Education Ministry summons principal over textbook

High school in Sha'ar Hanegev using textbook banned by Education Ministry over 5 years ago that gives Palestinian narrative to 1948.

October 3, 2010 06:39
1 minute read.
Education Ministry summons principal over textbook

education ministry bldg 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimki)


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A high school principal was summoned for a hearing by the Education Ministry for using a textbook that presents the Palestinian narrative about events surrounding the 1948 War of Independence, officials said Friday.

The principal of the Sha'ar Hanegev high school has been told to report next week to clarify with Education Ministry officials his school's use of an unapproved textbook, ministry spokesman Hagit Cohen told The Associated Press.

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The textbook in question gives the Israeli narrative of the War of Independence next to that of the Palestinians, with blank space in the middle for students to insert their own thoughts, according to a report this week in Haaretz.

An unnamed teacher at the school told Haaretz that the ministry instructed the school to pull the book two days after the academic year began this month.

Cohen, the ministry spokeswoman, said the book was rejected by the Education Ministry five years ago, not during the term of the current government. The ministry's policy has always been to summon principals for clarification whenever unauthorized materials are used, she said.

"This is not about the content of this particular textbook," Cohen said.

She would not say what steps the Education Ministry might take.

Michal Shaban-Ketzer, a spokeswoman for the local council with jurisdiction over the school, confirmed that the principal had been summoned. School officials would not comment further until after the hearing, she said, and officials at the school could not be reached directly for comment.

Last year, the education minister ordered references to the Palestinian naqba, or "catastrophe," removed from a textbook for Arab third-graders.

Teachers were free to discuss the personal and national tragedies that befell Palestinians, Education Minister Gideon Saar, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, told Parliament at the time. However, he said that "no other country in the world, in its official curriculum, would treat the fact of its founding as a catastrophe."

The third-grade textbook had been approved two years earlier.

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