Jewish Schools and Israel

By Simon Rocker
May 24, 2011

Last year’s survey on the attitudes of British Jews towards Israel pose interesting questions for Jewish education, according to Jon Boyd, director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, which ran the survey.

Let me quote from part of the synopsis of his presentation at last week’s UJIA education conference:

“There is a clear relationship between hawkishness and religiosity and, similarly, dovishness and secularism…

“The data demonstrates that the more religious you are, the more likely you are, for example, to be opposed to territorial compromise, to question that Palestinians desire peace and to give Israel the benefit of the doubt in terms of its efforts to achieve peace. Conversely, the more secular you are, the less likely you are to define yourself as a Zionist, the more likely you are to regard Israel as an occupying power and the more likely you are to favour negotiations with Hamas.

“This poses critical education questions: are we placing sufficient emphasis on our understanding of ‘the other’ in our religious schools and informal educational frameworks, and are we placing sufficient emphasis on our understanding of our own internal Jewish narrative in our more secular and progressive contexts?”


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