JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli middle schools for the first time will teach evolution as part of the core curriculum.
The theory will be taught to seventh- through ninth-grade students in secular state schools, state-religious schools and Arab schools beginning with the new school year, the Education Ministry announced Sunday.
The curricula will include the theory of evolution by natural selection but not human evolution from primates.
Schools currently teach the biblical account of the creation of man, with the theory of evolution appearing in advanced biology study in high school for students matriculating in the subject.
Omitting the evolution of man from the new curriculum reportedly was viewed as a way to prevent opposition from the religious sector.
“There isn’t too much difference between the evolution of humans to that of animals, but if taking out humans from the theory is what it takes to incorporate Darwin’s theory — one of the most important scientific theories of our time — to the education system, than it is fine by me,” Ariel Chipman, a lecturer in the department of ecology, evolution and behavior at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Ynet.