As the potential coalition partners argue over who will be the next education minister, Israel’s teachers unions came out Monday evening in favor of keeping current minister, the Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar, in the post for another term.
Both of the country’s teachers unions issued statements urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to replace Sa’ar, who they said “is certain to continue supporting Israel’s educators as he has until now.”
In its statement, the Israeli Teachers Union stressed the importance of maintaining continuity in the education system and seeing through ongoing processes.
Teachers Association head Dan Erez wrote that his organization fears “that a new minister who comes with his own policy, good as it may be, may halt, or even reverse, his predecessor’s achievements.”
Support for Sa’ar keeping the job also came from the Council of Youth Movements and from Union of Local Authorities chairman Shlomo Buhbut.
The Education portfolio is proving to be one of the last remaining sticking points in ongoing coalition talks. Likud is determined to see Sa’ar maintain his position, while Yesh Atid would like the post to go to MK Rabbi Shai Piron.
Yesh Atid refused to comment directly to the statements of support for Sa’ar, but party sources expressed wonderment at what they said looks like a “coordinated campaign” by public institutes.
Sa’ar recently found himself at the center of a political scandal after a forged letter was circulated accusing him of sexual misconduct, and urging Netanyahu not to reappoint Sa’ar a minister.
The author of the letter, which was signed with the initials M.C., was ostensibly a woman who was the minister’s subordinate. According to the letter, she had an affair with Sa’ar and accused him of having used his rank to take advantage of her. The letter also accused the minister of having illicit relations with a drunken minor at a nightclub and of carrying on an affair with another female politician.The woman denied writing the letter.
After police determined the letter was a forgery, in all likelihood meant to taint the popular minister, Sa’ar said he hoped that “we will return to the days when one’s honor will once again be a protected and valid value in the state of Israel.”