Dalia Rabin, the daughter of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said on Army Radio on Monday that schools from the state national- religious system do not visit the Rabin Center, a national institute and museum established by the Knesset in 1997 to promote Rabin’s legacy.
“The state national-religious education [system] does not come here unfortunately,” Rabin told Army Radio anchor Razi Barkai during a special broadcast from the Rabin Center Monday morning.
The Education Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Yona Goodman, the educational director of the network of the national-religious Bnei Akiva movement’s high schools, said that he is unaware of any such instructions from the ministry, but that there had been a significant change in the approach of the national-religious community in general toward the commemoration of Rabin’s assassination.
“Because there was such a demand that anyone who was religious, or on the Right, or disagreed with the Oslo process, must apologize and repent for the assassination of Rabin, people in the national-religious community could not relate to the how the commemoration of the man was done,” Goodman told The Jerusalem Post.
He said that this attitude has decreased in recent years, and that national-religious schools in general and the Bnei Akiva network of 74 high-schools in particular have increased their educational programs on the issue.
Goodman said that the Bnei Akiva schools hold a ceremony marking Rabin’s assassination, and conduct classroom discussions on all the issues surrounding it.
“We need to educate our children to believe in values, but at the same time respecting the opinion and stance of others. We need to understand the conflicts facing Israeli society even today, but at the same time how we can participate in the debate while loving and respecting those who disagree with you.”
Shmuel Shetach, director of the Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah centrist national-religious lobbying group – which is frequently critical of the national-religious education system – said he is extremely skeptical of any claim that there is any kind of formal instruction to national-religious schools not to visit the Rabin Center.
Shetach noted that school trips are determined by coordinators in each school and that it is possible that in general coordinators in national-religious schools do shy away from taking pupils to the Rabin Center.
He said that the center glorifies Rabin and the Oslo peace process, which is something the Israeli right does not believe in, and would therefore make national-religious schools reluctant to conduct trips there.
Neemanei Torah Va’avodah was itself instrumental in setting up an alternative memorial rally in 2012 to the main rally conducted every year on Saturday night after the anniversary of the assassination in Kings of Israel Square, later renamed Rabin Square.
It did so, Shetach says, because of what he described as the politicization of the rally by the Israeli Left, which alienated the national religious community, and the alternative rally was staged to encourage the community and its organizations to nevertheless commemorate the assassination.
Since then, the content of the rally has become less political says Shetach. National- religious groups like the Bnei Akiva youth movement have participated in the last two years and are expected to do so again this Saturday night.
“I am very optimistic that education about Rabin in the state national-religious schools is increasing and that the values of the democratic decision-making process and respect for the other is being taught alongside that,” he said.
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