Israel’s recently appointed Education Minister Rafi Peretz is considering requiring ultra-Orthodox and Arab schools to fly the Israeli flag, according to Israeli media reports Wednesday.
Israeli legislation dating back to 1997 already compels all educational institutions to fly an Israeli flag on their main school building.
Now, sources close to Peretz claim 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”, the sources said.
During his swearing-in ceremony, Peretz himself hinted at the reported initiative, stating: “I want to see the Israeli flag flying above all of us. It is all of ours and will fly above all of us”.
The news was welcomed by Oz, a right-wing pressure group that had urged Peretz’s predecessor in the education ministry Naftali Bennett to enforce the law.
“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”, the head of Oz, Tal Zohar, said.
Educators from the Palestinian sector, however, expressed concern.
“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 media.