Gideon Sa’ar
Gideon Sa’ar. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar yesterday slammed private education and said it could destroy public education. He said the assumption that private education was better than public education was "a lie."

Sa'ar blasted the decision to grant the Havruta private school accreditation, making it eligible for state subsidies, and said a "defamation campaign" was being conducted against public education.

Speaking at a Knesset debate yesterday, Sa'ar said numerous court rulings "giving surplus weight to the parents' choice" also contributed to strengthening private education.

Such cases could lead to a situation "in which the state has no role. And if the state has no role - there will be no public education either. That is perfectly clear," he said.

The Education Ministry last month rejected Havruta's request for accreditation, but a judicial panel headed by retired Judge Dan Arbel last week revoked the decision, in response to the school's appeal.

Sa'ar blasted the panel's decision to authorize the school and said it was a mistake.

"I'm convinced we were right in deciding [not to give the school a license]," Sa'ar said yesterday.

"I reject the basic assumption that private education is better than public education. That's a lie," he said.

'Defamation campaign'

Havruta was established two years ago in Emek Hefer. Some 80 students in 9th to 11th grades are enrolled in it and pay an annual tuition of NIS 35,000. But the management says at least half the students receive scholarships of various amounts.

"A defamation campaign is being conducted against public education. Otherwise how can you justify opening such [private] institutions? First they have to slander and sling mud, in order to have legitimization."

He blasted the media for writing about private schools, saying "that's free public relations, without any critical approach, pure promotion broadcasts."