Olmert, Netanyahu spar over education


Israeli leaders sparred over education the day before the school year was set to begin.

At the weekly Cabinet meeting Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was briefed on plans for the new school year and praised Israel’s education system as well as planned reforms to the system.

“This Government devotes to education, I would say, almost more than to any other subject, not just in terms of resources, which approach NIS 30 billion in the 2009 budget, but also in terms of thinking, reforms [and] a different approach. I would like to remind you that we are building 8,000 new classrooms, 40 percent of them in the non-Jewish sector, which is both unprecedented and unavoidable,” the prime minister said.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu called for a real “revolution” in education, saying that he would replace studies of the Palestinian Nakba Day, marking the catastrophe of the formation of the state of Israel, with the teachings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, which were removed from the curriculum in recent years.

Netanyahu, who is gunning for new elections in order to become Israel’s next prime minister, presented his plans for educational reform Sunday at a news conference in Tel Aviv.

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