Education Minister says religion should trump science

Education Minister says religion should trump science September 18, 2016

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, above, last week stressed the importance of Jewish studies over secular subjects.
He was quoted here as saying:

Learning about Judaism and excellence in the subject is more important in my eyes than mathematics and the sciences – and it is hard for me to say that.

His comments came months after controversy erupted over a government decision to drop its demand that ultra-Orthodox schools teach science, math and other core subjects in order to receive increased state funding.
Bennett had originally pushed against dropping the core subjects, but later bowed to coalition pressures.

Even though [Israel] is a high-tech superpower, an exporter of knowledge and innovation to the world, we must [also] be a spiritual superpower and export spiritual knowledge to the world. This is the next chapter of our Zionist vision.
In this way we will return to be a light to the nations. ‘For out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem’.
We are Jews … We must also be the people of the Bible.

But on Facebook, MK Elazar Stern (Zionist Union) chided Bennett for putting one before the other. Both are vital, he maintained.

There’s no preferential order – Jewish studies without math won’t be able to strengthen the Jewish state. And mathematics without Judaism (in its many forms) will send our mathematicians and scientists to Silicon Valley or Berlin.

Last month the Knesset rolled back a law that aimed to promote broader education by reducing funding to schools that did not teach core subjects. Bennett had initially supported the law, which was submitted by the Yesh Atid party and would have cut funding for ultra-Orthodox schools that do not devote a minimum number of weekly hours to core secular subjects such as math, English, and science.
Meanwhile, it is reported here that a school in High Wycombe has apologised for handing out a question in a maths test which stated God intended all people to be straight.
Headmaster Philip Wayne said:

I’m sorry on behalf of the whole school community of governors, staff and boys for any offence this has caused.

He revealed that the question was set as part of an additional test to higher-level maths students by a former full-time teacher who retired “a long time ago”.

He continued to volunteer at the school and recently handed out the test before the question was spotted by some students.

Wayne added:

First few boys to pick up the test, noticed the question concerned and referred it to staff.  As soon as it was picked up it was quickly withdrawn from the department.
He [the school volunteer] will not be returning to RGS. Staff are expected to abide by the teachers standards if they’re on the payroll or not.

Wayne also pointed out:

Social media has done its work very quickly as you can imagine, and when it was brought to my attention and I dealt with it.

The school, which was founded in the 16th century, regularly features as one of the top boys’ grammar school across the country.
Last month it celebrated another strong set of GCSE and A-Level results, with teachers being praised for their hard work in helping students achieve top marks.
LGBT rights charity Stonewall has highlighted the importance of tackling discrimination within school, while praising RGS for dealing with concerns quickly.
Senior communications officer at Stonewall, Matt Horwood, said:

It’s encouraging to see that this incident was dealt with as soon as it was raised, but demonstrates how important it is for staff to be equipped to prevent and tackle LGBT discrimination in all of its forms.
All children should be able to experience school as an inclusive learning space, and should absolutely never feel ostracised or mistreated by either the language or materials used by teaching staff or volunteers.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Israel report)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Newspaniard

    If these are the standards put forward by the Israeli Parliament, then I feel sorry for the students. Is Israel swerving to the standards set by Iran and IS? When do Israelis stop educating girls? It must be very strange for Jews who leave persecution in countries like Sweden only to discover a fundie government in the country they thought was safe.

  • Angela_K

    Education minister? More like an indoctrination minister.
    I can’t believe that a teacher who handed out the maths paper hadn’t looked through it first.

  • A population of just 8,556,500 yet twelve Nobel prizes. If Israel wants to start dumbing down, emphasizing religion over math and science is a sure way to do so.

  • Israel is in very grave danger of turning into yet another Bongo-Bongo land shit-hole. What on earth would the prophets have said?

  • AgentCormac

    An education minister who doesn’t believe in education? Makes your head spin.

  • Rob Andrews

    If he’s the education minister then he should understand geography and history.Historically the countries that are rich andpowerful stress science; germany Japan,and the UK. For geography look to the Arab neighbors. How many Nobel prises has Syria or Jordan gotten so far?
    Israel’s very survival is dependant on the technical advantage that it’s army needs. Sadly the US is falling behind in science education too.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    “Sadly the US is falling behind in science education too.”
    But we lead the world in Ark replicas !

  • L.Long

    So the minister thnks teaching LIES and SUPERSTITION is just as important as teaching reality!?!?! I will not give him a compliment by calling him stoopid!
    Also answered the math puzzle…there are no married couple as they are a hippie group who practice free love! It is a correct answer!

  • AgentCormac
  • Paul

    There is an Ark.
    We are on it.
    It is called Earth.

  • barriejohn

    Have you heard of Faraday Schools? They are supposed to help children to reconcile the conflicting claims of religion and science (main thesis: religion answers questions that science cannot!). Just take a look at this pile of excrement intended for 10-year-olds, on the subject “Is There A God?”:
    We often seem to assume that in these battles it is for religious people to demonstrate that their beliefs are right – and that if they cannot show for certain that there is a god then the other argument wins. But is this necessarily the best starting point to take? Why not, for the sake of argument – try beginning with the idea that there is a God and see what happens then!
    No, I can’t think of any reasons why not – can you?

  • Brian Jordan

    Faraday’s name has been besmirched by the Templeton foundation.
    As for Israel being urged to downplaying science in favour of religion, have they forgoten how Yahweh quaked in front of those innovative chariots of iron? Israel’s enemies will be rejoicing.

  • barriejohn

    Brian Jordan: Faraday was a “devout Christian”, but like Isaac Newton and others, was a man of his day. We don’t blindly adhere to all their scientific views now, having moved on, so why should their religious views be given such respect, great men though they were? As for the Templeton Foundation, featuring here and on other sites ad nauseam, all I can say is (as I know from personal experience, unfortunately) that even highly intelligent people can be extremely gullible!

  • John

    I am interested to know just what Bennett means when he talks about ‘export(ing) spiritual knowledge to the world. This is the next chapter of our Zionist vision.’
    Does this mean we will all be subject to what the Saudis have done in recent decades by exporting their vile version of wahhabist salafist islam around the world?
    If this does happen, how long will it be before a full-scale religious war breaks out between islam and judaism?
    Will innocent people here be caught in the middle?