One of the declared goals of the Netanyahu government is to ensure that Israeli schoolchildren receive a strong Zionist education. To this end, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Gideon Sa'ar as his education minister.
Sa'ar has long distinguished himself as a critic of post-Zionist initiatives to transform Israel's educational curriculum from a Zionist curriculum which in accordance with the Education Law of 1953 is charged with inculcating school children with "the values of Jewish culture," "love of the homeland," and "loyalty to the Jewish state," into one that indoctrinates Israel's youth to adopt a post-nationalist, universalist perspective that does not value Jewish nationalism and rejects patriotism as atavistic and even racist.
In light of the importance that the government has placed on Zionist education, it is quite shocking that under Sa'ar, the Education Ministry approved a new citizenship textbook for high school students that embraces the post- Zionist narrative.
This fall, the new textbook, Setting off on the path to citizenship: Israel - society, state and its citizens (Yotzim l'derech ezrachit: Yisrael - hevra, medina v'ezracheya) was introduced into the state's official citizenship curriculum. In everything from its discussion of the War of Independence, to globalization and transnational institutions, to Israeli politics, to the peace process, to Israel's constitutional debate, to Operation Cast Lead, the textbook adopts positions that are post-Zionist and even anti-Zionist. It champions these positions while denying students the basic facts necessary to make informed decisions on how they relate to their country, their people and their rights and duties as citizens.
In a letter to Sa'ar written on October 4, 2011, Bar-Ilan University law professor Gideon Sapir set out four ways the textbook distorts history and reality. First, in its discussion of the historical background of Israel's founding, the book gives only passing mention to the international legal foundation of the state - the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine from 1922. The Mandate called for the reconstitution of the Jewish commonwealth in the land of Israel. It granted sovereignty to the Jewish state over all the territory that today makes up Israel, Judea, Samaria and Jordan.
The textbook provides no map of the Mandate.
Instead it suffices with a map of the UN's 1947 partition plan, a map of the territory controlled by the Jewish forces before the establishment of the state, and a map of the 1949 armistice lines.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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