Rafi Peretz
Rafi PeretzFlash 90

Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz responded on Facebook today to personal attacks he has suffered since the publication last night on News 13 of sections from lessons presented in the Etzem pre-military academy (mechina) he headed.

"Dear Religious Zionist friends: We are under a vicious attack on our values. A well-timed campaign against Judaism and heritage," Rabbi Peretz wrote. "Last night News 13 joined the fake news campaign from the Democratic Union. They took parts of lessons with tweezers out of context to use against us.

"Our mechina educates to love of Israel, and this way of the mechina we will introduce into Israeli schools," Rabbi Peretz explained, "I loathe people who try to sabotage for cynical, political needs; they won't succeed."

He says, "There is no more delusional argument that the mechina encourages not going to the IDF. We have a 100% recruitment rate to the IDF, 85% in the best combat units. Thirteen killed-in-action from the mechina, including Uriel and Eliraz Peretz; of them you'll say they weren't encouraged to to go to the army? There's no more ridiculous claim. Whoever knows the mechina's work knows there is no connection between what was published and what happened in the mechina.

"There's an anti-religious and post-Zionist incitement campaign against religious Zionism and against everything related to Judaism and tradition. Against the mechina, youth, religious education. They try to increase the rifts while we heal them. They spread hate and we spread love for the Bible, roots, and the Land," he stressed.

In response to a lesson in which one of the mechina's rabbis allegedly slighted Ben Gurion, Peretz said, "I can say to you, if Ben Gurion were alive he would have preferred me as Education Minister and not the fake news from the three stooges of the Democratic Union. We will continue with our truth and they will continue to spread hate. Our love and values will prevail."

News 13 had published alleged quotes from rabbis at the mechina, such as "One must not get near the secular", noting that the Education Minister headed Etzem until a few months ago. When he was elected party leader, hundreds of lectures at the institution were removed from the internet, including those containing strong statements, some allegedly against military recruitment.