Bennett: Do Not Hand Over More Territory

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) proved relatively forthcoming about plans for his new role during an interview Monday night with Channel 2. 

Addressing an ongoing protest on the part of female students about allegedly discriminatory dress code practices, Bennett said he "trusted the judgment of school principals when it comes to what boys and girls should wear."

"The education system has clear positions about appropriate attire," Bennett stated. "I have faith in the system and believe principals will make good decisions. This is their authority and I trust they will make the right decisions. Schools should decide."

The Education Minister also addressed the educational reform announced earlier Monday, in coordination with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), which will add an assistant in preschools of children aged 3-4. 

Praising the move, Bennett also implicitly criticized his predecessors, noting, "I came to report on actual plans, and not things being planned in the air. This is a huge improvement for parents and children."

"I decided to focus on children aged 3-4, because at the end of the day, at this age a warm attitude and ability to teach will dramatically affect the rest of the child's life."

"We're speaking about 4,300 preschools," Bennett explained. "Some already have help now, and we will implement this fully on September 1. There will be a second kindergarten teacher in all preschools."

When asked about the issue of overcrowding in classrooms, Bennett asserted the matter was under review. "Not all of the problems of 67 years can be solved overnight. It involves significant costs."

Although the Jewish Home chairman stressed his aim was to promote "a traditional, Zionistic, and democratic education," he refused to disclose whether he would support student fields trips to Hevron in Judea, where the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs other than Rachel are buried.

"Everything will be weighed judiciously and without spontaneous declarations. I am on a journey of listening and learning. I support tours throughout Israel, but will examine each program individually."

Bennett concluded the interview by addressing renewed rocket fire from Gaza, blaming it on the disengagement in 2005: "A stone thrown by one idiot, a thousand sages cannot remove," Bennett said, quoting the Jewish sages. 

Reiterating his opposition to the dissolution of communities in Judea and Samaria, Bennett criticized the Left, slamming "those geniuses who now come and complain we should also disengage from there. The lesson is not to hand over more territory to anyone. 


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