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Israel’s parliament is considering legislation that would form a school system combining secular and religious education.

The Knesset passed in preliminary reading Wednesday a bill that would have the state sponsor a network of schools whose curriculum integrates Western liberal values with modern Orthodox values.

Israel already has a few such schools, but the legislation would expand the practice and formalize government backing for it.

The two educational streams now recognized by the state are either “nationalist secular” or “nationalist Orthodox.” Fervently Orthodox Jews have separate school systems.

One of the bill’s authors, Labor Party lawmaker and Rabbi Michael Melchior, said he hopes to help assure long-term coexistence between the religious and secular in Israel.

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