Bill on Unified Education System Passes First Reading in Knesset

The Israel Parliament last night passed its first reading of the government’s bill to establish a national unified system of education to replace the four “trend” systems now in existence.

The vote came after seven hours of debate during which Yaacov Cohen, Mapam deputy, stated that passage of the bill would “affect our religious feelings. Our religion is Socialism, “he added, “and by preventing our own education you hurt our religious feelings.”

A similar argument, somewhat differently worded, was presented by Rabbi Kalman Kahane, Poale Agudah deputy, who opposed the measure on social as well as religious grounds. He also maintained that Jewish democracy had been born and developed through a variety of educational trends, and argued that abandonment of this system would amount to a “grave” blow to that democracy. He demanded that where the state supported a school it provide 100 percent of its budget rather than the 60 percent provided for by this bill.

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