Religion or bribery? Haredi rabbis have reportedly started offering students at one Ramat Gan high school NIS 18 to attend Torah lesson, as noted by concerned parents. Is this a downpayment for becoming religious?The school responded to this haredi missionizing by banning all prayer services on school grounds. This has led to charges the school is "anti-religious."
Principal of Ohel- Shem High School in Ramat Gan, Adam Kniksberg, said Monday at a session of the Knesset Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, that religious “missionaries” from Bnei Brak, that have as of late become part of the school environment, have started influencing its students little by little.
“They start off by instituting prayer sessions at the school, then move on to lessons in Judaism and keeping kosher at a nearby synagogue, and the end result is, at times, students who leave the school and do not enlist in the IDF,” said Kniksberg.
Deputy Chairman of the Education Division at the Ramat Gan Municipality, Mira Shannon, also expressed alarm at this growing phenomenon. “The secular school body has experienced a ‘religious terrorism’ of sorts since the arrival of these Bnei Brak ‘missionaries,” she said Monday at the education committee session.
This phenomenon had also raised concerned among local parents. Ramat Gan Parents’ Association Chairman and head of the Ohel-Shem school PTA, Danny Goldstein, said that parents at this Ramat Gan school are deathly afraid that their children will become Orthodox and refuse to enlist in the army.
“That would be a disaster as far as I am concerned, akin to religious parents who mourn a child who becomes secular as if he had died,” he said Monday at the Knesset committee session.
“There are three or four ‘missionaries’, that some may call Rabbis, who bribe students at Ohel-Shem into attending Torah lesson with NIS 18 payments. One single mother, who is struggling to make ends meet, told me, in tears, that her child will no longer eat at home because she does not keep kosher,” said Goldstein.
Most students who are goaded into attending the prayer session at school, noted Goldstein, are students from poor families who are in financial dire straits. It is these, and other parents, that have petitioned the city municipality for help in combating the ‘missionary’ phenomenon.…
The fact remains that minors should be able to attend school without having to deal with religious coercion. Paying poor kids to learn Torah when done without permission of those kids' parents is immoral. It should be illegal, as well.
This is another example of haredim using the tactics of destructive cults and of some (but not all) fundamentalist Christian missionaries.
It should be fought in the courts, in the Knesset and, if necessary, by using similar tactics to lure haredi kids to a secular lifestyle– if that's what it takes for haredim to realize right from wrong.