In Israel: “Textbook Warns, Associating With Arabs Is Dangerous”
Tuesday June 19, 2012 15:56 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC
Arab Member of Israeli Knesset, Hanin Zoabi, sent a letter to the Legal Councilor in the country demanding him to order an investigation into a study guide for the Israeli “Bagrut” (the Civics Matriculation exam) stating that Jewish girls associating with Arab youths undermine their security and their right to life.
Zoabi demanded the Legal Councilor to take a firm legal action against those responsible for the preparation of the textbooks for the Civics Matriculation, as these textbooks contain racist language and assumptions, inciting the Jewish students against the Palestinians for their national affiliation.
The letter came after Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that the “Rekhes” company, specialized in preparing the supplementary materials for the Bagrut exam, published a study guide that contains a question about the stances of the students regarding Rabbis who instructed young Jewish girls to stay away from Arab youths, and one of the answers was that “Arab youths pose a threat to the lives of Jewish girls”, and that “relationships between male Arab youths and female Jewish youths pose a threat to the Jewish majority in the country”.
MK Zoabi said that the Rekhes Company is not the only party that is responsible for this outrageous racism, as the Ministry of Education is solely responsible for monitoring and supervising all textbooks, but failed to stop the publication of this racist material.
She said that the ministry must boost the morality of the students, and must act on developing their values of democracy, equality and citizenship, “but instead, it is burying these principles, either by publishing materials that deny the very existence of the Palestinians, or by issuing publications that incite against the Palestinians, and call for treating them with animosity, hatred and racism”.
The Arab MK demanded the Legal Councilor to initiate a serious and prompt investigation into the issue, and to indict those responsible for these racist statements in the textbooks.
In December of 2010, dozens of top Israeli rabbis signed on to a new religious ruling that would call on Jews not to rent homes to Arabs.
The religious ruling was made a few months after a call signed by a group of 18 prominent rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Safad, urging Jews to not rent or sell property to non-Jews.
Amongst those who signed on to the new ruling are the chief rabbis of Ramat Hasharon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Rishon Letzion, Carmiel, Gadera, Afula, Nahariya, Herzliya, and Pardes Hannah, and other cities.
Most of the signatories are from Safad, a city with an increasing number of Arab students enrolled at the town's local college. The chief rabbi of Safad, Shmuel Eliyahu, was the most prominent one to sign the call, has been criticized in the past for his inflammatory remarks against the Arab population.
Last year, the Israeli Knesset passed the so-called “Nakba Law” preventing the Palestinians in the country from marking the Nakba day (the day Israel celebrates its independence after destroying hundreds of Palestinian towns and villages), and authorizing the Minister of Finance to cut, withhold, or reduce funding to government institutions that mark the Nakba day, under the pretext of “denying the existence of Israel”.
The law was supported by 37 votes, while 25 opposed it; the “Law” further states that “any government funded body in the country, and any public institute that marks the Nakba will be barred from funding as”, according to the law, “by marking Nabka, these intuitions negate the existence of Israel as a state of the Jewish People”.
The law that passed by the Knesset was considered a “more moderate version” of the original law that was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in 2009.