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Min. of Ed. Attacked for Lenience with Leftist Teacher

MK Chetboun: 'Calling the IDF cruel is not a political position, but incitement against the IDF.' Min. Piron: 'No need for hysteria.'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/30/2014, 12:56 PM

MK Yoni Chetboun
MK Yoni Chetboun
Flash 90

MK Yoni Chetboun (Jewish Home) went on the attack Thursday against Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), who said Wednesday that teachers should not be fired over their political views. The statement was made in the context of the brouhaha around Adam Werte, a teacher accused of forcing ultraleftist views on his students.

Verta has been summoned for a hearing Thursday by the ORT school network that employs him, after a student complained that he tried to convince students not to join the IDF, which he allegedly called 'cruel' and 'immoral.' Verta disputes the student's claims.

“Calling the IDF 'a cruel army' is not political position,” said Chetboun, “but incitement against IDF soldiers. Every democratic society has certain central values that are its cultural and social foundation. In Israel, these are the IDF and Zionism – challenging these values does not constitute freedom of speech that encourages thought, but a negation of of the state's core values.”

"Once a teacher launches a frontal assault on a society's flagship values, this is not an expression of a political view,” Chetboun repeated. “This is besmirching the IDF soldiers. And no, it is not legitimate. Nor is boasting that you shouted 'Viva Palestine' – that is also not a political position but subversion against the state's existence.”

“We must not be afraid of values,” the rookie MK said, “and of all these supposed pluralists who are ganging up on the ORT network are full of hypocrisy and lies. This ia a violent pluralism that fears values. It is pluralistic only in the direction it finds convenient.”

Chetboun added that he would give his backing to a decision to fire the teacher.

Minister Piron said Wednesday that there is no need for “hysteria” around the case. “Teachers and educators must not be fired against a background of ideological tensions,” he added, “but it is certainly permissible to admonish them. Nothing happened, everything is OK. If someone made a statement, we carry out an inquiry: why did he say these things, what may be said and what may not.”