The Melting Pot in Israel

The Commission of Inquiry Concerning the Education of Immigrant Children During the Early Years of the State

By Zvi Zameret

Subjects: Israel Studies
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791452561, 351 pages, March 2002
Hardcover : 9780791452554, 351 pages, March 2002

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Table of contents





1. Early Incidents of Religious-Secular Conflict

2. Absorption of Mass Immigration in the Early Years: Facts and Figures

3. Why Was a Government Commission of Inquiry Appointed?

4. The Composition of the Commission of Inquiry

5. Ben-Gurion's Stand on the Education of Immigrant Children

6. Attitudes of Various Parties toward the Commission of Inquiry

7. Uniform Education in the Immigrant Camps and the Religious Workers Stream

8. Political Developments during the Course of the Commission's Investigation

9. The Culture Department's Objections to the Commission's Conclusions

10. Reactions to the Frumkin Report: Government, Knesset, Histadrut

11. Comments on the Procedures and Conclusions of the Frumkin Commission

12. The Decision to Introduce a State Educational System (1953)

13. Shas—The Party Whose Roots Lie in the Anti-Religious Coercion of Israel's First Years

14. Summing Up: Israel—From "Melting Pot" to Pluralistic State

Notes to Book I


Report of the Commission of Inquiry Concerning Education in the Immigrant Camps

Introduction: Appointment, Authority, and Procedures of the Commission

1. The General Background

2. The Immigrant Camps

3. Specific Accusations

4. Accusations in the Press

5. Sources of Propaganda Abroad

6. Conclusions

Addendum: List of Witnesses Who Testified before the Commission

Notes to Book II

Glossary of Hebrew Terms
Select Biographies

Covers early Israeli education policy regarding immigrant populations.


This volume combines a translation of substantial portions of one of the most important documents in the early history of Israel—the government commission of inquiry concerning education in the immigrant camps, appointed in 1950—with analysis of the ensuing public debates and repercussions, and their meaning for Israeli society today. Using extensive historical research, Zameret traces the development of political and social processes in the early years of Israel's existence and points to their far-reaching and decisive implications for contemporary Israeli society, including the rise of Shas, the political party created by ultra-Orthodox Oriental Jews.

Zvi Zameret is Director of Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi in Jerusalem. In addition to the Hebrew version of this book, he has published, in Hebrew, Across a Narrow Bridge: Shaping the Education System During the Great Aliya.


"An extremely useful source for the study of the relationship between education, politics, and society in modern Israel. Zameret's informative contextualization of the Frumkin Commission Report, as well as the text of the report itself, throws new light on the ethnic and religious tensions that threaten today's Israel no less than war or terrorism." — Derek J. Penslar, author of Shylock's Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe

"There passed before my eyes an entire period of time, whose memory I had relegated to a back, obscure corner of my mind, where it was almost forgotten. And when, in the wake of reading The Melting Pot in Israel, I again remembered it, it was not at all bright, but rather ugly and cloudy." — Aharon Megged, author of The Story of Selvino's Children: Journey to the Promised Land