The Yad L'achim anti-missionary organization over the weekend slammed Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) for his support of a law proposed by the leftist Meretz party, stipulating that all students in Israeli schools would be required to have at least two one-hour meetings with students from the Arab sector. The law would apply equally to secular, religious-Zionist, and hareidi schools.
Yad L'achim officials said that the proposal would lead to terrible results, including “mass assimilation” by Jewish children who would, at an impressionable age,, be influenced as they became familiar with Arab customs and ways of life. “That the Education Ministry would support such a thing is unthinkable,” and organization official said. “In many cases children who go through programs like these end up abandoning their whole way of life, with girls ending up stuck in Arab villages, to the sorrow of their families.”
The law was presented in the Knesset last week by Meretz MK Issawi Frij. Piron, a rabbi and former Ulpana founder who is a member of Yair Lapid's party, expressed enthusiastic support for it, to the dismay of religious and traditional MKs. “This is a wonderful idea,” Piron said, adding that he planned to order all schools to conduct at least one such meeting, even in advance of the law's being passed. The rule change will take place at the beginning of the 2014 school year, he said.
A Yad L'achim spokesperson said that the law required behavior “that was dangerous to the existence of the Jewish people. We daily see the sorrow and suffering from families that turn to us, seeking help in liberating their loved ones from relationships with Arabs that they cannot easily leave. We can give many examples of how careful one has to be with such meetings. It is hard to understand how anyone could support such a law while assimilation rates around the world, and in Israel, are constantly rising,” the spokesperson said.