Arab Students Won't Be Tested on Zionism

Ninth-grade students in Arab and Bedouin schools will not be tested on Zionism or Arab heritage this year, in what several Education Ministry officials called the first step toward getting rid of the standardized test on 100 concepts related to Zionism, democracy and cultural heritage.

Students in Jewish and Druze schools will still take the test, which is due to be administered in two weeks.

"The concepts in Arab heritage were of a low level, and there are important concepts that weren't even on the list," said an Education Ministry official. As for the Zionism section, the official said: "The concepts that were selected aren't suited for the needs of Arab students. Not only did the Arab students not learn about their own heritage, but the section on Zionism generated a great deal of criticism. It was therefore decided to reinforce the shared basis - that is, the section on democracy - and cut down on what separates the sectors."

The 100 Concepts Exam is considered one of the key projects of the previous education minister, Limor Livnat. While the section on democracy is the same for all schools, the section on heritage varies depending on the sector, and there are also differences in the Zionism section depending on the sector.

Education Minister Yuli Tamir has harshly criticized the exam, saying, "The concepts provide the students with partial, out-of-context knowledge that does not serve an educational purpose."