Daily Israel Report

Education Minister Removes ‘Nakba’ From Curriculum

Education Minister Gideon Saar has instructed that Arab textbooks not teach that the State of Israel's establishment was a catastrophe for Arabs.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/22/2009, 1:36 PM / Last Update: 7/22/2009, 2:40 PM

Education Minister Gideon Saar has instructed that Arab sector textbooks not teach that the establishment of the State of Israel was a catastrophe for Arabs.

 

He said that the order to remove the concept of nakba ("disaster") from the Arab textbooks followed a thorough investigation of the matter. "This was originally a decision made by the Knesset Education Committee during the term of the previous Knesset," he said, "and I will remind you that the committee was headed by Labor MK Michael Melchior, such that this position has across-the-board support.”

 

The change should take place shortly, Saar told Arutz-7’s Shimon Cohen on Wednesday, implying that it would not happen at the beginning of the coming school year.


The original decision to teach that

Israel's establishment is a catastrophe was made when the Likud party controlled the Education Ministry, under the auspices of former Minister Limor Livnat.  However, Saar said, “I spoke to her about it, and it is clear to me that Livnat does not support such a thing… One thing I know is that the Education Ministry is very involved and intricate, and the presiding minister cannot always know about changes made to the curriculum.”

 

'Arab Nations Caused the Refugee Problem'
Arab MKs have attacked
Saar’s decision, calling it racist and factually wrong. Saar responded, “The facts of the matter are that the refugees were caused not by the formation of the State of Israel, but by a decision of the Arab nations and local elements to war against the Jewish State.”

 

Saar explained, “To my mind, it is not reasonable that the State of Israel should teach in its official curriculum that the establishment of the State is a catastrophe. I can tell you that many Arabs do not see Israel as a catastrophe, and I don’t think it is right to feed 8-year-old children with this viewpoint - and certainly not in an official, state-sponsored manner. It would simply legitimize the de-legitimization of Israel, feed on an existing viewpoint, and push the Arab public to extremism, something that would not serve Israel’s interests or those of the Arab populace.”

 

“In general,” Saar said, “we have to worry less and do more of the right thing.”