Even the delusional leaders of Iran, a country that relies on its oil reservoirs and seemingly doesn’t even need an education system to guarantee its existence and stimulate its economy, grasped what the State of Israel, a country whose education system is an existential need, has not been able to grasp. This is incomprehensible.
For more than a decade now, Israeli governments have deliberately destroyed the education system – ruin that presents an existential threat for us. These governments gradually turned their back on education, but also on the health and personal safety of Israelis at home and on the roads.
The current Israeli government has not presented to its citizens even one social issue that is being promoted on the national level. This government’s actions, even in areas that are supposed to be vital to our existence, such as the Iranian threat, are not placed on the agenda of the average Israeli household – which can’t affect them anyways while it finds it difficult to educate its children and enjoy reasonable health service.
The results of the “day after” the teacher strike ends can already be predicted. The prime minister’s letter and the teachers’ hope that this conflict can be resolved in an hour attest to this. The big outcry will end quietly, with an agreement that is premised on salary raises (that are completely justified.) A little lip service will be paid to the revolution that the education system desperately needs, and which apparently will not happen.
Brilliant Israelis boost foreign economies
Even the long term doesn’t look bright. Our decline in international assessment tests will continue (assuming we can go even lower), classes will not become smaller, and the violence will not disappear. Advanced instruction equipment won’t be purchased, buildings won’t be renovated, peripheral communities will continue to be deprived, a high quality system for training teachers and keepings them up-to-date scientifically and technologically won’t be established, and the teaching profession won’t be attracting talented young people.
Even the universities are empty these days because of the university strike. Here too, the strike will end with a salary agreement. Will it curb the ongoing decline in research, which according to international reports has hit a nadir in some areas? Will the infrastructure equipment be improved? Will the brain-drain end? Will Israel become an attractive location for the thousands of brilliant Israelis who are teaching and working in universities and industries overseas and stimulating foreign economies? Apparently nothing will happen, and the decline will continue.
When it comes to fundamental social issues, we do not need another committee or salary agreement, but rather, an in depth revolution that will take many years and aim to reach clear objectives. Such revolution would have to be managed by professional ministers who serve for a long time and whose ministries enjoy long-term budgets. Only such revolution may be able to bring us back to the path of the leading nations – a path we already took in the past.
Aaron Ciechanover is the Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate for 2004 and a member of the Technion’s faculty of medicine