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      Leftist Civics Czar Gets Boot

      Education Ministry tells Adar Cohen he won’t get tenure. A victory for nationalist-Zionist forces.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/5/2012, 7:50 PM

      Adar Cohen
      Adar Cohen
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Nationalist-Zionist forces within Israel scored a victory Sunday when the Education Ministry informed Adar Cohen, who is in charge of civics education in the Ministry, that he will not receive tenure.

      Cohen, who is in his fourth year on the job, was still officially in a trial period of employment. The decision regarding his tenure was supposed to be made after the third year, but it was decided to extend the trial period for another year.

      Ministry Director Dalit Shtauber told Cohen that he has failed the trial and therefore will not receive tenure. The latest decision means he will leave the job.

      MK Einat Wilf of Ehud Barak's Independence faction, who heads the Knesset's Education Committee, said the decision was a "fateful" one and warned that it could cause a crisis of trust between teachers of civics and the Education Ministry.

      MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) said that that the leftist campaign against Cohen's dismissal "caused damage to the Education Ministry's professional establishment."

      "The courageous professional decision by the director deserves all the more praise and appreciation in view of the left's aggressive political campaign," he added.

      The decision to rethink Cohen's employment appears to have been influenced by an investigative report published in the Hebrew paper Makor Rishon in December. According to reporter Gil Beringer, Cohen is suspected of promoting "post-Zionist" textbooks into the Education Ministry syllabus and preventing the entry of textbooks that reflect more traditional Zionist views.

      Yisrael Hayom quoted passages from the textbook approved by Cohen that appear to reflect the "post-Zionist" approach. In one passage, the book says that there is a contradiction between Israel's definition as a Jewish state and its obligation to give equal rights to all of its citizens. The book says that "The establishment of Israel in 1948 turned the Arabs in the territory of Palestine-Israel from a majority into a minority."

      It reportedly states elsewhere: "A relationship based on control could harm the freedom and equality of those who do not belong to the majority. This is especially true when the majority espouses a selective demographic policy, which entrenches its status over time."

      This passage is seen as critical of Israel's Law of Return.

      Cohen has filed a libel suit against Makor Rishon for 200,000 shekels over the article.