Monday, February 22, 2016

Naftali Bennett, What Have You Got in your "Culture Basket?"

י״ג לחודש השנים עשר תשע״ו
Arutz 7: Rav Piron: Good for you, Naftali Bennett
'Dealing with culture basket is right, proper. It gives weight, status to managers, allows cultural diversity,' says former Ed Min. 
Reut Hadar, 2/21/2016 
Former Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) has congratulated current Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) for the culture basket reforms he presented last week. 
As part of the reform, the culture basket's budget will be set at 22 million shekels ($5.6 million US) instead of the current 16 million shekels ($4 million US), and will serve 800,000 students in about 170 local authorities. The students will be provided with 6,000 cultural performances, an increase over the current 1,200 performances that have been subsidized. 
"I also sometimes have issues, really mostly insights on what Naftali Bennett does as a whole and in the Education Ministry specifically," Rabbi Piron wrote on his Facebook account. "But someone here got confused. When every move is criticized - you shouldn't be state-sanctioned. It doesn't matter what you do, a regular group will explain that the motive was not appropriate, fitting, pure.
He says that it's impossible to continue in this manner. The Israeli lack of faith saps the strength from every public figure, every group. So now it is time to encourage Bennett.

"Dear Naftali," Piron added. "The move dealing with the culture basket is correct and proper. It gives weight and important standing to managers. It allowed cultural diversity. It expands the spectrum of those who use the culture basket. Good for you."
Esser Agaroth (2¢):
Cultural diversity? Does Bennett mean Ashkenazy, North African, Yemenite, and Ethiopian Jews learning about each other's cultures together? North American, South American, French, and Russian Jews participating in joint Shabbat prayers, meals, and activities? What about Hassidic and Litvish Jews engaging in cultural dialogues under the guidance of rabbis and MK's from the United Torah Judaism Party?

I sincerely doubt that any of the above is on the agenda, and is probably conspicuously absent from Bennett's "culture basket."
Naftali Bennett
So, when do we get to find out what exactly is in this culture baskets? What kind of "cultural" programs will our children be exposed to? What will these "cultural performances" entail? And the $128 question...

What will students, that is, our children, be required to participate in?

Funny thing about the word "culture" in Israel. My experience is that "culture" in Israel tends to be code one of three different things:
1. Exposure to cultures which are completely foreign to Torah.

2. Increased exposure to Western, "progressive" culture, and always presented as the ideal, even superior, culture to which we should all strive for.

3. Coexistence, as in coexistence within Israel, between Jews non-Jews. Of course, discussion of when and how non-Jews are even allowed to reside in Israel is completely forbidden, as it contradicts the State of Israel's so-called "democratic" principles.
Enter Bennett's predecessor, former Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid).

Shai Piron
Remember him? Re-educator of hilltop youth. Speaker at Ramadan breakfasts. Praiser of radical leftist Shulamit Aloni. Bearer of criticism from prominent Religious Zionist rabbi.

Is Piron attempting to guilt us into supporting his successor's "culture basket," with its increased funding? Are we supposed to buy Piron's logic that if he has disagreed with Bennett in the past, but now supports him, that means we should support him, too?

My experience is that if Shai Piron likes it, it is not good. Not good at all.

Someone should remind Naftali Bennett and Rabbi Shai Piron that we already have a culture basket, and it is called the Torah.

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