(photo credit: Ariel Jeorzolimski)
Sources close to Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar denied Thursday reports that as
part of a new, improved Bible curriculum, secular students would be instructed
on how to put on tefillin.
“The plan never existed, there never was and
still isn’t any intent to do that,” said the ministry official.
earlier, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) fired off an urgent letter to Sa’ar, after
receiving reports that the ministry was planning on instituting such a plan in
the coming school year.
“Knowledge of the Bible and recognizing Jewish
heritage are an important part of the school educational system. Even so, we
must prevent the holding of religious worship ceremonies in the schools,” said
“Between familiarity with the Bible and holding religious
ceremonies, there is a great distance. We cannot cross the clear line between
studying a historical Jewish ceremony of great value, and between bringing
religious ritual into the schools. The next step could be wearing a yarmulkes
during Bible study, separating women and men while studying Bible and prayers.
All of the foregoing should not happen in the framework of public secular
schools. That is why the public-religious school framework exists in parallel.
Wearing tefillin and all religious ceremonies is a matter of personal choice by
the student and their parents, and must be held in a private framework, but not
Horowitz asked Sa’ar to clarify his ministry’s intentions
regarding the new plan, in order to maintain “the tenor of the public schools
and the freedom to learn in them.”
Horowitz’s office said Thursday that
they had not received any response from the ministry, including the denial
received by The Jerusalem Post that such a plan existed.