Israel's fair funding

June 16, 2006

In his response to my opinion piece about the Natfhe boycott of Israeli universities (May 26), David Lehmann claims that Israel discriminates in funding against Arab schools (Letters, June 2). He is silent about the universities.

Israel's university funding decisions are irrelevant to the question of discrimination, since all their universities are open to all applicants on their merits. As for the schools, as I understand it, all faiths in Israel have access to secular schools that receive state support in proportion to the number of students. Community contributions affect particular schools. But there is no systematic government discrimination between schools in predominantly Arab or Jewish communities.

Lehmann denies that Israel is a true democracy, citing policies with which he disagrees, such as its Law of Return. None of this is relevant to whether Israel is a democracy. I disagree with some British policies, but I don't deny that Britain is a true democracy. I don't even boycott British professors who toe the Arab line.

Steven Weinberg

University of Texas at Austin

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