Sa’ar: No plans to teach secular kids to put on tefillin

“The plan never existed, there never was and still isn’t any intent to do that."

Gideon Saar (photo credit: Ariel Jeorzolimski)
Gideon Saar
(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.
One day 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 Horowitz.
“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 in school.”
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.