Education Minister Yuli Tamir’s blatant revisionist refashioning of Israel’s education system is an accelerated continuation of years, decades of evolution of anti-Jewish bias and endoctrination.
For previous posts regarding the sorry state of Israel’s education system and the impact on it’s youth on myriad levels, click here. MB
Israel’s Reeducation Minister, by Caroline Glick (Jerusalem Post)
“Tamir’s vision… involves indoctrinating a new generation of Israelis in a manner that will render them defenseless in the face of the Arab onslaught against the country.”
Education Minister Yuli Tamir has been much in the news. Two weeks ago she went on a well-publicized visit to authoritarian Singapore to learn the secret of its school system’s success.
Tamir summed up her visit in an interview with Yediot Aharonot, saying, “What most entranced me about [Singaporean schoolchildren] was that while there is discipline, it doesn’t look like repression. I didn’t see fear in the children’s eyes.”
It makes sense that this would be the aspect of Singapore’s education system that most impressed Tamir. Her moves back home are all aimed at foisting her political agenda on schoolchildren while blocking all forms of dissent. Dissent, after all, could make her agenda appear repressive.
Tamir’s political agenda has been alternately described as pro-peace, anti-Zionist, pro-democracy, anti-democracy, pluralistic and anti-Semitic.
To understand what her agenda actually holds in store for our future, we need to move beyond labels and assess her policies themselves.
Related report: Min. of Ed. Tamir: Nat’l Service Educators Should be Pluralistic
Last December, Tamir ordered that from now on, all maps of the country in new textbooks must clearly demark the 1949 armistice lines. As Tamir sees it, the demarcation of the 1949 armistice lines is crucial for advancing peace. Speaking to Ha’aretz, she said, “We cannot demand that our Arab neighbors mark the borders from 4 June 1967, when our own Education Ministry has erased them from the textbooks and from the students’ consciousness.”
SINCE ISRAEL has applied its laws to the entirety of unified Jerusalem and to the Golan Heights, it is clear that the reason they don’t appear in school textbooks is because they are irrelevant to the study of Israel’s borders. Aside from that, when the cease-fire lines were drawn, neither Israel nor any of its neighbors accepted them as borders and, moreover, in the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, those lines did not serve as the basis for determining the borders between them. And so, not only does her move ignore Israel’s own determination of its sovereignty, it also ignores historical fact.
This month she supported the Finance Ministry’s decision to cut the government’s support for pre-army leadership academies by 50 percent. Students at these academies receive a year-long deferment of their military service. During that year they study Jewish history, Zionist history and Talmud. They volunteer for community service. They undergo pre-military physical fitness regimens, and they hike throughout the country. Seventy percent of graduates serve in combat units and 30% become officers. Among the girls, the majority serve as officers.
In short, in the space of a year, the pre-army academies imbue their students with their Jewish and Israeli heritage and the students, in turn, form the backbone of the IDF’s combat soldier and officer corps. And Tamir has decided to slash their budgets.
As to the general school system, Tamir is advancing a plan to cut the course load by 30% over the next five years. History and Zionist education will be the areas most immediately affected. As she put it, “Rather than learn a lot of material – we’ll learn thinking.Today it is important to process information, not memorize things.”
Tamir: “It is important for Jewish children to learn about the nakba.”
TAMIR WISHES to replace Zionism and Jewish studies with “democratic citizenship” studies. As she explained to Yediot, “In Israel there is a real lack of democratic citizenship studies. As I pledged, the school system is moving this year to teach the subject of citizenship at a level of two credit units [for the high school matriculation exams]. In the future we will continue to expand citizenship classes to the level of three, four and five credits. People aren’t born citizens. They are educated to be citizens.” Or reeducated.
In Tamir’s view, a good citizen is one who gives equal weight to both Israel’s actual history and to the Arab world’s distorted version of that history. Last month, she approved a third-grade textbook for Arab Israelis that teaches children that Arabs view the 1948 War of Independence, in which the infant state warded off the invading armies of five Arab states determined to annihilate its Jewish population, as “the nakba,” or catastrophe.
Arab Israeli children will now be taught that from the Arab perspective, Israel’s establishment was an act of Jewish aggression. And as Tamir sees it, “I also think it is important for Jewish children to learn about the nakba.”
It is clear that not only does Tamir’s vision involve indoctrinating Israel’s Arabs to become its enemies; it also involves indoctrinating (without repression) a new generation of Israelis in a manner that will render them defenseless in the face of the Arab onslaught against the country.