Gideon Sa'ar, who heads the New Hope party and aims to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, emphasized Thursday how he cut funding to haredi schools during his tenure as Education Minister in 2009-20013.
In a speech at the conference by the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, Sa'ar spoke about the issue of equal enforcement.
"There needs to be equal enforcement for all sectors," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a school that isn't allowed to be open in the haredi sector, or a wedding in the Arab sector. A normal country bases itself on the principle of equality before the law. I will not compromise on this principle."
Sa'ar also praised his cut to the haredi schools' budget, which he enacted during his term as Education Minister. The budget cuts, he said, were done without the haredi parties' agreement.
"When I was Education Minister in 2010, I saw in the supervisory reports that the core curriculum was not being followed in certain schools - and I cut the budget, despite the fact that the haredi parties were in the coalition, despite the fact that I was attacked for it. Because there are principles which are above political considerations," he said.
"I'm not dependent on the haredi parties," Sa'ar emphasized. "Netanyahu is dependent on the haredi parties, because that's his only option for forming a coalition. He has no other option, and this is how it looks."
On Wednesday night, Sa'ar claimed that most Israelis do not want Netanyahu to continue on as Prime Minister.