Many Doubts, Few Excuses: Zionist education in kibbutz high schools

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The kibbutz is an authentic component of Zionism and Zionist ideology which contributed to the establishment and strengthening of the State of Israel in its early years. A steady decline in the status of the kibbutz in Israeli society and various crises that it underwent triggered this study which set out to locate and describe Zionist education curricula in kibbutz high schools. The study, using a qualitative framework, included two intensive case studies and a survey of 21 schools. The findings in these schools through 1990s showed no existing f ormai Zionist education curricula but did uncover various extra-curricular activities which kibbutz educators attributed to the subject. The hidden agenda of these activities shows that Zionist education is considered part of the political and ideological strengthening of the kibbutz during troublesome times. The pupils, who lack general knowledge and close encounters with the ideological foundations of Zionism and Judaism, are given a mixture of scepticism, universal humanistic values and criticism of their heritage. These findings are interpreted through the concept of critical approach to curriculum theory and the idea of the semi-legitimate in normative systems. Kibbutz educators are themselves ambivalent towards kibbutz values and at the same time struggle to preserve their unique way of life in troubled times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Moral Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995


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