Akunis walks out in protest of haredi school vote

Information Minister Ofir Akunis refuses to take part in vote to cancel core studies requirement in haredi schools.

Hezki Baruch ,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

Israeli Information Minister Ofir Akunis left Sunday morning's Cabinet Meeting during the course of a vote concerning allowing haredi schools to cancel core curricula such as math and English.

Akunis refused to take part in the vote, saying after his walkout: "I am in favor of all the children of Israel learning English, mathematics, and the sciences. This is the correct and rightful thing, which will safeguard the children of Israel and the entire country as a trailblazer and innovation leader throughout the world."

Canceling the requirement for core curricula in haredi schools "is a mistake," he insisted.

Despite the opposition of Akunis and numerous other coalition members, the cancellation is in fact one of the key coalition agreements with the haredi United Torah Judaism party and the ruling Likud party.

Opposition MK Yair Lapid - who heads the Yesh Atid party and who spearheaded efforts during the last government to require core studies at haredi institutions - was quick to condemn the vote approving the cancellation.

"The Government of Israel wants to take away from an entire generation the ability to provide for itself," Lapid said.

"It would be one thing if they didn't know the damage they are causing, but everyone sitting there in this government understands that he is selling out our children," he continued. "They just don't care - it's all politics."

Fellow Yesh Atid MK Haim Yellin was equally scathing, accusing Education Minister Naftali Bennett of promoting core studies for most of the population, while "in tandem, excludes an entire population of young people by annulling core curriculum."