Left-Wing Ed. Min. Responds: I Didn't Touch Jabotinsky

Responding to claims that she is a post-Zionist & removed the Likud ideologue from school curricula, says Jabotinsky will continue to be taught.

Hillel Fendel ,


Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the grandson of the famous Revisionist ideologue of the same name who inspired Menachem Begin and the formation of the Likud party, charges that Education Minister Yuli Tamir has removed the study of his grandfather's philosophy from Israeli school curricula.

MK Gideon Saar (Likud) says that Tamir - a founder of the radical left-wing organization Peace Now - "is a post-Zionist who consistently fights against Jewish and Zionist values."  Left-wing commentator Dan Margalit went one better, saying on Army Radio that Tamir is a "post-Zionist, if not an anti-Zionist."

Tamir Replaced the "100 Concepts"
Tamir replaced the education program "100 Jewish, Zionist and Democratic Concepts," instituted by then-Education Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) in 2003, with a new one called "Jewish Culture." The new program relies less on by-heart learning, according to an Education Ministry spokeswoman, and more on in-depth learning. 

The new program, like the old, is given to 8th-graders for two hours a week.  Asked how in-depth it could truly be in such a short time frame, the spokesperson said, "Whatever we can fit in, we will do."

The original "100 Concepts" included ideas such as the Jewish calendar and how it works, Jewish holidays, acts of kindness, prayers, the Exodus and other Biblical events, Rashi, Maimonides, Herzl, Rothschild, Jabotinsky, the various Aliyot, including from Europe, Ethiopia, and in the times of Ezra and Nechemiah, the Balfour Declaration, Israel's Declaration of Independence, the Law of Return, the State Controller and Complaints Commissioner, the three branches of government and separation of powers, coalition government, and more.

Tamir's new program took most of these concepts and incorporated them into other aspects of the school curricula.  Jabotinsky says, however, that his grandfather's teachings were effectively removed altogether.

The Education Ministry says that Jabotinsky will continue to be taught in Israeli high schools, and that the Jewish Culture program gives even more emphasis to Jewish topics than Livnat's program did.

Tamir Introduces Naqba and 1967 Borders
Minister Tamir's record is not a reassuring one for the nationalist camp, however.  She recently attempted to do away with Judaism-teaching positions in the National Service. Earlier, she introduced the Naqba - the Arab view of Israel's independence as a national calamity - into the Jewish State's school curriculum. 

In addition, after being in office only a few months, Tamir ordered her staff to ensure that textbook maps show the Green Line demarcating Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "How can we demand that the Arab world recognize our borders if we don't recognize the pre-1967 borders?" Tamir asked. 

Haaretz journalist Akiva Eldar wrote at the time that MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) said he knows Egypt is not bent on peace with Israel because "the maps in most of its textbooks show 'Palestine' in place of Israel. It will be interesting to see," Eldar continued, "how Shteinitz and his friends on the right will react to Education Minister Yuli Tamir's instructions to... ascertain that the new textbooks demarcate the Green Line." 

Eldar did not note, however, that while the Arab textbooks erase an entire recognized political entity, the Israeli maps simply take a position on areas that are in dispute. In addition, Egypt has signed a peace treaty with Israel recognizing its sovereignty in world-accepted borders, while the Palestinian Authority has no legal standing at all regarding the pre-Six Day War borders.

MK Rabbi Yitzchak Levy (National Union), a former Education Minister, said at the time that he disagrees with Tamir's stance placing all of Judea and Samaria up for grabs, in keeping with Arab and Palestinian Authority demands to turn the entire area into an independent Arab state. "Tamir is trying to force her political opinions upon the students of Israel," Levy said. His party colleague Zevulun Orlev, a former Director-General of the Education Ministry, decried the "Peace Now policy in the Education Ministry blatantly dictated by Minister Tamir."