In “Defining Israel Education,”[1] a study commissioned by the i-Center, Bethamie Horowitz describes defining characteristics of Israel education and key distinctions between Israel education and related endeavors, such as Israel advocacy and Israel studies.

What Israel Education Is:

Horowitz defines the goal of Israel education to enable the learner to build a personal relationship with Israel that is integral to the learner’s Jewish identity.  Horowitz identifies additional critical elements, among them:

  • Israel education is an integral part of Jewish education.
  • Because Israel education seeks to promote identity outcomes, effective Israel education is learner-centered, developmentally appropriate, ongoing and holistic.
  • Parents, families and others (in addition to the classroom teacher) can play a key role.
  • Israel travel and relationships with Israelis are essential.
  • Israel education is planful, systematic, rigorous, and ongoing, as distinguished from one-shot or scattershot efforts to teach Israel. 
  • Hebrew language attainment is an important piece of the puzzle.

We also believe effective Israel education must be:

  • Multi-dimensional – exposing the learner to multiple aspects of Israel (history, politics, religion, sociology, culture, arts, etc.);
  • Personal – enabling the learner to understand why and how Israel is important to them and helping them forge an ongoing engagement with Israel.

What Israel Education Is Not:

In addition to defining Israel education, Horowitz distinguishes it from other related pursuits.

A critical distinction is offered between Israel education and Israel advocacy.  Additional definitions and distinctions are offered for two other endeavors:  Israel studies and branding.

Horowitz offers this chart to illustrate the differences:

[1] Defining Israel Education, Dr. Bethamie Horowitz, January, 2012, iCenter

[1] Defining Israel Education, Dr. Bethamie Horowitz, January, 2012, iCenter