Sunday, July 22, 2007

To Naqba or Not to Naqba

On May 15th Palestinians celebrate a day called the Naqba. It is no coincidence that it is the day after our Independence Day. Naqba means disaster. Palestinians mark this day as the day their people suffered a catastrophe. No they are not talking about a disaster brought upon themselves. We are the catastrophe. If not for our know the rest. Yuli Tamir the Minister of Education has just okayed a textbook for the Arab school system in Israel that talks about the Naqba.

The name of the textbook is Living Together in Israel. This book is of all things a geography book!What surprised me most was that it was a third grade textbook. Maybe its been a long time since I was in third grade but I just can't see this being the topic for any valid discussion. In fairness to the book it does mention that the Arabs refused the UN partition plan which would have divided the land between the Arabs and Jews. It does say that Israel accepted the plan. However since it is a third grade book it talks in broad strokes which can lead to easy misinterpretation. The book states that after the Arab leadership opposed the UN Partition plan "then war began." It goes on to talk about how some Arabs became refugees.

Lets leave the age appropriateness aside. That's not the real issue. The real issue is our acceptance of this idea of a catastrophe brought on the Palestinians by our existence. I don't buy it and in fact I hate this day because it seeks to delegitimize us. We are a catastrophe. We are a disaster. I think the Arabs with their intolerance and hatred caused this "catastrophe" we find ourselves in. We should have a day that talks about how destructive they have been. War was their choice and in fact their only choice.

I don't have a problem with any Israeli textbook that talks about Arab villages lost in the war. Name them all. I don't have a problem with knowing this and neither should Israeli students. But likewise we need to talk about the Jewish places that were destroyed. What is the history of Hebron and its importance to the Jews. What catastrophe happened there in 1929. Jews were nassacred by Arabs and the British removed us from Hebron to "protect" us. Now the likelihood of Hebron returning to be part of Israel is slim at best. Lets talk about Silwan in East Jerusalem and the Jewish village underneath it. Lets talk about the Temple Mount and the Arabs denial that it is the Temple Mount. Lets not teach any student, Arab or Jew only the part of history that best suits them. Let us however not teach about a day that is a lie.

Submitted by Carol


Joseph said...

The exact line is: "the Arabs call the war the 'Nakba', meaning the war of disaster and destruction. The Jews call it the War of Independence." Its author, who actually lives in the "settlement" of Alon Shevut, has defended it by claiming that he is only reporting what the Arabs say, which is PC claptrap. I have no doubt that Israeli Arabs are taught this anyway, but to make it part of the formal curriculum that our tax dollars pay for is obscene. I wouldn't be offended if they called it the War of 1948--if the PA, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon would do the same.
BTW, it's Rabbi Joe, but blogger has me as "Joseph."

Carol said...

I can't believe he wrote that and lives in Alon Shevut. Like I said- if you want to then lets put it all out there.

You have so many identities.You're like a secret agent!

Joseph said...

I am an international man of mystery...
Here's the article:
"The Real 'Nakba,'" Jerusalem Post, 23 July:
It should not be surprising that the book has such a Zionist didactic purpose, given that the head of the Education Ministry committee that drafted the curriculum behind this text was Prof. Ya'acov Katz, a professor of education at Bar-Ilan University, former adviser to Netanyahu, and resident of Gush Etzion. That curriculum, produced in 2002, stipulated that the text include references to the Arab description of events, such as the term "nakba."

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