28 August 2006
by Moran Zelikovich
Education minister Yuli Tamir said Sunday that in her vision she sees "an Arab girl next to a religious girl, volunteering together in a Nahariyan hospital. If I succeed in this then I have accomplished all of my aspirations in public life."
Speaking during the "City for Education" conference in Holon, Tamir said her new project aims to encourage Arab students to volunteer in the national service.
"We can offer the Arab sector a partnership," she explained. "Let's see if we can recruit them and divide properly what we have. I have decided to open a path and give them the opportunity to participate in the national service".
Today, the national service serves as an alternative volunteer framework for the military service and many of the volunteers are from the national-religious sector. The state has allocated 10,000 positions for national service volunteers, and the education ministry gets almost a third of them.
More than 3,000 volunteers are recruited each year to help in various institutions like schools for special education, community centres, daycare centres, dormitories and youth movements, in a variety of duties such as professional assistants and tutors. The duration of the service is between one and two years.
According to the minister, the scheme has been tried recently with satisfactory results. The positions have been filled instantly hence Minister Tamir has decided to conduct and implement the project on a wider scale.
For the first time, the education ministry of will offer 74 volunteer positions for the national service from the Arab sector in the coming year. It is important to point out that in order to encourage volunteers in the Arab sector to volunteer for national service the minister needs to cooperate both with the Israel defense forces and the local authorities.