Israel's new education minister responded to the claim that Israeli society is suffering from religious coercion, claiming instead that "this is almost fiction. Israeli society is not becoming more religious. If anything, it is going through the process of becoming more secular."
Rafi Peretz,who was appointed as interim education minister by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, made the remarks as part of an interview with Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom published Wednesday.
As an example to support his point, Peretz discussed recent Independence Day celebrations. "When in Ramat Gan on Independence Day there are several stages for the general public and only one stage for religious Zionists, that's secularization not increasing religiosity. They don't show the proper respect," he said.
Haaretz Weekly Ep. 31
The Habayit Hayehudi chairman clarified that it is not his intention to "force anything on anyone. That needs to be clear… we're just giving people their proper place. I don't plan on changing the books."
When asked about Israelis' fears that he would bring a religious agenda to the Education Ministry, Peretz said that the public should feel comfortable to trust him. "I’m a believer and I live my life according to the Torah," Peretz added.
- Netanyahu Taps Far-right Leaders as Education, Transportation Ministers
- Israel's Education Ministry Shows No Female Role Models in Religious Jewish Schools
- Israeli Education Ministry Forced to Translate Matriculation Exam Into Arabic
Over the past several years, Haaretz has reported on the many ways that religion has become increasingly present within the Israeli education system.
Bennett made various strides to strengthen "Jewish identity" in secular schools.