JERUSALEM, Israel – The Times of Israel headlined a story Wednesday, "Israeli schools largely avoid teaching evolution – report."
The story that follows quotes a Channel 10 television news report saying that Israel's Education Ministry "is quietly encouraging teachers to focus on other topics [besides evolution] in biology."
It says beginning with kindergarten and continuing through elementary school, biology teachers don't mention Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which purports that "all life evolved from common ancestors." And middle schoolers, according to the report, only hear it alluded to in "general discussions."
The article goes on to quote more of the TV report regarding high school students.
"The evolution of life over hundreds of millions of years is crucial to a modern understanding of science and underpins all of modern biology," the article states. "However, many religious fundamentalists believe evolution contradicts a literal reading of the Bible, which says that God created all life fully formed."
According to the report, the general director of the Davidson Institute for Science Education Dr. Liat Ben David says, "Not teaching this is actually removing a very, very fundamental part of science and making it inaccessible to Israeli children."
In response to the story, the Education Ministry clarified that middle schoolers are required to study "the principles of adaption to the environment," while high school students have the option of taking a class on the theory of evolution.
"Learning the principles of adaptation to the environment is compulsory in middle school," it told Channel 10. "The theory of evolution itself is taught as an optional class in high schools."
Israeli kids headed back to school next week.
Note: The boys in the photograph are from the community of Elon Moreh.