Photo: Nir Shmol
Tamir at conference
Photo: Nir Shmol
Vision: Arab volunteers in national service
Education minister launches new project in which she aspires to integrate Arab sector into national service, which usually serves as an alternative volunteer framework for religious sector instead of military service
Education Minister Yuli Tamir said Sunday that in her vision she sees "an Arab girl next to a religious girl, volunteering together in a Nahariyan hospital. If I succeed in this then I have accomplished all of my aspirations in public life."


Speaking during the City for Education conference in Holon, Minister Tamir referred in her statements to a new project she had begun to implement, with the main goal of encouraging students from the Arab sector to volunteer in the national service.


"We can offer the Arab sector a partnership," she explained. "Let's see if we can recruit them and divide properly what we have. I have
decided to open a path and give them the opportunity to participate in the national service".


Today, the national service serves as an alternative volunteer framework for the military service and many of the volunteers are from the national-religious sector. The State has allocated 10,000 positions for national service volunteers, and the Education Ministry holds almost a third of them.


More than 3,000 volunteers are recruited each year to help in various institutions like schools for special education, community centers, daycare centers, dormitories and youth movements, in a variety of duties such as professional assistants and tutors. The duration of the service is between one and two years.


Worried by ultra-Orthodox sector 

According to the minister, a trial has recently been conducted in the Arab sector in which positions have been allocated for national service volunteers. The positions have been filled instantly and therefore Minister Tamir has decided to conduct and implement the project on a wider scale.


For the first time, the Education Ministry of will offer 74 volunteer positions for the national service from the Arab sector in the coming year. The youngsters will be trained through the usual centers which also qualify the other volunteers without any special courses being set up for them.


It is important to point out that in order to encourage volunteers in the Arab sector to volunteer for national service and in order to vacate positions for them, the minister needs to cooperate both with the Israel Defense Forces and the local authorities.


At the convention, the minister also referred to the public and official education.


"The ultra-Orthodox sector worries me. In 20 years, 25 percent of all the pupils will be ultra-Orthodox and an additional 30 percent will be from the Arab sector. Both do not identify with the country. The solution found for the ultra-orthodox sector is according to the best Israeli tradition of 'known yet not official.' This is becoming a great part of the system and we do not know what is going on there. I will find a legal way to shut down private schools".


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