No math, no science, no English for Israel’s haredim

Why should yeshiva boys need to know the multiplication tables or that the Earth revolves around the sun?

In an 11th-hour measure, the Knesset passed a law last month preserving public funding for haredi schools whose students study nothing other than Jewish studies. No math, no science, no English. The L.A. Times has a decent backgrounder on the debate over state funding of yeshivas.

This reminds me of two revealing conversations I had with Israeli haredim in recent years that evinced their lack of basic knowledge of how the world works. In one, a haredi was surprised to learn that the sun was a star. In the other, a haredi man patiently explained to me that after the sun sets, it warms the waters of the earth because it heats them from below-ground upward.