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Article
The Right to an Exclusively Religious Education – The Ultra-Orthodox Community in Israel in Comparative Perspective
forthcoming in Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014)
  • Gila Stopler
Abstract
The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Israel has its own separate education system which is funded by the state and in which boys are given an exclusively religious education with almost no exposure to secular subjects or to civic education. At the same time that the Israeli Supreme Court was scheduled to rule that the state may not continue to fund ultra-Orthodox private schools that do not teach the national core curriculum the Israeli parliament passed the Unique Cultural Educational Institutions Act which upholds the right of the ultra–Orthodox community to give their boys an exclusively religious education funded by the state. Proponents of the Act claim that it is required by ultra-Orthodox community members’ religious freedom and their right to multicultural accommodation. The article examines this claim from theoretical and comparative perspectives and argues that the Act is neither required theoretically nor comparable to the situation in other countries examined. It further argues that Israel’s aspiration to combine a liberal democratic state structure with an extensive establishment of the Orthodox Jewish religion in the state makes the exemption of ultra-Orthodox boys from secular subjects and from civic education especially problematic. The significant control that the ultra-Orthodox community has over Israel’s religious establishment and its considerable political power mean that ultra-Orthodox boys who are exposed only to radical religious education go on to become state officials who use the state’s religious establishment and its coercive power to undermine the rights of others as well as Israel’s already shaky liberal democratic foundations.
Publication Date
2014
Citation Information
Gila Stopler. "The Right to an Exclusively Religious Education – The Ultra-Orthodox Community in Israel in Comparative Perspective" forthcoming in Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law (2014)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gila_stopler/12/