Netanyahu’s post-Zionist Education Ministry – UNBELIEVABLE


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.

Sapir explained, “In the absence of the map of the Mandate, the ’49 map, (i.e. “1967 borders”), is presented as Israel’s maximal legitimate borders, (with the alternative borders being the partition map.”

Second, Sapir noted that the book’s explanation of Israel’s constitutional foundations present the so-called “constitutional revolution” of the 1990s as utterly uncontroversial. Through the “constitutional revolution,” the Supreme Court effectively seized the Knesset’s legislative powers. And as Sapir notes, it justified the move through a distorted interpretation of laws “reading into them rights that were specifically removed from them by the Knesset.”

In hiding the controversy surrounding the “constitutional revolution,” the textbook denies students the ability to understand current events. Without awareness of the controversy, students emerge from high school with no ability to understand the current fight between the court and the Knesset regarding the separation of powers.

As Sapir notes, the textbook demonizes the political Right generally and in Israel in particular.

While just last month Labor politicians and leftist commentators called for the government to deny due process rights to right-wing protesters, Setting off on the path to citizenship presents political violence as the sole province of the political Right. So, too, while the book claims the Left has a monopoly on human rights, it tells students that “nationalistic chauvinism is identified with the rightist character.”

After being told such a thing, how can a good, enlightened high school student wish to be identified with the largest political camp in Israel? Indeed, how can he accept that such a political camp has a right to participate in Israeli “democracy”? Finally, Prof. Sapir mentions that the chapter on the peace process between Israel and its neighbors blames Israel for the absence of peace.

The chapter begins a discussion of prospects for peace after the 1967 Six Day War. In so doing, it places the responsibility for the absence of peace on Israel which, it claims, blocks peace by refusing to give Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians and the Golan Heights to Syria. The book paints sympathetic portraits of the Syrian regime, ignores then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer to relinquish the Golan Heights for peace, and makes no mention of repeated statements by Arab leaders calling for the destruction of Israel and denying Israel’s right to exist.

Aside from the points raised by Prof. Sapir, the book also criticizes Israel for not fully embracing the post-nationalist world order represented by the UN. It criticizes Israel for rejecting the legitimacy of the International Court of Justice’s nonbinding legal opinion from 2004 regarding the security barrier. At the same time, it makes no mention of the fact that the ICJ’s opinion denied Israel’s right to self-defense and that the judges themselves included outspoken haters of Israel.

So, too, in attacking Israel for not embracing the UN as the arbiter of issues of war and peace, by among other things, refusing to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission after Operation Cast Lead, the textbook makes no mention of the UN’s anti-Israel agenda which it advances through every organ of the institution. High school students who study from this textbook are not told about the UN’s diplomatic orgy of anti-Semitism at Durban in 2001 in which Israel was singled out as the most racist, illegitimate evil state on the planet. They are not told of the UN General Assembly’s insidious 1975 resolution defining Zionism – the Jewish national liberation movement – as a form of racism.

All of this actually makes sense. Because the textbook itself claims that the Jewish people are a religious group, not a nation. In a teaching note, the textbook recommends “explaining to the students that Judaism in its original meaning is a religion. The Zionist movement transformed the term, ‘Judaism,’ into a nation.”

This shocking assertion, which channels the PLO’s genocidal, anti-Semitic charter while ignoring 3,500 years of Jewish history, is par for the course for the textbook introduced into Israel’s high schools under the Netanyahu government.

The question of how this book was approved was the subject of an in-depth investigative report written by Gil Bringer and published in Makor Rishon on December 9, 2011. In a nutshell, the story is yet another chapter in the well-known tale in which leftist politicians working hand in glove with leftist academics and leftist media, install leftist political activists in permanent, “professional” positions within the state bureaucracy in order to enable their radical policies to outlive their time in office.

Like all other curricula, the citizenship curriculum is approved by an Education Ministry bureaucrat. In 2007, then-education minister Yuli Tamir’s childhood friend and number 3 Anat Zohar, who headed the ministry’s Pedagogical Secretariat, fired Esther Brand, who was in charge of the citizenship curriculum.

Brand, a religious woman and a resident of Samaria, was perceived as not being part of Tamir’s political camp. Brand challenged her firing in labor court. Rather than defend the move, the ministry offered her an unheard of settlement of NIS 100,000 to walk. She walked.

Brand was replaced by Zohar’s personal assistant, a man in his early-30s named Adar Cohen.

Cohen is an alumnus of the leftist Israel Democracy Institute, which has for years labored to introduce post-Zionist themes into Israel’s education system. As the Makor Rishon report documented, Cohen served as an adviser to the authors of Setting off on the path to citizenship.

While the book was being written, for over a year Cohen delayed granting approval to a competing textbook written by Hebrew University’s political science professor Abraham Diskin that has a Zionist orientation. In the end, Cohen approved both books on the same day last August.

According to the Makor Rishon report, which I separately authenticated with Education Ministry officials directly involved in the issue, Cohen has used his power to distort the proceedings of the professional committee of academics appointed to advise him in his work. He has sought to delay convening the committee in an apparent bid to minimize professional oversight of his decision making. And he used his bureaucratic power to prevent other Education Ministry officials from endorsing Diskin’s book.

After coming into office, Sa’ar appointed Zvi Zameret to serve as chairman of the Pedagogical Secretariat – the same position that Zohar held under Tamir. As the Makor Rishon report explained, Zameret requested that Cohen convene the professional committee last June to approve a new, more Zionist curriculum whose composition Zameret had overseen.

Cohen informed Zameret that the committee members couldn’t make it on the date Zameret had suggested. Upon review it worked out that no one had voiced any objection to the proposed date and so the meeting was convened despite Cohen’s effort to block it.

According to ministry procedures, the professional committee’s approval of the curriculum is supposed to precede the approval of new textbooks.

As Sapir noted in his letter to Sa’ar, the new post-Zionist textbook that Cohen supports contradicts the new curriculum.

Ministry officials who spoke with Makor Rishon hypothesized that Cohen may have wished to postpone the meeting until after Zameret left his position at the beginning of November. Sa’ar has yet to appoint his replacement.

Ministry’s director-general Dalit Shtauber publicly backed Cohen after the Makor Rishon report was published. Attacking the ministry officials who spoke to the paper off record, Shtauber claimed that their off-record comments were anti-democratic. Notably, Shtauber’s defense of Cohen ignored the post-Zionist content of the textbook he approved.

Following the Makor Rishon report, coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin called for an urgent hearing on the textbook in the Knesset’s Education Committee. The hearing, which was scheduled to take place on January 4, was canceled.

Ministry officials claim that the Sa’ar asked committee chairman MK Alex Miller to cancel the meeting and claimed he was handling the issue within the ministry.

If Cohen continues to serve in his position through the end of the year, he will be eligible for – and all but automatically receive – tenure.

Cohen is only in his early 30s. If he is granted tenure, he will be able to continue to control the content of the citizenship curriculum for Israel’s school children for the next 30 years.

January 17, 2012 | 20 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

20 Comments / 20 Comments

  1. The problem and the challenge, as originally presented, is correct. Our youth have to be re-presented with their history, their national identity and goal – with their raison d’etre. If they don’t have that, they will never maintain the will to sustain the country against its neighbors. It was easier for the founders, in the sense that Israel was formed before ’67. An entire generation has since grown to adulthood with the reality of an Arab minority in their midst. This reality is embarrassing to them because they see Israel as a mirror of American society whose problem is one of civil rites. Israel has an incredibly complex history and social structure, but its problem is not one of civil rites. It is of nationhood. Israel was founded as a homeland for the Jewish people, similar to the way that Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia were given to the Arabs. It is essential that Israel continue as a homeland, which does not mean that minorities cannot,or should not, live there peacefully, as equals in all things other than ownership of the country. No one questions the rites of Arab countries to their Arab identity or ideals. How strange that they feel so entitled to challenge ours. The Arabs live much more comfortably in Israel than in any fundamentalist Arab country. Still, it is hard for our youth. They don’t want to live their lives as warriors,for a cause they no longer remember.They are impatient for peace in our time.
    Batya Casper

  2. I’m sure you know about it, Bland Oatmeal, but we have the story of the Reform Party of Canada as an example. Started out as a right-wing, red-neck even, protest movement against the traditional all-powerful Progresive-Conservative Party.

    It was a joke at first, its leader had a funny voice and pitiful puppy eyes, but the party matured, grew in numbers, and within a few years it swallowed up and took over the old, stale, Progressive-Conservative Party, renaming itself Conservative Party.

    I don’t have the timeline at hand but within twenty years or so they were heading government as a majority government with a good looking leader with a firm voice, Stephen Harper.

    Wisdom in life is to know when to stop.

    Likud is hopeless. It’s so morally-challenged that it co-opts good MKs when they join government. There needs to be a major realignment with the left going left and the right going right. This marriage of both for the sake of power is undermining the country’s future because it’s the minority left that runs the show.

    The media, particularly A7, reports this little dance by Likud, one step forward, two steps backward. How much longer until the people realize where this dance is leading to?

    By the way, I don’t trust anyone – under or over thirty – human nature being what it is. Israel needs more accountability from their government, but it can’t get to that point until patriotic Israelis put the now dictatorial left in a place proportionate to their numbers.

  3. Do I have this right? The Jewish left, the American right and the Arab Palestinians are all engaged in deceit and lies to accomplish their goals, none of which will benefit the people at large and perhaps may cause great harm to many.

  4. Why not a brand-new political party?

    For the grace of God, TW, please repent of this thought!! The last thing the Israeli Nationalist camp needs, is another party. Let the Left divide their votes into all their Shinnuis, etc. The Nationalists have NU (or whatever it’s called now), the Modern Orthodox party, Yisrael Beteynu and (ahem!) Likud. None of them are ideal situations; but that’s the nature of politics. For what it’s worth, I don’t consider Shas and the Hareidis to be in the Nationalist camp: They are in their own camp, and sometimes oppose each other. If you still can’t stomach any of the above, you might go over to your local Herut headquarters, if you can find one, or try to get hold of their answering machine. Yamit will love you for it — well, he might like you a little bit; because I imagine he considers Herut tainted as well.

    I think I understand your plight, if you are an Israeli young person. In America, the new political generation is starting to crystalize around Ron Paul and the “Occupy” movement (and these two are by no means one and the same!). I don’t know what Israel has for these people, other than the Hilltop Youth — people who combine conservative, zionist values with youthful zeal and lack of corruption. National Union is the only party I’ve seen, that has given them the support they deserve. That still leaves out secular (small “s” intended) Zionist youth, who might be disaffected from politics. Many of these may have supported the Pensioners’ party in the other election, as a protest vote.

    We seem to be in an “in-between” time in Israel and in America. The situation reminds me a little bit of US politics in 1968, with lots of disaffected, disenfranchised young people looking for a voice. Their leaders turned out to be freeloaders like Bill Clinton, and monsters like Bill Ayres. The more conservative, religious youth got behind Jimmy Carter (BIG mistake) and Ronald Reagan. Today, we’re around retirement age, still looking for a voice; but still looking for it in the two-party, Goldman-Sachs-funded system.

    Through it all, I don’t think God has chosen a political party; but He has His Voice, and it won’t go away.

  5. Why not a brand-new political party? What you’re describing would entail a lot of energy spent in internal strife and unnecessary bruising.

    But not just any new political party. There has to be a good plan to go with it to turn it into a strong national party.

    A few years ago MK Aryeh Eldad founded Hatikva, a nationalist party that embraces seculars and religious alike. Both Eldad and his platform seemed ideal. They did moderately well in the election as part of the National Union coalition. But what followed was most puzzling. They made no effort to attract new members.

    MK Eldad was talking recently about starting to expand Hatikva’s membership, particularly among the young. Now, years after its foundation. It’s sad and frustrating.

    So, why shouldn’t patriotic Likudniks, including Feiglin’s faction, abandon Likud and join Hatikva or create a brand-new party in loose alliance with the National Union?

    Perhaps Likud can’t be saved.

    Just as National Union voters join Likud only to vote for Feiglin’s faction, leftists can also join Likud so as to keep Feiglin from ever achieving a majority. The leftist elite prefers Netanyahu because – in spite of all the adversarial politics – deep inside they have a good understanding with him.

    And let’s not forget all those new generations of Jews graduating from schools contaminated with the leftist virus. Time is running out to revamp the political system.

  6. Knowing the internal LIKUD workings as a former member and Central Committee veteran, I seriously doubt that Netanyahu did not know about this. I doubt that much as simply reject the notion that Netanyahu could claim not knowing what the shock troopers are doing or what Barak’s monsters do as well. That is way over the head. Enough of sleek political charlatans for hire such as BB and Sa’ar.
    We desperately need totally new leadership. Not rotated trash, former TV or radio elites groomed BS’rs. ALL NEW PEOPLE. No generals, no ex Judges”, no Histadrutists,… CLEAN UP THE STABLES TIME.
    Yet. For as long as the same “pakidim” remain embedded in all the critical state functions, courts, police, general staff, state radio and TV, THEY WILL NEVER ALLOW real change and if Mr. Figlin gets anywhere near the “ethrog”, I would not give much for his future.
    Just as the “combina” has gone after to block or destroy others, they will do that to him.

    That is the way the cookie crimbles here.

  7. What about parents? Teachers? Any reaction from them yet?

    This leftist brainwashing of school and university students has been going on for decades – to no one’s reaction.

    One main reason why the numerically small but extremely influential Left gets away with their downright treasonous acts is simply that they are allowed to do so – not just by authorities but by the general public.

    Some top Israeli media often sounds like Der Sturmer. What is keeping the public from boycotting advertisers on that media? Or suing for defamation? Or denouncing them for treason?

    I know of only one case where there was appropriate outrage. It was when Ha’aretz chief editor David Landau made a remark to Condoleeza Rice that Israel needed to be raped. He had to resign.

    But we keep on reading the most hateful articles regarding Judea and Samaria residents and the religious in general, with no consequences. And it’s not only the media that use hateful language against certain them, but often government officials too.


    Israeli media and government seem to have a sort of informal blackout of two major issues:

    1) The legal and historical background that supports Israel’s right to Judea and Samaria.

    2) The Nazi roots of the PLO and the non-stop incitement coming from PA top government officials and clerics, PA-TV and their textbooks. Israeli governments have endeavored to rebrand Fatah as “moderate”, knowing full well that their charter calls for armed struggle and the eradication of Israel.

    This is one of the few websites that provides information on the Nazi roots of the PLO.

    Francisco Gil-White’s HirHome

    Authors Edwin Black (The Farhud) and John Loftus have also addressed the issue.


    It should be noted that the Israeli government continues to rent air frequencies to PA-TV knowing full well that they are used for vicious incitement against Jews and Israel. Furthermore, the government has never objected to PA textbooks that also denigrate Jews and call for Arab domination over all of Israel.

    These two factors taken together, Israeli textbooks calling for submission and Arab ones calling for domination, suggest an Arab-leftist master plan behind them – hiding in plain view.

  8. Glick shone the light on this cockroach. The outraged Likud members will do the rest. I do not believe that Bibi intended this. I think it is another case of a leftist bureaucrat ignoring the government.

  9. There are many conservative “secularists” and Jewish “culturalists” that also are disgusted with the lefts position vs Israeli concessions,the “settlers” and the states facilitation of jewish ignorance. The ignorance of Jews and Israelis to Jewish legal & moral rights to Israel is beyond belief. The only thing more incredible is the apparent congenital suicidal traits of leftist jews. According to Goebbels: repetition of a lie makes it true. Yet Israeli incompetents cannot even be capable of repeating, or even learning, the truth of the global swindles of the jews led by the 2000 year chronic, congenital, serial jew killers and swindlers of Europe. If Israel cannot even repeat the truth to itself then what is its point

  10. Once again Glick lays out a serious problem, but offers nothing to counter it and get the subject textbook withdrawn from the curriculum and Adar Cohen reined in or invited to find another position. Ted, perhaps you and your cohorts, might be able to do what Glick has not.

  11. After all is said and done, it’s all about what is best for Israel.

    Likud voters have a choice: proud Judaism or universal secularism, courage or fear, steadfastness or appeasement. As I see it, the choice between Moshe Feiglin and Benjamin Netanyahu could not be more distinct.

    I don’t have a vote however, If I did, I lean strongly to the religious right and not to the progressive secular left.

    I hope and pray the majority of Israelis feel the same as I do.


    Moshe Feiglin
    Co-Founder & President Contact:
    Rob Muchnick, US Director
    (516) 779-7420 (cell phone)

    Shmuel Sackett
    Co-Founder & International Director

    The Likud Primaries Present a Real Choice

    January 18, 2012…

    The following analysis of the upcoming January 31 primary election for Likud Chairman between Moshe Feiglin and Benjamin Netanyahu, written by Dr. Tuvia Brodie, originally appeared on Israel National News on January 17, 2012.

    The Likud primary election of January 31, 2012 is not about who will be the next head-of-Likud. This primary is not about a politician. It is not about politics. It is about us. It is about how we see ourselves—and how we define our future: are we a nation that is so afraid of others that we should backpedal and bow silently before those who hate us? Or, are we a nation on the threshold of our destiny, confident in our faith, our G-d and our right to our land?
    This year’s primary is crucial for our future because we are a nation at war. This might be a minority opinion, but 2012-2014 will bring a war (diplomatic or actual or both) that will seek to delegitimize us, destroy us or haul us before a United Nations that seems to believe we have no right to exist.
    It is a war against those who would destroy us joining with those who would facilitate that destruction– a scenario built by our enemies that was actually written into the Bible more than 2,200 years ago.
    There is no way to avoid this war. It is reasonable to believe that, given the stature of Likud in Israel, the winner of this month’s primary could well be Israel’s next leader. But because we are at war, no matter who gets selected, we will fight some kind of war.
    Even if we elect a leftist on a platform of appeasement and surrender—we will still be at war: the enemy is implacable. Indeed, our history in the Middle East clearly demonstrates that the more Israel offers to surrender, the more aggressive (not peaceful) our enemy becomes. The question voters in Israel will face in the next national election will not be, who will help us avoid war. Rather, the question will be, who will be more steadfast defending us in that war?
    On January 31, 2012, Likud has to choose that man: Benjamin Netanyahu or Moshe Feiglin.
    Benjamin Netanyahu, while Likud, has chosen to go leftward, not the Likud way. His administration harasses Jews in Judea and Samaria, allows anti-religious secularists in the IDF to pressure and coerce religious soldiers, defends a leftist High Court, and more. Israel’s left, like the Hellenists of yore, rejects the Jewish religion and dedicates itself to a desire to become non-Jewish. Its passion to de-Judaize is the passion of the zealot. The left would give everything holy to those who hate us. Jewish values and Jewish survival are non-starters [for them].
    And they refuse to prepare for the consequences of their own peace plan: they offer no plan to re-house up to hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews when the new ‘Palestine’ they promote demands to be Judenrein (Jew-free); they have no plan to pay for securing the new (vulnerable) borders they propose; and they offer no explanation to us how we can expect peace when Arab media, politicians and education feed the Arab public a steady stream of Jew-hatred. They don’t care. They appear so tired of their Jewishness they just want to surrender, to get it over with: why else would they have no interest in planning for the consequences of their ‘peace’ with such people? They are too exhausted to care.
    While Mr Netanyahu is not an outright leftist, theirs is the message he appears to have embraced. He rejects Likud. Before the nations of the world, he backpedals, delays and says yes-then-no-then-yes to their demands. By inches, he surrenders. He bows, moves backwards and bows again.
    Moshe Feiglin gives Israel an alternative. He will not rush to surrender. He will not appease. He does not fear Israel’s destiny. He will not bow or shuffle backwards. But he will also not be brazen or rash because he understands the Bible, the Tanach. He understands Likud’s platform—and he understands Arab hatred.
    A July, 2011 survey found that 58 per cent of Israelis call themselves mildly-strongly religious. That is why so many Israelis identify with Moshe Feiglin. He understands Jewish consciousness. He understands Jewish values.
    The Jewish religion does not speak of surrender or bowing to the nations; neither does Moshe Feiglin. Instead, the Jewish religion speaks of the G-d of Israel. So does Moshe Feiglin. Israelis understand this. They want a leader who reflects their values. They want to see a leader who believes in G-d. They want to see Jewish courage, not Jews bowing and backpedaling.
    Likud voters have a choice: proud Judaism or universal secularism, courage or fear, steadfastness or appeasement. As I see it, the choice between Moshe Feiglin and Benjamin Netanyahu could not be more distinct.


    Moshe Feiglin is the president of Manhigut Yehudit and a candidate for Chairman of the Likud party. He led the Zo Artzeinu non-violent civil disobedience struggle against the Oslo Accords. Moshe graduated from Or Etzion yeshiva, served as a captain in an IDF combat unit, and is the author of the books Where There Are No Men and War of Dreams. Moshe and his family live in Karnei Shomron, Israel.

    Disclaimer: Donations to the Moshe Feiglin Campaign are not tax-deductible. Manhigut Yehudit neither endorses nor financially supports any candidate or political party.

    The Moshe Feiglin Campaign website is

    Moshe Feiglin is running for Chairman of the Likud party. He strives to restore Jewish Values, Pride and Integrity to the State of Israel.

    Am Yisrael Chai.

    US: Phone (516) 295-3222 PO Box 241, Cedarhurst, NY 11516
    Israel: Phone (011) 972-9-792-9046 1 Manhigut Blvd., Ginot Shomron 44853
    Website: Email:

  13. How about the “improved” history courses in the US?

    How to teach gay issues in 1st grade?

    A new law requiring California schools to have lessons about LGBT Americans raises tough questions.
    October 16, 2011|Teresa Watanabe

    At Wonderland Avenue Elementary School in Laurel Canyon, there are lesson plans on diverse families — including those with two mommies or daddies — books on homosexual authors in the library and a principal who is openly gay.

    But even at this school, teachers and administrators are flummoxed about how to carry out a new law requiring California public schools to teach all students — from kindergartners to 12th-graders — about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in history classes.

    I don’t think William Bradford authored that material.

  14. It seems inconceivable. The PLO’s goals are being accomplished by Israelis. Is this a case of Israel’s redemption being short-lived and destroyed because it is rotting from within? Are Israelis, who are in crucial positions, so naive that they do not know the true nature of the enemy?

    I have to wonder: Do these Israeli decision-makers think their role is to prepare Jews to again suffer pogroms and another Holocaust? Either that, or this is a sinister joke conceived in hell.