Haaretz "What is education today? Education is Torah! And more Torah! Whoever seeks happiness should teach his son Torah." This statement was made earlier in the week by Israeli Haredi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman during a brief visit to France. Israelis might be accustomed to hearing such sentiments from the Lithuanian religious authority of Bnei Brak, but in France the declaration took on heightened significance, and was seen as a Haredi challenge to the French law mandating study of core subjects such as mathematics, science, language and history in all private schools.[...]
Shteinman's visit came at a time when the French public is engaging in a sensitive discussion about private education. France's Jewish community is also embroiled in a debate over whether Haredi institutions should teach core secular subjects. Most Orthodox Jewish institutions in France integrate general studies in the curriculum, but as many as 10 Haredi institutions reject core studies, and are financed entirely by private donations. The object of Shteinman's visit was to strengthen these institutions.