Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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27 Elul 5759 - September 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Education Minister Plans Major Reforms in State Jewish Studies Programs

by Eliezer Rauchberger

Minister of Education Yossi Sarid has announced in the Knesset that he intends to execute a "reform" in the general school system Jewish studies programs.

"Stashed away in the Ministry's drawer is something called the Shenhar Reports. This is very important and very interesting. It was adopted a number of times, and when a report is adopted a number of times, I know that no one plans to execute it. It goes into the drawer. Because I did not yet have the privilege to adopt it, I am about to adopt it. It is about Judaism: Judaism according to our world view."

In response to a question by MK Nissim Zeev, who asked what he means by the word "our," Sarid replied: "`Our' refers to the secular majority in the country which wants to study Judaism in a humanistic, pluralistic, open manner. 70% of the students in Israel study in mamlachti (national) schools, and they will definitely study Judaism. Teachers will teach Judaism according to their world view from books suiting their outlook."

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said in response, "The education Yossi Sarid is talking about went bankrupt. The current violence, drugs and alienation from values prevalent in the country should have led Yossi Sarid and his cronies to admit that the only educational system which does not display these phenomena but, rather, their opposite, is the authentic Jewish educational system. They should have admitted and understood that the study of Judaism and Jewish tradition in its genuine form should be strengthened, not the opposite.

"The Prime Minister must realize that the vast majority of Israelis, even those who send their children to mamlachti schools are traditional, and uninterested in the kind of education to which Yossi Sarid is referring. The mamlachti educational system does not belong to the minority represented by Meretz, and we will not allow this minority to do as it sees fit with the majority. It has once more been proven that we were right and that it was forbidden to allow someone from Meretz to serve as Minster of Education," Rabbi Gafni said.

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