Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Yaacov J Katz


Prof Yaacov Katz is a lecturer at the School of Education, Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He specializes in research on attitudes of students and teachers toward major issues in the educational system, including the study of attitudes toward the use of sophisticated digital learning strategies implemented at all educational levels.

Religious and values education in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society: The case of Israel

Abstract: The Israeli state educational system comprises schools representing state Jewish religious, state Jewish secular, state Arab (Moslem and Christian), and state Druze sectors of the heterogeneous Israeli population. Each educational sector is bound by a common core curriculum that includes religious education suitable for and accepted by each sector.

As a result, religious education in the Israeli state school system cannot be considered as a uniform subject with common goals and standards, but rather comprises a variety of curricula with goals based on the belief codes of the different religions, the different ideologies and, indeed, the potentially different value systems that may characterize the different sectors comprising the mosaic of Israeli society. Judaism in its various forms is the basis for religious education in state secular and state religious Jewish schools; Islam and Christianity in their various forms inspire religious education in state Arab schools; and the Druze religion is that which lies at the heart of religious education in state Druze schools.

However, despite the ideological and religious differences inherent in the religious education curricula proscribed for the different population groups, there is definite inter-group consensus that the values emanating from the sectorial religious education curricula should reflect the common interests of a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society living in a democratic state. The values characterizing religious education in the Israeli educational system include humanistic and universal values, civic equality, tolerance, coexistence, inter-group understanding and peace. Thus the Israeli educational system has managed to reconcile between the different religious and ideological positions of the different societal groups in the population and has forged a system of values consensually accepted by all population groups.