Youth Survey Ignites Serious Concern at CECI Conference

Dear Friends,

On March 11, 2010, CECI hosted an educational conference, in cooperation with Tel Aviv University, entitled The Youth of Today – Tomorrow’s Face of Israel.

Results from surveys conducted by Maagar-Mochot Institute were discussed and created quite a “stir”. The surveys polled Israeli youths about their connection to the State of Israel, their attitude towards new immigrants, including Arab citizens, and their overall political views.

Survey findings emerged with a “less than encouraging” picture of the attitudes of Israeli youth —

* 35% believe the IDF is the most trustworthy institution, as opposed to 2% who believe the government is the most trustworthy institution.

* 91% expressed a willingness to serve in the army (48% said they’d refuse an order to evacuate settlements in the occupied territories.)

* 47% do not think Israel’s education system is preparing them to serve as good citizens.

* 57% believe Judaism has reasonable influence on life in Israel.

* 87% want to continue to live in Israel (the rate among Jews is a little bit higher than the Arab Israelis).

* 50% of Israeli youths think Israeli Arabs should not be given the same rights as the Israeli Jews (56% feel that Israeli Arabs should not be elected to the Knesset.)

Officials from the Ministry of Education expressed serious concern over the surveys’ findings and emphasized that the results are an important “warning sign” in regards to the radicalization of the youth.

Chairman of the Knesset’s Education Committee, MK Zevulon Orlev, stated: “This distressing information illustrates the education system has neglected its responsibility in teaching students about human and Zionist values, Judaism, and democracy.”

MK Tzipi Livni commented, “We are witnessing an erosion of values amongst the youth.”

CECI President, Izak Parviz Nazarian, added, “We need to strengthen the image of political institutions in the eyes of young people because they are the future of Israel.” Executive Director of CECI, Yuval Lipkin, continued, “The results reflect a bad image of Israeli society. Those who work in education need to concentrate their efforts to uproot the lack of tolerance and lack of respect for the rule of the law.”

Tel Aviv University Professor Daniel Bar-Tal remarked, “The role of the Ministry of Education is to prepare its alumni to function as effective citizens. This is not a simple task due to the complicated nature of Israeli society. There is also a lack of consistency in the Ministry of Education’s ideology and policy because of frequent government changes. Therefore, it is important to establish permanent principals for the policy of the Education of Ministry.”

MK Zevulun Orlev remarked, “Good civics education reflects the values of community and society; if civics education can become a more practical experience, with concrete objectives within a national organized plan and not simply a idealistic vision, I believe that in 5 years, we will be able to see change.”

MK Dr. Ahmad Tibi proclaimed, “The life of a democratic society must be based on equality and mutual and national respect. Democratic values are not only for use in a slogan; in a democracy, all citizens, though different, are equal.”

Professor Avishay Braverman, MK Minister of Minority Affairs, stated, “Unfortunately, we have the one of worst democratic regimes in the western world, one which doesn’t attract the best people to serve in politics and the public service; though the State of Israel has enormous potential, we don’t develop the Negev and the Galil and, thus, we don’t bolster the State of Israel. I believe that we can make it, but the future is Jews and Arabs together.”

Conference speakers included: MK Tzipi Livni — Head of the Opposition, MK Zevulun Orlev — Chairman of the Education Committee in the Knesset, MK Dr. Ahmad Tibi — Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Anastassia Michaeli — Member of the Education Committee of the Knesset, Avishay Braverman — Minister of Minorities, and Izak Parviz Nazarian – President of CECI. Also present, were experts from education and academia, including: Professor Orit Ichilov, Professor Nimrod Aloni, Dr. Raed Mualem, and Rabbi Shai Piron.

For more information, please see the links below for the video & newspaper articles –

http://video.tau.ac.il/Lectures/General/Citizens_Empowerment_Center_in_Israel/2010/

HAARETZ

http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/spages/1155708.html

YNET

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3861092,00.html

WALLA

http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/1/1652403

T.V- London & Kirshenbaum

http://lnk.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleId=705412&sid=182

T.V- Erev Hadash

http://www.23tv.co.il/239-he/Tachi.aspx

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