy.”

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