Religious Influence in Israeli Education, #4, Ruiz K.

Ultra Orthodox students gesture as they pray during a reading class at the Kehilot Yaacov Torah School for boys in Ramot

Zvulun, Ronen. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews send their children to segregated private schools, with strict controls on curricula, behaviour and dress. Digital image. The Guardian. 3 Sept. 2013. Web.

 

According to the Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, values is defined as the “beliefs and ideals which form the basis for choices and preferences” (675). Generally, values are the ideas held by a group or an individual as to what is good, bad, desirable, or proper. They propose a certain lifestyle and behavior that construct self identity over time, is one’s discernment on what is valuable or important to them. They “constitute a specific element of every culture: they are closely linked to the symbols, laws, and rituals which regulate the various dimensions of collective life” (676) which can be passed down through generations. Also, values can be greatly influenced by the culture an individual lives in and the religion they identify with due to it playing a significant role in their lives.

Religion deeply influences politics in Israel, and currently the ultra-Orthodox, whose values are greatly impacted by their religion, are trying to gain that political power by changing education curriculum. The minister of education and religious politician from the radical right ultra-Orthodox, Naftali Bennett, is trying to lead and control the nation by building “political power by disseminating nationalist, fundamentalist sentiments” (Eldar). He recently spoke about not only combining Jewish and Zionist values, but instilling universal values as well. However, he’s inculcating his own Orthodox Judaism values he’s been taught as a child. According to the new curriculum that Bennett presented, “students will learn about the Jewish prayer book and teachers will emphasize the fasts marking the destruction of the Jerusalem temples” (Eldar) which . He’s investing the money the public gave to Orthodox organizations which was allocated to support Jewish culture into education, while Pluralistic organizations which “offer critical perspectives on Jewish history and secular Jewish culture are left to gather up the crumbs and beg schools to let them in” (Eldar). He’s influencing children to be taught his Orthodox values by using education as a political tool. Eventually, these children who are taught the Orthodox values will vote for the politicians that hold the same values they do. This gives great political power and advantage to the ultra-Orthodox which has caused the Likud, Labor and Yesh Atid to prevent provoking them due to the fear that “election day will turn into a day of vengeance” (Eldar). The Orthodox, or more specifically Bennett, are moving up the political ladder in Israel as they obtain power by ingraining their religious values through school education.

References

Eldar, Akiva. “How Education Became an Israeli Political Tool – Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East.” Al-Monitor. 28 Apr. 2016. Web.

Ritzer, George, and J. Michael. Ryan. The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology. Wiley, 2010.

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Religious Influence in Israeli Education, #4, Ruiz K.

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