Teachers’ Association in Israel
Moshe Kol Kalman
The organization was founded in 1903 at a teachers meeting in Zichron Ya’akov, convened by Menachem Ussishkin who was visiting Eretz Israel at the time. The aims of the association were to:
• Improvement of the educational facilities in Eretz Israel and standardization of the schools.
• Revival of the Hebrew language and the instilling of a national Jewish spirit into the schools.
During the first decade of its existence, the Teachers’ Association contributed greatly toward the establishment of the Hebrew school system. It decided to use the Sephardi pronunciation of Hebrew. The outstanding achievement of the Teachers’ Association was the establishment of Hebrew as the language of instruction in the schools of Eretz Israel. The first attempt to teach in Hebrew was made by Eliezer Ben Yehuda in 1889 and teachers in the early settlements followed his example. When the central committee of the Teachers’ Association learned in 1914 that the Board of Governors of the Haifa Technion had decided that the language of instruction in the new institution would be in German, they declared a boycott of the institutions.
In 1925, the Teachers’ Association called its first strike because their salary were late due to financial difficulties of the Zionist Organization. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the kindergartens and elementary schools became state-controlled and the teachers became state employees.
Among the important achievements of the association are:
• The linking of the teachers’ salaries to those of other university graduates in Israel
• The reduction of over crowding in classes