The diverse nature of Israel’s society is accommodated within the framework of the education system.

Different sectors of the population attend different schools. Although, parents are comforted by the fact that their children’s school may more or less reflect their basic worldview, this separation results in very little contact among the various segments of Israeli society.

Schools are divided into five groups:

  • State (mamlachti) schools, attended by the majority of the pupils
  • State religious (mamlachti dati) schools, which emphasize Jewish studies, tradition and observance;
  • Independent religious schools (chinuch atzmai) which focus almost entirely on Talmud Torah and offer very little in terms of secular subjects;
  • Private schools which reflect the philosophies of specific groups of parents (Democratic Schools), or are based on a curriculum of a foreign country (e.g. The American School);
  • Arab schools, with instruction in Arabic and a focus on Arab history, religions and culture.

State schools

The curriculum of the State schools is 75 percent State-mandated, and 25 percent supplementary. The basic curriculum includes mathematics, language skills, science, history, Jewish studies, art and physical education. Jewish studies are given a national, cultural interpretation without any emphasis on the students’ religious observance or belief. The choice of supplementary subjects is made by the education committee of each school. The committee consists of parents, teachers and the school principal. Some schools within the State school track have utilized their 25 percent supplementary curriculum to create a program conveying a specific philosophy. One example is the Tali schools. Tali is the Hebrew acronym meaning Enriched Jewish Studies, and Tali schools devote more time to Jewish sources and traditions than is required in a basic curriculum.

State religious schools

The basic curriculum of the State Religious Schools is close to that of the State Schools, but the supplementary studies emphasize accelerated Jewish and religious studies. The atmosphere is one of Torah observance. There are daily prayers and children and staff adhere to religious norms.

Independent religious schools (Chinuch Atzmai)

These Talmud Torah schools place almost all their emphasis on religious studies and observance, with a paucity of math, language skills, history and science. The schools are supported by the State, however the Ministry of Education is not responsible for the curriculum, for the hiring and firing of teachers, or for the registration of pupils.

Independent private schools

The private schools which are recognized by the Ministry of Education include the basic State curriculum, however, staff and parents determine the instructional and educational norms of each school. For example, the growing network of Democratic schools, in which students run the school in conjunction with the parents and teachers, would fall into this category



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11 Jun 2014 / 13 Sivan 5774 0