• Issue: July 2006
  • Designer: Hadar Shechter
  • Stamp size: 40 mm x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 648 (no phosphor bar)
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: offset

Religious Zionist education in Eretz Yisrael was founded in 1905 with the establishment in Jaffa of the "Modern Brotherhood Talmud Torah" (Talmud Torah Metukan Ahvah), later renamed the Tahkemoni School. The school was distinctive for its integrated curriculum embracing the Jewish people, Torah and Zion. This curriculum was drawn up with the assistance of Rabbi Judah Leib Fishman-Maimon, head of the Mizrachi movement's education committee. The idea of institutionalizing a religious Zionist education system had been proposed in 1902 with the founding of the Mizrachi movement in Vilna. A decision made at the World Zionist Congress in London in 1919 gave this educational approach by the Mizrachi stream full autonomy. The leaders of religious Zionism in the Diaspora, guided by Rabbis Isaac Jacob Reines and Judah Leib Fishman-Maimon, were intent on establishing an educational stream based neither on secularism nor on contentiousness with or isolation from other sectors of the Jewish people. The founder of the Mizrachi movement, Rabbi Reines, viewed education as the movement's primary mission. At his initiative, the leaders of Mizrachi formulated educational formats based on the belief that embracing progress does not mean conceding a full religious life. They viewed religious Zionist education as a bridge between past and present, religion and modern nationalism, tradition and innovation.

The primary basis of religious Zionist education in the State of Israel was molded during the early years of statehood in the context of the State Education Law of 1953. This law defined state religious education as "state education whose institutions are religious in terms of life style, educational curricula, teachers and supervisors." In 1998, this clause was amended by the words: "and it [state religious education] educates in the spirit of religious Zionism". Upon its establishment, the state religious education system incorporated all the schools in the Mizrachi stream, as well as some of the religious and traditional pupils who attended schools in the Labor stream, General stream and Agudat Israel stream.

Religious state education highlights the importance of preserving the historic heritage of the Jewish people and carrying out a fully religious way of life according to Halakhah (traditional law). It educates toward inclusive involvement in Jewish Zionist national activity both in Israel and in the Diaspora. Religious state education fosters the involvement of the religious student in public issues, showing openness and a readiness to respond to the challenges of living in a pluralistic society with tolerance and the capacity for dialog with those around him/her.

The state religious curriculum aims to provide its graduates with a well balanced education in the humanities and sciences, enabling them to make suitable use of their free time for their own benefit and that of the public at large. Religious Zionist education teaches full integration in the life of the state, and the development of dialog and good relations with all sectors of the population and with different sectors of society. Religious state education is integrated into the activity and aims of the Ministry of Education in the same way as is the general state educational system. Graduates of the religious state educational system fill key roles in the fields of Judaism, education, economics and defense. They include the children of immigrants in every immigration wave ever since the founding of the State of Israel.

Elimelech Lendner              
Head of the Department of Education                           

Dr. Matityahu Dagan
School of Education
Bar-Ilan University

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100 years of Religious Zionist Education