Well, Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of Shalom Hartman Institute’s Center for Education, wouldn’t say it quite that way. In fact, he said it far more eloquently in his recent posting on the Institute’s website:
Here in Israel we are privileged to have the Jewish language as the common cultural language of Israelis….This is the big victory of Zionism: the state of Israel is not only a shelter for Jews, but it is really a place where Jewish life is flourishing in a broad, pluralistic way.
The problem is that the culture needs an education system to acculturate its young….(Y)ou need an education system if you want knowledgeable people that know Judaism is a source of values and ideas. It is not enough to have it in the air.
Being a Jewish state…is not about enforcing laws of marriage on Jews who do not want that or punishing people who sell chametz on Pesach.
But being a Jewish state also means we don’t want Judaism to become a private initiative. It should be part of the official state school system. That’s why the new law on education is important. This law is saying that the government will take these ideas upon itself.”
Read his full article here. And read about Hartman’s special programs for non-religious Israeli schools, Be’eri and Ma’atzim. Read a version of this article in Hebrew that appeared on the Israeli website News First Class.