For a long time, Israel has coasted on the myth that it has a good educational system. Well shouldn't it? It's schools are run by Jews, it's teachers are Jews and the students are Jews. Everywhere else in the world such a phenomenon would be a recipe for success. But not in Israel. As recent statistics depressingly point out, the secular education system in Israel is in bad shape. It trails almost every European school system in results and leads in violence and teacher intimidation.
Therefore it was with great amusement that I read this latest gem from Ehud Olmert, criticizing the Chareidi community's demand for more control over their own school system, one which may not teach most basic subject but is also far freer of violence and drugs than the secular system:
Addressing MK Yakov Litzman of United Torah Judaism, Olmert stated:” I will tell you what I had told your colleagues before…. If you (haredim) were allowed to run the haredi education system you would destroy it, because you would only hurt one another.”
Olmert furthermore noted: “The haredi children in Jerusalem had always thanked me for managing their education and said that they were lucky that I was not haredi. Only a secular Jew can manage Haredi education with any semblance of integrity.”
Uh huh. So having driven their own system into the ground, the secular Israelis now want to take credit for the success of the Chareidi one? The worst the Chareidim could do is to have their schools do as poorly as the Chiloni ones. Maybe it's that inspiring example that leads them to want to control their own affairs more,