Bennett: I intend to approve the civics book; quotes presented in media have been removed

“I will approve the book despite the criticism, the quotations presented in the press are not in the final version," Bennett said in an interview with Army Radio.

January 27, 2016 20:57
2 minute read.
Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


The controversy surrounding the Education Ministry’s new civics textbook, To Be Israeli Citizens, continued Wednesday as Education Minister Naftali Bennett responded to criticism by saying he intends to approve the book.

“I will approve the book despite the criticism, the quotations presented in the press are not in the final version,” Bennett said in an interview with Army Radio.

“I expect that in the coming days we will see some more petitions from academics and intellectuals against the book without them even reading it, I say [to them]: ‘Shame on your protests, it’s cold outside,’” he said.

On Monday evening, Ch. 2 news aired a report revealing several controversial excerpts from the new textbook, taken from a letter penned earlier this month by the book’s language editor, Yehuda Yaari, to officials in the Education Ministry, noting several objections to the text.

Among the divisive excerpts included quotations implicating Arab-Israelis in attacks in the terrorism wave and citations that it was never proven that the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was due to incitement.

The book also compared the sinking of the Altalena ship in 1948, the murder of left-wing activist Emil Grunzweig at a Peace Now rally and the murder of Rabin, blurring the lines between murder for political-ideological reasons and orders given by a government head.

“I instructed that the comparison between the Altalena and Rabin’s assassination be removed,” Bennett told Army Radio.

Bennett also addressed Yaari, whose letter sparked the controversy, accusing him of distributing “distorted passages” to the press.

“The language editor is acting in breach of trust, circulating part of a draft to the media in order to promote his political agenda – it is unacceptable to me,” he said.

Bennett added that the process of writing the book is a “super-professional.”

“They have been working on this book for five years, it is a book that balances between all of us, between the Jewish state and democracy, there are 14 chapters dealing with democracy and eight chapters dealing with the Jewish state,” he told Army Radio.

Following Bennett’s interview, Herzl Makov, head of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center issued a statement calling on Bennett not to remove the sinking of the Altalena from the political violence comparison.

The Altalena was a painful chapter in Israel’s history and is political violence in the full meaning of the word, which was initiated at the order of the late prime minister David Ben-Gurion,” said Makov.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

The archeological site at Tel Hazor
July 24, 2019
Staircase of 3,500 years old biblical palace revealed in Tel Hazor


Cookie Settings