Religion Magazine

Gafni Offers to Open Schools with Secular Education

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
In a recent parlor meeting with the "Working Haredim", MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) told them that he would never agree to the opening of Haredi schools under the State public school system (rather than in the Chinuch Atzmai private system), and he would do whatever possible to thwart attempts to open such schools, even if it means toppling the government.
These schools, known as "MaMaCh" (abbreviation for Mamlachti Charedi), have become a goal of the more "modern", working, haredim. Many of those in this category want their children to get a fuller education, well beyond what the classic haredi boys schools offer. Until now, attempts to open such schools have been met with strong opposition, and more often than not have gotten stopped early int he process. Only a small number were successfully opened despite the opposition to them.
It is a funny thing to say when trying to get people's votes - the one thing that is most important to you is something we will never agree to and will do everything to prevent. But at least Gafni is honest and does not [always] just make campaign promises he has no intention of keeping - you have to respect him for that.
Strangely enough, today Gafni announced a new initiative in an attempt to make the MaMaCh somewhat superfluous - or at least to be able to claim we can offer you an alternative.
According to Kikar, Gafni revealed that Chinuch Atzmai is going to, with the permission of the gedolim, open new schools for Haredi boys that will offer secular studies, in places that it is in demand. Gafni said the gedolim have already given them the green light to open such schools.
This is very interesting news. It is astounding news. Until now Gafni and his peers have always fought against secular studies claiming it as being against the mesora, the tradition, of generations of God fearing Jews who follow the gedolim, בדרך ישראל סבא , and only educated the young in torah. Suddenly it is ok to open schools, and send your children to them, that teach a full secular curriculum - but only if the same people can control it.
Whether he will actually do it or not is another question. The fact that he is saying he is willing to and the gedolim have approved it in theory is both shocking and astounding.
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