Leviev Program Nixed by Schools

An educational program initiated by ultra-Orthodox business tycoon Lev Leviev will no longer be run by the state education system, Education Ministry Director-General Shlomit Amichai told a meeting of mayors yesterday. Amichai said the decision comes after program organizers decided to discontinue its operation.

The Education Ministry instructed schools a month ago to stop teaching the program, called "Zman Masa," or "Journey Time," which seeks to raise the familiarity of students at state elementary schools with Judaism.

The directive came after program organizers failed to adhere to two conditions imposed by the ministry: Instruction must be given by teachers or students in state teaching colleges; and the material must meet criteria established by the 1994 Shenhar Report that recommended teaching Jewish studies in a pluralistic, rather than strictly Orthodox spirit.