JERUSALEM (Mar. 7)
The Israel Parliament endorsed today Government plans for an experimental educational television system by a vote of 55 to 43. Approval of the bill, voting on which was postponed five times because the Government could not muster a Knesset majority, was made possible only by Cabinet insistence on the collective responsibility rule, which obligates all coalition member parties to support a proposal.
The Herut, Liberal, Mapam, Agudat Israel and Communist parties all voted against the measure. The vote followed conclusion of debate by Education Minister Abba Eban in which he announced that educational television would be provided also to the state-supported religious schools which maintain a separate curriculum. He urged the House not to link the question with general television, pro or con, and to confine itself to the instructional aspect of the bill which, he said, was vitally needed to promote Israel’s educational facilities.
Asserting that educational TV would be a particular boon in Israel’s rural areas, Mr. Eban paid tribute to the Rothschild Memorial Trust which has agreed to finance the experimental program. He said the Rothschilds were prepared to contribute technical know-how, scientific experience and a budget. He added that the system would be tested experimentally for two or three years and then the Government and the Knesset would reconsider the experiment.
Aside from coalition discipline, the proposal won support in recent days when it became known that Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who was originally among the foes of the idea, had changed his mind and thrown his weight behind passage. The Premier veered toward Mr. Eban’s view that such television was particularly needed to reduce the gap between the standards of urban students compared with newcomers to rural schools which cannot command the same level of teachers or facilities as the city schools.
It was learned that the Rothschild Memorial Trust, headed by Lord Nathaniel Mayer Victor Rothschild of Cambridge, famous British scientist, will provide $2,000,000 for this country’s educational-TV project.