Education Committee Chairman MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) announced a new initiative to be discussed by the committee which will require the Council for Higher Education to adjust the Psychometric Entrance Test to the haredi community.
Orlev said "We shall recommend the approval of the bid and failing that we shall act to enforce it by law". The bid emerged following an appeal by the religious Hakima PET preparatory school claming that the psychometric tests in their current form are putting a strain on the ultra-Orthodox, thus preventing their integration into higher education establishments and the labor market.
Shai Cohen, director of the Hakima school sent a letter to the Education Committee which read: "In order to achieve genuine change in the haredi community's employment we must tackle the obstacle posed by higher education.
"Therefore, one should encourage the haredi public to obtain higher education and for this purpose preparation work must be done".
Cohen further claimed that encouraging the ultra-Orthodox to obtain higher education could bring about integration between the ultra-Orthodox and the general public.
MK Orlev joined Cohen in supporting the bid and told Ynet "The psychometric test is culture-dependant. Its questions reflect the Israeli culture's mainstream, thereby discriminating new immigrants, Arabs, as well as Haredim.
"The tests' authors of course deny this claim, however a new study has already proven that as far as French immigrants are concerned this indeed turns out to be the case. This claim indeed has a basis and we shall soon hold a discussion on the matter in an effort to promote the initiative".
Hakima members also suggested instating affirmative action for Haredim in the higher education establishments themselves, however Orlev wished to stress that he fully rejects any such option.