Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Sivan 5761 - May 23, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Education Ministry To Close Scientology Cult Atid School
by Betzalel Kahn

Deputy Education Minister Meshulem Nahari has announced that the Education Ministry will close the Scientology cult- backed Atid school. The school, in which scores of students from the Dan Bloc study, will be closed before the opening of the next school year. The announcement was made in response to a parliamentary question presented by MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni.

Two months ago, Yated Ne'eman published an article about a petition filed with the High Court by Lev L'Achim, demanding closure of the Atid school. In the petition, Lev L'Achim claimed that the Atid school was founded by an organization called "For Progressive Education in Israel," which uses the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology cult. In its decision, the Interministerial Committee for Investigation of Cults determined that Scientology is a cult: actually the first cult discussed by the Committee report.

Lev L'Achim demanded that the Education Ministry close the school in time for the coming school year (5761-2). However, at first it received no response from the Ministry. Organization activists recently learned that the school had received a license for 5761, and was recognized as an unofficial educational institution, enabling it to receive state subsidies. Lev L'Achim had no choice but to turn to the High Court with a demand that the Education Ministry grant no license to the Scientology school.

At the same time, in a parallel move, Lev L'Achim's anti- cult department activists demanded that the Education Ministry retract its approval of books written by cult leader L. Ron Hubbard: books that had purportedly received approval for use as textbooks in the school system. Proudly saying that the Education Ministry had indeed approved the books, the Scientology cult publishing house issued a call to cult members to distribute the books in every manner possible. "This is the first time we have ever received permission from the Education Ministry to introduce our books into the school system," advertisements for the book said.

Rabbi Moshe Gafni filed a parliamentary query on the issue with the Education Minister, noting that the committee that had dealt with the issue determined that Scientology is a dangerous cult that inflicts severe damage on its members.

In his reply, Nahari said that the cult school had been required to comply with demands that its teachers receive pedagogical training. In addition, the school promised not to incorporate the cult leader's material into the regular curriculum. However, as the Education Ministry supervisor who visited the school related, the school had not complied with these demands. As a result, it was recommended that the school be closed for the coming year.

Nahari added that the cult leader's books were not approved as textbooks by the Ministerial Department for the Approval of Textbooks. Nahari also said that the Ministry forbade the cult publishing house to claim that the books had received Ministry approval.


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