State defends exemption of haredi boys from core curriculum

In response to petition submitted to High Court, state says high school age students not studying secular subjects not a violation.

By DAN IZENBERG
September 3, 2010 04:33
1 minute read.
REVERSE DISCRIMINATION: It was simply taken for granted that being a yeshiva student was sufficient

haredi students (do not publish again). (photo credit: FLASH 90)

A law exempting haredi male high school-age students from studying the core curriculum, which is mandatory in all parallel state-financed schools, does not violate the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom or the Basic Law: Freedom of Occupation, the state wrote on Thursday in a brief to the High Court of Justice.

The brief was in response to a petition filed earlier this year by a group of educators and others, including Prof. Uriel Reichmann and Amnon Rubinstein of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and former IDF manpower head Maj.- Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern asking the court to nullify the law or force students in these schools to study the core curriculum.

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The core curriculum is meant to teach all primary and secondary school students fundamental subjects, such as mathematics, English and subjects that teach them about citizenship and society, meant to establish a common denominator of skills and understanding for all children, whether they are secular, modern Orthodox or haredi.

Until 2008, the law insisted that all high school students study the core curriculum.

However, the haredi leadership refused to teach their high school aged boys secular subjects.

In 2008, the haredim used their political clout to pass a law establishing a new category of schools, called Special Cultural Educational Institutions, which were not obliged to teach the core curriculum.

The petitioners charged that such schools were denying their students “knowledge, tools, basic skills vital for the full development of their human autonomy, the ability to earn a living with dignity and the ability to integrate into Israeli society as active citizens who have what to contribute and enjoy full rights.”

In its response, the state denied the petitioners’ allegations.


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