The Knesset Tuesday approved the establishment of a new "combined" educational stream in the state's educational system, which will enable non-religious parents to give their children a more Jewish education than they currently receive in the public schools.

The bill received the government's support, which increases its chances of passing all legislative hurdles. The new stream will receive 3 million NIS in the first year of its existence, 6 million NIS in the second year and 25 million NIS in the third year. The funds are to be transferred by the Finance Ministry as an addition to the education budget.

In-service training

Every school in Israel will be able to decide for itself whether it wishes to join the "combined" stream. In the first five years after joining the stream, the school will be eligible for assistance that will go towards teacher education seminars, and in-service training of the staff and students for the school’s new mission of increased Jewish education.

The school will be eligible for additional class hours and will be allowed to exchange hours that w

MK Michael Melchior said that the new stream would be "an educational revolution."

ere previously devoted to non-Judaic studies for Torah classes.

Every school will have its own Judaism Coordinator whose job it will be to integrate Jewish identity and values into the school and community life.

Eight schools in first year

A Supervisory Council for the combined stream will be created to govern the schools' syllabus and values. Eight schools will join the stream in the coming year.

There are already several schools in Israel that operate according to this approach, including schools from the Meitarim, Tali and Keshet networks, as well as schools in Tekoa, Kfar Edumim and Mazkeret Batya. 

MK Michael Melchior (Labor), a sponsor of the bill, said that the new stream would be "an educational revolution" that would provide "the answer to the growing rift and polarization in the values of Israeli society."

Another sponsor, MK Esterina Tartman (Yisrael Beiteinu) said that the law would enable non-religious parents who were not well off to give their children a Jewish education.