University of Bar Ilan researchers presented the Knesset
Education Committee with a study that found vast differences
in atmosphere and discipline in separate chareidi educational
institutions from government schools--both secular and
On the topic of feelings of belonging to the school the
chareidi education system received 74 points in the study,
compared to 39 points for secular government schools, 38
points for religious government schools and 42 points for non-
In the area of teacher-student relations the chareidi
education system received 100 points compared to just seven
points for secular government schools, 24 points for
religious government schools and 18 points for non-Jewish
On the question of teacher support, the chareidi education
system received 36 points compared to -1 for secular
government schools, -13 for religious government schools and
24 points for non-Jewish schools.
Perhaps the most significant figure was the issue of
classroom atmosphere and discipline. The chareidi education
system received 28 points compared to just -52 points for
secular government schools, -28 points for religious
government schools and 5 points for non-Jewish schools.
In the area of teacher morale the chareidi education system
received 29 points compared to 14 points for secular
government schools, 7 points for religious government schools
and -48 points for non-Jewish schools.
The authors of the study, Professor Z. Mevarech and Dr. B.
Karmarasky, presented additional figures and said according
to their data there is a direct correlation between age and
attendance. Older students are increasingly absent or tardy
or do not participate in class. They say only 55 percent of
students maintain a high attendance rate. They also note
pressure to achieve is below the international average.
The stunning gap in the area of classroom discipline and
atmosphere led all of the committee members to express
concern over the future of the education system in Israel.
Professor Yaakov Katz, chairman of the Education Ministry's
pedagogical secretariat, said there is no balance today
between students' rights and teachers' ability to impose
discipline. "We've lost the teacher's deterrence capability
and he is afraid to take action and report," he said. "There
are directives but there is a reluctance to implement
Teachers' union representatives attributed teachers' lack of
authority to inadequate Education Ministry backing and called
for a new teachers' authority law.
Following the presentation of the findings, MK Rabbi Moshe
Gafni suggested the Minister of Education and the Prime
Minister resign from office. Unlike other social problems,
here the education of the coming generations is at stake as
children grow up without discipline and without values, said
Rabbi Gafni, calling on them to accept ministerial
responsibility for this grave state of affairs. Rather than
devoting efforts to making changes in the chareidi sector, he
added, they ought to devote more attention to the government
education system, which has reached alarming lows.
MK Meshulam Nahari (Shas) said the education system has
failed to create the positive climate needed to bring about
excellence and high achievement. He called on the school
system to focus more on education and less on grade
MK Marina Solodkin (Likud) said she is not surprised by the
worrisome findings "which reflect our true face as a society,
and are not a defect among students alone."
MK Yuli Tamir (Labor) also said the figures reflect Israeli
society, which is violent and lacks direction and ideology,
compared to chareidi education which does have values and
Rabbi Avrohom Y. Lazerzon, one of the heads of Chinuch
Atzmoi, said, "Neither proposed legislation nor government
pedagogical committees will in any way solve the diseases of
the general education system. There is only one, single way.
And as difficult as it may be for you to admit it the time
has come for you to acknowledge the need to return to
traditional Jewish education, which even according to the
surveys yields very positive results compared to the very
negative results and the sour fruits of the government
educational system. The students are not to blame, rather the
flawed approach to education is what causes failures and