Israeli religious schools balk at sex education

September 7, 2013 • Family Planning, News

Israeli religious schools balk at sex education


 Israeli junior high school students attending state-run religious schools will no longer have sex education courses after the education ministry decided to allow textbooks to be censored.

A chapter in the science textbook dealing with reproduction, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is being taken out after requests from Orthodox Jewish teachers and principals.

“The religious community has a different world view than the secular community and we accept that,” Michal Tzadoki, a spokesman for the Education Ministry told The Media Line. “They asked that this chapter be moved to the high school textbook and we agreed to that.”

The decision could lead to new tensions between secular and religiously-observant Israelis who already disagree on issues under the control of the Orthodox Rabbinate such as marriage and divorce. Many secular Israelis say they resent the interference of the religious establishment in their personal lives.

There have also been tensions over army service. The vast majority of the ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the Israeli army, although members of what is called the “national religious” community are drafted. Regarding the new issue, the religious sector says they fulfill all of their obligations to the state, but prefer to delay sex education to a time when the students are more mature.

Feminist groups sharply attacked the ministry’s decision.

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