The Israeli government has ordered textbook publishers to remove any content that relates to human reproduction and contraception if it is to be viewed by students under the age of 15.
Such material “does not fit in with the educational outlook for junior high school students in the state religious system”, said a statement from the education ministry.
It had requested “targeted adjustments” to ensure that textbooks “include texts and reading materials in the spirit of the state religious education system”.
Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israeli Religious Action Centre, which advocates progressive Judaism, described the education ministry’s move as a “slippery slope”.
“When we start filtering science for modesty reasons, that in the end will hinder our ability to teach science to Israeli children,” she said.
“Teaching children about these subjects in a factual and respectful way is not in any way an affront to religion.”
Over the past few years, the ultra-orthodox community in Israel has attempted to eliminate public depictions of women, including that of Hillary Clinton, and impose gender segregation on public transportation.
These students will grow up ignorant not only of the science, history, and literature that has already been taken out of the textbooks, but of women as well. Instead of learning about women, the reproductive system, or other worthy science, these students will grow up believing that women are something to be covered up, marginalized, and hidden from society.