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January 25, 2017 / 27 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Education Committee Debate on ‘Breaking the Silence’ in Schools Hits High Notes

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

The Knesset’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee last week met to debate allowing Breaking the Silence group into Israeli public schools, following petitions filed by MKs Amir Ohana (Likud) and Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu).

The meeting was called after Breaking the Silence representatives had been invited to give lectures in schools, and against the background of a bill which is being drafted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett to prohibit the appearance of the organization’s representatives in front of children in educational institutions.

As right- and left-wing MKs argued over whether to prohibit the activity of Breaking the Silence in schools, six MKs were ejected from the stormy debate, during which MK Ohana said Breaking the Silence “is at the top of the industry of lies against the State of Israel.”

MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) said Breaking the Silence is a “patriotic organization” and that those who object to it want a “paranoid education system that does not deal with criticism.”

Breaking the Silence did not send representatives to the meeting, and the two school principals who invited the organization’s representatives to appear in front of their students were absent as well.

According to its website, Breaking the Silence “is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. We endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Our work aims to bring an end to the occupation.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) called Galon a “traitor” and she replied, “You are a pimp [as confirmed by the] court.”

“Our children fight no less and are killed no less than you,” Galon added. “Whoever reveals improper conduct should be respected. You are a group of cowards and hypocrites, that’s what you are.”

“Breaking the Silence does so in order to present the IDF soldiers as soldiers who systematically abuse locals,” Ohana said, adding “this poison against the soldiers and the State of Israel which is created by Breaking the Silence should be stopped, and we must say ‘not in our schools.'”

According to MK Forer, the organization has crossed the line. “It slanders Israel in the world, takes a fragment of [an event] and turns it into a whole story. The organization should be unequivocally taken out of the schools and the academia’s walls,” he said.

MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) asked, “Who slanders Israel in the world more than [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett’s people, who argue among themselves over who has a bigger flag? When I have to reply to the question of who do I trust more, Naftali Bennett or [Tel Aviv school principal] Ram Cohen – I unequivocally trust Ram Cohen more.”

Cohen was recently reprimanded by the Education Ministry after inviting Breaking the Silence to address his students.

“Breaking the Silence is more Zionist and patriotic than anyone here,” Gilon continued. “The hypocrites are the most repulsive. They are the ones who, just like a hyena, jump on a corpse. I will not tell you that I refer to (Yesh Atid Chairman MK) Yair Lapid; you will understand that on your own.”

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) called on the Ministry of Education to invite organizations “which present the IDF as it is – a moral army,” to appear in schools. She also urged Breaking the Silence to “stop disrespecting the Knesset” and attend discussions which its representatives are invited to.

Amit Deri, head of the Reservists on Duty organization, said that Ram Cohen refuses to allow representatives of IDF reservists to give lectures to his students. “We have been to every school which Breaking the Silence lectured in, we arrived immediately afterwards. This organization encourages insubordination de facto.”

Shai-El Nachmani from the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium high school told the committee that he was present at a Breaking the Silence lecture and the message he received was that students must not enlist in the army. Committee Chairman MK Yakov Margi asked whether the Breaking the Silence representative explicitly said to not enlist. “They did not clearly say it, but that’s what I concluded,” Nachmani replied.

According to “Im Tirtzu” director Matan Peleg, “The main issue with Breaking the Silence’s activity is that they blame the entire Israeli society for war crimes. I want to take every soldier who has committed a crime and put him in jail, but this organization blames the entire State of Israel for war crimes. You tell me: how is this educational, and why should we bring them to [our] schools?”

Avichai Shorshan, one of the founders of “My Truth,” added, “Breaking the Silence takes extreme events which do not reflect everyone and disseminate them all around the world as if this is the face of the IDF. Hamas uses materials from Breaking the Silence in order to operate against us in international institutions. Is it appropriate for this organization to meet our children?”

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) said that since “Breaking the Silence declares that it is against the occupation, it means that it holds a political position – which should be prohibited in schools.” Schools, according to Glick, “must only host pluralist organizations.”

MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) said, “This is another campaign of silencing which is not only aimed towards Breaking the Silence, but also against human rights organizations. He added, “This is an attempt of silencing the main issue of occupation. It is becoming clear that the State of Israel is not democratic even for Jews themselves, when it silences other’s opinions.”

MK Dov Khenin (Joint Arab List) read aloud Natan Alterman’s poem “Al Zot” (For This), and noted that in 1948 David Ben-Gurion requested to print out the poem and hand it out to all IDF soldiers. “Today there is one school principal who still has the courage to bring out this voice and he is immediately summoned to a field court martial. We are not only talking about Breaking the Silence. We are talking about the moral image of our society,” Khenin said.

MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) told the committee that he grew up in a dictatorship and each time someone is called a traitor his heart tears apart. “When Bedouins were killed during Operation Protective Edge, the mayor of Dimona was the first one to offer his condolences, not the MKs who are here shouting. I am sad because I don’t see how it is possible to mend the rift.”

MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) said that she educates children to join the army and contribute as much as they can, but at the same time educates them to be aware of all opinions, ask questions and criticize.

“The only system where this still somehow exists is in the public education system, and now the Minister of Education wants to take it away. In the state religious education system there is no place for asking questions and criticizing,” said Rozin. The discussion, she said, exists only in the secular public education sector, “because the rest are blocked from pluralism.”

David Israel

NIS 15 Billion Allocated — With A Plan — To Develop Northern Israel

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

The Israeli government has allocated NIS 15 billion to develop and strengthen the country’s northern region — and at last, there’s a plan to go with the money.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Periphery Minister Aryeh Deri, who is responsible for development of the Galilee and the Negev as well, together announced their plan this week for investment of the funds over the next two to five years. The projects are being coordinated between the relevant government ministries and the various regional councils.

According to the plan, NIS 12 billion will be spent on infrastructure, including improvement of existing roads and highways, construction of a new Light Rail between Haifa and Nazareth, and expansion of the Metronit Bus system in Haifa to outlying communities.

Another NIS 1 billion will be used to upgrade the education system in the region, with approximately another NIS 1 billion (actually, NIS 930 million) to upgrade the health care system as well.

NIS 600 million is to be spent on grants to increase productivity and growth in the region’s financial services sector, and attracting financial services firms to the area. The grants will be awarded to local tourism initiatives, and small and medium-size businesses in the region.

The funds are to be generated from the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and different government agencies. A number of IDF bases will be moved to the north as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Pew Research Study: Jews Are World’s Most Educated Religious Group

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Jews are the world’s most educated religious group, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The study, published Tuesday, found that Jews worldwide have an average of four years’ more education than others.

Jewish women in the 25 to 34 age group have an average of more than 14 years of formal schooling, with nearly 70 percent also having attended higher education. Jewish men in the same age group have an average of 13.4 years of formal schooling, with 57 percent having also had some higher education.

American Jews have the highest rate of higher education, at 75 percent, and an average of 14.7 years of education. Jewish Israelis averaged 12 years of education, with 46 percent also attending higher education.

The next-most educated religious group is the Christians, who average about nine years of education.

The global average is less than eight years, with Muslims and Hindus rating as the least educated with each having about 5 and a half years of formal education.

Hana Levi Julian

“Hate Spaces”: American Colleges and Their Jewish Students

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

There is a brand-new documentary that focuses on the relationship between American universities and their Jewish students, particularly those who support Israel. The movie is called “Hate Spaces” and that gives you an idea of how those Jewish students are treated.

Of course the name is a play on the current ridiculous yet widespread notion that American college students need “safe spaces”  – sometimes equipped with crayons or puppies or soft pillows – from any ideas that might make them even a teensy bit uncomfortable.

This film is a must-see. “Hate Spaces” is so chock-full of important facts, details and examples that it could easily provide the basis for a full semester course, yet it has been masterfully edited down to a mere 110 minutes long.

Another reason why this film is so useful is that it interweaves current examples and interviews with a historic progression of the problem on American campuses.

Writer, producer and director Avi Goldwasser discussed the film with the JewishPress.com on Monday evening. He explained that he and his colleagues at Americans for Peace and Tolerance have “been observing the increased hostility toward Jewish students on campus for the past decade.” Goldwasser and his colleague Charles Jacobs produced the 2004 film “Columbia Unbecoming,” which they thought “would be a wake up call for the Jewish community and the people of New York,” Goldwasser continued.

Although the 2004 film was shocking in terms of how blatant was the animus towards Israel, it did not bring the hoped-for change. Even sadder is that things have only gotten much worse since then.

“Most people do not realize how the hostility is being institutionalized, made fashionable by a combination of forces including radical faculty, radical student organizations, and an enabling university administration. While many anti-Jewish incidents and the BDS campaign are reported by the media, few are willing to connect the dots and report on the underlying ideology and extremist organizations that are inciting the hostility.”

And connect the dots is exactly what “Hate Spaces” does. Awareness slowly dawns on the viewer as what appeared to be merely a series of ugly campus incidents is woven together. That weave reveals the comprehensive pathology undergirding the movement which is ultimately seeking to completely delegitimize Jewish identification with American Jews and the Jewish State, and which gets a pass from most university administrators.

A quote in the film from the Facebook page of Marissa Rubin, a Temple University student, pretty much sums it up: “I am tired of anti-Semitism being a completely normal occurrence, and people standing idly by because, as long as they are only going after Jews, nobody cares.”

“Hate Spaces” very effectively breaks down the issue of gross indifference towards American Jews on campus into manageable segments, such as “Tenured Hatred,” “Intersectionality,” “Privileged Hatred,” and “Failed Leadership.” There is plenty of blame to be apportioned and Goldwasser and his colleagues make strong cases for each portion.

The film also plumbs the progressive elitist drive which is married to the more raw Jew-hatred that melds to marginalize Jews on campuses. It uncovers the funding sources, the historical backgrounds and the interconnectedness of the villains.

Perhaps most pointed is the film’s criticism of the faculty and college administrators who, to be charitable, are manipulated by the dark forces in ways similar – although a billion dollars of donations does thicken the plot – to the impressionable students. The weak-kneed prog-elites are exposed as seeking acceptance and accolades for their progressive values which are completely inverted when it comes to the Jewish minority and the tiny Jewish State.

Many of those who have been diligently slogging away against the world of campus anti-Semitism are used to great effect in “Hate Spaces.” There are informed and enlightening snippets of interviews with such luminaries as the journalists and authors Melanie Phillips and Caroline Glick, along with Cornell University professor and founding blogger at Legal Insurrection William Jacobson, the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens, Alan Dershowitz, the Brandeis Center’s Kenneth Marcus, ZOA’s Sue Tuchman, Jonathan Schanzer, Richard Landes and the ubiquitous Chloé Simone Valdary. Strong, important, concise points are made by each of them.

When he spoke to the Jewish Press, Goldwasser echoed a leitmotif of the film, one pressed especially by Melanie Phillips on camera. Truth has been distorted or even abandoned on college campuses, where “ideology and narrative trump truth.”  For that reason Goldwasser is hoping that the film will “energize the public to demand that our leaders in the community and on campus live up to their stated values. What is happening on campus is contrary to American values, to values of decency.”

And every reader of this review will have the chance to be energized. You need to see the film, then you need to act. For those in the New York area, the premiere will take place this Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Symphonyspace.


For other screenings, check out the APT website. Watch the trailer.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Goldstein on Gelt: Are You Satisfied With Your Financial Education?

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Since schools don’t make financial education a required subject, many people grow up not knowing how to manage their financial affairs. Andrew Fiebert, host of the Listen Money Matters podcast, explains the best ways you can learn about personal finance and how to manage your money. Find out how to avoid the most common financial mistakes and better your personal financial education.
When should you sell your investments?


How do you know when to sell a stock? If you sell it when it is profitable, you may miss out on potential further gains if it continues to increase in value. But if you sell it when it decreases in price, you have lost money. Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, gives tips on how to make the right decision about when to buy or sell.
Don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming free webinar about the possible effects of the U.S. election on your retirement savings – www.Profile-Financial.com/webinar


The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Rising Tuition Costs Force Parents to Reconsider Education Options

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Still a cause for deep concern in the Jewish community is the yearly rising cost of private education. Although extremely costly, Jewish families send their kids to private school in order to ensure they receive a solid Jewish education. The average cost per year for each child is $15-20k dollars, which means that families are spending the bulk of their salary on education.

With the financial burden of private school tuition it’s becoming nearly impossible for families to afford a Jewish education and also send their kids to college. With some school tuition’s reaching up to $40k dollars per year, people have been scrambling for alternative education models, including charter schools and other unique solutions.

Another new trend is for teens to study abroad for high school. New programs opening up every year that offer low-cost or even free options for parents and their teens, are making this a viable and appealing option for many families.

Naale Elite Academy is a popular option for Jewish families. Run in conjunction with the Jewish agency, Naale is a free high school program that operates in 25 different schools in Israel, including special tracks for religious programs and high-level art and science programs.

It may sound a bit daunting to send teens to study abroad, as high school can be a challenge even in their hometown, but this challenge is a powerful opportunity for personal development and prompts incredible self-growth and transformation.

Yossi Kalman, a Naale student from Riverdale, NY, is studying at Shalavim, Naale’s religious boys program. Kalman saw his experience at Naale as a unique opportunity. “I wanted to perfect my Hebrew and have a high level of Torah learning,” Kalman explained. “The chevra here is amazing. There are people here from all over the world. My best friends here are Brazilian and Italian. That wouldn’t happen in New York.”

The consensus from most educators, parents and alumni of studying abroad programs, is that going overseas as a teen is a game-changer. Among other benefits, studying abroad helps high schoolers develop their self-esteem and broadens their knowledge of the world. Simmy and Yaakova Pollock, parents of two teens who studied abroad at Naale Elite Academy in Israel, saw incredible changes in their teens. “They have grown in their self-confidence and have realized previously unknown abilities to travel alone and successfully navigate the Israeli transit system, become bilingual and succeed in being mainstreamed into Israeli classrooms,” Pollock said.

Studying abroad also helps students develop an impressive number of crucial life skills, including cultural awareness, communication skills, independence and social skills. The Pollacks certainly saw this in their teens. “We noticed an increased sense of independence in our kids; from learning to self-advocate, budgeting, and tolerance for others,” Pollack said.

IES, a non-profit organization encouraging American students to study abroad, recently conducted a large survey of study abroad alumni that shows that their experience deeply influenced the decision to pursue higher degrees. More than 52% of respondents had a post-graduate degree.

Well-respected American educator, Dr. Jessie Voights, weighed in on the benefits of high school students studying abroad. He found that, “[studying abroad] results in a huge return on investment, from intellectual and emotional development to ultimate career prospects.”

At Naale, students include teens from all over the world. It’s a unique opportunity for teens to learn about cultural diversity. Naale’s program also includes learning Hebrew language, music, sports and special trips to learn more about the history of Israel , explore the country.

Finding the right place for teens to expand into their best self is the greatest gift for them and for the entire family. The Pollacks found that when teens are in a good place, the whole family benefits. “Our kids talk and communicate with us more now than they ever did when they were here – and we were always a close family,” Pollack describes. “It is certainly a life changing experience – a change for the better.”

Raizel Druxman

Ethiopian-Israelis Blast Education Ministry, Funding Cuts

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

by Ilana Messika/TPS

Head of the the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) slammed the education ministry for concealing statistics regarding violence and discrimination against Ethiopian-Israelis in school, saying that “ridicule and bullying are worse than physical violence” because they retard childrens’ emotional development.

Speaking at a committee hearing about a report issued by the National Statistics Authority showing that Ethiopian-Israelis are twice as likely as non-Ethiopians to be subjected to physical violence in schools, and three times more likely to be the victims of discrimination, Negosa said that young people carry the scars of discrimination for many years, and added that the education ministry has a responsibility to tackle  this issue head-on.

“If there is racial discrimination against Ethiopian-Israelis in the educational system, [the statistics] must be publicized, not hidden, in order to fight [the phenomenon],” he said.

The report is the latest in a string of clashes between the Ethiopian community in Israel and the government. Last year, riots and large protests broke out after an off-duty IDF soldier of Ethiopian heritage was beaten by police. More recently, last week the Prime Minister’s Office announced it would close a network of youth centers in favor of integrating the programs into community center programs.

Members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, including Neguise, were critical of that decision, but officials in the Prime Minister’s Office  said the new policy, called Derech Hahadasha (The New Way), had the support of the Ethiopian National Project (ENP),  an national organization that supports the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society. Supporters of the new arrangement say the youth centers are obsolete, and they add that running absorption programs out of local community centers would streamline “full integration.”

Other community spokespeople aren’t buying the argument.

“Activists, teenagers and city heads turned to me in worry about the expected disbanding of the youth centers,” Neguise said. “They consider the programs to be critical for the full integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.”

The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for budgeting youth-at-risk programs, said funds to the organizations operating youth centers will be slashed. For some groups, such as the Fidel Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, which operates nine youth centers throughout Israel, the cut will mean a loss 75 to 80 percent of their budget by February 2017.

Yaakov Frohlich, Director of Resource Development to FIDEL, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the youth centers constitute a major positive force in the integration of the Ethiopian immigrants and their children into Israeli society:

“To optimize integration within the Israeli society as a whole, our youth centers work to to imbue Ethiopian-Israeli youth with skills and knowledge, together with a sense of pride for their heritage. Our academic, social, sports and educational programs  are critical to build up their leadership qualities and confidence.

“The youth centers also help strengthen intergenerational understanding by offering programs to help parents understand the Israeli school system or the IDF so that they can be properly informed,” Frohlich said.

According to Frohlich, the decision to run youth programs aimed at Ethiopian-Israelis through local community centers will endanger the integration of the community by oversimplifying the situation and the challenges that Ethiopian-Israelis face. He argues that expecting full integration from community centers is unrealis

tic, because the centers are not necessarily geographically accessible to people hoping to participate, and also because general community centers are not equipped to address sensitive issues unique to the community.

“It is far from certain that the youth will feel comfortable coming to the centers,” he explained.

According to the 2015 numbers of the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 140,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent. The community is predominantly a young one, with 36 percent being under the age of 18. But in 2014, only one third of the holders of a matriculation certification of Ethiopian descent had met the university entrance requirements.

“FIDEL works in the hopes that one day we will not need youth centers anymore, but to expect it from the Ethiopian-Israeli community and from the Israeli society at present remains unrealistic,” Frohlich concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ethiopian-israelis-blast-education-ministry-funding-cuts/2016/11/08/

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