Bennett: Judaism Trumps Math


Before Yom Tov, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett shocked liberals and Arabs by stating that studying Judaism is more important than the study of math and science.

“Studying Judaism and excelling in it is more important to me than learning math or science, because even as a high-tech superpower which exports knowledge and innovation to the world, we must also be a spiritual superpower which exports spiritual ideas to the world as we have done in the past when we were in our land,” he said. “This is the next chapter of our Zionist vision. This is how we will return to being a light unto the nations.”

His surprising statement was tempered by the fact that he said it at an event marking the fortieth anniversary of the Conservative linked TALI Jewish studies program which provides a pluralistic Jewish studies program to thousands of children in three hundred public schools and pre-schools, comprising more than 12% of all secular public schools throughout Israel.

Speaking later on the religious Kol Chai radio, Bennet admitted that he was not speaking in practical terms.

“We are presently in Elul,” he said. “How many Jewish children do not know what Selichos is? I don’t plan to bring anyone to teshuvah, but it is important that they know and recognize our heritage.”

Bennet also made clear that he still advocated the introduction of the Liba secular core curriculum into chareidi institutions.

“I am in favor of introducing [secular] studies into chareidi institutions,” he said. “I am sitting nowadays with chareidi networks and I tell you that more and more networks want this, the tools of math and English, I think that chareidi boys and girls should have these tools.”

As Haaretz noted, although Bennett’s Jewish studies plan supports the Conservative program, 90% of the thirty million shekels allocated for Jewish identity activities in secular schools goes to religious-Zionist organizations. This led Meretz leader Zahavi Galon to complain that this preference for Orthodox education and the fact that a child in the religious-Zionist stream receives 3,350 shekels more per year than secular pupils proved that “For Bennett, the only legitimate way to be Jews is his way.”

MK Taleb Abu Arar of the United Arab List stated that his party opposed the Judaizing of educational curriculums in Israel.

Bennett’s office tried to calm the furor with a statement noting, “There is no need to digress about the dramatic turnaround Minister Bennett is carrying out in science, mathematics and English. But without consolidating the Jewish-Zionist spirit of the people of Israel, the state would have no existence.

“It is unclear why the media is upset that in the Jewish State they should study Judaism and in the Land of the Bible they should study the Bible.”

{ Israel News Bureau}


  1. This is a terrible thought for any jewish sanity.

    The mathematics I studied have given me an advantage in Torah learning because my mind can add more and think more depth minded changing arrays of Torah interests.

    The idea that a study is insignificant to Torah ignores the greatness of the universe that the Creator created.

    This man Bennett is dangerous, irresponsible and hateful to Torah, universal honor and human voice.

    The sane mind can grasp many concepts. Many children are in fact very smart at learning many studies besides the smart values that are focused only in a yeshiva. We go to college and a mind given right by G-d can find humane and intelligent study.

    This is the egregious hate of any study that comes from the very average and small minded hate in our communities.

    Our faith must have right to discuss and study many topics and all topics in a soul that Hashem can help with Torah can evolve into Jewish learning.

    It it total absurdity.


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