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Israeli Parents Complain of “Missionary Influence” in schools

“This is missionary work!” shouted furious Israeli parents in the central city of Rehovot earlier this month after their children received a school assignment to make a model of Jesus or some other foundational event in Christianity.

The kids were given a choice, among other things, of drawing a picture of Jesus, or making a diagram or model of the Last Supper, people being baptized by John, or Mary meeting the angel Gabriel. The parents insisted this assignment went beyond merely studying history, and was nothing short of a missionary effort to influence their children.

“I came across my son’s work and was shocked to see a drawing of Jesus,” one mother told the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom. “I read the assignment and didn’t know if to laugh or cry. They were asked to build a model of the Last Supper or draw Jesus, or some such.”

Israel Today ran a story earlier this year in which we asked the Ministry of Education whether or not Jesus and Christianity are taught in Israeli schools given the historical connection to this land. We found that Israeli schools do indeed teach Jesus, and in a rather respectful way.

But what happened at the Rehovot middle school probably goes a bit beyond the Ministry of Education curriculum in this regard.

The school responded that the particular class in question is about diplomacy and getting to know other cultures, religions and worldviews, and that there was never any intent to influence the religious beliefs of any students.