Full Text Israel Political Brief October 22, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of Today’s Cabinet Meeting on Knesset Winter Session and Zionist Education — Transcript

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of Today’s Cabinet Meeting

Source: PMO, 10-22-14

22/10/2014

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the start of the Cabinet meeting:

“Next week we will open the Knesset winter session. We have very important missions facing us, several of which we will deal with at today’s Cabinet meeting: The war against black capital, cutting the bureaucracy that finds expression in excess regulation and – of course – moving forward on dealing with natural gas and the production of electricity via alternative energies.

The last thing we need now is elections. The State of Israel needs a stable, strong and responsible government, and I call on all members of the coalition to work together and to continue working together for the benefit of the State of Israel and its citizens.”
“Today we mark the beginning of the academic year. On behalf of the Education Minister and all ministers, I would like to wish the hundreds of thousands of students in the State of Israel a productive and successful year.

The essence of our entire educational system, including higher education, may be summarized in two words – Zionism and excellence. Zionism, so that we know why we are here, not just where we are going but why we are staying here, and the second thing – excellence. Simply put, let us never compromise on results; it is impossible to compromise on results. A system that does not produce excellence and does not bring out the best in everyone vis-à-vis achievements, is a system that is not realizing what it can do, and the people and State of Israel have proven that they can do quite a lot. Therefore, I am pleased to hear about the Education Minister’s plans and I am very interested in moving forward on anything that will promote Zionism and excellence.”

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

PM Netanyahu Meets with National Union of Israel Students Leaders from Around the Country on the Occasion of National Student Day

Photo by GPO

Source: PMO, 5-23-12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, on the occasion of National Student Day, in his office, met with National Union of Israel Students leaders from around the country, led by NUIS Chairman Irzik Shmuli. Education Minister Gideon Saar, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, Deputy Minister for Student Affairs Gila Gamliel and Deputy Minister for Senior Citizen Affairs Leah Nass also attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We have a great commitment to higher education. It starts with investments in resolving students’ problems in order to help them learn and lead the State of Israel in all fields – security, society, the economy, science and others.” The Prime Minister also commented on the Government’s actions to lower the cost of living for students and citizens: “Competition is the most social thing there is. We are working to increase competition and thereby lower the cost of living. See what has happened to the price of cellular phones, for example. Also in the housing sphere, we are working to break the state’s monopoly on land in order to lower housing costs. Additionally, we are working on behalf of young couples, some of whom are students, and in the coming months we will implement the law on free education from age three.”

NUIS Chairman Shmuli noted the complete cooperation between the Government and the NUIS in the fields of education, public transportation, bringing students and senior citizens closer together through voluntary community projects, and advancing cultural issue. “I have been active on behalf of students in various frameworks for seven years and there has never been a partnership like that with the Education Minister. There are also similar partnerships with other ministers.

Perhaps there are areas in which we agree less but given the major reform in higher education, the Sheshinski report, the recent welcome news in the cellular phone sector, we also know how to show gratitude and we appreciate these things very much. It is clear to us that when so many ministers are working on behalf of the students, there is a guiding hand from above and this is not a coincidence. Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you personally.”

Education Minister and Council on Higher Education Chairman Saar informed those in attendance that the next meeting of the Council, he intends to submit for approval new benefits that have been formulated for students serving in the IDF reserves. The benefits will be in regard to eligibility to be absent from classes, postponement of courses and assignments, eligibility to take exams at later dates, extending studies, etc. Minster Saar added, “The great change in higher education is the multi-year plan that was launched in August 2010. Higher education is moving forward in impressive fashion while strengthening excellence and increasing accessibility. Today, students are more involved in the higher education system, which will continue to strengthen and move forward.”

Transportation Minister Katz noted that over the past two years, his ministry has instituted many improvements and major discounts in public transportation for the student public in order to encourage the use of public transportation.  He said, “The Transportation Ministry has even expanded the system of discounts on all bus lines and on the railways, to all academic institutions in which students learn.  It has also upgraded and improved lines to all institutions of higher learning and the various campuses.”

Culture and Sports Minister Livnat said, “The student public in Israel is an important public. It is the human future of Israel in which we must invest. It is a public active in culture and sports and it is my intention to work to enhance cooperation with students so that culture and sports in Israel are accessible and available to them. This year I initiated basic scholarship grants for students from the periphery who study at schools for the arts around the country and I intend to consider ways to expand them. The ministry also supports higher schools for the arts at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum.”

Deputy Minister for the Advancement of Youth, Women and Students Gamliel described the various actions being led by her office, including a year’s free study at academic institutions in the periphery, the construction of an additional 10,000 residential units, and expanding the student village in Lod. She said, “The fact that the Prime Minister has – for the first time – appointed a deputy minister to deal with students’ affairs speaks for itself. It provides students with a channel for direct dialogue with the Government and has led to many achievements. Investing in Israeli youth is not an expenditure but a national investment. We are working to lower tuition so that it will depend on contributing to the state and to various social projects. Thus, we will be able to help students and they will be able to help us, the population.”

Deputy Minister Nass updated those in attendance on the success of the initiative to award scholarships of up to NIS 5,000 to students who volunteer in various projects and assist Holocaust survivors, and on the success of the ‘students for senior citizens’ program, which was created in cooperation with the NUIS. This was in order to promote students as agents of change in Israeli society, strengthen senior citizens and enhance the link between young people and the older population. “Thanks to the joint activity by students and senior citizens we are creating an important bridge between the generations.”

Main points of activity by the Netanyahu Government on behalf of students

* NIS Seven billion investment in higher education in the framework of the multi-year plan to promote excellence and increase accessibility;

* Plan to establish centers for research excellence and to bring back scientists from abroad;

* Recognizing students who serve in the reserves and in social frameworks;

* A free first year of study at academic institutions in the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, Ashkelon and Jerusalem;

* The construction of 10,000 additional housing units as student dormitories;

* Gradually expanding the student village in Lod;

* Amending the students Rights Law – easements for pregnant and postpartum students, and for those undergoing fertility treatment;

* Public transportation discounts: 50% on all Israel Railways lines for those holding student fare cards and 30% for those who do not; 50% discount on buses whether by single-ticket purchase, fare cards or electronic cards;

* Upgrading and improving lines to institutions of higher learning and the various campuses, with special emphasis on students’ needs in the framework of the greater Tel Aviv area transportation reform;

* Culture and Sports Ministry support for higher schools of the arts, at a cost of NIS 20 million per annum;

* Basic scholarships for students from the periphery who learn at schools for the arts around the country; and

* Scholarships in the framework of the “students for senior citizens” plan which includes seven projects that involve students in the community in exchange for grants of up to NIS 5,000.

Israel Economic Protests: Parents and children protest in ‘stroller marches’ across Israel

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Demonstrators march in Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Kiryat Motzkin to protest high cost of raising children; ‘stroller march’ organizer rejects Treasury’s claim that free education for children aged 10 and over is unreasonable.

Source: Haaretz, 8-4-11

More than 1,000 parents participated Thursday in stroller marches across Israel, with about 500 in Tel Aviv, 400 in Hertzliya, 200 in Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa, and about 50 in Sderot, all protesting against the high cost of raising children in Israel.

Meanwhile, a protest took place outside the Histadrut headquarters in Tel Aviv, where Histadrut Labor Federation Chairman Ofer Eini and the head of the workers’ committee  presented speeches to demonstrators. Youth groups, together with representatives of the National Union of Israeli Students, also participated in the rally.

protest Tel Aviv - 4.8.11 Protesters outside the Histadrut headquaters in Tel Aviv on August 4, 2011.
Photo by: Tal Cohen

Elsewhere in Tel Aviv, about 1,500 university lecturers, students, teachers and youth group leaders marched on Rothschild Boulevard. They made their way to the house of Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, calling out, “Free education for all.”

The Tel Aviv stroller march headed to Gan Meir, where marchers were set to hold a rally. Despite the turnout of about 500 parents and children, this number did not meet the expectations of the protest’s organizers, who predicted thousands would attend.

Yael Barda, one of the stroller march’s organizers rejected claims by Eini and members of the Treasury, in which they said the demand for free education for children aged 10 and over is unreasonable. “We suggest the Treasury sits back down in front of their laptops and recalculates, because we aren’t going anywhere,” she said.

Barda called upon the protesters to continue taking to the streets and demonstrating against the cost of living in Israel. “We’ve held back for a long time with all the cynicism we have for Treasury clerks and the Israeli government. They have buried all the social laws over the last 20 years. We are not cynical. We have dreams and we are going to change this country,” she said.

Tel Aviv Gan Meir stroller march Parents and children demonstrating in stroller marchers in Tel Aviv’s Gan Meir.
Photo by: Nir Keidar

At the stroller marches, parents called out “The people demand social justice,” “Let’s show the government just who’s dragging the trolley,” and “We won’t give up, reduce the prices.”

Hundreds of parents and children also began marching from Hatotach Square in Kiryat Motszkin, near Haifa, and blocked the road, with police permission.

We’ve Got It Backward: Israel Education Should Come First, Then Advocacy

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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The evidence is growing that we may be fighting the wrong battle in the struggle to support Israel these days.

The situation is grim, if not alarming: Jerusalem is increasingly on the defensive diplomatically, faced with a United Nations vote for a Palestinian state in September, and a range of outside efforts aimed at undermining the legitimacy of the Jewish State, from boycotts to flotillas. What’s more, there is concern that the circle-the-wagon response in Jerusalem to these threats can lead to more problems; witness the recent passage of anti-boycott resolution in the Knesset that has been widely criticized as undemocratic, even among mainstream Jewish organizations.

True, Israel advocacy groups are proliferating, offering programs, websites and curriculum, many of them first-rate in presenting Jerusalem’s case and countering critics. But at the same time the number of Americans who care about the Jewish State in a more than superficial way is decreasing.

Polls continue to indicate that Americans favor Israel over the Palestinians by wide margins. But the findings also suggest that most Americans would not be willing to have the U.S. involved with either side in the event of a Mideast war. Other surveys find increasing indifference on the topic.

There is a growing recognition among some American Jewish leaders that Israel advocacy is not enough because it provides answers to questions that most people aren’t asking. We need a fresh and creative approach.

First, let me be clear. I am a believer in Israel advocacy and have seen its positive impact, particularly through Write On For Israel, the program sponsored by The Jewish Week with funding from the Avi Chai Foundation. Now in its ninth year, it continues to provide a select group of high school juniors and seniors with the Mideast facts and moral confidence to be effective supporters of Israel on campus. The program has a proven track record of success as our graduates have taken on leadership roles as freshmen and sophomores at colleges around the country.

But the foundation for effective advocacy is education, and there is far too little Modern Israel education in our community. Even top day schools spend far more time focusing on ancient Jewish history than on the complex Mideast events of the 20th century that frame the current conflict.

Could it be that because of our long history as a people, the curriculum never quite makes it to modern times?…READ MORE

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