Israel Education: Blazing a Trail into the Future

UPDATES 9 am Israel time, Friday, September 20 2013:

*The battle on Israel’s southern border between the Egyptian Army and Hamas has heated up even more over the last 24 hours. The Army poured tanks and heavy weapons into Rafah yesterday, and helicopters attacked terrorist targets in Sheikh Zawayda with missiles last night. Soldiers have been going from door to door in a search for weapons and terrorists. Explosions were heard all day and into the night as the Army continues to blow up smuggling tunnels.

Power outages are now occurring throughout Gaza as the Egyptians have cut off fuel supplies. The only source of fuel for Hamas, bizarrely, is Israel.

*Remember how israelstreet reported two days ago that the IDF has unbelievably pulled its forces out of front line communities on the northern and southern borders? Yesterday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was forced to delay that order in the South after an outcry from the kibbutzim, communities, and towns around Gaza.

*There was yet another attempted Palestinian terrorist attack last night at the Tapuach (Apple) Junction.

Tzomet Tapuach (the Apple Junction). Note that this junction is at the intersection Route 60,   (picture source: jewishpress)

Tzomet Tapuach (the Apple Junction)–a checkpoint between northern and central Samaria. Note that this heavily traveled junction is at the intersection Routes 60 (a north-south road from Beersheva to Nazareth, 505 (which leads to Ariel), and 4775 (which leads to the communities in the photograph). Picture source: jewishpress.

Two terrorists, residents of the Palestinian settlement of Ras Al-Ein near Shechem (Nablus), were captured with knives and Molotov cocktail “equipment” for four devices in their backpacks. This was the second such capture in the last 4 days.

*Now the PLO/Palestinian Authority has added a new “weapon” to its ever growing arsenal–female paratroopers.

Palestinian soldiers on board a Russian plane getting ready to jump. What in the world is Russia doing training Paletinian paratroopers? Picture source: Ma'an.

Palestinian soldiers on board a Russian plane getting ready to jump. What in the world is Russia doing training Paletinian paratroopers? Picture source: Ma’an.

Four women “employed” by the Palestine National Security Service were taken to Russia where they were trained. One of the graduates of the program, Manar Bramah said: “Initially some were afraid, but we remembered we came here to take the name of our homeland of Palestine to heaven.”

*Speaking of Russian involvement in Israeli affairs, Vladimir Putin blasted Israel’s nuclear program yesterday proclaiming that Israel does not need nuclear weapons because it is so technologically advanced. It is amazing how the discussion of getting rid of Syria’s chemical weapons–which the Syrians are using on an almost weekly basis–has morphed into an international discussion of Israel’s weapons capabilities.


Israeli students in a class at the medical school at the Technion. Picture source: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Israeli students in a class at the medical school at the Technion. Picture source: Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

The educational rankings of the world have been published again (based on statistics from 2010) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

More appropriately, this list should be titled “The Most Highly Educated Countries in the World Based on Percentage of Population with College Degrees”. And with no further ado, here is the list of the top 10:  

1. Canada

2. Israel

3. Japan

4. United States

5. New Zealand

6. South Korea

7. United Kingdom

8. Finland

9. Australia

10. Ireland

That’s right. Tiny Israel ranks second in the world.

Specifically, the OECD points out that Israel’s high school graduation rate is 92% and that 46% of people in the country hold college degrees (by contrast 51% of Canadians have such degrees).

Perhaps even more impressive given the neighborhood we live in–which causes a disproportionate amount of our budget to be spent on military defense–Israel is spending 7.2% of its GDP on education.  To give you some basis of comparison, 7.2% is the sixth highest among all the countries in the world.

It is no secret that Israeli universities are among the best in the world and are leading this country into the future. Here are some of the science departments at Israeli universities ranked among the top 100 in the world:

Mathematics (Tel Aviv Univ, Hebrew Univ, and the Technion); Physics (Tel Aviv Univ, Hebrew Univ, and the Weizmann Institute of Science; Chemistry (Tel Aviv Univ, Hebrew Univ, and the Technion; Computer Science (Tel Aviv Univ, Hebrew Univ, Weizmann Institute of Science, Ben Gurion Univ, and the Technion); Engineering (the Technion); Life Sciences (Hebrew Univ).*

In your humble servant’s opinion, what makes all of this more remarkable is the fact that virtually all of the people receiving college degrees are people who have first spent years serving their country in the Israel Defense Forces. There are very few 18 year olds at Israeli universities. 

One final note. Several weeks ago, the results of the national bagrut (matriculation to college) exams were published. What three cities’ students had the highest scores? Kochav Yair, Shoham, and Beit Jann. Beit Jann, by the way, is a Druze town in northern Israel that your humble servant spent some time in last summer. My point here is that educational attainment in this country is not limited to Jews. All parts of the Israeli population are benefiting from the Israel push for academic achievement.  

Acknowledgement: Parts of today’s blog were provided by: and wikipedia.


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