Sa'ar cools tensions over 'Nakba' dispute

Responding to angry statements on Monday from Arab educators who had threatened civil disobedience if Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar carried through with recently-announced plans to drop the word "Nakba" from Arab textbooks and begin teaching classes on Jewish culture and history, Sa'ar sounded a conciliatory tone while visiting schools in the north on Tuesday. "I have no intention of 'Judaizing' anyone and no one has heard me say that I would impose the national anthem on the Arab schools," Sa'ar told students at a high school in Shfaram, which he visited together with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. "But I do intend on starting a new program, in grades four through nine, called Israeli Heritage and Culture, in which students will study the Hebrew calendar, the country's flag, and the national anthem." Sa'ar also promised to "invest effort, thought, and funds in order to promote education amongst Muslims, Druse, Circassians, and Bedouins," whom he said made up 40 percent of classes in the country's schools.