79% of Jews: Haredi schools must teach math, English

By JONAH MANDEL
May 14, 2010 02:39
1 minute read.

Seventy-nine percent of Israeli Jews think all haredi schools should be forced to teach the core curriculum subjects, according to a poll conducted this week by the Smith Institute on behalf of Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality in Israel.

All state-funded schools are legally obligated to teach the core curriculum, which includes math, English and sciences. Two years ago, however, the Knesset approved a law exempting haredi high schools from those subjects without canceling their funding.

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Seventy percent of the poll’s 500 respondents want that law canceled.

Haredi elementary schools, which are still legally bound to the core curriculum, do not have nearly enough Education Ministry supervisors to ensure the curriculum’s implementation, according to data from the Knesset’s research department presented by Hiddush.

The Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement filed a petition to the High Court of Justice this week demanding that the Education Ministry provide more supervisors to oversee the core curriculum in haredi elementary schools.

Seventy-seven percent of the poll’s respondents said civics must also be a mandatory subject in haredi schools, and 57% favored stopping all funding to educational institutions that do not teach the core curriculum subjects.

Hiddush CEO Rabbi Uri Regev said in a statement: “Only forcing all the haredi institutions to teach a full core curriculum, including civics, will prevent the destruction of the Israeli economy and democracy, and help encourage haredim to serve in the army or take part in national service. The public’s will is clear, beyond any doubt.

“The [government] coalition is selling the future of Zionism to the haredi parties and leading Israel to suicide, not only of values but also economically and security-wise... I suggest that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the secular parties put an end to the policy of groveling before the haredim, lest the public choose a different leadership,” Regev said.


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