The ILF sent a letter to the Israeli Ministry of Education in which it raised the issue of incitement to violence and glorification of Jihad in official East Jerusalem schools’ text books.
As apposed to most of the Arabic-speaking schools in Israel, which follow the Israeli Ministry of Education’s curriculum and use text books approved by the Ministry, most of the schools in East Jerusalem follow the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum and use their text books. This is a historical policy which dates back to 1967, when the schools used the Jordanian curriculum. About 70% of these schools are under the Israeli Ministry of Education’s responsibility and receive Israeli government funding.
The issue of incitement to violence and terrorism in Palestinian text books is a known one. Therefore, the Israeli Ministry of Education created a committee which is responsible to oversee the content of the textbooks and remove hateful or inciting content, and reprint the text books before distributing it to the students.
However, a research conducted by the ILF, in collaboration with The Center for Near East Policy Research, discovered that this mechanism is not effective, and that the committee has been unable to regulate the content of the text books used. Many of the text books being used contain incitement to violence, glorification of jihad and martyrdom, and denial of Israel’s right to exist in any borders.
For example, a poem called The Martyr appears in a 7th grade text book:
“(…)Hearing [weapons’] clash is pleasant to my ear /And the flow of blood gladdens my soul /As well as a body thrown upon the ground /Skirmished over by the desert predators/… /By your life! This is the death of men /And whoever asks for a noble death – this is it!”
Similarly, in a religion text book for 11th graders, killing of Jews is presented as a precondition for the “End of Days”:
“Fighting the Jews and the victory over them: The Messenger [Muhammad] already announced [the good news of] the end of the Jews’ oppression upon this Holy Land and the removal of their corruption and of their occupation thereof. [It is told] by Abu Hurayrah [one of Muhammad’s Companions] that the Prophet said: The End of Days will not take place until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill them to a point that a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and then the rock or the tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O God’s servant, there is a Jew behind me, so come and kill him’, except the salt bush, for it is one of the Jews’ trees”
In the letter sent to Naftali Bennet, the Minister of Education, the ILF stated that these text books are in complete contrast to Israel’s responsibly to educate the future generation on principles of tolerance and peace. Young minds, who are the future leaders of their society, are poisoned and intentionally stirred away from religious and cultural tolerance. The radical views promoted in the text books are used to induce students to carry out terror attacks and to distant the mindset of the young generation from peaceful resolutions and co-existence.
The ILF’s position is that the current system is clearly faulty and incapable of resolving this systematic violation of human right and abuse of public funds. The only way to solve this issue is by applying the Israeli Ministry of Education’s curriculum to all East Jerusalem schools, primarily those who receive the Ministry’s funding. The Israeli Ministry of Education has a curriculum for Muslim and Arabic-speaking schools, and it is applied successfully in many Arab schools across Israel.
Following ILF pressure this issue was raised in the Knesset Planum, and transffered to the Education Committee for further treatment, as the ILF requested. The ILF will continue to pursue this issue, and if necessary proceed with legal measures, to ensure that this offensive content is removed from the schools’ curriculum