Home
Search
Board & Mission Statement
Why IAM?
About Us
Articles by IAM Associates
Ben-Gurion University
Hebrew University
University of Haifa
Tel Aviv University
Other Institutions
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Anti-Israel Petitions Supported by Israeli Academics
General Articles
Anti-Israel Conferences
Lawfare
Anti-Israel Academic Resolutions
Lectures Interrupted
Activists Profiles
Readers Forum
On the Brighter Side
How can I complain?
Contact Us / Subscribe
Donate
Tel Aviv University
Comparative Analysis of Textbooks: Israeli vs. Palestinian

 

24.06.2020

Editorial Note

 

Two scholars have recently published an analysis of school textbooks. One scholar is Prof. Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University’s School of Education, and the second is Dr. Arnon Groiss (Gross), whose work was commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research and published by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

 

Ben-Amos explores how Israeli textbooks and pre-college matriculation exams address the Israeli occupation of the Palestinians. In his research, he finds that the occupation is rarely a topic in schools. He names this phenomenon, an “interpretive denial,” that is, “the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about.” For example, Ben-Amos looked at textbooks for middle school and high school in the state and state religious schools, to see how they treat the ramifications of the 1967 Six-Day War. He examined history, geography, and civics books, as well as informal education like workshops and tours for high school students. According to Ben-Amos, the last two decades have seen a limited recognition of the occupation, albeit with a denial of its repercussions, which seems to be intentional. "If the education chiefs ignore the research literature, if the information on events can’t reach the classrooms, we’re dealing with an attempt to hide and silence,” he said.

 

According to Ben-Amos, the Israeli maps in geography textbooks show the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River with a few brown stains and dots to mark "Area A," which is governed by the Palestinian Authority. However, the textbook offers “no explanation for the various areas ruled by the authority.” The exams also ignore the Green Line and the Palestinian people in a question that refers to the Jewish population in “Judea and Samaria.” According to Ben-Amos, “It’s not simplistic denial, claiming that this reality doesn’t exist. It’s more complex denial, based on the fact that education officials know the reality in the territories but are unwilling or unable to admit it... The approach conveyed to the students is that there’s no fundamental difference between what happens beyond the Green Line and the reality within the line; that it’s the natural historical, geographic continuation.” 

 

Ben-Amos concludes that since the Education Ministry must first approve the textbooks, the textbooks either ignore the occupation or attempt to normalize it, which is stemming from self-censorship. As clear guidelines are absent, "nobody wants to be blacklisted and denounced, which was the fate of teachers and publishers who tried to convey a more nuanced message than the one permitted by the Education Ministry."  

 

Ben-Amos' findings will be published in a chapter in an upcoming book on the teaching of history, edited by Prof. Eyal Naveh and Dr. Nimrod Tal from the Israel Institute for Historical Education, at the Seminar Hakibutzim. The Institute publishes papers and recommendations on the topic of teaching history. 

 

The second analysis of school textbooks, performed by Dr. Groiss, is titled "Israel, Jews and Peace in Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks and Teachers’ Guides." This study examines the contents of the Palestinian Authority’s schoolbooks and teachers’ guides as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned, from 2013 up to this day. This study provides an examination of approximately four hundred schoolbooks published between 2013-2020, and over a hundred teachers’ guides published mostly in 2018. The study provides examples of de-legitimization of Israel’s existence and the right of Jews in the Land of Israel, a denial of the existence of Jewish holy places in the Land of Israel, and a demonization of Israel and the Jews. 

 

For example, the statement that "The Zionist enemy is wholly evil and constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinians" is often presented. The Palestinians are often depicted as the ultimate victims, with not even a shared responsibility for the conflict. They are educated to a violent struggle for the liberation of Palestine with no education for peace or co-existence. 

 

Current schoolbooks deny the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and call it “legends,” while previous schoolbooks included some information about Jewish history in the Land of Israel in antiquity. The non-recognition of Jerusalem as a holy city to Jews, however, has been there all along.

 

For example, the book, Arabic Language – Academic Path, Grade 10, Part 2 (2019) p. 68, says that the occupier "has built for himself an artificial entity that derives its identity and the legitimacy of its existence from tales, legends and false visions, and has tried through various methods and ways to create live material evidence for these legends, or archaeological and architectural proofs that would confirm their truth and substantiality, but in vain."

 

The book National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2019) p. 29, says, “Jerusalem is an Arab city built by our Arab ancestors thousands of years ago. Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims and Christians.” The name “Israel” has been replaced mostly by “the Zionist occupation.”  Zionism is perceived as a mythical and a wholly evil entity, which creates feelings of fear and hatred. 

 

In the book Geography and Modern and Contemporary History of Palestine, Grade 10, Part 2 (2019) p. 7, the Rhodes Armistice agreement is discussed, noting, "The Arab armies withdrew from Palestine and the Rhodes armistice was signed in 1949 separately between the Zionist occupation and each of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.” 


Reference to terrorism is explicit in the newer schoolbooks. Terrorist operations are presented as heroic actions in the framework of the “revolution,” “resistance,” and “self-sacrifice,” including the hijacking of civilian planes, and the attack on the Israeli Olympic team in Munich.  Dalal al-Mughrabi, who participated in the raid on the Israeli Coastal Highway in 1978, in which 37 civilians, among them 13 children, were killed, is held in high regard in the Palestinian textbooks.  A teacher’s guide noted that al-Mughrabi had earned a higher status of honor than Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the historical source of inspiration of Hamas. A text in a grade-5 textbook mentions Izz al-Din al-Qassam, and Dalal al-Mughrabi, side by side.


The textbooks on science and technical subjects contain higher levels of demonization of Israel and the Jews, compared to previous years. 

 

In the book Mathematics, Grade 11 [Humanities] (2018) p. 55, the following question is posed: "One of the settlers shoots at [Palestinian] cars that pass on one of the roads. If the probability of his hitting a car in one shot is 0.7, and the settler shot at 10 cars, what will you expect to be the number of cars that were hit?” In the teacher’s guide for this class, the answer to this question appears on p. 162, as “7”. 

 

In the book, Social Studies, Grade 6, Part 1 (2019) p. 57, the maps show that Palestine stretches throughout the entire territory of the Land of Israel, with no trace of the State of Israel. The Jewish cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, are absent from the map while Jaffa is present. 

 

The books do not reflect the Palestinian Authority's message to the international community that it is committed to “a just peace” based on the two-state solution.


The study of Ben-Amos speaks about what is missing in the Israeli textbooks, while Groiss speaks about what there is in the Palestinian textbooks. Adherents to the Ben-Amos paradigm, inside the academy, have been quick to hold Israel to account for real and imaginary infractions vis-à-vis the Palestinians. They have little appetite to expose the fact that Palestinian education glorifies terrorists who killed and wounded thousands of Israelis over the years and, by doing so, propagates the dream of recovering the entire territory of Palestine by force. 






https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/article/in-israeli-textbooks-the-palestinians-are-all-but-invisible/  

In Israeli textbooks, the Palestinians are all but invisible

Fri 19 Jun 2020

JVL Introduction

Or Kashti is the education analyst for Haaretz Newspaper.

Here he writes about a recent study which shows that the occupation barely figures in Israeli school textbooks. The Bible is used as a historical source and as a moral justification for Jewish occupation of the West bank (“Judea and Samaria”) today. But it isn’t called occupation.

In most textbooks says Prof Avner Ben-Amos of Tel-Aviv University, “the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about.”

This article was originally published by Haaretz on Fri 19 Jun 2020. Read the original here.

In Israeli textbooks, the Palestinians are all but invisible

A study by Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University shows that the occupation is rarely mentioned in history, civics or geography textbooks

by Or Kashti, Haaretz

“Neveh Daniel is a rural community,” says a textbook on Israeli society “narrated” by Shulamit, a 9-year-old telling about her family and home.

“The community is located in the Judea and Samaria region and belongs to the Gush Etzion Regional Council. Already in the Bible period, Jews lived in this area, and the Bible tells of various events that happened there. For example, this is where the patriarchs and matriarchs were buried, and here the stories of King David and the Book of Ruth took place.”

The 40-page textbook for fourth-graders, one of a series, is intended to provide a glimpse into various communities in Israeli society. But there’s one thing it overlooks: Shulamit’s Palestinian neighbors don’t have the same rights as the members of her family.

The only mention is four words at the end of a sentence: Between 1.7 million and 2.9 million Palestinians who live in “the region called Judea and Samaria,” the book says, “are not Israeli citizens.”

Israel’s control over millions of Palestinians isn’t part of the work’s message. In fact, according to a study by Prof. Avner Ben-Amos of Tel Aviv University’s School of Education, the occupation is rarely a topic in schools.

The short book narrated by Shulamit is designed for pupils to “get to know a little about the religious way of life” and to learn about the importance of Jerusalem and values like “community life” and “mutual help.”

As Israel’s government considers annexing land in the West Bank, the country’s schools continue to use textbooks like “Shulamit’s” and maps without the Green Line, while taking the children on hikes in the West Bank.

Ben-Amos set out to explore how Israeli textbooks and pre-college matriculation exams address the occupation. He calls the situation “interpretive denial.”

In most textbooks, “the Jewish control and the Palestinians’ inferior status appear as a natural, self-evident situation that one doesn’t have to think about,” he writes in an article to be published in a book on teaching history edited by Eyal Naveh and Nimrod Tal.

Ben-Amos looked into the way textbooks for middle school and high school at state and state religious schools handle the ramifications of the 1967 Six-Day War. He examined history, geography and civics books, as well as informal education like workshops and tours for high school students.

Textbooks must be authorized by the Education Ministry, which, under Likud’s Limor Livnat between 2001 and 2006, blocked attempts to teach the Palestinian narrative as well.

‘An attempt to hide and silence’

Ben-Amos describes the schoolbooks published in the first 30 years after 1967 as “a slow internalization of the war’s significance.” So all the history textbooks describe “the great victory,” while the general tone is of “self-satisfaction and unrestrained pride,” he says.

The one exception is a work by Ruth Kleinberger, which dedicated four pages to the argument between left and right on the future of the West Bank, and the theological and ideological roots of the settlement movement.

The last two decades have seen a limited recognition of the occupation, albeit with a denial of its repercussions, Ben-Amos says. He says this seems to be intentional: If the education chiefs ignore the research literature, if the information on events can’t reach the classrooms, we’re dealing with “an attempt to hide and silence.”

Some of the history textbooks that he examined end in 1970, which suggests “a desire to avoid dealing with a past that could be controversial,” Ben-Amos says. One or two books that present history in a more complex way were redacted by the Education Ministry.

One of these books, as Haaretz reported in 2009, used a section from a work by a Palestinian historian who claimed the nascent Israeli army engaged in ethnic cleansing during the 1948 war. The book, which was initially approved by the ministry, was quickly collected from the schools and returned after this section and other parts had been expunged or changed.

A book intended for religious state schools presents the argument over the territories in a few sentences, but describes the ‘67 war as an act of “liberation” that enabled “a return to Judea and Samaria, areas where our patriarchs and matriarchs lived, where the kingdom of David and Solomon was established, the heart of the Jewish people.”

Even if a handful of textbooks describe the occupation critically, Ben-Amos’ research shows that no history matriculation exam between 2010 and 2019 featured a question on the long-term changes the war caused. A few exams included questions about “the Six-Day War’s influence on Israel,” but the right answers referred to the war’s immediate effects like the expansion of the state’s borders, accessibility to holy sites and the enlarging of the area under settlement by Israelis.

“What doesn’t appear in the matriculation exams isn’t taught in schools,” says a veteran history teacher from the center of the country. She says the ‘67 war’s long-term effects are studied, at best, “with a few sentences about the widening rift between right and left. That’s it.”

‘Cloud over every history teacher’

Also, the point of view is of Israelis, usually only Jews. “They don’t refer to the conditions in which the Palestinians live,” the teacher says. “The Palestinians don’t interest anyone. Invisible. That’s very convenient for the government.”

The main civics textbook also reflects the Israelis’ point of view. The West Bank Palestinians’ limited rights under Israeli rule aren’t addressed at all.

The book’s first edition, which was used for about 15 years, analyzed at length the overall Israeli debate on the occupation. But the issue was reduced to a few sentences in the version rewritten under right-wing education ministers.

The relevant chapter consists of a map of the Arab towns and villages, while an almost invisible line marks the “1949 Armistice Agreements line.” According to Ben-Amos, another civics textbook completely ignores the dispute over the occupied territories – “a silencing of the situation,” he says.

In civics matriculation exams over the past 20 years, no question appeared on the limiting of the Palestinians’ rights or their relations with the state and the settlers.

“It’s kind of a taboo,” says a history teacher in the south. “You don’t talk about the Palestinians living under a military regime, and there’s a cloud over every teacher who talks about it. Those issues aren’t discussed in class at all. The result is that the students can’t understand the world they live in.”

Regarding geography, which isn’t a compulsory subject, Ben-Amos found that textbooks don’t ignore the clash between Israel and the Palestinians over the border issue, but describe Israel’s continued rule over the West Bank in “a language that blurs the violence involved.”

Meanwhile, the Bible is used. The “roots of the Israeli people and culture” are emphasized in the “Judea and Samaria” regions, and quotes from Genesis and the Book of Joshua point to the Jewish presence there.

Ben-Amos writes that maps in geography textbooks describe the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as a unified space, sometimes dotted with a few brown stains marking Area A governed by the Palestinian Authority. But the books offer “no explanation for the various areas ruled by the authority,” he writes.

The geography exams also ignore the Green Line and the Palestinians, even when the question refers to the Jewish population in “Judea and Samaria.”

“It’s not simplistic denial, claiming that this reality doesn’t exist. It’s more complex denial, based on the fact that education officials know the reality in the territories but are unwilling or unable to admit it,” Ben-Amos says.

“The approach conveyed to the students is that there’s no fundamental difference between what happens beyond the Green Line and the reality within the line; that it’s the natural historical, geographic continuation.”

Ben-Amos says the textbooks’ ignoring of the occupation or attempts to normalize it stem from self-censorship. In the absence of clear guidelines, nobody wants to be blacklisted and denounced, which was the fate of teachers and publishers who tried to convey a more nuanced message than the one permitted by the Education Ministry.

================================================



Israel, Jews and Peace in Palestinian Authority Schoolbooks and Teachers’ Guides

Published: 10/06/2020
By Dr. Arnon Groiss
Main Findings

This document is aimed at summarizing the contents of the Palestinian Authority’s schoolbooks and teachers’ guides, as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned, from 2013 up to this day. It is based on the examination of close to 400 schoolbooks published between 2013-2020 and over a hundred of teachers’ guides published mostly in 2018 (and see below a list of the Center’s publications that deal with the findings of the examined Palestinian schoolbooks). These schoolbooks are in use in the Palestinian Authority’s territories in Judea and Samaria, in the territories under Hamas’ control in the Gaza Strip, and in most schools in East Jerusalem. Their use is mandatory in all Palestinian private schools and in the schools operated by UNRWA.

  • There are three prominent fundamentals as far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned: De-legitimization of the State of Israel’s existence and the very presence of Jews in the Land of Israel, including the denial of the existence of Jewish holy places in the Land of Israel; demonization of Israel and the Jews: “The Zionist enemy, according to the description appearing in the schoolbooks, is wholly evil and constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinians who are depicted as the ultimate victim, with no shared responsibility for the conflict; and education for a violent struggle for the liberation of the Land of Israel (Palestine) with no education for peace and co-existence. In none of the PA’s schoolbooks has any call for the resolution of the conflict peacefully, or any mentioning of co-existence with Israel been found. The teachers’ guiding manuals that were checked, widen our perspective, as they deal not only with these fundamentals, but also with the actual educational process, and they reveal a variety of methodologies used by the teachers for the indoctrination of the Palestinian younger generation.
  • The study of the schoolbooks’ contents over time has found that there has been an intensification of the said fundamentals since 2016 regarding the conflict with Israel. Following are several examples:
    • The schoolbooks vehemently deny the Jewish past of the Land of Israel and call it “legends”. This is a new argument, as the former schoolbooks included pieces that dealt with Jewish history in the Land of Israel in antiquity. The non-recognition of Jerusalem as a holy city to Jews, however, has been there all along.

“…[The occupier] has built for himself an artificial entity that derives its identity and the legitimacy of its existence from tales, legends and false visions, and has tried through various methods and ways to create live material evidence for these legends, or archaeological and architectural proofs that would confirm their truth and substantiality, but in vain.

(Arabic Language – Academic Path, Grade 10, Part 2 (2019) p. 68)

“Jerusalem is an Arab city built by our Arab ancestors thousands of years ago.
Jerusalem is a holy city to Muslims and Christians.”

(National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2019) p. 29)

  28

  • The name “Israel” has been replaced most of the times by the epithet “the Zionist occupation”. By that, the non-recognition of Israel as a legitimate state has been deepened. Moreover, the struggle against the State of Israel has thus become a struggle against Zionism that is perceived as a mythical and a wholly evil entity, which creates feelings of fear and hatred. Following is an example describing the Rhodes Armistice agreement:

“…The Arab armies withdrew from Palestine and the Rhodes armistice was signed in 1949 separately between the Zionist occupation and each of Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon…”(Geography and Modern and Contemporary History of Palestine, Grade 10, Part 2 (2019) p. 7)

  • Reference to terror is more explicit in the newer schoolbooks. Terrorist operations perpetrated throughout the years of conflict with Israel are presented as heroic actions in the framework of the “revolution”, “resistance” and “self-sacrifice”. These actions include hijacking of civilian planes, the attack on the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, and the murder of 37 civilians, including 13 children, on Israel’s Coastal Highway under the command of al-Fatah activist Dalal al-Mughrabi (who enjoys a special halo in the Palestinian schoolbooks).

A teacher’s guide clarifies that Dalal al-Mughrabi has earned a higher status than Izz al-Din al-Qassam, the historical source of inspiration for Hamas organization. Following is a text in a grade-5 textbook which mentions Izz al-Din al-Qassam, Dalal al-Mughrabi and Yasser Arafat (marked in red):

  • Insertion of these fundamentals, including the demonization of Israel and the Jews, into technical school subjects and in sciences on a more extensive scale than before:

3. One of the settlers shoots at [Palestinian] cars that pass on one of the roads. If the probability of his hitting a car in one shot is 0.7, and the settler shot at 10 cars, what will you expect to be the number of cars that were hit?”

(Mathematics, Grade 11 [Humanities] (2018) p. 55. In the teacher’s guide for this class, from the same year, the answer appears on p. 162: “7”)

   55

  • Schoolbooks are specifically important in societies in conflict, because they indicate the narrative the leadership and society strive to instill in the minds of the younger generation. The schoolbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority indicate, then, the essence of the narrative as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned. It is learned from the PA schoolbooks and teachers’ guides that the education of the younger Palestinian generation prepares it consciously for a continuous and long-range confrontation against the State of Israel in order to achieve the final goal, which is the establishment of the State of Palestine that will stretch on the entire territory of the Land of Israel. There is no trace in the schoolbooks of the argumentation disseminated by the Palestinian Authority in the international arena that the Palestinian Authority is committed to “a just peace” based on the two-state solution[1]
"I will color the map of my homeland with the colors of the Palestinian flag" (National and Life Education, Grade 2, Part 1 (2019) p. 8)      A map of Palestine (Social Studies, Grade 6, Part 1 (2019) p. 57). The Jewish cities in the State of Israel, including Tel Aviv, are absent from the map (Jaffa appears there).
The maps in the PA schoolbooks prove that Palestine stretches throughout the entire territory of the Land of Israel, with no trace of the State of Israel. On the right: A map of Palestine (Social Studies, Grade 6, Part 1 (2019) p. 57). The Jewish cities in the State of Israel, including Tel Aviv, are absent from the map (Jaffa appears there). On the left: “…I will color the map of my homeland with the colors of the Palestinian flag” (National and Life Education, Grade 2, Part 1 (2019) p. 8)
Other publications by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terror Information Center dealing with the Palestinian schoolbooks
  • “Jews, Israel and the Conflict in Teachers’ Guides Issued by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Education”, by Dr. Arnon Groiss (February 3, 2010).
  • “The Attitude to Jews, Israel and Peace in the Palestinian Authority’s Schoolbooks for Grade 11, 12 Published in the Years 2017-18”, by Dr. Arnon Groiss (October 11, 2018).
  • “Schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority: The Attitude to Jews, Israel and Peace (Completion and update, June 2018)” by Dr. Arnon Groiss.
  • Schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority: The Attitude to Jews, Israel and Peace (December 26, 2017)”, by Dr, Arnon Groiss and Dr. Ronni Shaked.
  • “On a research conducted by a German institute on schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority”, by Brigadier-General (ret.) Amos Gilboa (April 20, 2016)
  • “The examination of Palestinian schoolbooks reveals the continued denial of Israel’s right to exist and the fostering of the violent struggle against it”, by Noa Meridor (March 7, 2006).
Dr. Arnon Groiss, Researcher of the Palestinian Schoolbooks
  • Dr. Arnon Groiss is an expert in Middle Eastern affairs holding a Ph.D. degree in this field from Princeton University’s Dept. of Near Eastern Studies, as well as an MPA degree from Harvard University. He is a retired journalist who worked 42 years in the Voice of Israel Arabic radio station, where he acquired additional experience in the field of Middle Eastern affairs. Since 2000, he has studied the attitude to the “other” and to peace in various Middle Eastern curricula and authored many reports dealing with this subject, having examined over a thousand schoolbooks and teachers’ guides. During the last five years Dr. Groiss has focused on the schoolbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority.
  • Dr. Groiss has presented his findings to policy makers at the United Nations, the United States Congress, the European Parliament, the British House of Commons, the French Assemblée nationale, the Canadian and Swedish Parliaments and the Israeli Knesset, as well as to people of the press and at various research institutes.
The Study Construction
  • The study includes three chapters:
    • Chapter One: De-legitimization of Israel’s existence in the Palestinian schoolbooks.
    • Chapter Two: Demonization of the State of Israel and the Jews in the Palestinian schoolbooks.
    • Chapter Three: Education for a violent struggle for the liberation of the Land of Israel (Palestine) in the Palestinian schoolbooks.
  • The two appendices:
    • Appendix A: List of sources quoted in the study.
    • Appendix B: UNESCO principles regarding education for peace and tolerance.

[1] See, for example, the document by the Information Center dated February 17, 2020: "Abu Mazen's speech at the UN Security Council: Rhetoric vis-à-vis Reality". 

Full document in PDF format

Back to "Tel Aviv University"Send Response
Top Page
    Developed by Sitebank & Powered by Blueweb Internet Services
    Visitors: 255702155Send to FriendAdd To FavoritesMake It HomepagePrint version
    blueweb