The Palestinians Still Teach Their Children to Hate
On February 23, the Israeli Education Ministry, Jerusalem District Police and Shin Bet security agency closed down a Hamas-operated school in east Jerusalem for teaching a violent, antisemitic and anti-Israeli curriculum.
The question is: How did a terrorist organization manage to infiltrate the Israeli school system?
Israel’s public education system was created almost 65 years ago, with the passage of the National Education Law, which allowed the Arabs, ultra-Orthodox, religious Zionists and secular Jews to maintain separate school systems. The result has been a farcical testament to the folly of multiculturalism — which only encourages minority groups to isolate themselves, propagate their grievances and promote victimhood.
In the early 1990s, the Oslo Accords mandated that the educational system in east Jerusalem be run by the Palestinian Authority (PA). As a result, only eight out of approximately 180 schools in East Jerusalem teach the Israeli curriculum — and only two of those are public schools.
So what happens when the Palestinians teach their own children?
In 2015, an exhaustive report published by Palestinian Media Watch revealed that the PA — Israel’s ostensible peace partner — is teaching its children to hate (and murder) Israelis. In fact, the PA’s official educational system uses virulent antisemitic concepts and materials, making it one of the greatest obstacles to peace.
And Israeli citizens are feeling — and dying from — the effects. For example, most perpetrators of the “knife intifada” that engulfed Israel last year were young Palestinians who came from east Jerusalem.
The segregated nature of Jerusalem’s school system also touches upon the festering issue of sovereignty. If Jerusalem is indeed the undivided capital of Israel, then there can’t be separate curricula for Jews and Arabs. More broadly, Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem should mean that “there are no separate laws for Israelis and for non-Israelis,” as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin recently said.
Therefore, if the true goal of public schools is to develop well-rounded citizens who can think critically, process information, make good decisions, support themselves and serve the needs of society, what can Israel do to reform its divisive educational system?
One idea is for all schools to feature a morning core curriculum, with separate afternoon classes. Such a system would enable students from minority groups to explore their distinct ideological values and religious teachings, while simultaneously obtaining a valuable and comprehensive education.
Less grandiose, but more realistic, is the Education Ministry’s plan to offer extra funding to East Jerusalem schools that switch from the Palestinian to the Israeli curriculum. Under this initiative, schools that either partially or completely adopt the Israeli educational plan will receive additional resources for things such as counseling, music and art classes, teacher’s continuing education and more.
Despite the incendiary rhetoric of autocratic and corrupt Palestinian leaders, most Arabs living in Israel quietly understand that the key to obtaining a better life is a better education for their children. But today, young Arab men and women going to school in east Jerusalem are being brainwashed to take up arms and fulfill the jihadist mandate to destroy Israel, instead of improving their own lives.
If there is ever going to be peace in the region, this must change. And soon.