Education Min.: Nazis also persecuted North African Jews

Persecution of North African Jewry under Nazi occupation now part of Israeli schools’ mandatory curriculum.

Marcy Oster, JTA ,

Concentration camp (illustrative)
Concentration camp (illustrative)
Yitzchak Harari, Flash 90

Four years after the Holocaust was removed as a mandatory subject from the curriculum in Israeli schools it is returned, and will include the persecution of North African Jewry under Nazi occupation.

The material will be studied in the 12 grade and will be part of the national matriculation exam, Ynet reported.

The Holocaust was removed as part of the mandatory program of study by former Education Minister Shai Piron, though it allowed teachers to assign the subject of the Holocaust as a research project. Academics and history teachers publicly criticized the move.

Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Yamina) made the decision to reinstate the Holocaust as a mandatory subject shorty before he was fired from his position in early June by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Ynet reported.

Netanyahu’s current pick for Education Minister, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, made the decision to include in the curriculum the experience of North African, or Mizrahi Jews during the Holocaust.

“For years, the story of Jews living in Muslim countries under the Nazi occupation has been absent from our discourse,” Peretz said in a statement. “The painful stories of thousands of Jews who were sent to concentration camps and forced to participate in the death marches.

“It is also our conscientious duty to make every student feel that they are a significant part of the story being taught within the framework of the education system, which reflects all parts of Israeli society,” he said.