Text size

Education Ministry chief scientist Dr. Gavriel Avital has committed to toeing the line set by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar as to how evolution and global warming are taught in schools.

Avital came under fire last month, with some of the country's leading scientists demanding his ouster, after he publicly questioned the veracity of the two theories.

On Wednesday, the Education Ministry released a letter that Avital wrote to Sa'ar and to ministry director general Shimshon Shoshani stating that he plans on following Sa'ar's policy.

"Following statements that were published which related to quotes from statements that I made before I assumed by position, and following my conversations with the two of you, I wish to make it clear that the ministry's policy as presented by the education minister at the Knesset is acceptable to me without reservation and I will act accordingly in the context of my position as chief scientist of the Education Ministry," he wrote.

Despite the letter's claim, some of Avital's controversial remarks were made after he assumed his current post. Among them was his statement: "If they explicitly write in textbooks that man is descended from apes, I would like students to look for other opinions and deal with them. There are many people who don't think the theory of evolution is correct."

Avital also said: "If they continue to write in textbooks that the earth is getting warmer because of carbon dioxide emissions, I will insist that that is not the case."

The Education Ministry refused to comment on the matter. A ministry source said "the case ended with the release of Avital's letter."

Another source at the ministry said the letter was demanded by Sa'ar and Shoshani. Avital, who was appointed three months ago, is the first Education Ministry chief scientist who was not chosen from the pedagogical world.

Last week, Sa'ar told the Knesset that "Avital's statements regarding evolution and the environment are not consistent with the Education Ministry's policy and are not acceptable to me."