Israeli Schools Teach Pro-settler Religious Nationalism Is the Only Way to Be Jewish

Raising a pious, pro-settler generation: Israeli schoolkids are now targets of a state-sponsored campaign of political and religious indoctrination

Benjamin Netanyahu greets students waving Israeli flags during a ceremony opening the school year in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Elkana.

Noga Brenner Samia writes in Haaretz:

The Israeli government recently approved school trips to sites over the Green Line, fully funded by the Education Ministry. The reason given? It’s unabashedly stated by Rafi Peretz, Israel’s former Minister of Education: “In order for couples to move here [to the occupied territories] when they’re 30 years old, we need young people at 16 to visit here…that is the way we will build another new step to the settlement project.”

It’s time we faced the truth: In recent years, Israel’s education ministry has pushed a hidden agenda. Not only is it moving our kids towards a more Orthodox approach to their Jewish identity, but it is pushing them to the political right, too.

As a long time Jewish educator and mother of three Israeli children I often get asked, “Is Israel getting more religious or more secular?” My go-to answer: “It’s complicated.” When we try to analyse sociological and ideological trends in Israel relating to religion and secularism, it’s a complex picture.

What if we start by asking smaller questions, like: “Are our children getting a different kind of Jewish education than their parents? Are kids at state secular schools exposed to more Orthodox undertones (and overtones) in their Jewish education?”

The answer to these questions is far more simple. It is unequivocally “Yes.”

The controversy around how far a religious Jewish agenda is being forced on secular public school students in Israel has been brewing for some time. Commonly known as “hadata” (“religionization,” or religious coercion, from the Hebrew for religion, “dat“), now it seems to have gone one step further.

A new term has entered the national vocabulary: “hadlata,” an acronym which adds the element of “leumi,” or nationalist, so it means a process of enforcing theological nationalism. The Jewish education our kids are receiving in non-religious public schools is not only indoctrinated by religion, it has increasingly taken on a politically nationalistic slant as well.

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