Israel cuts 85% of LGTBQ+ school budget

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01 Apr 2024, 2:53 am

Israel cuts 85% of budget for LGBTQ+ tolerance program in schools

Israel’s Education Ministry announced Sunday it is cutting 85% of the “Tolerance Program” budget, a program which aims to convey a message of tolerance towards the LGBTQ+ community in Israel, Channel 13 reported.

The program's budget will drop from 3 million NIS to 300,000 NIS in the 2024 budget. As a result, 4,200 workshops will be canceled, and 145,000 students will not be exposed to the content taught in them, despite the increase in anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate speech in Israel.
Mor Nahari, CEO of the 'Hoshen - education and change' organization (Hoshen), which conducts a significant portion of the workshops that were canceled due to budget cuts, sent a letter to Education Minister Yoav Kisch asking for a solution before the Passover holiday and the start of the matriculation exams.

“The workshops of Hoshen for tolerance education are the Ministry of Education's way to provide safe and secure spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and to combat LGBTQ+phobia, violence, and hatred from schools. They assured us that there would be no harm to the LGBTQ+ community, and now Avi Meoz received a budget of 25 million shekels (! !) while tolerance education in schools is at risk of complete elimination. We will continue to act until every student is protected and safe exactly as they should be. We call on Education Minister Yoav Kisch not to abandon LGBTQ+ youth and to restore the budget even before the Passover holiday,” Hoshen stated in an Instagram post.

Previous funding issues
In 2019, the Education Ministry delayed the transfer of funds to LGBTQ+ organizations operating in schools, which primarily affected Hoshen.

The Education Ministry began including the organization’s activities in the budget in 2016 in a regulation entitled “Education for Tolerance.”

Schools, mainly through educational networks, receive funds to purchase activities from Hoshen as part of the budget. The regulation specifies that "gender-sensitive education, and addressing 'rainbow families' (children raised in LGBTQ+ families), is an additional aspect of recommended approaches in educational institutions from compulsory education to grade 12."

Israel saw a record number of 3,309 instances of violence and hate speech directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community in 2022, according to The Aguda’s 2023 report. A report for 2023 data has not yet been released. This is an 11% rise from the number of instances in 2021.

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