Boris Lozhkin
President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress

Celebrating famous Jews from Ukraine: Ben-Zion Dinur

Ben-Zion Dinur. This is available from National Photo Collection of Israel, Photography dept. Goverment Press Office (link), under the digital ID D710-009

In Israel, he is rightfully called the teacher of the nation.

A native of Khorol, Poltava region, Ben-Zion Dinur, even before being elected to the first Knesset in 1948, was already known in the Palestinian pedagogical circles as an expert on Jewish history and theorist of the educational system.

In 1952, hearing a lot about Dinur as a historian and teacher, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion invited him to head the Ministry of Education and gave him complete freedom of action. As subsequent events showed, Ben-Gurion was not mistaken in his choice.

In the early years of independence, Israel did not have a unified education system.

The schools had party affiliation and focused more on religious education. Dinur developed and introduced a unified program, according to which at least 75% of the hours were to be devoted to general education.

The higher education system also needed substantial reform. Today, decades after the Dinur’s reforms, Israel’s higher education is considered one of the best in the world.

The concept of educating the younger generation on love of their homeland also belongs to the authorship of Dinur. The patriotism of Israelis today has also become a textbook example.

But, perhaps, the most significant achievement of Dinur can be considered the initiated by him establishment of Yad Vashem — The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Eight years after the end of World War II, the memory of the genocide of the Jews had already begun to fade, which was fraught with a repetition of mass extermination of people under any pretext in the future.

Created by Dinur in 1953, Yad Vashem has become a constant reminder of the six million victims and the heroism of those who dared to save them.

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About the Author
Boris Lozhkin is a Ukrainian entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. He is President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress.
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