Yad L'Achim turned to Education Minister Naftali Bennet earlier this week demanding that he put an immediate halt to all contacts between his ministry and "A New Way," the NGO that brought Jewish children from Caesarea to a mosque to bow down and pray in keeping with Islamic custom.
A New Way, which receives funding from the New Israel Fund, organized the class trip as part of its effort to promote "coexistence between Jews and Arabs." The tour of the nearby Arab town of Jisr a-Zarka included a visit to the local mosque together with Muslim children of similar ages. Upon entering the mosque, the Jewish children participated in prayers and bowed down to the ground. According to Channel 20, which exposed the affair, several of the parents said their children had been required to participate in the ceremony.
Channel 20 also revealed that A New Way has being working hand in hand with the Education Ministry for the past 18 years, running its programs in a not insignificant number of schools. Now it is clear that the "innocent" attempt at promoting mutual understanding and respect leads to joint prayers in mosques.
Yad L'Achim officials, shocked by the pictures Jewish children bowing down at a mosque, sent an urgent missive to the education minister, who also serves as chairman of the Jewish Home party.
In their letter, Yad L'Achim's leaders wrote: "Assimilation in Israel is masquerading as a yearning for multi-culturalism. Jewish identity, the backbone and core values of the Jewish people, is dealt a blow, here in Israel, out of a desire to show tolerance towards other religions. It begins with a bill to advance the "Holiday of Holidays" – legislating a joint celebration of Jewish, Muslim and Christian holidays in December – and continues with joint prayers in a mosque. If we don't come to our senses, it will end, chalilah, with baptism. The Education Ministry must sever all ties with the NGO and forbid it from running programs in schools so that this kind of thing doesn't happen again."