Zoabi calls for October riots to be taught in schools

“The Ministry of Education is denying the reality of Arabs in the state,” Balad MK says; Kadima MK proposes bill requiring Arab, haredi schools to teach core curriculum to get gov't funding.

October 3, 2011 02:27
2 minute read.
MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad)

MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

MK Haneen Zoabi (Balad) requested on Sunday from Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar that the October 2000 Israeli-Arab riots be taught in schools, following Saturday’s protests by thousands of Israeli Arabs in Sakhnin.

“The Ministry of Education is denying the reality of Arabs in the state,” Zoabi said.

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Israeli Arabs mark 10 years since October 2000 riots

“The October events are of great importance, not just because 13 Arab citizens of Israel died, but also because it is an important milestone in understanding the relations between Arab citizens and the state, and the State of Israel’s treatment of Arab citizens.”

Zoabi quoted the National Education Law, which describes one of the goals of education as “to develop respect for human rights, basic freedoms, democratic values, rule of law, as well as the culture and viewpoints of others,” adding that, in light of this goal, “there is no doubt that [the October riots] are an essential addition to the curriculum.”

The Balad MK also suggested that schools dedicate two hours on the riots’ anniversary to learning about the events, and allow pupils to express their opinions.

Israeli Arabs have held demonstrations and strikes during the month of October over the past 11 years to express their anger over what they claim is an improper failure to investigate the incident, in which 12 Israeli Arabs and a Gazan were killed by security forces during riots.

Meanwhile, MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) proposed a bill requiring Arab and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) schools to teach the Ministry of Education’s core curriculum in order to receive government funding. Sheetrit proposed a similar bill earlier this year, which was voted down.

Sheetrit cited a poll by Hiddush: For Religious Freedom and Equality, which says that 80 percent of Israelis favor requiring haredi pupils to learn core subjects, and 64% say schools that do not teach these topics, which include math, English and civics, should not be funded by the government.

“It cannot be that students in haredi and Arab schools will not learn core subjects and become a burden on Israeli society,” the Kadima MK said. “Subjects like English, math, science, Hebrew, history and civics are the links that tie all of the different groups in our nation, and are important in creating a basic common denominator.

“Especially now, in a time of social crisis, the government must act so that these students will have the tools to join the workforce,” Sheetrit said.

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