Noam chief says he’ll ensure ‘transparency’ in extracurricular school programming

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Noam party leader Avi Maoz speaks at a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Noam party leader Avi Maoz speaks at a faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Having been promised control over the Education Ministry’s external programming unit as part of his coalition deal with Likud, MK Avi Maoz of the Noam party clarifies that he plans to make sure there is “transparency” over the external educational vendors in Israeli public schools.

The unit sits over Gefen, the Education Ministry’s collection of approved, funded vendors, encompassing over 20,000 programs available to public school administrators. Spanning a range of offerings from sex education to bar mitzvah preparation to farming, external programming vendors are integral parts of public education.

Maoz spells out his plan for a program called “Shaveh,” Hebrew for “equivalent” or “worthy,” with the program’s full title meaning “Transparency and Notification of Parents,” reflecting one of Maoz’s core stated goals — to provide information for parents on program content, vendor identity and funding sources behind the programs. Some of the programs are funded by the Education Ministry directly, while others are sponsored by external donors, including foreign entities.

Maoz declines to answer reporter questions, including whether the oversight would lead to the cancelation of any programs.

One of the Knesset’s most conservative members, Maoz says he wants to create the national Jewish identity office under which the educational unit will be housed in order to strengthen Orthodox Jewish values. Maoz’s Noam party ran on an anti-LGBT platform, and Maoz has rallied against progressive values in education and women serving in the military.

The announcement of Maoz’s expected control over the external education unit led to public criticism from dozens of municipalities as well as protests across Israel.

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