Study finds Israeli textbooks promote peace

A report released by IMPACT-se states that Israeli textbooks promote peace and tolerance.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

School (illustration)
School (illustration)
School (illustration)

IMPACT-se, an organization that describes itself as, “a research, policy and advocacy organization that monitors and analyses education across the world to determine compliance with international standards on peace and tolerance,” published a report concluding that the Israeli school curriculum supports peace.

According to the report, the conclusions are a “product of a study of 123 Israeli textbooks approved and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education from 2000–2017 for grades 7–12.”

The report concluded that, “Israeli textbooks see peace as the ultimate goal, and depict it as highly desirable and achievable, while war is considered a negative event, though at times necessary.”

“Israeli textbooks recognize existence of the Palestinian National Movement and events regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are, as a rule, given in a balanced and impartial manner,” the report found.

“Peaceful conflict resolution is depicted in these books as highly desirable, and peace (with the Palestinians and other neighboring states) is presented not only as mutually beneficial and achievable but also as the ideal state to which all parties should aspire.”

Civics and geography textbooks in particular emphasize the rights of Arab and Muslim minorities, and often relate to the minority rights promised in the Israeli Declaration of Independence.

The report provides examples of exercises given to students that are intended to evoke empathy for minorities and thought provoking dialogue about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The report states that “Israeli textbooks also include personal narratives, such as interviews, poems, stories or descriptions of everyday life related by members (real and fictional) belonging to different Arab and Muslim minorities, including Palestinian, Muslim, Druze, Christian, Bedouin, etc.”

The report also stated that “Israeli textbooks show a respectful approach to the origins and religious precepts of Islam and Arab history and their heritage.”

“It should be added that the connotation of the word 'peace' in these textbooks is not meant to describe a state of calm or general well being, but as the opposite of war,” the report stated, “and that of coexistence and amity with other nations—specifically between Israel and its Arab neighbors and especially the Palestinians— and related to an actual peace agreement between these parties,” the report stated.

IMPACT-se's study of Palestinian Authority textbooks reported:

"More troubling from the perspective of Israeli Palestinian peace is: (1) delegitimization of Israel and the Jewish national movement; (2) the paradoxical presentation of Israel as an evil entity to be eradicated (while it does not actually exist on PA textbook maps); (3) the concept of Return, manifested as the requirement to settle millions of Palestinians within Israel; (4) continuous war drawing on a culture of martyrdom (5) rejection of negotiations (6) commitment to a strategy combining violence with international pressure until Israel ceases to exist. While the curriculum does not directly call for students to take up arms and attack Israelis, it instills an atmosphere of endless war and dedication to violence."

Israel Behind the News, the resource news agency of the Center for Near East Policy Research, a research institute dedicated to proactive, investigative research on the core issues of the Israeli-Arab conflict, has published similar findings about the PA curriculum.