Haredi educational institutions that will not include math, English and civics in their curriculums will not be eligible to receive government funding, Education Minister Shai Piron clarified during an interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
According to Piron, ultra-Orthodox schools must choose between two alternatives. "You want money from the State? Teaching the core subjects is the State's condition (for receiving these funds). If you don't go along (with the plan), I'm taking the money," he said in the interview, published Friday.
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"While these are private institutions which cannot be told what to teach, there is no reason for me to fund them either," said the minister, who is a senior member of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party. "The State cannot fund something that goes against its interests."
The minister said, "You cannot force cultural changes. If, for example, a haredi person will tell me that 'adding math to Torah studies constitutes blasphemy,' I will set up special study centers that will operate in the afternoon. The goal is to reach an agreement (that will see the haredi schools) teach the core curriculum subjects, but if we fail to reach an agreement, a difficult battle is expected. Institutions that will teach the core subjects will be funded 100%. Those that won't will be hurt."
Minister Piron told Yedioth he also plans to reexamine a program instituted by his predecessor, Gideon Sa'ar, which saw thousands of students, mainly from non-Orthodox public schools, visit the West Bank city of Hebron each year.
"The ministry should change the destination of these fieldtrips every year according to the social agenda," said Piron, whose daughter resides in Kiryat Arba, a Jewish settlement near Hebron.
"Next year will be the 100th anniversary of the tour of the moshavot (famous journey of 10 renowned rabbis to farming communities in the Land of Israel), so next year we will send students to the moshavot. Hebron can't remain the sole (destination)," he argued.
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