Core Curriculum Law cancelled

A controversial counter-law now allows all Israeli schools - including haredi ones - to drop core subjects.

Rachel Kaplan ,

Moti Yogev
Moti Yogev

Early this morning, the Knesset voted 41-28 to cancel the Core Curriculum Law, which mandated that every school in Israel teach English, mathematics, and sciences.

Haredi MKs had resisted the law since its inception, claiming it forced outside morals on an enclave culture.

"For 65 years since the establishment of the state, the Education Ministry recognized the status of the independent 'exempt' schools," MK Meir Porush (UTJ) explained on July 26, when the bill to repeal the Core Curriculum Law passed its first reading.

"Ministers came and went, they all recognized the exempt schools. Then came Yesh Atid and initiated a bill, which, for one thing, was full of problems, a fact that the Education Ministry acknowledges even today.

"Yesh Atid invented a new interpretation of the idea of a Jewish and democratic state," he argued. "What was here before the state? Who was here before the first Aliya? The second, the third? Even before Hertzl dreamed about a Jewish state. There were haredi Jews living here, who, under the direction of their Rabbis, accepted rules and limitations upon themselves, especially in terms of education."

As the repeal bill gained more support, Yesh Atid party members were unhappy with a move they saw as a burden on the state.

“This bill is unfair to haredi students, and will make it impossible for them to support themselves and their families with dignity in the future, and is not fair towards the secular and religious children on whom the burden [to support them] will fall in the future,” Yesh Atid said, in a statement published earlier in July.

“How will the ultra-Orthodox youth support themselves without mathematics and English and without a basic toolbox for the labor market? And if they won’t support themselves, who will support them?” the party asked.

Despite Yesh Atid's recalcitrance, the idea of freedom of education took hold. The bill which passed through its third reading today was initially written by Jewish Home, and not the haredi UTJ party.

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) explained why he voted to cancel the Core Curriculum Law during its first reading on July 26:

"I am for haredim learning core subjects such as mathematics and physics. I am also for the non-religious learning core subjects of Torah, faith, and the wisdom of the sages... However, it is not right to force legislation on the nation of Israel.

"Therefore, I voted today for the cancellation of the law which legislates a general studies core curriculum in haredi education. I have no doubt that through natural processes, the haredim will learn more math, and more will draft into the IDF, and that the secular will learn more Torah - but not through legislation."

The repeal bill, having passed its first, second, and final readings in the Knesset, has been passed into law.