Ministers Reject Bill to Prevent Discrimination in State Schools

Proposal called on government to revoke state funding of school found in violation of law; MK Molla: Government should have accepted this bill, given that the Immanuel affair ended today.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday rejected a bill aimed at preventing discrimination against students enrolled in the official state education system.

In their bill, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Kadima Mks Shlomo Molla and Shai Hermesh, proposed that the education minister be obligated to enforce within a specific timeline the cessation of discrimination found in any particular school.

According to the proposal, the education ministry would have the right to revoke state funding should the offending school not heed the warning by the mentioned date. The proposal would also allow the state to implement economic sanctions against the school.

Despite the cabinet's disapproval, MK Horowitz still intends to bring the bill forward for a preliminary reading in the Knesset.

"If the MKs vote against the bill in the Knesset, like the ministers did today, it will be proof of the ideological and moral hole within the current government and its leader," Horowitz said.

Horowitz added that the the rejection of the bill demonstrated "the continuation of [Education Minister] Gideon Sa'ar and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's silence and disregard regarding the affair in Immanuel."

The bill had been submitted before the Ashkenazi parents in the ultra-Orthodox community of Immanuel were given a two-week jail term for refusing a court order to send their daughters to school with girls of Sephardi, or Middle Eastern, origin. On Sunday, the court ordered the parents released from jail immediately, after a deal was reached to see the girls integrated in classes for the remaining three days of the school year.

MK Molla said after the vote that "precisely toady, as the Immanuel affair hovers above us like a black could, the government should have approved the bill to clarify in a distinct voice that it opposes discrimination and racism in all forms and in all sectors."

Gideon Sa'ar and Benjamin Netanuyahu
Moti Milrod