Teaching Jewish children that Arabs are evil invaders
A report from the NY Times follows the one from WAFA.
“The little girl asked me: Who stole the moon? I said: Arabs. She asked: What will they do with it? I answered: They hang it on their walls. She wondered: What about us? I told her: We turn the moon into small lamps to light the land of Israel… all of it. Since that time, the little girl still dreams about the moon and she still hates Arabs because they stole her dreams and her father’s too.” Story in Israeli school-book.
Israeli school books incite hatred against Arabs, says report
By WAFA [Palestinian news and information agency]
January 15, 2014
RAMALLAH – Israeli school books are full of incitement against the Arabs and call for their hatred, a report by the Ministry of Information said Wednesday.
It said that school books do not mention anything about peace with the Palestinians, yet they talk about peace everywhere else in the world.
It said schools bring soldiers to kindergartens on national events to tell stories about an “imminent” danger that comes from Arabs.
The report gave examples of books that incite against Arabs and said in a geography book for the third grade, the authors, B. Ahia and M. Hervas, claimed that “the Jews have owned every inch of Palestine even in Galilee, West Bank, on shores, or in the desert.”
In the book of “National Education” for high school students, the author, Shalom Abker, mentioned that “Israel is located in the middle of Arab countries, that are planning to eradicate Israel from world map, and if they don’t carry out their threats today, that is not because they don’t want to, but rather because they could not, so Israel must keep them unable to do so.”
In a story for kids that is taught in the Israeli education curriculum titled “Dust in the eye,” there is a Jew who advises another one saying: “Arabs are like dogs, if they realize that you are afraid of them and you do nothing, then they will attack you, but if you hit them they will be afraid of you….they will run away.”
In other short story titled “The Old Warrior,” which was written by Yore Evans, the story starts with this dialogue: “The little girl asked me: Who stole the moon? I said: Arabs. She asked: What will they do with it? I answered: They hang it on their walls. She wondered: What about us? I told her: We turn the moon into small lamps to light the land of Israel… all of it. Since that time, the little girl still dreams about the moon and she still hates Arabs because they stole her dreams and her father’s too.”
A poem titled ‘Tale” and taught in Israeli schools is full of hate to Palestinians, said the report.
It says: “Zeev is a small child….he lived on this land … When the invaders (Palestinians) surrounded the city… Zeev died…how did he die? …Nobody knows… Did he die of hunger?…Or under torture? …Was it a stray shaft? Or under horse hooves? … Nobody knows. But… do you want to die like Zeev?..NO….So point your guns to Arabs.”
The report also included a review of incitement against Arabs and Palestinians in various sectors of the Israeli society.
By Kate Shuttleworth, NY Times
January 19, 2014
JERUSALEM — Yaser Alyan, a resident of the Arab suburb of Beit Safafa in southern Jerusalem, faces a tough decision: Should his school-age children learn the Palestinian Authority curriculum to reinforce their national identity as Palestinians, or the Israeli one to ensure them access to Israeli universities and job prospects in the Israeli world?
Mr. Alyan’s older son, Almadhi, 14, and a daughter, Shams, 11, are studying the Palestinian curriculum at Jerusalem Municipality’s Beit Safafa middle school. But Mr. Alyan has opted for the Israeli curriculum for his younger son, Al-Badr Mohammed, 7, who has just started at the same school.
Beit Safafa, near Bethlehem, was divided by the Green line in 1949, with the southern two-thirds under Jordanian rule and the northern third under Israeli rule. After the six-day war in 1967 it was reunited — only to be physically divided again last year when the Jerusalem municipality drove a motorway through the middle of it to connect central Jerusalem with Jewish settlements in the rural West Bank.
In his backyard, sitting next to 300-year-old olive trees, Mr. Alyan, 45, said education had inevitably become politicized: “With our eldest son we wanted him to know about his identity as a Palestinian Muslim and Arab,” he said. “I don’t want my son to be afraid to say he’s Palestinian.”
Almadhi also learns Hebrew, at his father’s insistence, while studying the Palestinian curriculum. “It’s the main language in Israel. He will need it, especially if he works in the Israeli community in the future,” Mr. Alyan said.
For just those reasons, Mr. Alyan decided that his younger son would learn the Israeli curriculum.
Still, he said, “I teach him about Palestinian history at home, because important parts of the Palestinian history have been removed” from the Israeli curriculum.
Amid the United States-sponsored push for a framework peace deal between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and accusations on both sides that schools are being used for indoctrination and propaganda, the politicization of education is particularly evident in East Jerusalem, a predominantly Arab neighborhood that Jerusalem’s 360,000 Palestinians have earmarked as the future capital of a separate state.
At the beginning of the school year in October the Jerusalem Municipality offered a financial incentive to Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem to introduce the Israeli curriculum.
The incentive, of $550 per student choosing the Israeli curriculum, was accepted by four schools, out of 185 in East Jerusalem. At these schools Arabic-language students can now take the Israeli bagrut matriculation exam instead of the Palestinian tawjihi matriculation exam in their last year of school. It’s an either-or option — they cannot do both.
Palestinian students can apply to study at Israeli universities if they pass the tawjihi but must study an additional year before entering university to show they have adequate Hebrew skills. With the bagrut, they can bypass this.
The grant has been labeled an “excellence in study grant” by the municipality and David Koren, an advisor to Jerusalem’s mayor Nir Barkat, has denied any political motivation.
“Offering the bagrut is not a political issue, it’s an education issue. It’s a humanitarian duty, a religious duty. It’s about quality of life, offering new horizons in education,” Mr. Koren said.
Continue reading the main story
Still, Amir Jibril, director of the Palestinian Ministry of Education office in Jerusalem, disputed that, calling the additional funding offer a political move to draw principals toward Israeli teaching.
Since the offer was made, four schools — Abdullah Bin Al Hussein, Ibn Rushd, Sur Baher school for boys and Sur Baher school for girls — have accepted it.
Another, Ibn Khaldoun school for boys, with 1,400 students, proposed the option of the Israeli curriculum to its parents, who rejected it.
“It’s a political situation and next year we hope we will at least have one class in the Israeli curriculum here — we need to work to convince parents,” the principal, Osama Al-Nadha said, before adding that he could not comment further.
Principals and teachers in East Jerusalem schools that are funded by Israel’s Education Ministry or by the Jerusalem Municipality are not allowed to speak to the media unless the municipality gives them permission and oversees an interview.
The principal at Ibn Rushd school for boys, Ibrahim al-Khatib, said it was a positive move that 141 of the school’s 800 boys were now studying the Israeli curriculum. He declined further comment because of the municipality’s media restrictions.
Students interviewed asked not to be fully identified for fear of being punished by the Israeli authorities.
A 13-year-old student who wished to be known as Yousef, said he was studying the Israeli curriculum because science was his strength. “If I decide to study something with science or medicine then I need to go to an Israeli University,” he said.
Another student of the same age said he preferred to stick with a Palestinian education: “My history is not in the Israeli textbooks, it’s here in the Palestinian books,” he said.
Abdullah Bin Hussein school for girls, in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, also offers the Israeli curriculum but the number of students in classes taking it has fallen dramatically since it was introduced in October. One class, initially of 45 students, has since dropped to 20.
The director of the parents association in East Jerusalem, Abdul-Karim Lafi, said most Palestinian parents were against the Israeli curriculum and that some of those who had signed up for it had pulled out in just the first term.
The Israeli authorities “don’t only want to occupy the land, they want to occupy the minds of the people — like a brainwashing,” he said.
Mr. Lafi admitted that his own children’s education had been disadvantaged by studying the Palestinian curriculum: His son and daughter graduated from Palestinian universities and their degrees are not recognized in Israel.
“My son studied medical engineering in Jordan and can’t work in Israel because he can’t speak Hebrew,” Mr. Lafi said: “He works in Ramallah and he takes half the salary and he can’t afford to live in Jerusalem.”
Yet, Mr. Lafi said he still believed the Palestinian curriculum was the right decision for Palestinian parents.
Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which runs several schools in East Jersusalem, said inequalities between schools there were vast.
“Schools administered by Israelis are mostly built as schools, while the other schools are operated in rented houses which results in a lack of specialized rooms and labs,” he said.
“There is overcrowding in Palestinian schools and the jobs and salaries for teachers are higher in Israeli schools and this impacts recruitment for Palestinian schools,” Mr. Gunness added.
Mr. Jibril, from the Palestinian Ministry of Education, said the politicization of education was visible in Israeli textbooks, where Palestinian history was increasingly erased.
“It’s bad to study the Israeli curriculum — the Palestinian student has the right to study his own narrative, history and culture,” he said.
He added: “This is a basic thing, to study your own narrative and your own history. The Israelis want to erase our culture, our narrative, by enforcing their curricula, or system of education.”
Just this year, Israel revised the Palestinian Authority textbooks for over 32,000 Palestinian children who study under Israeli control, taking out parts that the government believes incite violence, according to the Jerusalem Municipality.
Mr. Jibril showed a reporter a copy of a 2012 Palestinian history textbook for third grade students in Arabic, alongside a revised edition from this year.
The differences were glaring — large sections of text and several images had been removed from this year’s edition, including the Palestinian flag, text from the Koran and information about the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.