Criticism from rabbis and other circles have caused the Ministry of Education to decide to forgo monetary assistance to summer camps that was to be contributed by a Christian-Jewish fund, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ).
The Ministry decided not to take $10 million from the IFCJ for the summer camps and will instead foot the entire bill itself, reported IDF Radio.
The military radio station published what it said is an IFCJ document that shows that contrary to earlier statements, the ICFJ was, in fact, involved in determining the educational content that children would be exposed to in the camps.
The document, which was sent by the IFCJ to the Education Ministry and municipalities nationwide, describes a “Friendship Village” in which the campgoers would “discover new cultures and get to know the customs of other nations, explore the different and discover how similar it is... Find out that we do not need to speak the same language to get to know each other.”
The village would include visits to London, where the children would “enter the Beatles' recording studio” and record a video clip of a translated Beatles song; ancient Egypt, where they would solve hieroglyphic writings, build a large pyramid, and conduct activity “encouraging curiosity toward the different, and tolerance”; ancient Greece, where they would experience “Olympics” by competing on a balance beam and in tug-of-war games, and learn about fair play and non-violence; and the USA, where they will experience “thinking big and having great fun,” with large inflatable attractions and features described as “the Statue of Liberty, Washington D.C., New York” and more.
The military radio station noted that “while many can identify with these messages, when one hears that the funding is coming from devout Christians, it can be interpreted differently.”
The IFCJ reportedly insisted that the values of accepting “the other” are both Jewish and universal ones and did not come from the IFCJ.
However, said IDF Radio, after the Education Ministry decided not to take the cash for the summer camps, the IFCJ will instead direct it toward a “Friendship Village” for children with special needs and serious illnesses, as well as children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.