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Textbooks In Israeli Haredi Schools Demonize Reform Jews

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Textbooks used in Haredi Orthodox schools in Israel promote the community’s insularity, according to a study by an education watchdog.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, or IMPACT-se, studied 93 textbooks used in grades 1 through 12.

The curricula of the Haredi schools oppose modernity, and acceptance of others is limited and unequal depending on the perceived threats to the community’s identity and its goals, according to the study.

Hatred of the Jewish people by the rest of the world is taught as a permanent historical reality and especially manifested through the teaching of the Holocaust. There is no extensive coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since it is included as hatred from the rest of the world. The textbooks also have almost no reference to Mizrahi culture, focusing instead on the Ashkenazi Haredi experience.

The textbooks also depict women as remaining in the background and not being empowered, while also being required to earn the family’s livelihood.

They either negate or are contemptuous of modern secular society, and hold out Reform Jewry for the most contempt, believing the movement is attempting to create an alternative religion.

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