What do most teachers and pupils in Israeli schools know about attacks and massacres against Jews in Muslim states in the 20th century? Nothing. But Israelis seeking a reliable depiction of the past cannot accept the portrayal of Jews as prosperous and happy in Islamic states until colonialism and 'Zionist aggression' ruined the idyll. Zvi Zameret explains in Haaretz why a particularly distorting history textbook giving the 'Palestinian narrative' has been banned in Israeli schools:
In the Farhud, the anti-Jewish riots in Iraq in 1941, 180 Jews were murdered and 700 were injured. In the course of violent demonstrations that flared in Egypt in November 1945, 400 Jews were hurt, and much Jewish-owned property was looted and damaged. Rioting in Libya, also in November 1945, was much more costly: 130 Jews were murdered and 266 were injured. The December 1947 riots in Syria left 13 Jews dead (eight of them children ) in Damascus, and 26 wounded. In Aleppo, 150 houses were damaged, five schools and 10 synagogues were torched, and there were dozens of Jewish casualties. At the same time in Aden, Yemen, 97 Jews were murdered and 120 were injured; some Jews who experienced these events deem them "the holocaust of Yemenite Jewry."
These are a few of several dozen anti-Jewish attacks and massacres perpetrated in Arab states during the course of the 20th century. What do most teachers and pupils in Israel know about these events? Nothing. In contrast, ask an ordinary Israeli high-school class about the killings at Deir Yassin or about the Nakba, and there will inevitably be several pupils who know something about the subject.
History is not a competition between tragedies and catastrophes. But an Israeli who seeks a reliable depiction of past events cannot accept a mendacious historiography that portrays Jews as living prosperously and happily in Islamic states until Zionist colonialism and "Zionist aggression" ruined the idyll.
In both its 2003 version and in its updated 2009 printing, the textbook "Learning Each Other's Historical Narrative" offers one of the most conspicuous examples of distorted historiography. In this book, Palestinians attack, often aggressively, and also blacken and misrepresent the Zionist movement. However, none of the facts mentioned at the start of this article merit mention in the text. Two supposed narratives are presented side by side in the book, but both are incomplete, ill-informed and misleading.
Read article in full