Thursday, December 04, 2014

'Teach children about Jews from Arab lands'

 A debate on Jews from Arab countries  in the Knesset's Education committee concluded that school curricula must address the story and contributions of these Jews, who make up more than half Israel's Jews. The Times of Israel reports: 

While the Absorption Committee focused on the contentious issue of reparations for Jewish refugees from Muslim countries and the role it might play in eventual peace negotiations with the Palestinians, there was consensus in the Education Committee’s meeting about the importance of exposing younger Israelis to the historical narrative of Jews whose origins are not European.

“More than fifty percent of Israelis are descended from Jews of Arab lands and Iran, but the younger generation doesn’t know anything about it. It hasn’t been documented or commemorated,” said Ohayon as he opened the Education Committee discussions.

“In a span of 25 years, these communities stopped to exist. Their story ended, and their contributions to the Jewish people have not been told, and they have been forgotten,” he said.

Those invited to testify before the committee unanimously agreed that school curricula must address the lacuna.

Algerian Jewish tailors. (Courtesy of JIMENA)
Algerian Jewish tailors. (Courtesy of JIMENA)

“The subject is already part of the matriculation exam studies, and soon we will be introducing it from the first grade,” testified an Education Ministry official.
“We can’t let the subject be an elective in schools. No change will happen unless it is integral and mandatory to the curriculum,” argued Yaron Atias from Hadasim, an organization promoting Sephardic Judaism.

Read article in full


Anonymous said...

The picture posted above your text reminds me of an anecdote:
my nonno's (grandad) cousin married an Auistrian Jew whose family escaped NLzism.
They came to Egypt for the celebrations and this is what my cousin told me:
All the men in the family had come to the train dtation to greet the in-coming bride and family:
They gave one look to the Souery men in their oriental clothes and said: You mean all these people are Jews? Let's go back quickly!

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

When working out a curriculum you have to be careful that the "Left" doesn't work to make the curriculum on this subject simply a lot of colorful folklore, like clothes and foods. The so-called "Left" and the Arabs in the Knesset and the Educ ministry will want to keep out anything to do with the dhimma and the persecutions that recurred in Arab-ruled and other Muslim-ruled lands as they did in Christian lands in Europe.

And if the dhimma is covered, they will want to soften the picture. They might want to talk about the jizya tax the way public relations conscious Arabs do. That is, the tax was a simply a fee to get out of military service.

The whole procedure of working out a curriculum has to be closely and carefully watched.

bataween said...

Is it true that the Education minister, Shai Peron, is not keen to teach about Jews from Arab lands (even though he is from Egypt himself)?

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

I honestly don't know the answer to that but he is out now, AFAIK, because his party's ministers in the govt resigned after his party leader, Lapid, was dismissed by the PM.

I think that there is a lot wrong in the Educ ministry which Gideon Sa`ar tried to improve. Just what Piron has accomplished, for good or for ill, I don't know.

Selina said...

I wish they mentioned that everywhere else too. But I just can't believe that Israel still doesn't teach this