Violence in Israeli schools is rising, study shows

An international study published this week shows that school violence is rising compared to other OECD countries.

Shimon Cohen ,

School violence
School violence

Violence in Israeli schools is rising relative to other OECD countries, according to an international study published this week.

Arutz Sheva spoke with MK Yehiel Moshe "Hili" Tropper (Blue and White) about the data, its significance and possible solutions. Tropper ran the Branco Weiss high school (a school for at-risk teenagers) in Ramle, was the advisor to Education Minister Shai Piron and later served as the Director of the Education, Welfare and Culture Division in Yerucham.

"It's impossible to hide from the fact that the data is harsh," Tropper said. "There are many reports of physical and verbal violence, many more than in other Western countries," Tropper adds that the tendency to put the blame on the teachers is incorrect.

"The children who beat, threaten and curse come from a certain type of home and return to a certain type of home, they see violence on television. Solving the problem of violence in schools requires the mobilization of everyone, not just the teachers."

Tropper believes that a comprehensive national program is required with the cooperation of various government ministries. "A national program is needed because other elements, such as the media, should be involved in the program. A child sees constant violence on television and he's incapable of separating television and reality. Every public body needs to be a partner, to set red lines for what is shown on TV. Of course, it's a free world and it's hard to force anyone, but a different set of ethics is required on TV - the involvement of parents in what's shown on TV is needed."

Regarding social media, Tropper says, "Parents must look at their kids' Whatsapp groups every once in a while, go into their social networks, see what their kids look at on the computer and what they close right before the parents walk in. This is the responsibility of the parents, not the teachers."

"I went through a difficult experience with one of my daughter's Whatsapp groups regarding the use of language that I was not okay with. It was my responsibility. I am the one who has to be alert and understand what is happening. The parents are the most significant figures for their children, and it's possible that parental guidance should be included in the national program."

Tropper has no explanation for the fact that it is particularly Israel that has the highest level of violence. However, he assumes that the fact that Israeli society lives under the threat of constant violence from their enemies contributes to a constant tension among Israeli children.

"Children in other countries don't experience running to the shelter from the enemy. Israeli children see soldiers with weapons. They experience a reality of facing violence. We must form a proper approach for children. This is our responsibility as adults," Tropper concludes.