Israel Arts and Science Academy

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Israel Arts and Science Academy

The Israel Arts and Science Academy (Hebrew: התיכון הישראלי למדעים ואומנויות‎‎), or IASA for short, is a high school for gifted students from all over Israel. IASA was founded in 1990 as a boarding school for outstanding scholars throughout Israel whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, secular or religious.[1] The school, located in Jerusalem, was founded by the late Raphi Amram and the Society for Excellence through Education, and claims to be the "most integrated high school in Israel." [2] Approximately 200 students live and study in IASA.

Students may major in either natural sciences, music, visual arts, or humanities, though they study most subjects (those which are not related to their area of interest) in mixed classes. The science students choose one main subject, such as: physics, chemistry, or biology and they must also learn computer science and/or another subject.

IASA's Music Department was shaped by the visions of three important educators: the Israeli composer and ethnomusicologist Andre Hajdu (student of Zoltán Kodály, Olivier Messiaen and Darius Milhaud), as well as the composer and educator Michael Wolpe and the teacher of ear-training, Bat Sheva Rubinstein. The Music Department has produced a generation of young Israeli musicians, different from the mainstream of the Israeli music scene.[citation needed]

The studies in the Art Department consist of painting, sculpting, photography, and video art classes. Students also study the history of modern art and classic art. In their second year, students write their own academic paper about any art topic they choose. In their third year, students work on their final practical exhibit.

The Humanities Department[edit]

The Humanities Department was opened in the 2007–2008 school year. It was already opened in a partial experimental format in the school year of 2006-2007. The students learn by the "Great books" curriculum. Where the emphasizes are on reading primary sources, group discussions, commentary, analysis and academic writing. In the Department's "Unique Program", the students participate in several courses which are arranged in a chrono-historical order, from Ancient Greece to the Modern Era. Each course has a different dominant discipline, but the program is interdisciplinary in its nature. The students submit during every course several academic papers in a vary scale. Besides the "Unique Program", the students are obliged to three other requirements:

  1. Study of a second foreign language: besides the mandatory English studies in Israel's school system, The Department's students are obliged to learn Arabic, French or Latin. Students with a background knowledge of another language may learn it instead.
  2. Enhanced studies of two subjects: the student may choose between: History, Bible, Literature, Jewish thought and Philosophy. A student that wishes to study an exact science, may do so within the Science Department's "Secondary science" studies.
  3. Writing a final dissertation: the students write a thesis in any humanities' field of knowledge. All of the dissertations stands in a very high academic standards, and are written under the instruction of M.A.'s and P.H.D.'s from academic institutes and from the school's staff. The Students often participate and win in competitions for remarkable dissertations held by the Ministry of Education and other research institutes.

The students often go on school trips, usually to locations which are relevant to the "Unique Program" studies (e.g. Judaean Desert, Jerusalem's Old City, etc.). Since the 2012–2013 school year, students and teachers of the department hold a "Book Club". Every month or so, all of the members read a literary work and conduct a meeting where they discuss and analyze the piece.


Notable alumni include the Israeli Arab journalist Sayed Kashua, composers Aviya Kopelman and Matti Kovler, Eran Shir, the founder of Dapper.Inc. and others.

Saying that following Israel's actions in Gaza, "courageous civic activism" had become necessary, dozens of graduates of the IASA published a letter in December 2014 calling on Israelis to refuse serving in the IDF, become conscientious objectors and to stop what they view as oppression of Palestinians. Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman protested the letter of the alumni, saying, "The signers of the letter are using the name of the school to gain media attention, and this is a terrible act".[3]


  1. ^ "Yarden Skop 'Graduates of elite Jerusalem high school call for draft refusal' (28 Dec 2014) Haaretz"
  2. ^ "Idealist"
  3. ^ "Yarden Skop 'Graduates of elite Jerusalem high school call for draft refusal'" (28 Dec 2014) Haaretz

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°45′05″N 35°10′37″E / 31.7515253°N 35.1769567°E / 31.7515253; 35.1769567