Haredi schoolchildren (illustrative)
Haredi schoolchildren (illustrative) Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The haredi Hamevaser newspaper, which is identified with the Ashkenazic-haredi UTJ party, on Wednesday morning sharply criticized Israel's Education Ministry for what it claimed were attempts to "interfere in the curriculum of the haredi institutions, via "multidisciplinary inspections."

"The Education Ministry is plotting to force and enforce intervention of its choice into the curriculum and education of haredi institutions, in opposition to what has been agreed on for 70 years," the report said.

It also claimed that recently, several haredi principals had reported such visits. According to Hamevaser, the Education Ministry officials have taken it upon themselves to conduct thorough investigations and enforce the Ministry's "agendas."

These officials "investigate down to the last detail everything concerning the haredi community's most sensitive issues. These inspections go into details of the teachers' schedules, the classes' schedules and hours, the textbooks, and more."

"These investigations are conducted by two 'former principals' who appear at the school's gates to tour the classrooms, sit with the teachers for an entire day, teacher by teacher, from morning until 4:00p.m. They ask to see it through 'their eyes,' the content, the hours of teaching, the textbooks, and the teaching materials.

"These are draconian steps which are used against haredi schools and Talmud Torahs, and they aim to uproot the name and essence of this education, which is independent and subject only to the Torah sages who lead it according to our holy Torah, which was given at Mount Sinai. This forced intervention, has been carefully calculated by Education Ministry and uses the draconian and sophisticated tool called 'multidisciplinary inspections.'"

Last May, when it became known that there would be inspections of haredi schools, Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ) called a meeting with Ministry officials.

Porush presented the haredi standpoint, complaining that the haredi public is discriminated against with regards to school funding, yet the demands made of their schools are "disproportionate." The meeting ended with an agreement that the staff responsible for licensing and enforcement will hold a meeting to discuss the various issues involved.

However, the inspections were restarted, without any coordination or agreements.

"I am stating that I did not receive answers regarding the issues which were raised - not from the Director-General, not from the licensing and enforcement officials," Porush said. "Conducting this inspection goes against the stance of haredi Judaism."

Emphasizing that the principals of haredi institutions should do only what their rabbis tell them, he added: "It is unfathomable that the haredi education system should, G-d forbid, disobey the directions of Israel's sages."