Child Welfare Council Head Denounces Discriminatory Summer Program

YERUSHALAYIM -

Chairman of the Child Welfare Council, Dr. Yitzchak Kadman, has joined chareidi leaders in denouncing the decision of Israeli Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) to offer a “School of Summer Vacation” that excludes chareidi children.

Dr. Kadman wrote to Piron, demanding that he desist from such discrimination. If not, “we will consider what steps to take, including a petition to the High Court,” he said.

According to the program, activities for students in first and second grades will be held in state schools from July 1-21 on Sunday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each class will hold a total of 28 students, with special education classes holding seven students.

An estimated 200,000 first and second-grade students nationwide are set to participate in the summer school program this year. Some 30,000 third and fourth-grade students from the geographic and social periphery will also participate. But chareidi schools were excluded for not being state schools.

In response to protests from chareidi MKs, Piron said that he sought to strengthen the state school system and its core curriculum through the summer program, and he invited the chareidim to join the state system, so they too could benefit.

“I don’t think the summer program has anything to do with the core curriculum,” said Dr. Kadman, “and if the education minister wishes to try to get the chareidim to join the government system, he can do so through positive incentives, not through discrimination.”

Kadman’s letter follows one written by Beitar Illit mayor Meir Rubenstein to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, urging him to intervene to prevent the discrimination, and asking why the children are guilty if their parents are chareidi.

When Piron’s plan was discussed in the Knesset, it drew an enraged reaction from UTJ MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, who accused Piron of acting out of hatred for the chareidi community.