Number of gender-segregated religious schools in Israel tripled during past decade

Gender segregation is in effect at 65 percent of the state-run religious elementary schools in Israel, according to data obtained by Haaretz from the Education Ministry’s elementary school supervision department. The figures show that boys and girls study together in only 140 religious elementary schools around the country, with the remaining schools strictly adhering to absolute gender separation – in some places starting in Grade 1, and elsewhere in Grades 3 or 4.

According to the former head of the Religious Education Administration, Dr. Mati Dagan, the situation just a decade ago was entirely different, with fewer than 25 percent of the religious elementary schools enforcing gender separation.

“Today, we are seeing a phenomenon of the breaking down of the religious-Zionist ideology, which in the past spoke of both this and that – both religious and open, too, to general education,” Dagan says. “We are talking about an act of defense against society on the whole, expressed in a depreciation with regard to the issue of integration.”


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