Knesset votes to exempt haredi schools from teaching core subjects

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Knesset voted to exempt haredi Orthodox schools from teaching the core curriculum of general studies.

The bill passed its second and third readings late Monday night by a vote of 41 to 28.

The new law cancels a law passed in the previous government, which did not include any haredi Orthodox parties, requiring haredi Orthodox elementary schools to teach 11 hours of math, science and English.  The law was never enforced.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism party that he would remove the core curriculum requirements as part of its coalition agreement.

The law requiring the teaching of core curriculum subjects had been championed by Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which is no longer part of the government coalition.

“The Israeli government has sold our children’s future and taken from an entire generation the ability to support themselves,” Yesh Atid said in a statement.

There are about 440,000 students in the haredi Orthodox elementary education system.