A grand bargain with the haredim?

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September 3, 2012 13:12

Israel can’t compromise on either army service or work. But it can compromise on the secular core curriculum.




Haredi children Jews protest Tal Law.

Haredi children protesting. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)

The school year has begun, and with it, the annual demands that haredi schools start teaching the core curriculum – spearheaded this year by no less a personage than Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar. In theory, this makes sense: Israelis want haredim to join the work force, so they want haredi schools to teach subjects needed in the modern workplace, like English and math. There are only two problems: There’s no evidence that the core curriculum is actually necessary for this purpose, and considerable reason to think this demand actually undermines efforts at integration.

Ten years ago, before any evidence to the contrary had accumulated, this demand was perfectly understandable. But in the interim, several haredi colleges and army programs have been opened for men educated on the Talmud-intensive haredi curriculum rather than the secular one. And all have proven markedly successful.

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