Controversy over evolution over in Israel?

In a letter released by Israel's ministry of education on March 3, 2010, Gavriel Avital promised to follow the ministry's policy on evolution and the environment, Haaretz (March 4, 2010) reported. Avital, the recently appointed chief scientist in the ministry, sparked a furor by questioning the reliabilty of evolution and global warming, eliciting a chorus of condemnation from Israel's scientific establishment as well as a disavowal from the minister of education, Gideon Sa'ar, who told Israel's parliament, the Knesset, "Avital's statements regarding evolution and the environment are not consistent with the Education Ministry's policy and are not acceptable to me."

In his letter, Avital wrote, "Following statements that were published which related to quotes from statements that I made before I assumed [m]y position, and following my conversations with the two of you, I wish to make it clear that the ministry's policy as presented by the education minister at the Knesset is acceptable to me without reservation and I will act accordingly in the context of my position as chief scientist of the Education Ministry." Haaretz noted, however, that not all of Avital's controversial statements were made before he assumed his position in December 2009. A source in the ministry told the newspaper, "the case ended with the release of Avital's letter."