Welfare Minister Zevulun Hammer of the National Religious Party has denounced the sending of 10 Israeli high school students to spend six months with non-Jewish families in the United States. In a letter to Education Minister Aharon Yadlin, Hammer warned of the “grave danger and temptation caused by sending Jewish youths to live with non-Jewish families.”
Hammer demanded that the program be can celled. But Dr. Dan Ronnen, advisor to Yadlin, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Ministry of Education had no intention of doing so. The 10 youngsters were sent to the U.S. as part of a program organized by the American Field Service in which youths from all over the world spend six months with American families and go to American schools. The Israelis were selected by the education system from schools throughout the country, after receiving their parents’ approval.
But Hammer felt this was not merely a matter of educational considerations, but also of national ones. He wrote he had learned that one of the students will even be a guest of a priest. “This,” he wrote, “seems strange and serious. At a time when we are obliged to deepen Jewish consciousness, what is the logic and reason for an action that might cause the opposite result?” Hammer also warned against the negative consequences the program might have on American Jewry which is “fighting assimilation.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.