What's the Latest Development?
A new series of cash bonuses being offered to high school teachers in Israel for specific target accomplishments includes a reward for their schools achieving a "high rate of enlistment for military, national, or civil service," according to a circular released late last year and reported on by Haaretz. Full-time teachers whose achievements put their schools in the top 10 percent in a particular category will receive the maximum of ₪8,000 (US$2,160). The program is one of several recently-expanded initiatives designed to strengthen students' willingness to serve and to "develop excellence among teachers and pupils."
What's the Big Idea?
Although most Israeli youth are required to serve three years in the military, lower participation rates have the government concerned about future readiness. Critics, such as former Meretz Party leader Yossi Sarid, say that it represents indoctrination that doesn't bode well for peace in the long run: "The ministry of education is taking Israel in a more militaristic, more nationalistic, more xenophobic, and more chauvinistic direction." Supporter Raanan Gissin dismisses the criticism, saying, "Israel finds itself in a peculiar situation...To survive, everyone has to take part in defense and that means three years of military service."