Thursday, July 24, 2008
The ultra-Orthodox posted a major "achievement" on Wednesday: They managed to arrange another exemption for their children, this time from education. Until now, the Compulsory Education Law prohibited funding institutions that did not teach the core curriculum, though such institutions were funded in contravention of the law. But from now on, ultra-Orthodox students will be officially exempt from acquiring knowledge of English, mathematics and civics, not to mention biology, computers and science.
Moreover, the Education Ministry will from now on be required by law to fund 60 percent of the Torah studies of 24,000 students in yeshivas for 14- to 18-year-olds. This group comes mainly from ultra-Orthodox elementary schools, where they also do not acquire any general knowledge.
I suppose that Solomon, wisest of all men, would have made a bad Orthodox Jew. The minor issue of his late polytheism aside, though of course the textual scholors conclude from this that he wasn't actually dedicated to God to begin with. Come on, textual scholars. Old dudes will do crazy things for chicks.
On a more general note, it's interesting to think how this would play out in the context of a Catholic school system. Well, I can't imagine anyone advocating a measure, come to think of it. Oh well, it was an interesting thought.