JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli middle schools will for the first time teach evolution as part of the core curriculum.
The Education Ministry announced Sunday that beginning with the coming school year, the theory of evolution will be taught to seventh grade through ninth grade students in secular state schools, state-religious schools and Arab schools.
The curricula will include the theory of evolution by natural selection but will not include human evolution from primates.
The biblical account of the creation of man is currently taught in schools, with the theory of evolution appearing in advanced biology study in high school for students matriculating in the subject.
Leaving the evolution of man out of the new curriculum reportedly was viewed as a way to prevent opposition from the religious sector.
“There isn’t too much difference between the evolution of humans to that of animals, but if taking out humans from the theory is what it takes to incorporate Darwin’s theory – one of the most important scientific theories of our time – to the education system, than it is fine by me,” Dr. Ariel Chipman, a lecturer in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told Ynet.