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Bennett to advance Judaism, not democracy, in education system

Future Education Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to advance his own ultra-Orthodox perceptions of Jewish heritage at the expense of democratic values and pluralism in Judaism.
Israel's Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, head of far-right Jewish Home party, speaks during a right-wing rally in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square March 15, 2015. Israel's centre-left opposition is poised for an upset victory in the upcoming parliamentary election, with the last opinion polls before Tuesday's vote giving it a solid lead over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTR4TGOG
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The Knesset elections in March distanced us from the "diplomatic horizon" that our politicians love to talk about. Just like any other horizon, it seems as if the closer we get, the further away it goes. The one exception is the political horizon, with which our politicians love to dabble. The closer we get to that, the closer and more tangible it actually becomes.

The most prominent message of the last election and of the government to be formed in its wake is that a “good Israeli” is a straight, conservative, right-wing Jew who hates Arabs. All the rest are delusional leftists at best and at worst, despicable traitors. The easiest target audience to absorb these messages, whether explicit or implicit, is students. At the same time, Israel’s children are the greatest reservoir of potential voters for the government. Now, the system charged with shaping their moral and political worldview is about to be handed over to the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, Naftali Bennett, the most talented salesman for a monolithic brand of Orthodox Zionism, and also the most dangerous. And if there are no last-minute changes, control of Israeli culture will be handed over to Knesset member Ayelet Shaked, Bennett's colleague in this radicalized incarnation of the National Religious Party leadership. It seems as if the decision today of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to transfer his Yisrael Beitenu Party from the government table to the opposition benches has left the foreign minister portfolio vacant. But a more general assessment would indicate that HaBayit HaYehudi would benefit greatly from taking over the education and culture ministries than getting the Foreign Ministry.

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