In an Israeli Elementary School, a Sign of the Times

By spreading lies about the teacher, such as that she ‘spits at soldiers at checkpoints,’ the parents were taking after Netanyahu’s regime of lies

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Parents drop off their children at an elementary school in Modi'in, September 5, 2017.
Parents drop off their children at an elementary school in Modi'in, September 5, 2017.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen
Ravit Hecht
Ravit Hecht

The Education Ministry actually “came out okay” in the affair of the teacher from Meitar. After all, the ministry backed up the teacher and stood in the breach against the parents, who attacked her and demanded she be fired after they rummaged through her Facebook page, which showed indications of left-wing opinions, such as sympathy for refugees and human rights organizations.

We acted just fine, our hands did not spill this blood, the educators and administrators under Education Minister Naftali Bennett can say. It’s them, the parents. They are monsters who caused a teacher to leave her job because of an opinion, or, more precisely, because of a Facebook profile picture with the caption: “We will not let hate win.”

But the affair of the teacher from Meitar demonstrates clearly the work of destroying democracy in this country, which characterizes the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the path of the right in recent years. With one eye they wink to the wildest, most extreme elements on the right, delegitimizing the opinions of the left, calling leftists traitors and “spies;” while they roll their other eye in innocence.

Every day of the year they read from their list of political messages that the courts are an illegitimate extension of the left, and when the High Court of Justice removes the right-wing cowards’ chestnuts from the fire, they make the festive announcement: “We oppose it, but we will respect the court’s orders.”

During the elections, they spread contemptuous lies about the droves of Arabs coming in busloads, and after that they call on them to “thrive in droves.” By spreading lies about this teacher in Meitar, such as that she “spits at soldiers at checkpoints,” what did these parents do? All they did was take after the regime of lies headed by Netanyahu, who demonizes the left.

Today in Israel there is no need for the government to institute an anti-democratic policy against leftists or Arabs, because such a policy already exists in the form of laws such as the “NGO Law” and an endless list of private member’s bills whose only role is to repress Arabs, defame leftists and above all use all this to impress the public and reap the benefits.

Meitar is a prosperous community filled with “quality people,” as they are often called. In the most recent election a majority even voted for Zionist Union. And now even there, in those well-tended, plentiful fields, there are those who think that supporting human rights organizations is a violation of societal or moral standards. Even there, among these certainly enlightened, broad-minded, educated people, they performed a character assassination against the teacher until she no longer had the strength to continue. There may have been many parents who supported her, but this is just another example of how in today’s Israel the extremists, the loudest voices, those that spread the lies always have the upper hand. This is the greatest achievement of Netanyahu and his bullying lackeys.

Many children experience what is known as “shunning.” The story is usually this: An aggressive group of children, acting behind a leader – who brings out the worst in them – decides to abuse some child, whether because of her weakness or possibly because of her assertiveness and refusal to bend to the tyranny of the majority.

This group excludes the child from games and play, calling her insulting names and causing her severe distress, in which every day in school is a nightmare that must be escaped. The minimum required from a teacher is to stop this abusiveness immediately, demonstrate to the troublemakers that they will not succeed and deny them any rewards for their aggression.

At the head of the State of Israel stands a long list of educators of the public who suck up to the rowdies, reward aggression and encourage the idea that democracy is nothing more than majority rule – and all this only because it is convenient for them politically. This is a severe, disastrous educational failure, much worse than the low number of pupils taking advanced math or the student population’s poor level of spoken English.

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