State-religious elementary schools will introduce separate classrooms for boys and girls from the fourth grade, the Education Ministry’s Religious Education Administration decided this week.
The Administration said, however, that schools were free to start gender segregation from as early as the first grade, or – alternatively – mix boys and girls in higher grades too, as long as the decision is made by at least two-thirds of the pupils’ parents.
The Religious Zionism movement has been divided over the issue in recent years, as the conservative factions are in favor of starting segregation in the lower grades, while the more liberal factions support mixed education.
The ideological differences have turned into a real struggle in areas where one institution serves both populations, in many cases prompting segregation supporters to leave the state education system and establish private schools.
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