Chief Rabbis urged to support secular subjects

MK Yair Lapid sends letter to Chief Rabbis imploring them to oppose government move to abolish secular studies standards in haredi schools.

Shai Landesman ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

In response to the government's expected move to abolish the requirement for basic state standards of secular studies in haredi schools, MK Yair Lapid sent a letter to Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau asking them to publicly oppose the move.

"The government is currently promoting a law to abolish basic secular education standards in haredi schools. This would mean that haredi children won't learn math and English in school, which would rob them of the ability to support themselves and their families later in life," the Yesh Atid head wrote.

"Some of the children will undoubtedly continue in the Torah study world, but those of them who will want to join the workforce will find that many jobs (the best paying jobs, at that) will be closed to them."

Lapid pointed out that the move to abolish the secular education standards is unfair to the haredi children, unfair to the other children who will need to carry the workload in the future, and in fact goes against the values of Judaism. "All agree that there is no conflict between Judaism and studying math and languages.

"On the contrary, all of Jewish history is suffused with the desire for learning and education. The sages taught 'Torah study without a trade brings about sin.' King Solomon, the wisest of men, spoke 70 languages. Maimonides was a doctor and a scientist. Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra wrote a book about the fundamentals of the decimal system. Gersonides wrote a book about high mathematics. Rabbi Elyahu of Vilna had a great interest in mathematics and a great breadth of scientific knowledge."

Lapid also expressed concern about the moves long-term effects on the future of all Israeli children. "This initiative will increase hatred and ignorance in Israel, it'll widen the divides in Israeli society, and is especially unfair to the thousands of children it will prevent from making a decent living.

"Many haredi households want basic secular education for their children but their voices are drowned out by the haredi lobbyists. The change that will bring equal opportunity for the haredi child has already begun. We must not allow it to be stopped."

The MK ended with a special request of the Chief Rabbis, "I call for the honorable Rabbi to speak with a strong and brave moral voice that will garner the support of all groups in society, to oppose the notion that for political reasons the children of Israel will be denied the knowledge, wisdom, and opportunities they deserve."