demonstration against Education Ministry
demonstration against Education Ministry Hezki Baruch

Dozens of girls demonstrated Tuesday afternoon against the Education Ministry, demanding that the ministry refrain from "brainwashing," which they claim is aimed at female students in religious schools to compel them to enlist in the IDF.

The demonstrated was initiated by the "Hotam" organization following the approval of the budgetary regulation to support organizations that prepare for the recruitment of religious girls to the IDF.

The demonstrators demanded that the ministry respect their choice to serve in the national service, and to stop bringing in organizations that seek to undermine their choice and persuade them to join the army.

"Religious girls who want to make a significant contribution to society and to the state within the framework of National Service find themselves being attacked from the front and the back," said Amital Bareli, the director of the Hotam organization.

"On the one hand, the recruitment bureaus decided to act as a modesty watch, checking the length of the skirt and sleeve, claiming that they do not meet the strict standards of their 'parameters' and therefore the girls are not religious enough for national service [instead of army]. The Education Ministry sends associations to explain why they should enlist, and tells them that National Service is not a significant contribution.

"These moves leave the girls alone in front of a system that tramples their beliefs and perceptions and undermines their religious identity," he added.

National Service volunteers fill educational and social welfare positions that are crucial to the wellbeing of thousands of children, needy families and the sick and elderly, For example, they run afternoon programs and daycamps for at-risk children to keep them off the streets and advance their scholastic level, serve as counselors in youth villages, act as orderlies in understaffed hospitals, enrich the lives of children with cancer.