January 24, 2013

Divest from Arabs in Israeli schools

Four decades ago, the US Supreme Court approved one of the most harmful policies
in American history, the busing of schoolchildren. Twenty years before, a
liberal Supreme Court rejected a commonsense “separate but equal” approach
and required desegregation of schools in the South. Black children were allowed
in white schools, and white children were offered the heart-warming opportunity
to enroll in black schools.

Desegregation was a limited success because school districts were based on
residential districts; schools in white neighborhoods remained white, and in the
black ones, black. Unwilling to concede their defeat, the NAACP empire, backed
by heavyweight lawyers whose NAACP-related bills run into tens of millions
dollars, demanded integration. In a typical leftist manner, the qualitative leap
from desegregation to integration was presented as a logical step. Thankfully,
they didn’t demand that white girls marry black men to achieve a racially
balanced society.

Now there was a problem: how does one integrate schools when schoolchildren live
widely apart? A court found the answer in a massive busing program, which
brought pupils into other community’s schools. After much internal bickering,
the Supreme Court approved busing. Both white and black parents overwhelmingly
objected to busing because children were ripped out of their neighborhoods and
had to spend hours a day on a bus. Eventually, whites moved out of the cities
into more expensive suburbs where busing could not feasibly be implemented and
the schools remained all-white. The whites who remained in the cities fled
public education to the de facto segregated private schools. Chinese children
scored equally well in both segregated and integrated schools. Black children in
the forcibly integrated schools fared no better than before.

What does that have to do with Israel? Even the leftists won’t argue for
busing Jewish children into Arab neighborhoods for obvious security reasons. The
first similarity between the Israeli and American situations is the refusal to
recognize differences. Jews and Arabs, like whites and blacks, just don’t
score similarly. Acquiring a culture of education takes generations in which the
most enterprising and educated outperform the rest. In African and Arab
cultures, the strongest survived. Though it may change in a few centuries, right
now our civilizations are directed to two different goals. There are no Arab
scientists of note, nor will there be soon. Israel should stop wasting Jewish
money on Arabs. It is counterproductive to educate the next generation of Arab
nationalist leaders who would subvert our country. It is immoral to spend Jewish
money on Arabs who hate, or at the very least oppose Jews. It is senseless to
teach those who don’t absorb knowledge.

Regardless of these politically correct pronouncements about equality, people do
not accept it. Otherwise, American parents wouldn’t have taken their children
to private schools rather than mix them with blacks. Jews need not be more
politically correct than Americans.

The Education Ministry deliberately produces relatively low-end curricula so the
Arab students will not fail. Ashkenazi Jewish students could study much more
intensively than now, but the gap with Arabs in test results, large now, would
grow to politically incorrect proportions. The ministry, therefore, deliberately
simplifies the program. The problem is still more acute in universities.

Both Jews and Arabs are dissatisfied with common curricula. The Jewish program
is insufficiently nationalist, lest we offend the Arabs. The latter protest any
degree of Jewish nationalism in their schools.

Full privatization of the Israeli school system provides a solution. The
government would issue vouchers to parents, good for payment to any school of
their choice. That will eliminate the current inequality when children in
private schools receive no government funding, unlike those in public schools.
It will also eliminate an oddity whereby ultra-Orthodox Jewish pupils receive
half the per capita funding allocated to secular Arab pupils because government
spending for haredi schools is capped at 60 percent of what is allocated to the
secular ones.

Privatization of schools would eliminate the government’s monopoly over
curricula. In most schools, there will be no Rabin’s Day and peacenik
brainwashing. Given the radical leftist composition of the Education
Ministry’s staff, most schools would be more conservative and less atheistic
than today. The government’s grip on education is unrelated to paternalistic
concerns, but stems from the desire for an ideological monopoly on young minds.

Private education will be cheaper than public education because private
institutions are more efficient. Currently, private schools are a bit more
expensive because they lack the public schools' economy of scale and are geared
toward the higher-income population. Mass private schools will be inexpensive.
Israel can go a step further and stop subsidizing Arab children. Let’s
abrogate school subsidies or vouchers altogether and offset schooling costs
through parents’ tax credit. Arabs don’t pay taxes and won’t benefit from
tax credits. This move would affect unemployed haredim, too, but they don’t
want such extensive (and expensive) education for their children, anyway. Jewish
charities will cover the costs for poor parents. The government can act as a
lender of last resort and provide guarantees for schooling loans. Arabs won’t
qualify for the loans because many of them live in illegally built houses which
cannot be used as loan collateral.

When you want to free a Jewish country from Arabs, there are many ways of doing
so nicely.

Best regards,
Obadiah Shoher

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