This paper deals with the response of the Israeli educational system to ethnic differences resulting from immigration. The Israeli educational system has never aimed at the preservation of cultural pluralism and ethnic differences. However, ‘ethnic’ or ‘quasi ethnic’ differences have obviously affected the outcome of the educational effort and therefore cannot be ignored. The average achievement of children whose parents came from Islamic Countries has persistantly lagged behind that of children whose parents were of European origin. The problem facing the educational system has therefore been to find ways of reconciling an ‘integrationalist’ and even ‘assismilationalist’ orientation with regard to the desired output of the educational process, with a recognition of differential input to this process resulting from ‘ethnic’ or ‘quasi ethnic’ cultural differences. The problem has thus been one of legitmizing the plurality of cultural input without legitmizing pluralism as an output.
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