Striking Union: Teachers May Take Part in Memorial Ceremonies for Slain PM

The Secondary School Teachers Association (SSTA) announced yesterday that teachers may "according to their conscience and choice" take part in commemoration ceremonies for assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in striking middle and high schools.

A meeting has been scheduled today between SSTA representatives and officials in the Finance and Education ministries. However SSTA chairman Ran Erez said he would not take part, to protest "the continued attempts by the government to wear out the teachers by meetings with low-level officials."

The Education Ministry's deputy director, Menachem Cohen, and the treasury's deputy director of wages, Ofra Bartov, will meet today with SSTA representatives.

Erez had prohibited the teachers from preparing or taking part in commemoration ceremonies for Rabin, which are to take place today in the schools. Education Minister Yuli Tamir asked Erez in a letter Monday to "approve the memorial day events and their preparations in the public schools, as well as various educational activities." She also said that "a framework allowing students to learn about the implications of this day" were of "utmost educational importance."

As of yesterday afternoon, the SSTA had still not responded positively to Tamir's letter, and was calling on teachers to attend municipal and other public ceremonies instead. Erez said "even if we would allow the teachers to take part in the ceremonies, this would not allow them to take place because a few days of preparation are needed."

However, a few hours later, the SSTA reversed itself. It also announced that a ceremony commemorating Rabin would be held with the participation of teachers and students on Thursday in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.