Israel's right targets textbooks; they want to remove Palestinian history from school curriculum. I guess more proof in who might be controling history taught and lost in America and I'm sure elsewhere!?
Nazareth, Israel - Israel's right-wing government and its supporters stand accused of stoking an atmosphere of increasing intimidation and intolerance in schools and among groups working for a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The latest efforts by the right to stifle dissent have included censoring schoolbooks and seeking to silence organisations that raise troubling questions about Israel and its past - in what appears to be an escalating war for the minds of Israelis.
Groups allied to the government tried to prevent the recent staging of an international conference in Tel Aviv that examined events surrounding Israel's creation in 1948 - known as the "War of Independence" to Israelis and the "Nakba", or catastrophe, to Palestinians.At the same time, it emerged that one of the far-right groups involved, Im Tirtzu, had initiated a campaign to shut down the organisation behind the conference, Zochrot, accusing it of violating Israeli law by "rejecting Israel's existence".
Zochrot challenges Israel's greatest taboo: the right of millions of Palestinians to return the homes from which they and their ancestors were expelled in 1948. Many Israelis vehemently oppose such a move because they see it as entailing the end of their state's Jewishness.
Politicised learningOver the summer, one of the governing coalition parties introduced legislation to block such funding for what it terms "anti-Israel" activity. A right-wing group that helped to draft the legislation, NGO Monitor, used the Zochrot conference to underline the illegitimacy of foreign funding.
Yitzhak Santis, an NGO Monitor official, said European backers of the conference had conspired in an event thatamounted to "a call for the elimination of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people".
The government has also come under fire for its growing efforts to police the school curriculum to remove references to the Nakba and play down the rights of Israel's Palestinian citizens, who comprise a fifth of the population.
Netanyahu’s government passed a law barring public institutions, including schools and libraries, from receiving state funds if they refer to the Nakba [EPA]
Revisions to the civics programme, which all pupils must study to pass their matriculation exam, were criticised in a report that doubted the education ministry's ultra-nationalistic approach "is even consistent with a democratic regime".
The new textbook echoes legislation being drafted by members of the ruling coalition to define Israel's character as the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people, and to emphasise that only Jews have a right of self-determination in Israel.
Halleli Pinson, a professor of education at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva who conducted the study, said increasingly a "regime of fear" was emerging within Israel's schools.
"Democratic, liberal and human rights values are now seen as illegitimate among education officials," she said. "They are considered to undermine Israel's status as a Jewish state. Now the perspective being promoted in education is entirely right-wing."