JERUSALEM (Nov. 19)
Knesset members from the left and right sides of the political spectrum were in rare accord this week when they introduced an amendment affording Israel’s secular students “equal protection and opportunities” to those enjoyed by religious students.
The amendment, “designed to protect the secular education system,” was initiated by Hemdat, the Council for Freedom of Science, Religion and Culture in Israel.
A draft bill, submitted to Knesset members three months ago by Hemdat Chairman Hillel Shoval, already has the support of the Labor Party, Citizens Rights Movement and Center Shinui on the left and of the right-wing Tsomet and Moledet parties.
The amendment was formally introduced in parliament this week by Shulamit Aloni of the CRM and Yoash Zidon of Tsomet.
According to Hemdat, the need to protect secular students arose when the National Religious Party’s Zevulun Hammer became minister of education.
Hemdat referred to Hammer as “a religious Orthodox minister who aspires to spread religious values throughout the education system.”