Minister Bennett and Rabbi Druckman
Minister Bennett and Rabbi Druckman Uzi Baruch

The reversal of the decision to close the Ohr Etzion pre-military yeshiva high school was undertaken after Jewish Home party chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett exerted heavy pressure to save the yeshiva.

The affair began with the decision of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to close two pre-military preparatory high schools, including a boarding school in Haifa and another near the Ohr Etzion yeshiva.

Ya'alon's successor, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, decided to close the Ohr Etzion pre-military yeshiva high school altogether and to permit the boarding school in Haifa to remain open with changes made to its operations.

The Ohr Etzion yeshiva has been in existence since 1983.

In a recent meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, it became clear that the decision to close the Ohr Etzion boarding pre-military yeshiva high school was made without any consultation or discussion from representatives of the institution, and that the Defense Minister had not met with those representatives for many months despite their repeated attempts to meet with him.

Liberman only agreed to meet with Rabbi Haim Druckman, the head of the yeshiva, under pressure from Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

This past Wednesday the meeting finally took place in the home of Jerusalem city councilman Moshe Leon.

Rabbi Druckman explained to the Defense Minister the importance of the yeshiva to the military command, and Liberman stated that he would reconsider continuing to fund the yeshiva, promising to examine the issue with the appropriate military echelons.

Following the meeting, and following Bennett's commitment to secure the budget for the operation of the Ohr Etzion military boarding school, the threat of closure was lifted.

Rabbi Druckman said in response to the saving of the yeshiva highschool: "I am happy that the ugly injustice which was being committed against the religious youth has been rectified. I am happy that the State of Israel [will continue to] have equality in education."