Education Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Jerusalem Beis Malka women's seminary of the Belz Hasidim today (Tuesday) and received a very special welcome.
Bennett was accompanied by MK Yisrael Eichler, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Tzvika Cohen and Head of the Jerusalem Education Administration, Moshe (Kinley) Tor-Paz.
Bennett toured the classrooms and learned about the Hasidic education system, testing the girls in one class on Pythagoras' theorem. In another classroom, he heard that the girls are studying towards the 5-points mathematics matriculation exam. However, they will not actually sit the exam, in accordance with the instructions of their Rabbis.
The Minister visited the geography lesson of the sixth grade girls and heard about the River Nile, and ongoing tensions between Egypt and Sudan over water resources. Bennett asked questions and received intelligent answers from the pupils. He concluded his tour by visiting the kindergarten and sat down to tell the young girls a story.
The Education Minister praised the hassidic leadership, saying that he sees how much they invest in the girls to teach them politeness, values, education and knowledge in a variety of fields.
Rabbi Avraham Yehuda Feiner, Director of the Beis Malka school system, spoke about how much the Minister has achieved in the Ministry of Education. He especially praised him for ending the discrimination against the haredi community with regard to funding for the summer camps.
"We see that you are a true friend of the haredi community," he said.
Bennett replied with a smile that he has a true partnership with MK Eichler. "Even when we do not see eye to eye, I still have to look him in the eye," he quipped.
The markedly warm tone of the visit underscored a budding alliance between Bennett's Jewish Home party and Eichler's United Torah Judaism (UTJ) – with both factions putting a prolonged period of hostility during the previous government behind them.