Daily Israel Report

Saar: 'The Love of Our Tanakh Must Be Taught'

Education Minister Saar hailed the Tanakh as the basis of Israel's culture saying students must be taught to love it.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/27/2011, 5:27 PM

Gideon Saar
Gideon Saar
Flash 90

Education Minister Gideon Saar on Tuesday said The Hebrew scriptures form "the broad base of our national culture.

Saar's remarks were made ahead of Israel's adult Tanakh Quiz on Tuesday evening at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

In an exclusive Arutz Sheva interview Saar said the content represents a national desire to return to the values of Judaism.

"We want to return to Jewish values ​​and encourage public's interest in our Tanakh, which is is the broad base of our national culture," Saar said. "We have received very broad public support for this program. It is indicative of a very profound desire that exists in Israel's public."

"The commercial culture based on television and consumerism isn't cutting it. There is a deep yearning across the public spectrum for something based on our roots, which has an intellectual dimension and context. This translates into a contest that is all about dealing with expertise in basic texts."

Saar also spoke about the Tanakh curriculum in Israel's schools and his efforts to incorporate hands on learning into the program.

"These days we are in a process of learning the Tanakh with our legs – by walking the Tanakh and visiting biblical sites – which better connects students to the Tanakh and the love of our country" Saar explained.

Saar expressed dissatisfaction with the status of Tanakh studies at present. "I hope the attitude towards Tanakh studies that we see now will change. It’s not just knowledge of the Tanakh that must be transmitted, but the love of our Tanakh that must be taught...The way we teach needs to change."

However, Saar expressed confidence that Israel's technological acumen could be brought into play in Tanakh studies.

"Technology is not against tradition. Quite the contrary! You can find a Tanakh in one moment the iPhone. Teaching the Tanakh will come only by adjusting the correct ways of learning,” Saar said.

Saar added he felt the State Religious School System could serve as an engine for driving Biblical awareness in Israel's public using the new State Religious School System school in Jaffa as an example.

"The schools in Jaffa are enormously important and could potentially grow very large, due to the Torah Core community growing there. National religious schools should be made attractive to the general public – to the traditional public, representing religious diversity in our public.”

“This requires a degree of flexibility and local modeling – as exists in the State Religious School System,” Saar added.