The Education Ministry has decided to introduce into the curriculum of Israeli high schools a new program that will focus on the dangers of assimilation of the Jewish people in the Diaspora.
Ministry officials are set to present the program before the Knesset Education Committee on Wednesday.
The studies program, which will constitute part of Judaism studies in schools, will focus on the Diaspora Jewry demographical trends among the Jewish people in the world.
Education Minister Yuli Tamir explained that, "Reinforcing Judaism studies will contribute significantly to the consolidation of the students' Jewish identity. Learning about the roots of the Jewish people in Israel and abroad will also help strengthen the ties with the Jewish community and create a sense of solidarity."
The subject of assimilation is set to be studied as part of a discussion on the anticipated demographic trends for the Jewish people. The program will also deal with the Jewish society across the world and its relation to Israel, with the major concentrations of Jews abroad, the Jewish education in the Diaspora, Jewish identity and Israeli identity in Israel, and the Law of Return.
In addition, the students will become acquainted with the larger and important communities abroad, including those in the United States, Canada, the former Soviet republics, Argentina, France and Britain. Special emphasis will be put on issues concerning the contacts these communities maintain with Israel.
Mixed marriages, being a minorityThe national supervisor on the studies of the Jewish communities' legacy, Moshe Zaafrani, told Ynet that the program focuses on different aspects in each country. "For instance, when learning about France, the subject of anti-Semitism will be studied, in the United States – the topic of streams of Judaism. The students will become acquainted with the issue of assimilation, and what's it like to live as a minority."
Zaafrani explained that the program deals with mixed marriages and assimilation, "Because this is one of the major reasons for the drop in the number of Jews in the world. The program relies on statistics collected by demographer Prof. Sergio de la Pergola of the Hebrew University, according to which the number of Jews is continuously decreasing and currently stands at 13 million, although it should have been a lot more."
De la Pergola's study asserts that 30 years from now, most Jews will be living in Israel, due to increased assimilation processes and the low birth rates among Diaspora Jews.