Israeli Educators Battle Government Over Textbook Content

AP Photo/Scott Eisen

The Washington Post reports:

Israel’s main high school civics textbook has become a new battleground in a culture war embroiling the country — pitting politicians against educators in a debate over how much religion and Jewish history should be included in the country’s national curriculum.

Three of the book’s authors have removed their names from chapters they wrote, claiming Education Ministry professionals altered their work beyond recognition to include a nationalist slant. The book’s editor has submitted a six-page protest letter, and the sole Arab member of the committee overseeing civics education has quit in protest. The book is scheduled to be published in March.

“It’s a book for all the students of Israel — for secular and religious, for Arabs and Druse,” said copy editor Yehuda Yaari. “And this book does not represent an approach that matches all the students.”

The uproar comes at a time when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalistic government has been pushing forward with a series of initiatives critics charge undermine the country’s democratic values.

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