The new subject was initiated by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar with the aim of "strengthening the Jewish, Zionist and democratic values among students", as part of the objectives he declared upon taking office.
As the new subject will be compulsory, the Education Ministry has decided to train special teachers for it. After they complete their studies, the teachers will receive a diploma expanding their teaching license.
The training process will begin in the upcoming school year and will include 300 teachers. It will be completed within three years, with 300 new teachers undergoing training every year. The teachers' tuition fees will be funded by the Education Ministry.
Sa'ar seeks to gradually include the new subject in the curriculum of fourth and ninth graders as well. Each class will dedicate two weekly hours to Jewish heritage. The program will include the study of the Jewish calendar and holidays, love of the land, Jerusalem, Diaspora Jews, Jewish motifs in State symbols, the Declaration of Independence and the weekly Torah portion.
The studies will be held in the classrooms, but students will also visit museums and national parks and go on excursions across the country.
According to the Education Ministry, the new program aims to "provide knowledge of Jewish culture, create a sense of belonging and responsibility toward the Jewish people and State of Israel, cultivate a human moral commitment, create openness to lifestyles expressing the Israeli culture and acquire tools for designing a personal worldview."
Studies and surveys conducted over the past few years have pointed to ignorance and lack of knowledge in basic concepts of Jewish culture and heritage. Education Ministry officials hope the new subject will help battle this phenomenon.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook