An American Jewish organization that operates more than 100 schools in Israel recently offered some of its Israeli ninth graders a lecture in which the speaker claimed that the Earth was flat.
The talk at AMIT's Bar Ilan School was given by Matan Gorodish, an alumnus of the school who is also is a strong advocate for the Flat Earth Theory, which he promotes extensively via lectures and in various media outlets.
AMIT (Americans for Israel and Torah) says on its website that it offers "Jewish values–based education" to more than 37,000 children in Israel, with a focus on lower income areas.
Educational experts said that Gorodish presents views in his lectures are nothing more than a farce, and criticized the school's decision to allow him to speak to students.
"When there's a vacuum, ignorance and lies take place," said Dr. Liat Ben David, director of the Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
"It's horrifying to think that instead of using actual accurate scientific tools and studies that are available to all, students are being offered such absolute drivel."
Gorodish opened his lecture by denouncing modern science, and asserting that "known science is nothing more than guess work, lies, and gullibility meant to advance a certain agenda."
According to AMIT, attendance at the lecture was optional, adding that students could and did debate with Gorodish during the event.
But, the organization said, it would be more careful when vetting guest speakers for its students.
"Going forward, we will create a team to approve any future lecturers" AMIT said. "We would also like to add that throughout the talk, the students argued with the lecturer, disputing his thesis."
The Education Ministry said that Gorodish's talk "contradicts the scientific views of the ministry," but that he had been "invited by an external source to speak at the school."
Gorodish said he had been invited to speak as part of the school's 40-year celebrations.
"The teachers of the school asked the graduates to plan an enrichment program for the students," he said. "I proposed to give a lecture about flat Earth and was invited to speak in front of the students, it was a surprise to me too."
He added: "The students' response was amazing. Thirty minutes after the lecture they kept asking questions, they were absolutely ecstatic."
First published: 10:44 , 12.10.19