The Kipa Hebrew language news site reported that following Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid's proposal of a law that would prevent a prime minister facing criminal indictment to serve out his term in office, the Likud's Land of Israel Trustees Forum submitted a counter-proposal that would require elected officials to have a high school matriculation certificate or equivalent from a religious educational institution.
The prime minister would be required to have completed a bachelor’s degree or have graduated an equivalent in rabbinical studies.
The proposal comes on the heels of Lapid's proposed law, according to which, an individual facing criminal charges would not be able to serve as prime minister. Lapid, who dropped out of high school, never completed his high school matriculation exam and does not have a college education.
Advocate Aviad Visoli, chairman of the Likud's Land of Israel Trustees Forum, who introduced the proposal, said: "It is inconceivable that every junior official holding a government job is required to present at least a matriculation certificate, while ministers responsible for budgets in the billions of shekels are not be required to possess a minimum education."
According to Visoli, another reason for this threshold requirement is that elected officials should hold a certain status and be able to set an example to fellow citizens: "Uneducated ministers are a bad example for Israeli youth. Local youths are required to learn, be tested on, and reach certain objectives, so why shouldn't elected officials have the same standards?" he wondered. "Teachers, social workers and junior civil servants, sometimes making as little as minimum wage, are required to present their bachelor's degree certificate as a prerequisite for getting certain jobs," continued Visoli.
The Eretz Israel Trustees Forum stated that a prime minister operates a budget worth hundreds of billions of shekels, and that it is unlikely that someone in such a position would not have a BA. "Not only must the prime minister set an example and serve as a role model for Israeli youth, but the lack of [basic] education may place him under the control of his own officials, who may manipulate him as they please, taking advantage of his ignorance."
Finally, the forum called on Knesset members to "amend the 'Government' Basic Law, and select a minimum education threshold for elected officials. This is important for the State of Israel, the Knesset, the Israeli government, foreign relations, and above all, public trust in our national leaders," it concluded.
A similar bill was proposed in 2017 by United Torah Judaism chairman and then-Health Minister Yaakov Litzman. Litzman's bill would require a candidate for the premiership to have a college degree or to have served in an important position in the IDF.