Rewriting history: How Rabin’s murder will be taught in schools

‘You cannot avoid the role religious people had in this murder,’ say petitioners.

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October 25, 2017 18:03
3 minute read.
Yigal Amir

Yigal Amir. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Quarrels between members of the left wing and the Education Ministry on how the murder of Yitzhak Rabin will be taught in schools have been intensifying as the November 1 memorial of his assassination draws nears.

Eight MKs, artists and intellectuals, and the Secular Forum, concerned over the omission of the “religious element” in Yigal Amir’s murder of prime minister Rabin in 1995 and how it will be taught in state secular elementary schools, on Tuesday submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice.

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In the petition, Knesset members Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union), Tamar Zandberg and Mossi Raz (Meretz), former Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz, playwright, writer and director Yehoshua Sobol, author, playwright and satirist Ephraim Sidon, writer and journalist Yigal Sarna, and actor and singer Tomer Sharon request an urgent hearing regarding how the murder is being taught in the current curriculum.

The petition submitted by attorney Yair Nahori claims that pupils attending state secular schools will be taught “a fictitious and inaccurate portrayal that deliberately conceals the religious-messianic reality that led to his murder, and those who acted to incite and assassinate prime minister Rabin,” Channel 10 reported on Tuesday.

The Education Ministry blasted the report saying: “The allegations represented in this report are baseless lies. Channel 10 joined the extremist Secular Forum in an attempt to undermine any involvement of Jewish heritage and culture in the classroom, and chose to turn the memorial day of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination into a day of hatred, polarity and division in Israeli society.”

Following the submission of the petition, the High Court requested on Wednesday a response from the Education Ministry.

Bar-Lev said in a statement on Wednesday: “We cannot rewrite history, our children deserve to learn and know the historical facts and their complexities, especially when it comes to the murder of a prime minister in democratic Israel – Yitzhak Rabin, may his memory be for a blessing. This was a seminal and painful event that damaged our society and changed the face of our nation.”

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Zandberg said: “The murder of Yitzhak Rabin is the most painful trauma in the Israel’s national history.

This trauma has history, context and circumstances. Incitement, rabbinic ruling and Din Rodef [Law of the Pursuer] were completely erased from the schools’ curriculum. It is impossible to accept this distorted rewriting of history, which seems to be aimed at saving the skin of [Education Minister and Beit Yehudi chairman Naftali] Bennett’s rabbis instead of teaching the children of Israel the truth about the Rabin assassination.”

Raz also weighed in: “Those who learn about terrible murder of Yitzhak Rabin just from this curriculum will have no idea who the murderer was, nor will they know about the incitement that led to this event. The Education Ministry is in the business of rewriting history.”

Ram Vromen, chairman of the Secular Forum, said the representation of the facts in the curriculum is “twisted.”

Vroman told to The Jerusalem Post: “What I find amazing is that in the curriculum, there is not one word about the role the Jewish faith played in his murder. In most of the books, the name of the murderer is not even mentioned, and neither is the fact that he consulted with rabbis. He [Amir] would have never done it without the authorization of rabbis.”

Vroman added, “You cannot ignore the role religious people had in this murder, ignoring all of that is an absurdity.”

In a response to this petition the Education Ministry fired back, saying: “Fake news.”

The petitioners want to put the blame on Orthodox Jews, the ministry told the Post: “They are using manipulation to push their agenda.

This is not the way you teach children about the death of Rabin, this is a very minor part of this day, and you do not teach children by blaming an entire community for something like this.”

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