Over 22% of the Arab teachers in Israel’s education system received their training outside the country, and in particular, in the Palestinian Authority. This information was discussed at the Knesset’s Education, Culture, and Sports Committee during a special session on “terrorist teachers.”
The Education, Culture, and Sports Committee convened on Sunday for a discussion on the “terrorist teachers” following terror attacks committed in recent months in Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva by terrorists who were also teachers in the Israeli system who educated students.
Committee Chair MK Sharren Haskel, who initiated the session, stated that “education is the thing that is most important to our society, and we want to make sure that educators who are involved in terrorist activity will be removed immediately from the education system.”
“Over 22% of the Arab teachers in the education system received their training outside the State of Israel. We are receiving indications from the field that hundreds of teachers are educating against the State of Israel and their students are absorbing the anti-Zionist values of these terrorist teachers. Universities in Hebron issue training certificates to teachers, but there is no supervision of the content that these teachers receive in institutions that are hostile to the state,” she warned.
She called on the police to develop ways to transfer intelligence and information on complaints concerning incitement by teachers and procedures for monitoring incitement on social media.
She also demanded that the Ministry of Education provide her with information on cases in which a hearing was conducted for incitement in the past year.
MK Meir Porush voiced concern that further cases of incitement could take place in the education system, saying that “in the past months there were two teachers that became terrorists and murdered Jews; we have to assume that there are more teachers of this kind who are educating towards terrorism at this time.”
In the course of the debate, the participants voiced concern regarding the lack of supervision over the values and messages being taught to the Arab students. MK Ruth Wasserman Lande said she has been “following developments in Arab society for years. We have to have a finger on the pulse and quickly identify teachers who are suspected of activity that is hostile toward the State of Israel.”
According to data presented to the committee, about 5,500 teachers who teach in schools in the Arab sector were trained in the PA, and this is classified as training abroad.
MK Orit Strock cautioned that “if we don’t stop absorbing in Israel teachers who studied in the Palestinian Authority, we will see more terrorist attacks by these teachers or by their students.”
She proposed that the country not to give authorization to teachers who studied in PA.
MK Itamar Ben Gvir commented on the fact that the terrorist who committed the Be’er Sheva attack last week and murdered four Israelis in an ISIS-inspired stabbing spree had been part of the education system for years.
“The police and education system should answer for the fact that this terrorist was part of the education system. Today there are dozens of teachers, perhaps even hundreds, who are under investigation on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity,” he said.
Tzipy Weinberg, Director of the Department for Evaluation of Foreign Academic Degrees at the Ministry of Education, admitted that the ministry does not check the content of the courses learned by the PA-trained teachers when certifying them.
Yehuda Sharabany, of the Im Tirtzu Zionist movement, replied that “it’s unthinkable that the Ministry of Education doesn’t check the curriculum in an in-depth manner, only in an ‘administrative’ manner, and automatically recognizes degrees awarded by teaching institutions in the Palestinian Authority. This policy of turning a blind eye must stop before it’s too late.”
In the past year, just two warnings were received by the education system about teachers against whom terror-related criminal proceedings are being conducted. Adv. Liron Sfarad of the Ministry of Education’s Legal Department said that “as soon as information reaches the Ministry of Education from the Shin Bet, there are legal tools to remove the suspected teacher from educational activity.”
Lior Tuvia, Director of the Ministry of Education’s Security Department, said that in the past nine months, his department conducted five hearings, and there were no cases of dismissal.
Yaakov Avitan of the Israel Police said that police has a system that reports in real-time to the education authorities on individual cases.