Education in Israel is a precious legacy. Following the tradition of past generations, education continues to be a fundamental value in Israel's society and is recognized as the key to its future. The educational system aims to prepare children to become responsible members of a democratic, pluralistic society in which people from different ethnic, religious, cultural and political backgrounds coexist. It is based on Jewish values, love of the land and the principles of liberty and tolerance. It seeks to impart a high level of knowledge, with an emphasis on scientific and technological skills essential for the country's continued development.

Education in Israel Graphic When the State of Israel was founded (1948), a fully functioning education system already existed, built and maintained by the pre- state Jewish community. The Hebrew language, long restricted to liturgy and literature and revived for daily speech at the end of the 19th century, was already in use in all educational institutions. Since 1948, Israel has welcomed over two million immigrants, and its school population has increased 10-fold. Thus the education system has been almost continuously faced with the enormous challenge of integrating large numbers of children speaking many languages, from different cultural backgrounds. In the 1950s, most immigrants came from postwar Europe and Arab countries, in the 1960s from North Africa, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s from the former Soviet Union, and, most recently, almost the entire ancient Jewish community of Ethiopia was brought to the country. Through the decades, newcomers have also arrived from the Americas and other parts of the free world.
In addition to meeting urgent demands for more classrooms and qualified teachers for the rapidly increasing number of pupils, the education system has strived to develop appropriate methods to help absorb the newcomers which include teacher training programs geared towards working with immigrant pupils; preparing special curricular aids; opening short-term classes to introduce immigrant pupils to subjects not learned in their countries of origin such as the Hebrew language and Jewish history; and offering retraining courses to immigrant teachers to facilitate their employment in the education system.

Graph : Percentage of population with 13+ years of schooling