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Study: Teaching Holocaust common denominator in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The teaching of the Holocaust is one of the most meaningful and unifying areas of study in the Israeli school system, a survey found.

A national survey of Israeli principals, teachers and students released Tuesday found that the Holocaust is a common denominator among students of diverse backgrounds, and that there are no major differences between students from different demographic groups in terms of their perceptions of the Holocaust.

The study, headed by Erik Cohen of Bar-Ilan University’s School of Education, interviewed 307 principals, 519 teachers and 2,540 ninth- and 12th-grade students from Israeli religious and non-religious schools. It was presented Tuesday to the Knesset Education Committee.

A majority of students, 77 percent, said that the Holocaust affects their worldview and 94 percent said they are committed to preserving its memory. Some 83 percent said they are interested in learning more about the Holocaust.

Some 99 percent of students who participated in a journey to Poland said it was an effective means of learning about the Holocaust.

Strengthening students’ commitment to the existence of an independent State of Israel is an important goal of Holocaust education for 100 percent of principals and 92 percent of teachers, the study found. More than half of the teachers received training in Holocaust education through a professional enrichment course during the past two years.

The study was conducted from 2007 to 2009 with the support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
 

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