Gabai: Bennett using public funds for 'religious brainwashing'

Labor party candidates Amir Peretz and Avi Gabai blast Education Minister, claim he is using gov't money to 'bring pupils close to Judaism.'

Uzi Baruch,

Avi Gabai
Avi Gabai
Jonathan Zindel, Flash 90

The two candidates for Labor party leader, ex-Defense Minister Amir Peretz and former Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabai, held an internet talkback with Haaretz readers in advance of the second round of voting which will take place Monday.

The two were asked about claims that Education Minister Naftali Bennett is adding religious content into the state education system.

Gabai claimed that "Religious brainwashing is one of the more serious phenomena in Israeli society. Minister Bennett and his party are using public money and the education system as a means to bring people closer to Judaism and are focused on broadening the gaps between religious and secular education. I intend to put an end to this."

Gabai expressed his support for public transport on Shabbat, stating that "not implementing public transport is a social injustice. I support limited public transport on Shabbat which will be determined by the local authority in accordance with the needs and character of the residents, while maintaining workers rights.

He added that a modern state must provide a way for its citizens to divorce and marry in the way they wish and said he would work to enable civil marriage.

Peretz said that "on the day I am elected prime minister I will bring to the first cabinet meeting the cancellation of all the anti-democratic laws and will erase all of the political content which has been inserted into the education system in order to maintain an independent and separate state system. Bennett, Elkin and Shaked can legislate what they want and change schoolbooks- all of this I intend to repeal within 100 days of my election as Prime Minister."

Peretz claimed that " i have much respect for the values of the Bible and I see it as the most important socialist document which maintains a worker's dignity and right to a day of rest. I favor limited intercity and local public transport while maintaining worker rights and not harming the public hemisphere.

The former Defense Minister added that "since this is a change of status quo it should be achieved through dialogue with those who oppose public transport on Shabbat.

Peretz also said that an alternative for civil marriage should be available to all although he said that he would be happy if his children married according to Jewish law.