Teachers told not to attend Nakba seminar

Education Ministry: Initiative is unauthorized.

August 18, 2010 10:37
2 minute read.
Illustrative photo

school children israel class 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The Education Ministry on Tuesday ordered kindergarten teachers not to attend a daylong seminar organized by the Zochrot organization about the introduction of Nakba studies to kindergartens across the country.

The seminar, intended for preschool teachers, was held on Tuesday and discussed a study plan on the Nakba, and whether the topic should be taught to preschool children.

Program raises Jewish identification
Why are our schools at war with the students?

Zochrot (“Remembering”) was founded in 2002 and is based in Tel Aviv. Its aim is to promote awareness of the Nakba (“Catastrophe”), the Arab name for the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent flight of Palestinians.

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The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, represented by attorney Hila Cohen, demanded over the weekend that Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar halt Zochrot’s activities within the education system and call on teachers not to attend Zochrot’s seminar.

Cohen wrote to Sa’ar, describing the content of Zochrot’s study programs, and said they included statements and messages identifying “with the feeling of disaster the Arabs felt when the State of Israel was declared.”

Quoting from one of the study programs, Cohen wrote that Zochrot teaches that “The Nakba is part of us... The Nakba took place mostly in 1948 and it included the destruction of most of the Palestinian villages, thus turning their inhabitants into refugees and destroying the rich Palestinian life existing here.”

The Legal Forum also complained about Zohar Sitner, a lecturer in one of Zochrot’s programs, who, according a Zochrot press release, works as a preschool teacher.

The Legal Forum demanded that Sa’ar investigate whether Sitner is employed under the ministry’s supervision, and whether her students’ parents were aware of her participation in Zochrot, the nature of its programs, and the possibility of the Nakba being taught as part of her class.

“Zochrot is a private organization not authorized by the Ministry of Education,” the ministry said in response.

Sima Hadad, the supervisor of the ministry’s preschool department, informed teachers on Tuesday that Zochrot is a private initiative, the seminar is not part of the ministry’s programs and that they should not cooperate with the NGO as part of preparations for the coming school year.

The Legal Forum said it was pleased with the ministry’s quick response.

The State of Israel cannot allow people “wishing to destroy it” to be active among young school- and preschool children,” Legal Forum director Nahi Eyal said in a statement. “It seems there is no limit to the extreme-leftist organization’s impertinence, asking to influence innocent children by way of irresponsible teachers. The Nakba learning program for preschool children is clear aid to our enemies going after the destruction of the State of Israel.”

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