Knesset debates school trips to Judea and Samaria

Heated debate in Education Committee on student trips to Yesha. MK Glick: It's the only place one can hold a Bible and walk in its stories

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Mordechai Sones,

Students on a trip
Students on a trip
Hadas Parush/Flash90

A hearing was held today (Tuesday) at the Knesset Education Committee on proposed student trips to Judea and Samaria.

MK Michal Rosin (Meretz) called such trips a political move and demanded that if such steps are taken then visits by representatives of radical left-wing organizations such as "Breaking the Silence" and B'tzelem should also be allowed in schools.

Education Ministry representatives explained at the hearing that the trips are made according to precise procedures of the Ministry and that the IDF is responsible for security as it authorizes the tours.

Eitan Broshi (Zionist Camp), told the hearing: "...The purpose of the hearing is to not check the security procedures but rather the question whether this is the right thing to do. Where it is permitted, one should be able to tour. We see Ma'ale Adumim as part of Israel. Even in places where you might not go for ideological reasons, it is forbidden to prevent trips there."

MK Dov Hanin (Joint List) attacked the Education Minister: "The Minister of Education cannot remake the school system in the image of the Jewish Home Party. Do not try to annex the territories through the education system. I congratulate the many parents who refuse to send their children on tours outside the borders of the State of Israel. It endangers children because of ideology."

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) replied to Hanin: "Judea and Samaria are part of the state. Unfortunately there have been no tours, not to Area A and not to Area B, since the Oslo Accords. All places Michal [Rosin] mentioned are Area C. We are talking about our roots, so the education system must deal with this, just like travelers to Negba or Tel Hai or anywhere else. Accidents can happen anywhere in the country. Judea and Samaria do not demand more police officers than, for example, securing the gay pride parade. Eretz Yisrael is increasingly relevant. Judea and Samaria is the land of our forefathers and the trips there are valuable and educational. Hebron is the city of the Fathers and the beginning of our settlement."

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) explained the importance of visiting the special places in Judea and Samaria: "It is the only place where one can hold a Bible and walk its stories. Hundreds of thousands of women and children legally travel these roads, and precisely Israel's children should not be able to go there? Even if there is a decision not to travel in Judea and Samaria it would be a political decision."

Yaron Rosenthal, director of the Kfar Etzion Field School said: "It is in our blood and this is our educational challenge. In terms of danger there are more casualties in the desert regions. The new order, which I hope will be accepted, is nothing more than redressing discrimination ... We provide an excellent educational product. The iPhone generation gets excited when they walk in Abraham's footsteps..."