Survey: Secular Students Don’t Like Tanach Class

Israeli students. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

An Education Ministry survey indicates that unfortunately, Tanach is not a popular subject among students in Israeli secular schools. In a survey of 500 students in Israeli state public schools that are not part of the state religious school system, 61 percent said they did not consider Tanach studies important. Forty-nine percent said they did not like classes in Tanach, while 65 percent said they did not like the way the subject matter was taught.

Tanach studies – generally from a historical and cultural perspective – are required courses in Israeli high schools, and students can opt for advanced Tanach studies. Tanach is also the subject of one of the units of Israeli matriculation exams, required for graduation from high school.

A similar poll in state religious schools indicated that 83 percent saw Tanach as an important subject, while 60 percent enjoyed the lessons and had no criticism in how the subject was taught.

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), chairperson of the Knesset Lobby for the Encouragement of Tanach Studies, said that “the results of a poll like this, which shows that the teaching of Jewish traditional texts is a cause for division, should sadden all Israelis. The basic texts of the Jewish people, especially the Tanach, should be considered one of our most important resources.” Glick said that the Education Ministry was aware of the problem and has been developing a new approach to teaching Tanach, “which we hope will find its rightful place in the hearts of all students.”