Peretz said weighing making Arab, Haredi schools fly Israeli flag
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Peretz said weighing making Arab, Haredi schools fly Israeli flag

New education minister hints at move during swearing-in ceremony: ‘I want to see the Israeli flag flying above all of us’

Education Minister Rafi Peretz at his swearing-in ceremony at the Education Ministry in Jerusalem on June 26, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Education Minister Rafi Peretz at his swearing-in ceremony at the Education Ministry in Jerusalem on June 26, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Newly appointed Education Minister Rafi Peretz is considering requiring ultra-Orthodox and Arab schools to fly the Israeli flag, according to a report Wednesday.

Under a 1997 law, all educational institutions must fly an Israeli flag on their main school building.

Associates of Peretz, who took office Wednesday, told the Ynet news site that enforcing the law could be one of his first acts in office.

“Because of the many limitations on a minister in a transitional government, measures will now be sought that do not include economic costs. The idea of flying flags at all schools is a step of this type,” they were quoted saying.

During his swearing-in ceremony, Peretz hinted at the reported initiative.

The main building of Branco Weiss High School in Beit Shemesh. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

“I want to see the Israeli flag flying above all of us. It is all of ours and will fly above all of us,” he said.

Oz, a right-wing education group that petitioned Peretz’s predecessor Naftali Bennett to enforce the law, cheered the potential policy change.

“Upholding the law in equal manner is important to us and it is important that all schools in Israel fly the flag, including schools in the Arab community,” Tal Zohar, the head of Oz, told Ynet.

Arab educators, however, pushed back against the reported move.

“Education is more essential than the flying of symbols in order to provoke. I suggest the education minister focus on more essential things like moral education and reducing racism,” Khaled Abu Asbeh of the Masar Institute for Education told the news site.

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