Bennett: We’ll Take Students on Tours of Development Towns

View of the Israeli town of Yeruham. Photo by Liron Almog/FLASH90.
View of Yerucham, in southern Israel. (Liron Almog/Flash90)

In an effort to expand the horizons of students, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that he would ensure that students were exposed to all aspects of Israeli society. “In the next school year, we will include trips and tours to development towns in the Galilee and Negev,” Bennett said in a speech at Bar Ilan University. “These trips will be required.”

The decision came in the wake of a report by the Biton Committee, headed by by Erez Biton, who won the Israel Prize in Literature in 2015 and is of Moroccan background. In a report issued several weeks ago, the committee called for an increase in the level of Sephardic historic and cultural issues in the educational system.

For Bennett, the issue goes beyond specific identities, he said in his speech. “We will not develop separate tracks for different groups, but a single track for each. We will not have a new course of studies on Sephardic culture, but we will present the whole story.

“Israeli students will not just learn about the Israel experience, but they will tour it as well,” he said. “Students will go to Kibbutz Degania and Sdeh Boker and to Yerucham and Dimona,” representing respectively old-line European settlements and development towns largely inhabited by families descended from immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. “Our purpose is not to emphasize the differences, but the unity,” he added.