Sa'ar: Nakba mustn't be taught in school

MK Ahmed Tibi slams education minister for trying to remove subject; Sa'ar: Topic harms coexistence.

gideon saar 248.88 (photo credit: Ori Porat [file])
gideon saar 248.88
(photo credit: Ori Porat [file])
Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar responded on Wednesday to criticism leveled at him by MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) over his intention to remove teaching about the Nakba (the "catastrophe," from the Arab perspective, of Israel's establishment) from Israeli schools, and said that leaving such a topic in the curriculum would only strengthen fringe elements in the Arab Israeli sector. "In no country in the world does an educational curriculum refer to the creation of the country as a 'catastrophe,' he said while speaking in the Knesset plenum. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but the term 'Nakba' means a catastrophe," he asked Tibi, who confirmed the meaning. "There is a difference between referring to specific tragedies that take place in a war - either against the Jewish or Arab population - as catastrophes, and referring to the creation of the state as a catastrophe." "There are some Arab Israelis who do not view the creation of the state of Israel as a catastrophe," Sa'ar continued, saying that in fact, the majority probably didn't think thought that way, and only fringe elements of the sector supported the notion of the 'Nakba.' "I don't think we should support the fringe elements," he said. "That will harm our coexistence." In addition, the education minister took aim at the whole concept of a 'Nakba,' and said that Israel was not the party to blame for the plight of Palestinian refugees. "I would like to refer to an interesting historical fact here," Sa'ar said. "The Arab states rejected a UN resolution, rejected the partition plan and launched a war of destruction against Israel." They should be the ones who are blamed for the "catastrophe" and for the refugees, he said. On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted to support a bill that would allow the Finance Ministry to withhold public funds from organizations that mark Independence Day as a day of mourning. The so-called Nakba Bill would forbid government-funded bodies or institutions to spend taxpayers money on commemorations that renounce Israel's right to exist as the democratic state of the Jewish people or support terrorism against Israel. The bill would also bar desecrating Israeli flags and other symbols of the state.